Studying
Sustaining a growing population on our dynamic planet requires deep understanding of geological and geophysical processes within the Earth, and of how they interact with the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biota.

The Master's Programme in Geology and Geophysics trains you to address pressing questions concerning our home planet's evolution, its role as the source of raw materials needed by modern civilisation, and environmental issues.

Key questions include:

  • How can we decode Earth’s rock record to reveal the evolution of Earth’s crust and mantle over billions of years?
  • How do we make natural resource exploration and extraction more sustainable and environmentally friendly?
  • What can the Earth’s history tell us to help us forecast the impacts of climate change?
  • Where can we safely construct power plants or store nuclear waste?
Why Geology and Geophysics?

Upon completion of the programme, you will have gained expertise in a number of scientific and professional skills, including, depending on your specialist option:

  • Assessment of geological materials (minerals, rock types, bedrock, groundwater)
  • Understanding the genesis and sustainable use of mineral commodities
  • Sustainable use of the environment from the Earth Science perspective
  • Palaeontology and modelling global change using the geological record
  • The physical evolution of the Earth (plate tectonics, interplay of the mantle and crust)
  • Independent and team-driven project research
  • High-level scientific writing (M.Sc. thesis and related work)
  • Presentation of scientific results to scientists, students, and the general public
Structure and content

At the beginning of the advanced studies, you will familiarise yourself with the central research methods in the field. The studies consist of intensive learning in small groups on practical work courses, guided laboratory work on specialised courses, and tailored short-term courses led by international and Finnish experts. In addition, you will be able to take part are a variety of field courses and excursions (in Finland and beyond) to familiarise yourself with research topics in their natural surroundings.

The MSc-studies (120 ECTS credit points)  consist of three parts:

  1. Common courses, which are the same for all study tracks and includes a total of 50 ECTS credit points.
  2. Advanced courses in each study track, which comprise 35-65 ECTS credits depending on the specialisation. These courses are divided into essential and elective courses. Courses from other campuses, exchange studies or JOO-studies (from other Finnish universities ) can be included to elective advanced studies as well.
  3. Optional courses, which you are free to select from other campuses, other Finnish universities, so called JOO-studies, language courses, etc. These courses can be combined with the common and advanced courses to reach 120 ECTS cp.
Language of instruction

Most of the teaching is given in English, the Hydrogeology and Environmental geology specialist option includes some courses in Finnish only. You can also take exams in Finnish or Swedish, and you can write your Master’s thesis in Finnish or Swedish.

Courses and teaching

The programme includes four specialist options:

  1. Petrology and Economic Geology
  2. Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology
  3. Palaeontology and Global Change
  4. Solid Earth Geophysics

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

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

Master's thesis

As a student in the Master’s programme, you will be expected to write a thesis. The goal of the Master’s thesis is to enable you to study an area of interest to you within your specialist option, and to help you develop research skills such as scientific writing, literature review, and advanced knowledge in your area of study. The thesis typically includes a review of current literature and experiments or analysis of geological or geophysical data. You will write your thesis independently, under the supervision of one or more faculty members in your specialist option.

Want to know a bit more about the science? Check out our list of potential thesis topics for 2020!

Doctoral education

After completing a Master of Science degree you will be eligible to apply for postgraduate studies leading to a Doctoral or Licentiate degree in Geology or Geophysics.

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. 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!

Experience the atmosphere of the 150th anniversary year of the Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY150).

Read the blog!

Check out the students' and teachers' blogposts in the joint blog of the degree programmes in Geosciences (MSc Programme in Geology and Geophysics and BSc Programme in Geosciences). Some of the writings are in English and some are in Finnish.

Read the blog: Geoscience Education at the University of Helsinki.