Structure, content and study tracks

The programme involves substantial interaction between you and your teachers. You will complete several writing assignments and research papers along the way, culminating in a Master’s thesis in your second year. Some courses use active learning or flipped classroom pedagogy.

The extent of the Master's Programme in European and Nordic Studies (ENS) is 120 ECTS credits to be completed in two academic years. The studies are divided into the following parts:

  • Joint courses (core courses common to all students in the programme, 20 cr)
  • Method studies (10 cr)
  • Master’s thesis  (30 cr) and supporting seminars (10 cr)
  • Track specific studies: Thematic modules/studies specific  for the humanities and social sciences tracks (15-30 cr)
  • Optional European/Nordic Studies (0-15 cr)
  • Career Skills (5-15 cr)
  • Optional studies (5-15 cr)

 

Joint studies (20cr)

The joint courses provide you with a solid base and broad understanding of European and Nordic studies.

The Joint Studies module includes the following topics:

  • Current research on Europe and Norden
  • Ideas, ideologies and identities in Europe
  • Common Challenges in Contemporary Europe
  • Nordic Societies and Culture
     

Method courses (10 cr)

As part of your ENS studies, you will select method courses that will support you with your research project and dissertation writing. The aim is for you to develop advanced skills of analysis and how to conduct research in humanities or in the social sciences, depending on your study track. You will be able to choose your courses from a list of methods courses provided by ENS and other graduate programs at the University of Helsinki. The list of courses will be confirmed for each academic year.
 

Track-specific thematic studies (15-30 cr)

The programme has two tracks i.e. Humanities track and Social Sciences track (to be chosen when you apply to the programme).

In the humanities track, you deepen or broaden your professional expertise on area and cultural studies, and history and related themes. Upon completion of the programme in this track, you will receive a Master of Arts degree.

In the Social Sciences track, you deepen or broaden your professional expertise in political history, politics, civil society and public life. At the end of the programme in this track, you have earned the Master of Social Sciences degree.

Read more about the study tracks.

Thematic Modules (15-30 cr)

Humanities track:

1. Nordic Studies

This module is designed to provide an in-depth understanding of the Nordic Region and the features that makes the Nordic countries Nordic. The students will gain an understanding of the central themes in studying the Nordic Region from a multidisciplinary perspective, ranging from history to culture and politics. The main objective is to provide the students with research based academic knowledge, and possibilities to profoundly engage in specific themes, giving them tools to address topical issues in the field.

2. European legal history and traditions

This module offers students an understanding of the contemporary European legal traditions and cultures, their foundations and main characteristics, from the private law traditions to constitutionalism and supranational elements such as human rights. Using an approach that explains the historical developments of various national characteristics and shared traits, it gives students the methodological foundations for the understanding of the role and implications of tradition and culture in the European legal world. Through specialized studies on key elements, students will appreciate some of the challenges facing European integration in the legal sphere.

3. ECEBB (East Central European, Balkan and Baltic Studies) Studies

This module is designed to provide an advanced understanding of Eastern and Central Europe as well as the Baltic and Balkan regions in a wider multidisciplinary sense. The main objective is to provide the students with research based academic knowledge, and possibilities to profoundly engage in specific themes, giving them tools to address topical issues in the field.
 

Social Sciences track:

4. EU Studies

This module offers the students a comprehensive view on the integration process of the European Union. The various courses discuss the history of integration from an economic, monetary, political, legal and cultural viewpoint. Students will be presented with the benefits, costs, challenges and consequences of the union. Different research traditions and theories facilitate creating a comprehensive understanding of European integration.

5. History and Memory in Europe

This module combines several approaches to the historical study of Europe. It provides the student with an understanding Europe’s political and social developments in the last two centuries and its place in the historical world system, empires and their legacies. It looks into the evolution of major, confronting ideologies at the level of ‘isms’ and in people’s individual and collective memory. A unifying theme in the module is how Europe’s past continues to inform and is visible in the present, and how present day concerns, in turn, shape how and what aspects of the continent’s past are remembered and studied.

6. Politics and Communication

This module combines the approaches of political science and media and communication studies in analyzing Europe. It offers students a versatile view over the roles of the state, political parties, media institutions and civil society in the development of European societies. The module provides a historical perspective to understanding ideas and theories related to democratic institutions and practices as well as a view on topical European problematics related to democracy.

7. Migration and Minorities

This interdisciplinary module comprises of courses focusing on social scientific and legal perspectives to contemporary migration and minority questions.

The students will first acquire theoretical and methodological tools for the analysis of migration, ethnicity, race and minority politics in a global perspective, with particular attention to the European context. Special emphasis will be on critical approaches to colonial relations and human rights. The module will then give the students a comprehensive overview of international, EU and Finnish migration and asylum law, and a detailed introduction to migration and minority questions in linguistic and welfare state policies in the Nordic Countries.
 

Optional European / Nordic Studies (0-15 cr)

In addition to the core thematic studies that provide you with a deep multidisciplinary understanding of Europe, the degree includes specialization and optional studies of your own choosing.

It offers you a chance to further deepen and broaden your professional expertise and establish a thematic, regional or methodological concentration. You can choose these courses yourself from the selection of ENS optional European/Nordic courses or from courses offered by other programmes at the University of Helsinki. A full list of optional European/Nordic courses available will be confirmed for each academic year. The ENS programme participates in international teaching networks and summer and winter schools that may also be included.

Master's thesis (30 cr) and seminars (10 cr)

During your second year of study, you will work on your master’s thesis. It is a piece of extensive independent research work on a topic that relates to European and/or Nordic studies. The length of the study is usually 50-70 pages. You will choose the topic for yourself, and work out a research plan in the context of the master’s thesis seminar. Your supervisor will advise you during your master’s thesis project, and can help you find a specialist with whom to discuss your particular topic. You will also regularly present your progress in a master’s thesis seminar with your fellow students.

During the thesis project, you are expected to:

  • demonstrate that you can formulate relevant and interesting research questions
  • create a coherent research design
  • analyse and produce data
  • write a scientific research report

After completing your thesis, you have gained a broad understanding of European issues and in-depth proficiency on your more specific thesis topic as well as acquired advanced research skills. You have also learned how to conduct a large independent research project and how to report your research results.

You also have plenty of other options. The University of Helsinki is a large research university. As an ENS student, you will have access to a rich variety of specialised courses in many faculties and schools. Check the section on research to see what we are particularly good at in Helsinki.

Career Skills (5-15 cr)

Career Courses are organised in cooperation with the UH Career Services. The Working Life Project course module includes lectures and seminars related to career planning and job hunting including self-assessment assignments, learning diaries, group work and visits to potential employers. After having completed this module you have improved your career planning and job-seeking skills, you know how to identify different aspects of self-assessment, recognize your competency areas and skills, and know-how to document them. You have also the possibility to complete a traineeship, project work and voluntary work.

Optional studies (0-15 cr)

In addition to courses in the ENS structure, you can choose additional optional studies freely from courses available in the University of Helsinki. These may be language courses, studies in other disciplines and programmes, or you can include an internship in your optional studies.

 

 

Study tracks

The programme has two tracks i.e. Humanities track and Social Sciences track (to be chosen when you apply to the programme). Your compulsory track-specific thematic studies (15 cr) depend on which track you have chosen. In addition to one compulsory module, you are free to choose another module from any of the seven, regardless of your track. You can also complete individual courses from all of the modules as part of your specialization and/or optional studies.

Humanities track

In the humanities track, you deepen or broaden your professional expertise on area and cultural studies, history and related themes. The compulsory optional thematic module in this track that you can choose from are on the following topics:

  • Nordic Studies
  • European Legal History and Traditions
  • ECEBB (East Central European, Balkan and Baltic Studies).

Upon completion of the programme, you will receive a Master of Arts degree (M.A.).

Social Sciences track

In the social sciences track, you deepen or broaden your professional expertise in political history, politics, civil society and public life. The compulsory optional thematic module in this track that you can choose from are on the following topics

  • EU Studies
  • History and Memory in Europe
  • Politics and Communication
  • Migration and Minorities

At the end of the programme, you have earned the Master of Social Sciences degree (M. Soc. Sc.).

Language of studies

The language of instruction is English. At least 75% of the degree must be completed fully in English (including seminars, seminar papers and similar written work, exams and the Master’s thesis). However, you can also complete studies in other languages. You can include, for example, a semester abroad or courses taught in Finnish or Swedish.