Studying
Students who graduate from the Master’s programme in geography have strong theoretical and practical skills.

The education in geography offers a broad understanding in current social and environmental issues. Our students can work as experts in their field, both independently and as members of multi-professional teams. The teaching within the programme is connected with the work of the geography research groups. It is often possible to write the final thesis as part of work in a research group or a research institute in a related field.

Why Geography?

The strengths of students who have completed our Master’s programme when it comes to research and expertise are:

  • their ability to apply theoretical knowledge 
  • a broad understanding of multi-layered regional issues 
  • strong interaction skills within multi-disciplinary groups of specialists
  • their ability to communicate in writing, orally, and graphically about geographical phenomena and research findings
  • their ability to utilise and interpret various kinds of research data
  • their versatile knowledge of methodology in geography
  • their ability to apply the newest methods in geoinformatics and cartography
  • their embracing of responsible and ethical scientific practices
Structure and content

The Master’s programme in geography comprises 120 credits (ECTS) and you should graduate as a Master of Science in two academic years. The following study entities are included in the degree:

  • 60 credits of advanced courses, according to study track (including MSc thesis 30 credits)
  • 60 credits of other courses from your own or other programmes
  • 60 credits of courses in pedagogy for students of teachers education
  • Other studies may include working-life or periods of international work or study
  • Working-life orientation and career planning
  • Personal study plan

The Master’s programme in Geography is divided into three study tracks:

The study tracks offer students the opportunity to specialise in different areas of geography. The Master’s programme contains both general and study track-specific courses. Teaching within the Master’s programme in Geography is seamlessly connected with the Master’s programme in Urban Studies and Planning (USP), which is jointly implemented with Aalto University.

Read more about the study tracks.

Language of instruction

Teaching is mainly in English. Exams can also be taken in Finnish or Swedish, and the Master’s thesis can be written in Finnish or Swedish.

Courses and teaching

The Master’s programme in geography is divided into study tracks. The study tracks offer students the opportunity to specialise in different areas of geography. The Master’s programme contains both general and  study track-specific courses. The teaching within the Master’s programme in geography is seamlessly connected with the Master’s programme in urban studies and planning, which is jointly implemented with Aalto University.

Teaching and structure information in different study tracks:

Check out courses in the online course catalogue for the University of Helsinki students in the Studies service.

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

Master's thesis

The MSc thesis (Pro gradu) is a supervised final research project in which you deepen your knowledge of geography and develop your skills as a researcher. The thesis yields 30 credits.

The purpose of the thesis work is to develop your abilities in independent information seeking, analysis of existing information, and critical interpretation of it. In your MSc thesis, you demonstrate your in-depth knowledge of a central issue or phenomenon within your subject and your ability to employ scientific research methods. A meritorious MSc thesis will produce new knowledge about geographical phenomena and report the findings clearly and according to good scientific practices.

It is often possible to write the final thesis as part of work in a research group or a research institute in a related field.

You'll find examples of geography theses from the University of Helsinki electronic archive HELDA. Search scope: opinnäytteet, Full text search: geography (or other related keywords)

Doctoral education

After completing the Master’s degree, you can apply for a PhD programme, either at the University of Helsinki or another international university. Suitable doctoral programmes at the University of Helsinki include:

More information about doctoral education at the University of Helsinki.

Students and student associations

MaO ry is the Geography student organisation at the University of Helsinki, established in 1971. Our aim is to activate and bring our members together as well as promote our rights at the department, in the Student Union and at the University in general. Anyone studying geography or geosciences at the University of Helsinki is eligible to join MaO!

We organise various kinds of activities for our members from parties to sporting events and overseas excursions. Freshman tutoring plays also an important role in MaO. To integrate students into the world of university our tutors keep the new arrivals busy with hang out nights, parties and other events such as Freshman baptism and Academic dinner party for freshmen. Apart from the help of tutors, MaO supports new students in their studies by organising an info lecture on the vast variety of subjects ideal to study alongside of geography and geosciences as a minor subject.

More information about MaO and the European Geography Association (EGEA) on the MaO website.

In addition to MaO, more than 250 student organisations operate within the Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY). 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!