Studying

Computer science has a brilliant future! You could help to create new network solutions, build the future digital society, develop secure digital services, or be involved in a ground-breaking international software project. Perhaps you will develop algorithms for utilising genome data in medicine or optimise bus routes using positioning data. Do you wonder about all the things that can be automated? Or would you like to dig deeper and become a researcher?

In the Master’s Programme in Computer Science, you can become an expert in a wide range of fields. You will have access to the focus areas of research in computer science at the University of Helsinki: algorithms, distributed or networked systems, and software engineering. You will gain lasting professional skills for specialist, design, or managerial posts in the corporate world, or for research and doctoral education, since the Master’s programme in computer science gives you the aptitude for both independent working and multidisciplinary teamwork.

The education in the Master's Programme in Computer Science will give you:

  • the ability to advance your knowledge in the different areas of computer science
  • the skill to seek, assess, and analyse scientific information in your own area of expertise, and apply the methods of the field in an ethical and sustainable way
  • the ability to act as an expert in computer science, and to develop the practices and methods of your field in cooperation with specialists from other fields
  • oral and written communication skills in an international work environment

The quality teaching within the computer science programme at the University of Helsinki has been highlighted repeatedly in national and international teaching assessments. The student-centred, in-depth learning gives you a solid basis for life-long learning. Studying at the leading research unit for computer science in Finland offers you constant interaction with current research and insight into the development patterns in the field.

The employment outlook within the field is excellent. As a graduate, you can find employment in varied positions within the ICT field around the world, both as entrepreneur and employee, within small or large corporations as well as organisations in the private, public or third sector. Your degree is also an excellent springboard to a doctoral programme.

The scope of the Master’s Programme Computer Science MSc degree is 120 credits, which can be completed in two years, in accordance with an approved personal study plan.

The studies are divided into core courses, study track specific courses and other courses, consisting of:

80 credits of advanced courses, including:

  • Shared courses within the programme
  • Courses within the programme which support the thesis topic
  • Master’s thesis, 30 credits

40 credits of other courses from your own or other programmes:

  • The other courses can include a work-orientation period

The study tracks in the Master’s Programme for Computer Science are:

  • Algorithms
  • Networks
  • Software

You select one of the study tracks according to your preferences at the beginning of your studies.

More information about the structure, content, study tracks and courses of the programme.

The advanced module in the Master of Science degree includes a thesis (30 cr), with which students show their ability for scientific thinking, grasp of research methods, in-depth knowledge of the thesis topic, and their aptitude for scientific written communication as practised in the scientific community. Common basic types of theses are the literature-based comparison or analysis, and the experimental or constructive application. All theses should have in common the in-depth knowledge of the research literature within the writer’s own field and learning the communication style prevalent in computer science publications.  

Some of the theses are written in collaboration with research groups at the department, so you may be able to participate in top research even before completing your degree. Due to the breadth of the field and its impact on society, the topics of theses range over many different themes; lately, thesis topics have included e.g. cloud computing, big data, management of large genome data, machine learning, service- and model-based solutions, software development methods, and software quality assurance.

We have introduced Computer Science Colloquium to guide you in the thesis process. As a first-year student, you hear presentations of theses on different topics, and this gives you a way to choose your specialization and get to know people sharing the same interests. Once you have found a supervisor and a topic through the colloquium (or any other route such as advanced course or seminar), you should book a presentation slot from the colloquium.

Within the programme, nearly a third of the students come from abroad and the advanced courses are instructed by international researchers. The University of Helsinki and the Faculty of Science offer many opportunities for international activities:

  • Student exchange in one of the exchange locations of the faculty or university
  • Traineeships abroad
  • International tasks within the student’ organisations or Student Union
  • Language courses at the Language Centre of the University of Helsinki

Computer science at the University of Helsinki is also a popular exchange location. Exchange students have come from 14 countries in recent years. The students in the department have taken exchange periods in 16 countries in the past few years.

In the Faculty of Science, your course opportunities are not limited to the modules offered by your own education programme. You can choose courses from other programmes, both within your own faculty and from the university’s other faculties. The teaching within the Data Science and the Life Science Informatics Master’s programmes is designed in close cooperation with the Master's Programme in Computer Science.

The flexible study rights agreement (the JOO) allows you to take courses at other Finnish universities, so it is easy to tailor your degree according to your interests and career plans.

Contacts with working life are important at every stage of the programme. Many computer science students work alongside their studies and can incorporate this experience in their degrees through the trainee section of the degree. You can develop your own business idea during the university’s entrepreneur courses and at Think Company, a meeting place for students and researchers interested in starting companies, as well as corporate partners in various fields.

In addition, you can participate in research projects through thesis and seminar work, i.e. concrete research work. Writing your MSc thesis in cooperation with a corporation or research organisation is also a good way to improve your working-life abilities.

Computer science at the University of Helsinki participates in the Luma network, spreading programming and digital-society skills to school pupils and the public.

Computer science at the University of Helsinki has considerable collaboration with corporations in the fields of networks, data security, data science, etc. Within the field of data security, there is the Intel Collaborative Research Institute (ICRI-SC); the Nokia Centre for Advanced Research (NCAR) was established in spring 2016 to promote research on data science and networks.

The Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT) is a joint research institute of the University of Helsinki and Aalto University.  Through this collaboration, the research in computer science in the Helsinki region gains considerable added value and international impact.

Student life and especially the student organisation culture is exceptionally rich and diverse in Finland. Also at the University of Helsinki, the student community is very active.

More than 250 student organisations operate within the Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY), ranging from faculty and subject organisations to political and societal organisations, and from choirs and orchestras to sports and game clubs. Their activities include anniversary celebrations, academic dinner parties, cultural events, get-togethers and excursions.

As a student and member of the Student Union (HYY), you are entitled to many benefits and services. For example, affordable student housing, basic healthcare services, sports facilities and student-priced meals. You also get numerous discounts, for example on public transport fees across the country.  

Read more about the life and benefits as a student at the University of Helsinki.