The Data Science MSc degree consists of 120 credits divided into core courses, elective data science courses, and other courses.

Studies in the Data Science MSc programme include both theoretical and practical components, including a variety of study methods (lectures, exercises, projects, seminars; done both individually and in groups). Especially in applied data science, we also use problem-based learning methods, so that you can address real-world issues. You will also practise academic skills such as scientific writing and oral presentation throughout your studies. You are encouraged to include an internship in your degree in order to obtain practical experience in the field.

Why Data Science?

Upon graduating from the Data Science MSc programme, you will have solid knowledge of the central concepts, theories, and research methods of data science as well as applied skills. In particular, you will be able to:

  • Understand the general computational and probabilistic principles underlying modern; machine learning and data mining algorithms
  • Apply various computational and statistical methods to analyse scientific and business data;
  • Assess the suitability of each method for the purpose of data collection and use;
  • Implement state-of-the-art machine learning solutions efficiently using high-performance computing platforms;
  • Undertake creative work, making systematic use of investigation or experimentation, to discover new knowledge;
  • Report results in a clear and understandable manner; and
  • Analyse scientific and industrial data to devise new applications and support decision making.
Structure and content

Master's degree in Data Science 120 cr (2023-2026)

Core studies 35 cr

4 obligatory data science courses (20 cr)

Obligatory studies on professional data science skills: academic skills, seminar and project (15 cr)

Specialisation studies 25-55 cr

At least 5 elective data science courses from a given list (25-55 cr)

Other studies (0-30 cr)

A free choice of any courses/modules in any subject (0-30 cr)

Thesis work 30 cr

Master's thesis (30 cr)


Read more about the core and specialisation studies in 2023-2026.

(For the students who have started in the programme in 2022 or earlier: see the degree structure and the core and specialisation studies in 2020-2023).

Language of the instruction

All teaching is in English. You can also take exams and complete work, such as your Master's thesis, in Finnish or Swedish.

Courses and teaching

The preliminary schedule of Data Science courses during academic year 2024-2025 is available here.

You can also find information about the courses and teaching in the online course catalogue for students at the University of Helsinki: Courses in Data Science.

The University of Helsinki also offers Finnish courses for international students.


Master's thesis

In the Master’s thesis, you will demonstrate your familiarity with the thesis topic, mastery of the necessary research methods, the ability to think scientifically and proficiency in academic writing. Your thesis should contain a definition of the research questions, a review of the relevant literature, and theoretical, constructive or empirical parts developing answers to your research questions. The thesis workload, including the collection and processing of the research material as well as the writing process, corresponds approximately to one term of full-time study.

More information in the thesis instructions.

Doctoral education

After completing the MSc programme in Data Science, you can apply for doctoral studies at the University of Helsinki or elsewhere. Due to the high level of international recognition of the University of Helsinki and the data science research groups, you will have good chances to be accepted for doctoral studies at top universities. The additional skills gained in doctoral studies will not only be useful for an academic research career but also for work as a data scientist in industry.

At the University of Helsinki, suitable doctoral programmes include:

More information about doctoral education at the University of Helsinki.

Ways to study Data Science

There are many ways to study data science at the University of Helsinki. Some of the options include:

Ob­tain an MSc de­gree in Data Science in our pro­gramme

  • You can apply in the yearly application round in January (unless you fall under the exceptions below).
  • For students in the Faculty of Science bachelor programmes who have started in 2017 or later, please see the faculty instructions for selecting your MSc program.
  • For all students in the Faculty of Science who have started before spring 2017, please see the faculty transfer tables.

Take in­di­vidual data science courses and mod­ules offered by our pro­gramme

  • See the recommended modules for other degree programmes for more information. Individual lecture courses can also be taken even if you are not a student of our programme.
  • While these courses and modules will not give you a degree in data science, they serve as an introduction to data science topics and will count towards your degree, should you later decide to apply to the Data Science MSc Programme.

Take do­main-spe­cific data science courses from other pro­grammes

Take other gen­eric method stud­ies use­ful for data science

The Data Science MSc programme offers modules for students in other programmes. Individual lecture courses can also be taken by other students.

Meet the Data Science students

There is an active data science student community at the University of Helsinki. Some thoughts of two current students and our vice-director on studying in the programme you can find in a news article Turn Data Into Knowledge – Study in the Master’s Programme in Data Science. You can also check out what other students of the programme have said about their studies, the University of Helsinki and life in Finland in general on page Meet the students.

A couple of our alumni, Marlon Tobaben and Andrés Huertas, recently shared their views of studying Data Science and what that has meant to them in a news article Data science is for people with an open and curious mind. You can also read the earlier story of Ioanna Bouri and how her life-long dream of study­ing in Fin­land be­came a path to aca­de­mia.

In #NewInHelsinki series, senior students talk about their experience at the University of Helsinki and what advice they would give to their fresher selves. Once, Fahsinee was #NewInHelsinki. Check out to her story about moving from Thailand to Finland and her studies in the Master’s Programme in Data Science.

Student life

Student life and especially the student organisation culture is exceptionally rich and diverse in Finland. Also at the University of Helsinki, the student community is very active. More than 250 student organisations operate within the Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY), ranging from faculty and subject organisations to political and societal organisations, and from choirs and orchestras to sports and game clubs. Their activities include anniversary celebrations, academic dinner parties, cultural events, get-togethers and excursions.

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!