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

Advanced studies in geology and geophysics (100 cr)

  • Master’s thesis (30 cr) and Maturity test (0 cr)
  • Compulsory common courses (20 cr), including: Conducting scientific research (10 cr), Internship (5 cr) and Scientific engagement (5 cr)
  • Courses in geology and geophysics (50 cr), including: Free selection of advanced courses. Courses have been arranged into thematic lists to help guide your selection, but you can freely choose from all courses. Themes include for example hydrogeology, environmental geology, palaeontology, palaeoclimatology and -ecology, mineralogy and petrology, geochemistry, economic geology, and solid earth geophysics, offering a unique opportunity to personalize an expertise profile within the broad field of geosciences.

Other studies (20 cr)

  • Free selection of any courses which you are free to select from advanced studies from other degree programmes at UH, exchange studies, GISWAP studies or FIN-GEO studies (geoscience studies from other Finnish universities), language courses etc. These courses can be combined with the common and advanced courses to reach 120 ECTS cp.

More detailed information about degree structure and scope of the degree.

Language of instruction

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

Courses and teaching

Studies are planned to be taken in two years. The MSc thesis work is scheduled so that all projects start with the Conducting scientific research (CSR) course, which is organized annually in the spring semester (periods 3 and 4). The CSR is suggested to be taken in the spring of the first study year.

The compulsory internship is usually taken in the summer between the first and second study years and the Scientific engagement course is planned to be done over the course of the entire two years. Otherwise the order of taking the courses is free, but subject to availability and may contain interdependent pre-requisite requirements. Most important courses that form pre-requisites for other courses are usually organised annually.

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.

Recent MSc theses

Below is a list of recent MSc theses of the degree programme. You can find them in the University of Helsinki's Helda service by searching with the name of the author.

Starting from 01/2023. 

Suoknuuti Rudi-Matti. 2023. Maaperän rakenne ja geologinen kehityshistoria Haaralamminkankaan pohjavesialueella Oulankajokilaaksossa – lähtökohta hydrostratigrafiseen ja hydrogeologiseen mallinnukseen. Supervisors: Kirsti Korkka-Niemi and Seija Kultti

Maunu Liisa. 2023. The geochemical and petrological variability of the oceanic crust and upper mantle in the Macquarie Island ophiolite. Supervisors: Christoph Beier and Adam Abersteiner.

Tuikka Leevi. 2023. Continent-continent collisions in the Paleoproterozoic: exploring the effects of convergence obliquity and temperature on orogenesis. Supervisor: David Whipp.

Lehtovuori Aki. 2023. Petrography and olivine chemistry of chondrules in the Bjurböle L/LL4 meteorite. Supervisors: Arto Luttinen and Sanni Turunen.

Railo Sohvi. 2023. Piilevät mikropaleontologisena proksina ja niiden vuodenaikainen sukkessio jääpeitteisellä Itämerellä. Supervisors: Kaarina Weckström ja Maija Heikkilä.

Sandell Mia. 2023. Body size reductionin mammals; how are the teeth getting along? Supervisors: Miikka Tallavaara, Jukka Jernvall and Otto Stenberg.

Sihto Juha. 2023. I Salpausselän alueen ja Hyvinkäänkylän harjun pohjavesien virtaussuunnat ja ruhjevyöhykkeiden vaikutukset niihin. Supervisors: Kirsti Korkka-Niemi, Annika Åberg and Susanne Åberg.

Wiberg Meri. 2023. Mineralogical method for determining heat conductivity and heat capacity of the Finnish bedrock: Comparison of mineralogical and in situ methods of measuring thermal conductivity and heat capacity of different rock types. Supervisors: Teppo Arola, Jonathan Pownall and David Whipp.

Kolehmainen Kauri. 2023. Three-dimensional crustal and upper mantle P-wave velocity model and Moho map of Finland constructed by kriging interpolation. Supervisor: Timo Tiira

Lumppio Toni. 2023. Mineralogy of cobalt in the Talvivaara (Terrafame) black-shale hosted Ni-Zn-Cu-Co deposit  Supervisors: Petri Peltonen and Joel Jokelainen.

Erhovaara Suvi. 2023. Carbon accumulation and peat geochemistry in the Puukkosuo fen during the Holocene. Supervisors: Seija Kultti and Niina Kuosmanen.

Nuutinen Janna. 2023. Methane distribution in porewater and water column in a boreal Lake Pääjärvi– introducing and comparing two porewater sampling methods. Supervisors: Seija Kultti and Tom Jilbert.

Salmi Rebekka. 2023. Orgaanisen hiilen määrä ja alkuperä Perämeren rannikkosedimenteissä. Supervisor: Maija Heikkilä.

Tolonen Miika. 2023. Structural analysis of Suur-Pellinki, Porvoo, using Structure-from-Motion photogrammetry. Supervisor: Jonathan Pownall.

Wikström Jani 2023. Retention of sediment and nutrients in cultivated mineral soil and organic soil catchments on two-stage channels in southern Finland. Supervisors: Tom Jilbert and Kaisa Västilä.

Starting from 01/2022.

  • Noroaho Kaisa, 2022. Syvän pohjaveden rikkiyhdisteet Limingan alueen savikivimuodostumassa. Supervisors: Riikka Kietäväinen (GTK) and Kirsti Korkka-Niemi. 
  • Karampelas Nikolaos, 2022. Petrography, Lithology, Geochemistry and Geochronology of the Takanen Greenstone Belt, Eastern Finland. Supervisors: Ville Järvinen, Tapani Rämö and Tapio Halkoaho (GTK). 
  • Dimakopoulos Georgios, 2022. Age Constraints for the Mineralization of the Metamorphosed Kutemajärvi Gold Deposit Using the Single-Grain U-PB Dating Method Accessory Minerals. Supervisors: Petri Peltonen and Ferenc Molnar (GTK). 
  • Kukkonen Tommi, 2022. Sedimentary Environment in a Seafloor Channel in the Western Gulf of Finland. Supervisor: Joonas Virtasalo (GTK)
  • Lahermaa Petri, 2022. Indicator Mineral Chemistry and Diamond Potential of the Liqhobong Kimberlites, Lesotho, Southern Africa. Supervisors: Petri Peltonen and Hugh O’Brien (GTK)
  • Ruhanen Hanna-Kaisa, 2022. Inferences of magma interaction processes from mineral chemistry and geother-mobarometry of mingled and mixed rock types in the Ahvenisto complex, SE Finland. Supervisors: Aku Heinonen and Riikka Fred. 
  • Stark Piritta, 2022. Provenance of the Late Neogene Lingtai Red Clay Using Detrital Rutile Geochronology, Thermometry and Geochemistry. Supervisors: Anu Kaakinen, Thomas Stevens and Katja Bohm.
  • Kettunen Ilkka, 2022. Development of geochemical and geobotanical exploration methods for cobalt – a case study from Jouhineva Co-Cu-Ag-Au ore in Ostrobothnia. Supervisor: Petri Peltonen
  • Laakkonen Aliisa, 2022. Thawing induced release of old methane from two subarctic permafrost peatlands. Supervisor: Minna Väliranta.
  • Liimatainen Toni, 2022. Characteristics, origin, and constraints for economic value of graphite in the Korsnäs region, Western Finland. Supervisors: Petri Peltonen and Alf Björklund (Magnus Minerals Oy). 
  • Malmström Sofia, 2022. Kaivannaisjätealueiden suotovesilaadun arvioimisen herkkyystarkastelut. Supervisors: Minja Seitsamo-Ryynänen and Anneli Wichmann. 
  • Palamakumbure Lakshika, 2022. Simulation of space weathering on asteroid spectra through hydrogen ion and laser irradiation of meteorites. Supervisor: Tomas Kohout.
  • Vatanen Jonna, 2022. Mineralogy and petrology of the porphyries associated with orogenic gold mineralization in the Kiimala trend, Ostro-bothnia, Finland. Supervisors: Petri Peltonen and Timo Mäki (Northgold AB).
  • Lesch Juho, 2022. Oliviinin mineraalikemia Karoon laakiobasalttien vaippalähteen indikaattorina. Supervisors: Arto Luttinen (Luomus) and Sanni Luttinen (Luomus). 
  • Teräs Oliver, 2022. Haukivuori fluorite-rich granite system: Petrology, geochemistry, age and origin. Supervisors: Pertti Mikkola (GTK) and Tapani Rämö. 
  • Rahikkala Sonja. 2022. Pohjaveden numeeriset laskentamallit ja niiden epävarmuustarkastelu kalliotunnelien pohjavesivaikutusarvioinnissa. Supervisors: Maija Jylhä-Ollila and Tom Jilbert.
  • Rautio Annamari. 2022. Pinta- ja pohjavesien vuorovaikutus Vesioronkankaan pohjavesialueella, Imatralla, Kaakkois-Suomessa. Supervisors: Kirsti Korkka-Niemi and Helena Kaittola.
  • Joronen Satu. 2022. Seismisten taittumisluotaus- ja maatutkaluotausmittausten käyttö kalliorakennusprojekteissa. Supervisors: Supervisor: Emilia Koivisto

Starting from 01/2021.

  • Riihimäki Katariina, 2021. Petrographic Characterization of the Basement Contact of the Kevitsa Intrusion: Implications for Interpretation of the Drillhole-EM Data. Supervisors: Petri Peltonen and Tommi Lehtilä (Boliden FinnEx Oy).
  • Hakala Heini, 2021. Phanerozoic Dikes of Ibex Hills, Saddlepeak Hills and Salt Spring Hills, California; Petrography, Geochemistry and Origin. Supervisors. Tapani Rämö. and James P. Calzia (U.S. Geological Survey).
  • Hankaankorpi Tuuli, 2021. Pintavesi-pohjavesi vuorovaikutus ja ihmisen toiminnan näkyminen Hyrylän pohjavesialueella. Supervisors: Kirsti Korkka-Niemi, Anna-Liisa Kivimäki (VHVSY) ja Kari Korhonen (KUVesi).
  • Rantanen Hanna, 2021. Mineralogy, Petrology, and Petrogenesis of the Suvasversi Granitoid Intrusion. Supervisor: Aku Heinonen.
  • Voutilainen Ahti, 2021. A New Ground Motion Prediction Equation for Otaniemi, Espoo, South-Finland. Supervisors: Tommi Vuorinen and Päivi Mäntyniemi.
  • Huovari Iiris, 2021. Suomen luontokeskus Haltian ympäristön kehitys Veiksel-jääkauden lopulta alkaen. Supervisors: Seija Kultti, Niina Kuosmanen and Heikki Seppä.
  • Rinne Lauri, 2021. Seismic Wave Attenuation and the Spectral Decay Parameter κ (kappa) in Crystalline Bedrock at Olkiluoto, SW Finland. Supervisors: Marianne Malm (AFRY Finland Ltd) and Päivi Mäntyniemi. 
  • Juvonen Katriina, 2021. Geoteknisiin pohjatutkimuksiin perustuva alueellinen 3D-malli Kurikan taajaman maaperästä. Supervisors: Seija Kultti, Mia Kotilainen, Niko Putkinen (GTK) and Maarit Saresma (GTK).
  • Kettunen Kia, 2021. Talviaikainen ilmaperäinen laskeuma Suomessa ja sen näkyminen pohjaveden koostumuksessa. Supervisors: Kirsti Korkka-Niemi and Mirjam Orvomaa (SYKE).
  • Kilpeläinen Visa, 2021. Laka-järven kehitys ja ihmistoiminnan vaikutus viimeisen 800 vuoden aikana Sumavan luonnonsuojelualueella, Tšekissä. Supervisor: Niina Kuosmanen.
  • Markkanen Minna, 2021. Petrography, Mineral Chemistry, and Origin of the Kuohenmaa Orbicular Rock from Kangasala, Southwest Finland. Supervisor: Aku Heinonen.
  • Silvennoinen Sonja, 2021. Korkean aikaresoluution sedimenttisarja holoseenin lämpömaksimin ajalta – Ympäristömagneettinen tutkimus Kurikasta, Etelä-Pohjanmaalta. Supervisors: Seija Kultti ja Johanna Salminen (in cooperation with Niko Putkinen, GTK).
  • Takalo Mimmi, 2021. Mineral Supply in Viiankiaapa Mire during the Holocene – Evidenced by Geochemistry and Ash Content. Supervisor: Seija Kultti.
  • Rantanen Aleksi, 2021. Influence of Arc Magmatism on Crustal Melting, Latent Heat and Mechanical Strength of the Continental Crust: A Perspective from Heat Conduction and Strength Envelope Models. Supervisors: David Whipp and Jussi Heinonen.
  • Sandström Joonas, 2021. Geological 3D Modelling of Aijala-Metsämonttu Cu-Zn-Au-Ag-Pb deposits. Supervisors: Petri Peltonen and Janne Hokka (Geological Survey of Finland).


Starting from 01/2020.

  • Uusikorpi, Juuso, 2020. Factor analysis of a large geochemical exploration data set – example from Kalba Gold Belt, eastern Kazakhstan. Supervisors: Petri Peltonen and Aku Heinonen.
  • Minna Laurila, 2020. Jäniksenlinnan pohjavesialueen veden hydrogeokemiallinen karakterisointi. Supervisor: Kirsti Korkka-Niemi.
  • Eetu Jokela, 2020. Geology, Geochemistry and Metamorphic Petrology of the Sukseton Area, Kittilä, Central Lapland Greenstone Belt, Finland. 
  • Kuutti Koskimaa, 2020. Dating Groundwater in the Surrounding of Sakatti Exploration Target Area in order to Understand Groundwater Recharge and Water Interactions. Supevisors: Kirsti Korkka-Niemi and Juha Karhu.
  • Emmi Laasio, 2020. Posiva Flow Log Measurements in Characterizing Hydrogeological Properties of Crystalline Bedrock at Olkiluoto, Finland. Supervisors: Juha Karhu, Ilmo Kukkonen and. Outi Vanhanarkaus (Posiva).
  • Veikko Peltonen, 2020. Terrestrial Cosmogenic Nuclide Dating Applied in Glacial Stratigraphy and Transportation Studies on a Greenfield Exploration Project in Kaarestunturi, Finnish Lapland. Supervisors: Seija Kultti and Niko Putkinen.
  • Noora Harjama, 2020. Visualization and Interpretation of the Seismic Reflection Data in Archaean Basement in Sodankylä, Lapland. Supervisors: Suvi Heinonen (Geological Survey of Finland) and Tuomo Karinen (Geological Survey of Finland).
  • Clergeaud Joona, 2020. Maanläjitysalueiden vaikutukset pinta- ja pohjavesiin Vantaanjoen valuma-alueella. Supervisors: Anna-Liisa Kivimäki (VHVSY) ja Kirsti Korkka-Niemi.
  • Ioannou Christos, 2020. The Siivikkovaara Ni-Cu-Zn-Pb(-Au) Deposit, Kuhmo-Suomussalmi Greenstone. Belt, Eastern Finland: Implications for Archean Ocean-floor Mineralization Processes. Supervisors: Tuomo Törmänen (GTK), Tapani Rämö, Christoph Beier and Tapio Halkoaho (GTK).
  • Junna Tuomas, 2020. Pedogenic Ferromanganese Nodules in the Late Neogene Sediments of Lantian, Southern Chinese Loess Plateau. Supervisors: Anu Kaakinen, Juha Karhu and Joonas Wasiljeff. 
  • Ylä-Mella Lotta, 2020. Forward and Inverse Modelling of Terrestrial Cosmogenic Nuclides to Detect Past Glaciations. Supervisors: Ilmo Kukkonen and David Whipp.
  • Galvin Keith. 2020. Seismic Amplitude vs. Offset and Attribute Analyses for Mine Planning at the Hannukainen Fe-Cu-Au Mine Site. Supervisors: Emilia Koivisto and Jouko Pakarinen (Hannukainen Mining Oy).
  • McKevitt Bláthnaid, 2020. Southern Continuation of the Siilinjärvi Carbonatite Complex at the Siilinjärvi Phosphate Mine in Finland, Based on Geophysical Data. Supervisors: Emilia Koivisto and Pietari Skyttä (University of Turku).
  • Silvennoinen Joel, 2020. Molekyylisen vedyn alkuperä kallioperässä. Supervisors: Riikka Kietäväinen (GTK) ja Kirsti Korkka-Niemi.
  • Barrón Pelayo, 2020. The Lithogeochemistry of the Cu-rich Disseminated Ore and Further Geochemical. Characterization of the Massive Ore, Sakatti Cu-Ni-Co-PGE Deposit, Central Lapland Greenstone Belt, Finland. Supervisors: Petri Peltonen and Janne Siikaluoma (Anglo American).
  • Karjalainen Aino, 2020. Borehole Magnetic Resonance Method in Hard Rock Environments: A Case Study from the Olkiluoto Spent Nuclear Fuel Repository Site. Supervisors: Lecturer Emilia Koivisto, Minna Kuusisto (Posiva Oy) and Kirsti Korkka-Niemi.
  • McDonald Isabel, 2020. The Distribution of Talc within the Kevitsa Ni-Cu-PGE Mine, Finland. Supervisors: Petri Peltonen, Lorraine Berthet and Sonja Pabst (Boliden Oy).
  • Silventoinen Saara, 2020. Composition of Chromite in Sakatti Cu-Ni-PGE Deposit, Central Lapland Greenstone Belt, Finland. Supervisors: Petri Peltonen and Tuomas Väliheikki (Anglo American).
  • Turtiainen Harri, 2020. Hydraulic Properties of Peat and Hydrogeochemical Characteristics of Groundwater and Porewater in Viiankiaapa Mire. Supervisor: Kirsti Korkka-Niemi.
  • Wang Yijun, 2020. Numerical Modelling of Oblique Subduction in the Southern Andes Region. Supervisor: David Whipp.

Starting from 01/2019.

  • Väkevä, Sakari, 2019. Using Three-Component Data for Seismic Interferometry Studies at the Kylylahti Mine, Eastern Finland. 
  • Lilia Orozco Ramirez, 2019. Environmental History of Lake Hältingträsk and Recent Times in Storträsk.
  • Benjamin Heikki Redmond Roche, 2019. Diatoms as a sea-ice proxy – improving the accuracy of sea-ice reconstruction by re-analysing the northern North Atlantic training set for Fragilariopsis oceanica, Fragilariopsis reginae-jahniae and Fossula arctica, in addition to the chrysophyte cyst Archaeomonas sp.
  • Jaakko Georgi, 2019. Geology, geochemistry, hydrothermal alteration, and mineralization at the Ronaldo epithermal prospect, Peru.
  • Toni Hekkala, 2019. Arsenic speciation and concentrations in mining-impacted waters in Finland.
  • Elina Koskela, 2019. Analysis, classification and 3D layer modelling of temperature data at Olkiluoto.
  • Karpoja, Anna, 2019. Ore mineralogy of the Kaapelinkulma gold deposit, Southern Finland.
  • Laakso, Viveka, 2019. Testing of Reflection Seismic, GPR and Magnetic Methods for Mineral Exploration and Mine Planning at the Siilinjärvi Phosphate Mine Site in Finland.
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.

Student story

In the Master's Programme in Geology and Geophysics, Debanhi Jimenez Reyes can combine her passion for mathematics and geology by researching geophysical processes that affect populations around the world. One of the pleasant surprises at the University of Helsinki has been the encompassing and multidisciplinary manner of teaching. 


Read the article: “I want to make cities safer by studying seismic waves”

Read our blog!

Check out the students' and teachers' posts in the joint blog of the degree programmes in Geosciences (MSc Programme in Geology and Geophysics and BSc Programme in Geosciences). It's a mix of posts in English and in Finnish.

Read the blog: Geoscience 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!