These instructions regarding the motivation letter apply to all Master’s programmes at the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences. A motivation letter is used to assess whether applicants have the motivation and abilities required for completing a Master’s degree in the prospective degree programme.

In the motivation letter, applicants must give grounds for

  • Applying to the degree programme in question
  • How their previous studies support successful performance in the programme in question
  • How the studies in the degree programme supplement and expand their previous studies
  • How completing a Master’s degree in this programme would help them to reach their academic and professional goals.
  • Applicants to the following two Master's Programmes must also include a preliminary study plan in their motivation letter:
    • Environmental Change and Global Sustainability 
    • Integrative Plant Sciences

Preliminary study plan (Environmental Change and Global Sustainability)

Applicants to the Master’s Programme in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability must also write a preliminary study plan. The applicant's preliminary study plan is assessed together with the motivation letter. The preliminary study plan must be written in the application form and cannot be submitted separately. In the application form, applicants need to answer the following question:

In particular, you can consult the Programme structure on the web page of the programme.

Preliminary study plan (Integrative Plant Sciences)

Applicants to the Master’s Programme in Integrative Plant Sciences must also write a preliminary study plan. The applicant's preliminary study plan is assessed together with the motivation letter. The preliminary study plan must be written in the application form and cannot be submitted separately. In the application form, applicants need to answer the following question:

  • Draw up a tentative study plan. How will you complete your Master's studies in two years’ time? Please visit the websites of the Master's programme in Integrative Plant Sciences and familiarize yourself with the structure of the Master's degree. You should pay attention particularly to study modules, and then make a tentative study plan for your Master's studies.

The language of the motivation letter

The language of the motivation letter depends on the programme applied for. Applicants intending to complete an English-language degree in a multilingual Master’s programme must write their motivation letter in English. When applying for a right to complete a multilingual Master’s programme in Finnish or Swedish, the motivation letter must be written in English, Finnish or Swedish. The quality of language in the letter will also be taken into consideration.

Maximum length of the motivation letter

The maximum length of the motivation letter depends on the Master's Programme to which you apply. The motivation letter will be filled in on the application form. The length of the motivation letter is limited on the application form. Please consult the information below on the maximum length of the motivation letter in each Master's Programme:

Master's Programme in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology: Maximum length of the motivation letter (including spaces) is 8000 characters.

Master's Programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences: Maximum length of the motivation letter (including spaces) is 3000 characters.

Master's Programme in Integrative Plant Sciences: Maximum length of the motivation letter (including spaces) is 3000 characters. Maximum length of the study plan (including spaces) is 3000 characters.

Master's Programme in Neuroscience: Maximum length of the motivation letter (including spaces) is 8000 characters.

Master's Programme in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability: Maximum length of the motivation letter (including spaces) is 6000 characters. Maximum length of the study plan (including spaces) is 3000 characters.

Admissions to the EEB programme are based on the following criteria, each of which will be scored on a scale of 0–10:

  1. Applicability of previous studies to the EEB programme, 0-10 points.
  2. Academic performance (grades, study progress) in completed applicable studies required for the EEB programme, 0-10 points.
  3. Motivation letter, 0-10 points.

The required minimum score for each criterion is 6.

If two or more applicants are tied after the evaluation, they will be ranked firstly on the basis of applicable studies, secondly on the basis of academic performance, and thirdly on the basis of the motivation letter.

First stage

All eligible applicants will be assessed on the basis of their application documents and in accordance with the criteria below (scored on the following scales):

  1. Applicability of previous studies to the Master's programme, 0-25 points. Minimum score, which the applicant must get in order to be selected for the interview: 10.
  2. Academic performance in completed studies required for the programme, 0-20 points. Minimum score, which the applicant must get in order to be selected for the interview: 8.
  3. Laboratory skills and experience in practical research work, 0-10 points. Minimum score, which the applicant must get in order to be selected for the interview: 4.
  4. Motivation letter, 0-5 points. Minimum score, which the applicant must get in order to be selected for the interview: 2.

Only those applicants who receive at least 40% of the maximum score for each section (ten points for criterion 1, eight points for criterion 2, four points for criterion 3 and two points for criterion 4) will be invited to an interview.

In the first assessment stage, applicants with more than the minimum score of 35 will be ranked based on their score. Of these, no more than the best 40 (double the maximum number of students to be admitted to the programme) will be selected for video interviews held in the second assessment stage.

Certificates of employment or statements made by supervisors on research related to the field of the programme can be attached to the application. These support the application questions that concern laboratory and research experience.

Second stage

The video interviews consist of a certain number of predetermined questions. The interview will be scored on a scale of 0–15. The required minimum score for the interview is 8.

The interviews will be conducted with the help of the Skype application. The Master’s Programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences is a multilingual programme. The interviews will be primarily arranged in English. Applicants who wish to complete the degree in Finnish or Swedish may, however, ask for the interview to be conducted in the language they have selected for their degree in their application. Interview invitations will be sent by email with the schedule and instructions attached. Applicants must have a Skype username and be able to conduct the interview online.

Student selection

Admissions are based on the combined score from the two assessment stages. The maximum score is 75. The minimum requirement is a score of 50. No more than the best 20 applicants will be admitted to the programme. The rest of the applicants with a score of 50 or more will be put on a reserve list.

If two or more applicants are tied after the evaluation, they will be ranked firstly on the basis of an interview, secondly on the basis of applicable studies, thirdly on the basis of academic performance and fourthly on the basis of the motivation letter.

Admissions to the Master’s Programme in Integrative Plant Sciences are based on the following criteria, each of which will be scored on a scale of 0–10:

  1. Applicability of previous studies to the Integrative Plant Sciences programme, 0-10 points
  2. Academic performance (grades, study progress) in completed applicable studies required for the Integrative Plant Sciences programme, 0-10 points
  3. Motivation letter, 0-10 points.

The required minimum score for each criterion is 6.

If two or more applicants are tied after the evaluation, they will be ranked firstly on the basis of applicable studies, secondly on the basis of academic performance, and thirdly on the basis of the motivation letter.

On the application, applicants must indicate the study track of their choice, but their selection, however, is not binding. The study track selected by the applicant will be taken into consideration when assessing the applicability of previous studies and the motivation letter. Certificates of employment or statements made by supervisors on research related to the field of the programme can be attached to the application.

First stage

All eligible applicants will be assessed on the basis of their application documents and in accordance with the criteria below (each scored on a scale of 0–5):

  1. Applicability of previous studies to the Master's programme, 0-5 points
  2. Academic performance in completed studies required for the programme (grade level and study progress in relation to time used for the studies), 0-5 points
  3. Motivation letter, 0-5 points

In the first assessment stage, applicants who received at minimum 11 points will be ranked based on their score. Of these, the best 40 will be selected for interviews held in the second assessment stage.

Applicants with a degree from a university of applied sciences will be assessed at the same time and on the same grounds as other applicants. However, work experience of no less than a year in a scientific research group after completing their degree will be taken into consideration when a significant share of the experience is from independent research work. The quantity and quality of research work experience must be clearly stated on the certificate of employment or a statement made by the supervisor attached to the application. Research work experience will be assessed during the first assessment stage when assessing the applicability of previous studies.

Second stage

The video interviews consist of a certain number of predetermined questions that further delve into the prior studies, objectives and potential research experience included in the application documents. The interviews will be assessed and documented on a scale of 0–5. Admission to the programme requires participation in the interview.

The interviews will be conducted with the help of the Skype application. The interviews will be primarily arranged in English. Applicants who wish to complete the degree in Finnish or Swedish may, however, ask for the interview to be conducted in the language they have selected for their degree in their application. Applicants should have a Skype username and be able to conduct the interview online.

Student selection

Admissions are based on the combined score from the two assessment stages. The minimum requirement is a score of 16. Based on total scores, the best 20 applicants will be admitted to the programme. The rest of applicants with a score of 16 or more will be put on a reserve list.

If two or more applicants are tied after the evaluation, they will be ranked firstly on the basis of an interview, secondly on the basis of applicable studies, thirdly on the basis of academic performance and fourthly on the basis of the motivation letter.

Applicants to the Master’s Programme in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability (ECGS) must have completed an applicable first-cycle degree providing them with necessary qualifications to study at the master’s programme.

The selection among those applying for the master’s programme is based on an overall score, which is the total score comprising the applicability of prior studies (50% of the overall score), previous study performance (25% of the overall score) and motivation letter (25% of the overall score).

The total score received by an applicant is calculated as follows: The score for each of the tree criteria (0–10) is multiplied by a weighting coefficient (the score for the applicability of prior studies is multiplied by 0.5 and the score for previous study performance and motivation letter are both multiplied by 0.25). After this the score is added up. Consequently, the highest possible score is 10.

In order to be admitted, the applicant must attain at least the minimum score in each of the assessed areas, the applicability of studies, previous study performance and the motivation letter. Ultimately, the requirements are determined based on the number of applicants and the quality of applications. Consequently, even if an applicant meets the above criteria, it may not be enough to be admitted.

If two or more applicants are tied after the evaluation, they will be ranked firstly on the basis of applicable studies, secondly on the basis of academic performance, and thirdly on the basis of the motivation letter.

The applicant must indicate their desired study track on the application form. This choice is binding. The study track indicated by the applicant will be taken into consideration when assessing the applicability of their prior studies and the motivation letter.

Applicability of prior studies

The applicability of prior studies is assessed on the scale 0–10 and its weight is 50% of the overall score. Applicants must receive at minimum 6 points for the applicability of studies. The applicability of studies will be scored based on the criteria of the study track indicated by the applicant on the application form.

 

Study track: Environmental Change

The applicability of prior studies to the Study Track in Environmental Change (EC) will be scored as follows:

  • 10 points: The applicant has a first-cycle degree in biological and environmental sciences (environmental sciences, ecology), agriculture and forestry (e.g., microbiology, soil science) or other natural sciences (geography) or applied sciences, which corresponds to one or more discipline modules of the EC study track.
  • 9 points: The applicant has a first-cycle degree in some other than the above fields of biological and environmental sciences (laboratory sciences, cellular and molecular biology), fields of agriculture, forestry or natural sciences (geology, mathematics, chemistry), field of technology or laboratory sciences (biochemistry, cellular biology), which offers adequate qualifications for EC study track, or other natural sciences focused first-cycle higher education degree with a strong component of environmental sciences (60–90 cr).
  • 8 points: The applicant has a first-cycle degree in related fields or applied sciences with approximately 35–60 cr of applicable studies.
  • 7 points: A first-cycle degree with an emphasis on natural sciences, social sciences or practical studies with approximately 25–35 cr of applicable studies.
  • 6 points: A first-cycle degree in natural sciences, technology, etc. with approximately 25 cr of applicable studies.
  • 5 points: Other first-cycle degree, less than 25 cr of applicable studies
  • 4 points: Other first-cycle degree, no applicable studies

 

Study track: Global Sustainability

The applicability of prior studies to the Study Track in Global Sustainability (GS) will be scored as follows:

  • 10 points: The applicant has a first-cycle degree in social sciences, economics, history, philosophy, humanities or applied sciences, which corresponds to one or more discipline modules of the GS study track.
  • 9 points: The applicant has a first-cycle degree in other than social sciences which does not directly correspond with a discipline module of the GS study track but offers adequate qualifications for GS studies, or a multidisciplinary first-cycle higher education degree with strong emphasis on social sciences (60–90 cr).
  • 8 points: The applicant has interdisciplinary or applicable first-cycle degree in natural sciences with approximately 35–60 cr of applicable social sciences.
  • 7 points: The applicant has interdisciplinary first-cycle degree focused on natural sciences or applied sciences with approximately 25–35 cr applicable studies.
  • 6 points: The applicant has first-cycle degree in natural sciences or technology, the applicant has approximately 25 cr of applicable studies.
  • 5 points: The applicant has other first-cycle degree, less than 25 cr of applicable studies.
  • 4 points: The applicant has other first-cycle degree, no applicable studies.

Previous study performance

Previous study performance will be assessed on the basis of the degree which serves as the grounds for the application. Previous study performance is assessed on the scale 0–10 and its weight is 25% of the overall score. Applicants must receive at minimum 6 points for previous study performance.

Motivation letter

The motivation letter is assessed on the scale 0–10 and its weight is 25% of the overall score. Applicants must receive at minimum 6 points for the motivation letter.

See above the instructions for the motivation letter.

The number of characters in the motivation letter is limited. The motivation letter is scored as follows:

  • 10 points: The applicant knows how to explain why they are applying to this particular programme, how their prior studies provide a basis for the studies and how the studies chosen by them increase their skills and expertise. The applicant has a realistic understanding of the content and opportunities of ECGS. Especially for the score of 10: The applicant is capable of describing their goals related to professional life or postgraduate studies after having completed a master’s degree in the ECGS programme.
  • 9 points: The applicant knows how to explain why they are applying to this programme, how their prior studies provide a basis for the studies and how the studies chosen by them increase their skills and expertise. The applicant has a realistic understanding of the content and opportunities of ECGS. The goals are unclear or very general.
  • 8 points: The applicant knows why they are applying to the programme, knows how to explain their prior studies and describe what they want to learn in ECGS studies. The applicant has a realistic understanding of the content and opportunities of ECGS.
  • 7 points: The applicant knows why they are applying to the programme, knows how to explain their prior studies.
  • 6 points: The applicant talks about their prior studies and extensively about their willingness to learn more.
  • 5 points: The applicant does not answer questions posed or the answers are very general and idealistic.
  • 4 points: The applicant does not say anything about their motivation or the text does not contain an understandable message.