The Master's Programme in Intercultural Encounters (ICE) offers courses grounded in the latest academic research.

Our courses enable you to apply the theoretical grasp to multicultural and internationally oriented working life.

Why Intercultural Encounters?

Intercultural encounters remain in the news year after year. There is an ongoing need for multidisciplinary approaches for understanding.

The Master's Programme in Intercultural Encounters (ICE) provides:

  • multifaceted understanding of intercultural encounters
  • training in intercultural competence
  • the ability to apply scholarly knowledge and conduct scientific research
  • the eligibility for postgraduate research

Upon completing the ICE programme, you will be able to act and grow in multidisciplinary and multicultural groups. In addition, you will be prepared to navigate issues of intercultural interaction, diversity, internationalisation, media and power.

Structure and content

The Master’s Programme in Intercultural Encounters (ICE) is 120 ECTS credits in scope.

The degree shall be completed in two academic years. 

The programme is conducted in English, but you can complete up to 25% (30 credits) of the studies in another language.

At the beginning of your studies, you will be assisted by your supervisor to draw a personal study plan and design your own individual study track. 

Depending on your choices, the ICE programme will lead to a Master of Arts (Humanities) degree or a Master of Theology degree. You choose your target degree when applying to the programme. 

More information about the programme structure and content.

Thematic modules

If you choose to complete the Master of Arts degree, you will specialise in two thematic modules. If you choose to complete the Master of Theology degree, you will specialise in the thematic module Religion, Conflict and Dialogue. In the optional studies all ICE students may choose one additional module.

The thematic modules are:

  • Re­li­gion and Diversity
  • Know­ledge, Decolonisation and Change
  • Com­mu­nic­a­tion and Me­dia
  • Global Transfers

More information about the thematic modules.

Language of instruction

The language of the programme is English. However, you can complete up to 25% (30 credits) of the studies in another language.



During the first year, you will study foundational theoretical and methodological courses and begin your thematic specialisations. In the second year, you will continue taking courses, but the focus will be on writing your Master’s thesis.

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

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

Master's thesis

The Master's thesis is the culmination of your studies. During the thesis project, you are expected to:

  • demonstrate that you can formulate relevant and interesting research questions
  • create a coherent research design
  • analyse and produce data
  • write a scientific research report

Although the project is extensive independent research work, you will have a supervisor acting as your advisor. You will also regularly present the progress of your project in a joint seminar with your fellow students.

Writing your Master’s thesis develops the skills for conducting research. The process will enhance your ability to seek information independently, analyse and assess existing information critically, and produce and apply information. Typically students collect and analyze empirical data. In addition, writing your Master’s thesis develops project management skills and displays your mastery of an extensive range of knowledge in your field of study. You will write your thesis in English.

ICE alumni testimonials

The best way to learn about the ICE programme is through our students. Learn about their insights into the university, studies and life in Helsinki and career plans or paths.

New in Helsinki: Faria

In this YouTube video Faria, ICE programme student, talks about their experience at the University of Helsinki and what advice they would give to their fresher selves.

Read stories featuring ICE alumni while they were still students: 

Meet alumni of the ICE programme who are working in Finland and abroad.

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.

One relevant organisation for ICE students is Orbis, the organisation of international and internationally-minded students in the Faculties of Arts and Theology. Orbis arranges various events such as social gatherings and panel discussions and co-operates with the ICE programme, potential employers and other student organisations. Join the fun and get to know both Finnish and international students!

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!

You can also find out more by reading ICE student testimonials.

Doctoral education

If you are interested in an academic career, the ICE programme provides you with high-quality research training and a solid foundation for doctoral studies. Upon completion of your Master's degree you will be eligible to apply for doctoral studies at the University of Helsinki and other leading international research institutions. 

Depending on your thematic specialisations, these doctoral programmes within the University of Helsinki, may be of interest:

Doctoral Programme in Political, Societal and Regional Change
Doctoral Programme in History and Cultural Heritage
Doctoral Programme in Theology and Religious Studies 
Doctoral Programme in Gender, Culture and Society

More information about doctoral studies at the University of Helsinki.