Stydying at ExpREES
The goal of the Expertise in Russian and Eastern European Studies (ExpREES) is to educate students who plan to become experts with a profound knowledge both in their own discipline and in Russian and Eastern European studies.

Those who finish ExpREES studies and are awarded the Master's degree together with a separate ExpREES certificate will have competencies and skills to work both in the public and private sector in different positions as well as in the field of research. The multidisciplinary approach will help to learn about the past, present and future of societies of the given regions. The REES network gathers teachers/researchers and course offerings in different fields of study focusing on Russia and Eastern Europe from all network universities and creates a comprehensive package of courses available for ExpREES students only; no one network university would be able to offer such a programme on its own.

ExpREES studies constitute a substantial part of the Master's degree. Please note that the Aleksanteri Institute does not award degrees to ExpREES students, but the student remains as a student of his/her home university and will obtain the degree there. Therefore, only students who already have got the right to study in a network university are eligible for the ExpREES.

Re­gis­tra­tion to Net­work Courses

It is mandatory to register to courses in advance. The three methods of registration depend on which university organises the course. Please notice, that regardless of the organising university, all courses must be added to your personal study plan in Sisu of University of Helsinki (UH). Read Sisu instructions below.

  1. If the REES course is organised by your home university, use the parent university’s own system for registration (e.g. Peppi, Sisu).
  2. If the course is organised by University of Helsinki, register via UH’s Sisu. See more detailed instructions below. Please note, that all of the mandatory ExpREES courses are also organised by UH.
  3. If the course is organised by some other university of the ExpREES network, register via online registration form.

Use online registration form to register to courses before the deadline. The deadlines for registration for autumn periods are:

  • 26.8.202
  • 30.9.2022
  • 8.11.2022

Deadlines for the spring periods are:

  • 21.12.2022
  • 15.2.2023
  • 15.3.2023
  • 17.4.2023

As a rule, each deadline is for the courses starting during the next month. In some cases, the deadline for registration takes place many weeks before the beginning of the course. Consider these when planning your studies.

The staff of ExpREES will forward the registration information submitted via online registration form to the parent university’s contact personnel or the teachers of the course. After this, the teachers will contact the registered students of other universities. However sometimes the students are expected to take part in the course after registration without any contact from the teachers. Some universities need additional information to register the students to their own systems. In these cases, the staff of ExpREES will ask the students to fill a separate form in addition to the registration.

If the number of participants to a course is not sufficient, the course will be cancelled. So please take care to register to courses, and remember to cancel your registration, if you are for some reason unable to participate.

In some cases, the faculties might ask the students to register via JOO-agreements. However, this is not necessary because ExpREES students’ right to take courses listed in the ExpREES Study Guide is based on bilateral agreements between the Aleksanteri Institute and REES network universities. Other students’ ability to take part in ExpREES courses is dictated by the terms of their own study programs and possibly JOO-studies.

To complete the ExpREES study module you need at least 25 credits worth of courses, of which 15 credits are comprised of mandatory courses. In addition to the mandatory courses, every student may choose as many optional courses as they wish from the ExpREES curriculum. Furthermore, to complete the ExpREES studies, the subject of the thesis needs to deal with Russia and Eastern Europe.

Sisu Instructions for ExpREES students

All ExpREEs students have the right to pursue non-degree studies in the University of Helsinki. ExpREES courses need to be included under the ExpREES study module in your personal Sisu study plan.

First, all ExpREES students have to create their own study plan and include in it the ExpREES study module. Read more detailed instructions on creating a new study plan here.

  1. Open Sisu and go to the Structure of studies tab.
  2. Choose New study plan.
  3. Add to your study plan the study module Expertise in Russian and Eastern European Studies (ExpREES), which has the study code VIE-500.

From now on, include all of your ExpREES courses under the ExpREEs study module. If you complete a course that is not present in UH’s Sisu, add an Optional ExpREES study unit instead, one for each completed course.

You can register to UH’s courses only after including the course to your Sisu study plan. Read more detailed instructions on course registration here.

  1. Open the Description panel of the course by clicking its study code (e.g. VIE-501) and go to the Completion methods tab.
  2. In the Completion methods tab choose your preferred method (e.g. participation in teaching) and click Select this completion method, then choose Select.
  3. If the registration period has already started, an option titled Proceed to enrol will appear on the upper part of the screen. It will advance you to the Study calendar tab where you can finish your registration.
Structure of ExpREES studies

A student must complete a minimum of 25 cr from the courses offered by the ExpREES curriculum in order to complete ExpREES programme. 15 cr are covered by obligatory joint studies and the rest of the courses may be freely chosen by the student. In addition to the courses students must also write a thesis that is related to Russia, Eastern Europe or the region of former Soviet Union.

Compulsory courses

A student must complete a minimum of 25 cr from the courses offered by the ExpREES curriculum in order to complete ExpREES programme. The module consists of three obligatory courses (10–15 cr):

  • This year, ExpREES will begin with a joint summer school (5 cr, study code VIE-501), which will be held in 16.–21.8. in Lammi Biological Station.
  • ExpREES Multimodal course on timely research of Aleksanteri Institute, in the academic year 2021–2022 course is “Perspectives on Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern Europe” (5 cr, study code VIE-502)
  • ExpREES Thesis seminar (5 cr, study code VIE-503) or at least 5 cr course from another field of science.

Optional and Supporting Courses

In addition to obligatory studies and seminars, students choose other courses according to their own study plans and interests. A minimum is total of 25 cr, but you can study more if you want.

Curriculum 2022–2023.

ExpREES Summer school

ExpREES Summer school (5 cr) (course code VIE-501)

This year, ExpREES will begin with a Summer school that will take place 22–27 August in Lammi Biological Station. For the summer school students will write an idea paper (DL 15.8.) on their research plan or topic, in which methodological, theoretical or other problematic aspects are introduced. The purpose of the idea paper is to help the student to get started with writing their Master’s thesis. It serves as a great opportunity to get feedback on students’ ideas from other students as well as experts in the field. In addition to the paper, students will conduct an interview of an expert (DL 15.8.), and familiarize themselves with the required pre-reading for the lectures (DL 19.8.).

Registration for this year's Summer school has ended.

ExpREES Multimodal course

ExpREES Multimodal course: Perspectives on Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern Europe (5 cr) (course code VIE-502) 

Perspectives on Russia, Eurasia and Eastern Europe is a multidisciplinary, partly phenomenon-based, Master's level introductory course in which various issues, themes and related problems as well as models for their explanation and understanding are presented. The course introduces the diversity of area studies and different approaches in area studies. The course consists of three face-to-face teaching days and seven distance learning modules in Moodle. Each module consists of different ways of teaching and reading to be offered regarding Russia, other countries/regions in the former territory of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Several teachers and experts are taking part in the course. The course is meant for students of ExpREES and ECEBB.

After completing the course, the student understands the diversity of phenomena and approaches (theoretical and methodological models) in area studies, especially in Russian, Eurasian and Eastern European studies. The student can apply some of these models to her/his own areas of interest in the context of Russia, Eurasia and Eastern Europe. The student will practice both independent and group work skills and develop critical thinking as well as analytical and argumentation skills. The student will be able to search for relevant research and other information related to the area as well as to complete oral and written presentations.

The face-to-face teaching days of the course will be held as intensive lecture days in Helsinki 4 November 2022, 20 January 2023 and 3 March 2023. In addition, the student will independently produce an intermediate assignment. Also, each distance learning module consists of a small-scale assignment that must be completed in order to advance on the course.

Thesis Seminars and Thesis Supervision

ExpREES Thesis seminar (5 cr) (course code VIE-503)

The ExpREES thesis seminar is recommended for all ExpREES students. It provides an opportunity to engage with peers in multi/interdisciplinary discussions about one’s research topic. In addition to providing a venue for student-led discussion, the seminar also offers additional thesis supervision by experts on Russia, other territories of the former Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe as a whole. The ExpREES thesis seminar does not replace the thesis seminars offered by the home department/degree programme in one’s field of studies.

In the ExpREES seminar student will present their idea papers, research proposals, and drafts of thesis chapters (at least two papers in addition to the idea paper and research proposal) while simultaneously providing constructive feedback/peer review on their fellow students’ papers. The seminar requires active participation from all students.

The seminar takes place in the premises of the Aleksanteri Institute approximately once a month. Participation via Zoom is also an option.

Visiting lectures and Lecture Pass

On Aleksanteri Institute’s webpages and through mailing list you will find information on interesting lectures and seminars connected to Russia, Central Asia and Eastern European regions. It is desired that also ExpREES students attend these events.

By attending eight lectures and writing 10 pages long learning diary a student can get 3 cr. Lecture is an event which lasts for at least 1,5 hour. Student needs a signature from lecturer or event organizer to his/her lecture pass or alternatively he/she can enclose seminar’s programme with lecture diary.

In lecture diary a student discusses and analyses issues learned in the lecture. Lecture diary is not only notes from the lecture. Analysis can be based for example on student’s master’s thesis or more generally on a question setting in your field of science. If one has work experience relevantly related to the lecture, one can reflect on the lecture also in relation to it.

Below one can print lecture pass. A student needs to submit filled in lecture pass and lecture diary to the coordinator for approval. Technical instructions for lecture diary: spacing 1,5; font Times New Roman 12; all margins 2,5 cm.

Work Life Education

Expertise in Russia and Eastern Europe and employment

Aleksanteri Institute’s Multidisciplinary studying programmes offer students the possibility to grow into experts on Russian and Eastern European issues. Diverse and international regional expertise gives excellent preparedness for work life.


Other Study Possibilities and Internationality

Caucasus studies at the Malmö University

"Caucasus Studies includes a range of area courses with a focus on the Caucasus region. All courses are offered exclusively online with instruction in English. There are no mandatory seminars or lectures on campus.” Caucasus studies credits can be transferred to the ExpREES studies.

Caucasus studies I
Includes the following four course modules:

  • Introduction to Caucasus Studies
  • History of the Caucasus
  • A language of the Caucasus
  • Post-Soviet developments in the Caucasus

Caucasus Studies II
Includes the following four course modules:

  • State and nation building in the Caucasus
  • Conflicts and conflict resolution in the Caucasus
  • Peoples and languages in the Caucasus
  • The Caucasus region: causes and consequences of migration

You can find more information here: Caucasus Field and Case Studies


ExpREES students have many possibilities for internationality, such as excursions, international summer and autumn schools and student exchange offered by students' home universities.

The Moodle page of ExpREES also has a list of different courses and summer schools taking place abroad:

ExpREES encourages students to apply to student exchange in Russia or Eastern Europe through their home universities. You can find the links of exchange places in Russia of all of the network universities below. ExpREES helps willingly together with the student’s own home university in finding a suitable place of exchange.

Aalto University


University of Helsinki

University of Eastern Finland

University of Jyväskylä

University of Lapland

LUT University

University of Oulu

Tampereen University

University of Turku

University of Vaasa

Åbo Akademi