Studying
The Master’s Programme in Materials Research (MATRES) is based on physics, chemistry, biology and medical sciences, mathematics and computer science, all taught in a cohesive, and self-contained way.

All teachers use their own current research in the field in their teaching. You study for example biomaterials, nanomaterials, smart materials, polymers, composites, electronics, energy generation and storage as well as green and sustainable materials.

You have a possibility to do part of your studies and/or Master’s thesis in an international collaboration. The programme works with CERN, the international fusion reactor ITER, international synchrotron light sources and x-ray free electron lasers, just to name a few. We use the latest technology to develop methods for synthesising new materials, simulating them using supercomputers as well as characterising and manipulating them using ultrasound, particle beams and different wavelengths of light.

Why Materials Research?

Upon graduating from the Master's Programme in Materials Research, you will:

  • have a solid understanding of the essential concepts, theories, and experimental methods of materials research.
  • know the different types of materials and will be able to apply and adapt theories and experimental methods to new problems in the field and assess critically other scientists’ work.
  • be able to communicate information in your field to both colleagues and laymen.

Depending on the study line you choose you will also gain an in-depth understanding of:

  • Modern methods for tailoring and characterizing materials on the nano- and atomic scale
  • The synthesis, processing, structure and properties of inorganic materials
  • Modelling methods in materials research
  • The structure and dynamics of biomolecular systems
  • The synthesis, structure and properties of polymers
  • Applications of materials research in industrial applications
  • The use of methods of physics in medicine

As an expert in materials research, your skills will be needed not only in research institutes and universities but also in the high-tech industries in the fields of information technology, chemistry, energy, healthcare and pharmaceutics as well as in hospitals.

Structure and content

The Master's Programme in Materials Research is based on physics, chemistry, biology and medical sciences, mathematics and computer science, all taught in a cohesive, and self-contained way. It consists of 120 credits (ECTS) and can be completed in two academic years. The studies cover:

  • Personal study plan
  • Common courses for all students in the programme (10-20 credits)
  • Advanced studies in your chosen study line and studies from other lines or programmes (70-80 credits)
  • Master’s thesis (30 credits)

At the beginning of your studies, you will make a personal study plan and choose your area of specialisation (study track) with the help of teaching staff. The programme has six study tracks representing different branches of materials research:

  • Ex­per­i­mental materials phys­ics (Filip Tuomisto)
  • Com­pu­ta­tional materials phys­ics (Flyura Djurabekova)
  • Med­ical phys­ics (Sauli Savolainen)
  • Poly­mer materials chemistry (Robert Luxenhofer)
  • In­or­ganic materials chemistry (Matti Putkonen)
  • Elec­tron­ics and in­dus­trial ap­plic­a­tions (Ari Salmi)

In brackets are the study track representatives who can help with preparing the personal study plan. Contact information for them can be found on the people page.

In addition to your specialisation (study track), you can include studies in minor subjects from other programmes in chemistry, physics and computer science.

More information about the structure, content and study tracks of the programme.

Language of instruction

All teaching is in English. You can also take exams in Finnish or Swedish, and you can write your Master’s thesis in Finnish or Swedish, as well as in English.

The only exceptions are certain courses related to medical physics education and part of the education for radiation protection experts (RPE) and radiation protection officers (RPO). In these cases, the teaching is in Finnish.

Courses and teaching

In the programme, all teaching is based on the teachers’ solid expertise in the fundamental chemistry and physics of materials. All teachers also use their own current research in the field in their teaching.

Your studies will include a variety of teaching methods such as lectures, exercises, laboratory work, projects and summer schools.

Check out courses in the Unversity of Helsinki online course catalogue in the Studies service.

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

Master's thesis

Studies in the programme include a Master’s thesis worth 30 credits. In your thesis, you focus on a particular problem in materials research, applying the knowledge and skills you have acquired during your studies to solve the problem.

Your thesis is a written work that demonstrates your ability to think scientifically, your command of research methods, your familiarity with your area of research, and your aptitude for written scientific communication. Your thesis should contain a definition of the research questions, a review of the relevant literature, and a theoretical, computational and/or experimental section pursuing your solution to the research questions.

You will have a supervisor who will have regular meetings with you to ensure that your thesis work is progressing smoothly and on schedule. You will be expected to complete your thesis in one semester.

Although the thesis is an independent project, you will often work as a part of a research group in the field. You can also write the thesis while working in a company on a topic defined by the company, assuming the topic matches the requirements. This is an issue you will need to discuss with your supervisor.

Doctoral education

After completing the MSc degree you can apply to continue your studies in the Doctoral Programme in Materials Research and Nanosciences (MATRENA), the Doctoral Programme in Chemistry and Molecular Sciences (CHEMS) or the Doctoral Programme in Atmospheric Sciences (ATM-DP) at the  University of Helsinki or in many similar programmes at other universities.

More information about doctoral education at the University of Helsinki.

International scope and co-operation

Within the programme, you have the possibility to spend time as an international exchange student within the university’s exchange programmes, such as Erasmus within the EU.

Materials research at the University of Helsinki is very international and many research programmes involve use of international research laboratories such as CERN (particle accelerator in Switzerland/France), ITER (fusion reactor in France), ESRF (European synchrotron light source in France), MAX-IV Laboratory (synchrotron light source in Sweden), and EuXFEL (European x-ray free electron laser in Germany). If you become involved in research programmes that use those facilities, you will have opportunities to participate in internship programmes at them.

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!