Food Sciences is an internationally appreciated field of education and food research at the University of Helsinki has been highly ranked. The Master's Programme in Food Sciences will enable you to make an impact on the creation of innovative solutions for the whole chain of food production.

It offers you a broad education covering courses in the composition and processing of food, in the structures and chemical reactions of food proteins, lipids and carbohydrates, and in food legislation and the safety of food additives.

Why Food Sciences?

Food Sciences is an internationally appreciated field of education and food research at the University of Helsinki has been highly ranked. The food industry is the 4th most important employer both in Finland and internationally. This industry is constantly looking for experts to solve new problems.

As a master in Food Sciences, you will be able to help the food industry develop and renew itself since you will possess know-how on:

  • Raw materials and processes, including their theoretical basics
  • Different food constituents and their impact on food quality
  • Factors that ensure good quality and food safety

With a Master’s degree in Food Sciences, you can embark on a career in the food industry; in a food, agricultural or environmental control laboratory; as a teacher, researcher, or self-employed entrepreneur; or as an expert in government ministries or other expert organisations.

Structure and content

The scope of the Master's degree is 120 credits (ECTS). Together with your guiding teacher, you will make a personal study plan consisting of advanced studies in food sciences (60 ECTS) including a Master’s thesis (30 ECTS) and studies of your choice in special areas of food sciences and other complementary or free studies. You can also include career planning, an internship and studies abroad in your Master’s degree.

The Master's Programme in Food Sciences covers the whole food production chain from primary production via food processing to consumers. You explore innovations in food and how to improve the healthiness, safety, ecology and ethics of food and food processing. You also learn laboratory working skills and increase your knowledge of food composition, processing, structure and legislation.

Teaching is in English, but you can also complete the programme in Finnish or Swedish.

Read more about the structure and content of the programme.

Language of instruction

Teaching is in English, but you can also complete the programme in Finnish or Swedish.

Courses and teaching

You can affect the sort of expertise you would like to gain by tailoring your Master’s degree by choosing special studies in food chemistry, food technology, and in the science and technology relating to meat, dairy and cereals.

You can also complement your expertise in food sciences with, for example, studies in food development, food safety, food research and analysis, economics, marketing, sustainable food production, microbiology, biotechnology or nutrition.

During your courses, you will:

  • Study the theory and applications of the broad area of food sciences in lecture courses and in group work 
  • Increase your knowledge of food composition, processing, structure, and legislation
  • Deepen your knowledge of how the reactions of different food components, production processes and packaging affect the structure, sensory quality, healthiness and safety of animal and plant based foods
  • Learn laboratory working skills
  • Acquire employment skills for example by training in the food industry

Check out courses in the Studies service.

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

Master's thesis

A Master’s thesis (30 credits) is included in the Master’s degree programme. Your thesis should consist of a review of the existing literature and an experimental section. In the Food Sciences Masters' programme, you can often complete your thesis within a research group or in collaboration with the food industry.

When you pose the question addressed in your thesis, your goal should be to acquire new understanding of an issue and to develop your own problem-solving skills. The topic of your thesis might also be the development of a new technology or product. In terms of methodology, your thesis can be based on chemistry, physics, technology, biochemistry, microbiology or sensory science. Doing your Master’s thesis will train you in scientific thinking, analysis of problems, development of explanatory models and hypotheses, planning experiments and working in the laboratory and/or making pilot-plant experiments, and presenting your research results and your critical discussion.

Doctoral education

The Master’s degree in Food Sciences gives you qualifications for further scientific education (a doctoral degree) in Food Sciences or related sciences. For example, a suitable doctoral programme at the University of Helsinki is the Doctoral Programme in Food Chain and Health (FoodHealth).

More information about doctoral education at the University of Helsinki.

Student life

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), 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!