Is your goal to understand the complex issues associated with contemporary societies?
To become an expert in the analysis of contemporary societies, choose the multidisciplinary, research-based Master's Programme in Contemporary Societies (COS). It focuses on the key themes in the dynamics of contemporary societies both in a European and a global context.
You can choose from six study tracks: Global Development Studies, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Social and Public Policy, Social Data Science, Social Psychology, or Sociology. In addition, studies in one or several of the following themes are available to you: Data and Society, Ethnic Relations and Migration, Mind and Society, Socio-Cultural Shifts and Sources of Inequalities.
As societies become increasingly diverse, change rapidly, and are confronted with expanding inequalities, datafication, and digitalization, there is a growing need for professionals trained and educated in the analysis of these dynamics.
In the Master's Programme in Contemporary Societies (COS), you will:
As a graduate, you will be qualified to work in both the public and private sectors, in governmental administration or in various types of organisations. You will also have excellent qualifications to continue with an academic career and PhD studies.
The scope of the Master's programme is 120 credits (ECTS), to be completed in two academic years. It consists of:
Detailed information on the structure of the COS programme
COS offers six study tracks:
To apply you must have a Bachelor’s degree including studies in one of these disciplines or cognate fields. You should apply for the study track that is closest to your previous studies.
The entire course programme is taught in English.
The programme includes studies in one of the following study tracks: Global Development Studies, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Social and Public Policy, Social Data Science, Social Psychology, and Sociology as well as advanced thematic studies.
The Advanced Thematic Studies include following themes:
The Advanced thematic studies highlight the strengths of research at the University of Helsinki and its methodological expertise. As a student, you can include courses from all themes in your studies.
The international teaching staff are research leaders in their fields and have longstanding experience of teaching multicultural student groups. All of the participating disciplines are ranked among the best 100 subjects in the QS World University Ranking by Subject.
The teaching in the COS programme is organised so that you can acquire expertise and skills relevant for working life as well as qualifications for doctoral studies. The unique context offered by the COS programme helps you to develop versatile expertise. The programme design allows you to build your individual portfolio according to your interests and career plans.
During your first year in the programme, you will study in your study track and take COS thematic and research skills courses. You will also begin your work towards your Master’s thesis. The second-year consists of further thematic studies, attending thesis seminars and writing your thesis.
The entire course programme is taught in English.
Check our online course catalogue in the Studies service.
The University of Helsinki also offers Finnish courses for international students.
The preliminary syllabus for the academic year can be found in the Instructions for students. Make sure to select the correct programme in the drop-down menu.
You will already start orienting towards your Master's thesis during the first year of studies, although you will write your thesis on a topic that relates to your study track and the relevant thematic pathway mainly during the second year. You practice thesis writing in thesis seminars, where teachers and fellow students provide feedback on your work. You will also be assigned a thesis supervisor, who will mentor you and provide feedback as you write your thesis.
Completing the thesis requires the ability to formulate research questions, write scientific text and employ research methods. It teaches you to acquire and produce information as well as to conduct independent research. It may even inspire you to choose a research career as either a doctoral candidate or a researcher outside academia.
An important aim of the COS programme is to provide you with a solid foundation to pursue a doctoral degree. The University of Helsinki offers several relevant doctoral programmes, such as:
More information about Doctoral Education at the University of Helsinki.
What's it like to study at the University of Helsinki? What are the future possibilities offered by a degree in social sciences?
Student life and especially the student organisation culture is exceptionally rich and diverse in Finland. Also at the University of Helsinki, more than 250 student organisations operate within the Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY).
Kannunvalajat is the student organisation for all students in the Faculty of Social Sciences. CISSI, the Organisation of International Social Scientists, is focused specifically on the needs of international students. There are also many other subject organisations as well as a range of other student associations.
As a student and member of the Student Union (HYY), you are entitled to many benefits and services. For example, affordable student housing, low-cost sports services and student-priced meals. You also get numerous discounts, for example on public transport fees across the country.
Read more about student life, services and benefits when studying at the University of Helsinki.
Do you have questions about studies or student life? You can get answers to your questions by chatting directly with University of Helsinki students. Chat with our students!
The home of the COS programme is the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki, in the heart of Helsinki and the City Centre Campus. The City Centre Campus, with 21,000 students, is situated near many potential workplaces: ministries, important public institutions, NGO headquarters and the Faculties of Education, Law, Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, and Theology.
Finland in general, and the University of Helsinki, in particular, offer an exceptionally rich setting for interdisciplinary studies focusing on contemporary societies. The international teaching staff are research leaders in their fields and have longstanding experience of teaching multicultural student groups. All of the participating disciplines are ranked among the best 100 subjects in the QS World University Ranking by Subject. Moreover, the COS programme invests in building an alumni network and gives you support for both international mobility and work experience.