Pa­lae­on­to­logy and Global Change

Palaeontology and Global Change deals with the changing conditions and evolution of life on Earth. Research topics include fossil mammals and their environments during the last 25 million years, the environmental and evolutionary context of early humans in Africa, and the history of climate change and ecosystems during the last 100,000 years. The effect of humankind on the biosphere is a multidisciplinary topic.

To tackle the increasingly pressing questions arising from the impact on humankind on our home planet we urgently need to understand both how the earth-life system works today and how it behaved in the past, under conditions that we cannot observe directly today but may encounter in the future. The long history of life on our planet is recorded in the remains and traces that organisms have left in geological strata billions of years, such as shells, bones, teeth, leaves or pollen, as well as the structure and composition of the rocks that contain them.

Previous studies required for this study track: BSc in geosciences or relevant, with minor studies in biology. 

  1. Common courses, 50 cp: Conducting scientific research, 10 cp; Thesis 30 cp; Internship 5 cp; Scientific Engagement, 5 cp
  2. Advanced courses: Essential courses: 25 cp: Paleoclimatology 5 cp; Fossil recognition and introduction to invertebrate paleontology 5 cp, Quantifying the past 5 cp and All about teeth, 5 cp; Elective courses min 30 cp, see the course list.
  3. Optional studies: 15 - 5 cp (number according to the number of advanced courses, so that 120 cp is filled).

Com­mon courses (50 cp)

  Common course package 50 cp Compulsory
periods III-IV/ every year GEOM_1003 Conducting scientific research 10 cp Compulsory
1. to 2. year GEOM_1008 Scientific Engagement 5 cp Compulsory
1. to 2. year GEOM_1004 MSc Thesis 30 cp Compulsory
summer between 1. and 2. yr GEOM_1005 Internship 5 cp Compulsory

Ad­vanced courses

  Essential (course package): 25 cp Compulsory
period III/ 2020, 2022 GEOM_G2011 Paleoclimatology 5 cp Compulsory
period I/ 2020, 2022 GEOM_G2022 All about teeth 5 cp Compulsory
period I/ every yr GEOM_G2025 Fossil recognition and introduction invertebrate paleontology 5 cp Compulsory
period III/2020, 2022 GEOM_G2033 Quantifying the past 5 cp Compulsory
period III, 2021 GEOM_G2023 Hominin environments 5 cp Compulsory
Elective courses:

Choose at least 30 cp worth of studies either

course packages, Earth System Archives (min 5 cp), Working with Fossils (min 5 cp), Sedimentary Environments (min 5 cp), Statistics and modelling or Geophysics. You can also choose courses from other study tracks or other study programmes.


  Working with Fossils (course package):   Optional (except one course)
period IV/ 2020, 2022 GEOM_G2012 Life on the Baltic continent - A Palaeozoic history 5 cp Optional
period III/ 2019, 2021 GEOM_G2021 Pollen analysis 5 cp Optional
period II/ 2020, 2022

GEOM_G2027 Perspectives on Macroevolution and Macroecology

5 cp Optional
period I/ 2020, 2022 GEOM_G2026 Mammalian ecomorphology and introduction vertebrate paleontology 5 op Optional
period TBA

GEOM_G2028 Carnivore evolution

5 cp Optional
period TBA

GEOM_G2029 Field course/excursion

5 cp Optional
see weboodi

ECGS-065 Practicals in past environmental change

5 cp Optional
  Earth system archives (course package):   Optional (exept one course)
period II/ 2021, 2023 GEOM_G2013 Palaeoceanography - application of marine microfossils as paleoclimatological proxies 5 cp Optional
period II/2020, 2022 GEOM_G2024 Methods in paleoenvironmental reconstructions 5 cp Optional
period II/ 2021, 2023 GEOM_G2032 Advanced seminar in palaeobiology and palaeoclimatology 5 cp Optional
period TBA

GEOM_G2061 Terrestrial Paleoenvironments during the Cenozoic

5 cp Optional
period IV (2020, 2022)

GEOM_G2031 Introduction to the Pleistocene

5 cp Optional
period I (2020, 2022)

GEOM_H2022 Ympäristögeologinen tutkimusprojekti

5 cp Optional
period 1/ every other year, 2020, 2022

GEOM_H20011 Environmental geochemistry

5 cp Optional
period IV/2021

GEOM_H20014 Stable isotopes in hydrogeology and environmental geology

5 cp Optional
general exams GEOM_G2034-6 Book examinations 1-3 5-15 cp Optional
  Sedimentary environments (course package):   Optional (exept one course)
period IV/ 2021, 2023 GEOM_G2041 Aquatic sedimentary environments 5 cp Optional
period IV (June)/ 2021, 2023 GEOM_G2042 Clastic sedimentology 5 cp Optional
period I/ 2021,2023

GEOM_P2025 Basin analysis and Modern Stratigraphy

3 cp Optional
period III/ 2020, 2022 GEOM_P2024 Sedimentary petrology 5 cp Optional
see weboodi

ECGS-011 Advanced aquatic and sediment biogeochemistry

5 cp Optional
period III/2021, 2023

GEOM_H2066 Glacial sedimentary environments

5 cp Optional
period IV/ 2020, 2022

GEOM_H2064 Soil formation processes

5 cp Optional
  Statistics and modelling (course package)   Optional
period II/2021

GEOM_S2044 Introduction to Quantitative Geology

5 cp Optional
period IV/2021

GEOM_1001 3D modelling

5 cp Optional
see weboodi

PAP334 Statistical methods

5 cp Optional
see weboodi

ATM308 Statistical tools for climate and atmospheric science

5 cp Optional
see weboodi

ATM310 Time series analysis in geosciences

5 cp Optional



Geophysics (course package)

period I/ 2020, 2022 GEOM_S2032 Environmental Magnetism 5 cp Optional
periods I-II/ 2021, 2023 GEOM_S2024 Paleomagnetism 5 cp Optional
  GEOM_G2066 Special courses on current topics 1-5 cp Optional
period I /every year

GEOM_S2012 Field course of Solid Earth Geophysics

5 cp Optional
period III/ 2021, 2023

GEOM_S2031 Ground Penetrating radar

5 cp Optional
period I/ every year

FYS2077 Introduction to Solid Earth Geophysic

5 cp Optional
periods I-IV/ every yr

GEOM_G2068 Geoscience seminar

1-5 cp Optional


Link to e-thesis database.

Examples of the thesis titles (see the database for all Geology theses):

Benjamin Heikki Redmond Roche, 2019. Diatoms as a sea-ice proxy – improving the accuracy of sea-ice reconstruction by re-analysing the northern North Atlantic training set for Fragilariopsis oceanica, Fragilariopsis reginae-jahniae and Fossula arctica, in addition to the chrysophyte cyst Archaeomonas sp.

Buchan, Michelle, 2018. Late Holocene firen history and vegetation dynamics: a pollen and charcoal record from a southern Finnish lake.

Mechenich Michael, 2017. Best Practices for Ecometric Analysis: A Case Study Correlating Climatic Conditions and Herbivore Teeth in Africa.

Oksanen, Otto, 2017. Feeding ecology of Lothagam and Koobi Fora carnivorans.

Paasi, Teea, 2016. Changes in hind limb proportions in Quaternary large carnivores in Northern Europe.

Kurki, Eija, 2016. The oxygen isotope composition of chironomid chitin as a proxy for oxygen isotope composition of lake water and related parameters in southern Spitsbergen, Svalbard, during mid- and late Holocene.

Jokela, Tuomas, 2015. The high, the sharp and the rounded: paleodiet and paleoecology of late Miocene herbivorous mammals from Greece and Iran.

Sova, Susanna, 2015. Biomineralization in domestic pig molars.

Kurkela, Janita, 2015.  Holocene monsoon dynamics and environmental history of Lake Kumphawapi, northeast Thailand.

Kähkölä,  Noora, 2015. Historical vegetation change and peat accumulation in a drained peatland Kalevansuo.

Rannikko, Janina, 2014. Experimental dental wear study of artifically worn teeth.