The Master's Programme in Economics at the University of Helsinki is social-science oriented and more mathematical and quantitative than at other Finnish universities.

It offers diverse opportunities to study different methods of economics. Consequently, an economics degree from the University of Helsinki is highly valued in the job market.

The highly demanding programme includes two study tracks: the general track with a quantitative emphasis quite similar to other international Master’s Programmes and the research track which prepares students for doctoral studies in Economics.

Why Economics?

When studying in the Master's Programme in Economics, you benefit from the economic expertise of three universities: University of Helsinki, Aalto University and Hanken School of Economics. Together, they form the Helsinki Graduate School of Economics (Helsinki GSE), a teaching and research unit providing the most extensive selection of economics courses in Finland.

Upon completing the Master's Programme in Economics at the University of Helsinki, you are awarded the Master of Social Sciences degree, and will have gained the following skills:

  • profound knowledge of economic theory and familiarity with scientific economic literature,
  • the ability to apply economic theory to solving practical problems and interpreting economic phenomena,
  • familiarity with econometric methods and the ability to apply them to practical research problems,
  • the ability to collect and interpret empirical data,
  • the ability to communicate conclusions and assess the significance of the assumptions made for them,
  • fluency in communicating economic issues to different domestic and international audiences as well as the capability to work independently and in multidisciplinary cooperation,
  • readiness to assess your own professional performance and systematically develop it, and
  • knowledge of sources of economic information and the ability to adopt new tools of economic analysis.

The Master's Programme in Economics prepares you for a career as an economist in business, financial markets and the public sector.

Structure, contents and study tracks

The Master’s Programme in Economics offers two study tracks: a general study track and a research study track. The latter is more demanding giving a more profound knowledge of economic theory and econometric methods. You select your track when applying to the programme: your choice determines the degree requirements.

The programme comprises 120 credits (ECTS) and is designed to be completed in two years. The degree requirements consist of the following modules (in the General / Research track):

  • Advanced studies (at least 95 ECTS / 105 ECTS)

    • Economic theory and econometric methods (30 ECTS / 45 ECTS)
    • Research skills (10 ECTS)
    • Master's thesis (30 ECTS)
    • Field courses in economics (at least 20 ECTS / 15 ECTS)
  • Career orientation module (5 to 15 ECTS)
  • Optional studies (15 to 25 ECTS / 5 to 15 ECTS)

It is also possible to include an exchange period or internship abroad in the degree.

The programme focuses on the core elements of economic analysis and methods. It provides students with an extensive exposure on applied themes of economics and the big picture of the economy.

Read more about the structure, contents and study tracks of the programme.

Student stories

What do students from the Master's Programme in Economics think about their studies and life in Helsinki?

You can choose courses also from the Faculty’s other disciplines. This was a very good opportunity for me to broaden my skills in social sciences.
Language of instruction

The language of teaching is English. It is also possible to complete courses, write the Master's thesis and get supervision in Finnish or Swedish. At the beginning of the programme, you select the language of studies and demonstrate your competence in it.

Courses and teaching

When studying in the Master's Programme in Economics, you can take economics courses from each of the three Helsinki GSE universities: Aalto University, Hanken School of Economics and University of Helsinki.

The courses cover all the main fields of economics and are tailored to enable our students to learn the essential core of economics at an advanced level while providing them with the possibility to tailor their education according to their specific interests.

The curriculum consists of core courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics as well as specialised courses in subfields of economics, such as:

  • Economic theory
  • Macroeconomics
  • Econometrics
  • Industrial organization
  • International economics
  • Labor economics
  • Public economics
  • Development economics
  • Behavioral and Experimental Economics

Check out the courses offered by the University of Helsinki from the online course catalogue.

You can find a listing of the Helsinki GSE courses on the Helsinki GSE website.

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

More information about the structure, content and study tracks of the programme.

Master's thesis

You will write your Master's thesis (30 ECTS) during the spring semester of your second year of study. This can be either a theoretical or an empirical thesis on a topic selected under the guidance of your supervisor, where you apply the knowledge and skills you have acquired in the programme.

In a theoretical thesis, you will consider an economic problem in the light of existing literature and potentially extend existing economic models. In an empirical thesis, on the other hand, you will approach an economic problem by applying econometric methods to relevant economic data. It is also possible to concentrate on developing a new econometric method or comparing the properties of existing methods.

You start preparing for your Master's thesis in the autumn semester of your 2nd year of study by completing the Research skills study module, which includes drawing up a research proposal for your thesis. Supervision primarily takes place in the Master's thesis seminar, lasting the entire spring semester of your 2nd year of study. You may write your thesis in English, Finnish or Swedish.

Co-operation with other parties

Teaching in the Master's Programme in Economics is arranged in cooperation with the departments of economics at Aalto University and Hanken School of Economics. Together with the Discipline of Economics at the University of Helsinki, they form the Helsinki Graduate School of Economics (Helsinki GSE), which also advances research in economics in Finland by arranging regular research seminars.

The VATT Institute of Economic Research shares the same building with the three units of the Helsinki GSE. Together they form the greatest concentration of economists in Finland. The Discipline of Economics has a joint professorship of public economics with the VATT Institute of Economic Research, and a joint professorship in Empirical Macroeconomics with Statistics Finland.

In addition to the courses arranged by the units of the Helsinki GSE, you can include in your optional studies courses from the wide selection offered by the University of Helsinki as well as courses from other Finnish universities under the flexible study rights agreement (JOO). A number of study units in development Economics are arranged in collaboration with the World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University (UNU-WIDER).  The Discipline of Economics also has close connections to the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Helsinki when it comes to research and education. 

Doctoral education

After completing your Master of Social Sciences degree, you are eligible to apply for doctoral programmes in economics at the University of Helsinki and other universities in Finland and abroad. 

If your ultimate goal is a doctoral degree in economics, the Research track is recommended. It already contains the majority of the core courses of the doctoral degree requirements and enables you to complete the doctoral degree at an accelerated pace.

When selecting students for the Doctoral Programme in Economics (DPE) at the University of Helsinki, precedence is given to graduates from the Research track.

More information about doctoral education at the University of Helsinki.

Students and student life

Student life and especially the student organisation culture is exceptionally rich and diverse in Finland. At the University of Helsinki, 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!

Student Association of Economics

The Student Association of Economics (Kansantaloustieteen opiskelijat ry - KTTO ry) at the University of Helsinki was founded in 1959. It is committed to safeguarding the interests and improving the general welfare of its members in the fields of leisure, study and work.

More information on the KTTO website.