The multi- and interdisciplinary approach of MAREEES will develop understanding and the ability to interpret complex area-specific questions and their global inter-relatedness. The programme will prepare you for an array of professional environments.

The MAREEES curriculum is directly related to ongoing research projects at the Aleksanteri Institute, one of the largest and best-known research institute(s) for Russian, Eurasian, and Eastern European Studies in Europe. Studying in the programme means that you will obtain the most up-to-date knowledge available.


In the MAREEES programme you will find a unique emphasis placed on the connections and interactions of countries in different regions, their interlinked-ness with global processes. You will find out how the spatial and temporal context matter in area studies.

While core courses are conducted within the Aleksanteri Institute, you are also provided access to other courses at the University of Helsinki. During your studies, you will develop knowledge on how issues pertaining to environmental challenges, migration flows, legal cultures, major security issues, identity and nationalism, political conflicts, the rule of law, and social tensions are affecting the region. The MAREEES programme utilizes a thematic approach. It places phenomena into a global context, enabling you to identify their importance to this area and the world.

The geographical area encompassed by the MAREEES programme is Eastern Europe -defined to cover the eastern flank of the EU and the Eastern partnership countries, including the Western Balkans, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia. Eurasia focusing on Central Asia, Belarus and Russian Federation.

Structure and content

The scope of the Master’s Programme in Russian, Eurasian and Eastern European Studies is 120 credits (ECTS) broken down into the following categories:

  • Obligatory study units (75 credits) (discipline-specific advanced studies)
  • Optional study units (15 credits)
  • Master's thesis (30 credits)

The programme is designed so that if you study full-time, you will finish your studies in two years. At the beginning of your master’s studies, you will prepare a personal study plan (PSP) with your academic tutor. The aim is to tailor your studies according to your own goals.

Courses and teaching

The Master’s Programme in Russian, Eurasian, and Eastern European Studies is taught fully in English. The programme approaches political and societal phenomena from a multidisciplinary perspective. Topics covered in the MAREEES curriculum include:

  • Regional conflicts and sources of insecurity
  • Global challenges and policy responses
  • Inequality, social tensions and welfare provision
  • Global migration, ideas and practices
  • Relations between states, civil societies and religions
  • Identities, nationalism and colonialism
  • Governance, the rule of law and the transformations of political systems
  • Environmental concerns, climate and energy politics.

In addition to thematic studies, the MAREEES curriculum also covers major theoretical paradigms and methodologies within the humanities and social sciences. These theories are applied in practicum workshops.

Master’s thesis

In your master’s studies, you will mainly focus on discipline-specific advanced studies. During this stage, you will deepen your knowledge of your chosen field through both studies and writing your master’s thesis. The process of writing your master's thesis also develops the basic skills required for conducting research.

The programme's master's students have several times presented their thesis progress in poster sessions in the annual Aleksanteri Conference. 

Doctoral education

The Master's of Arts degree provides general eligibility for postgraduate studies and a solid foundation for doctoral studies.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in research, you can apply to continue your studies as a postgraduate student in one of the doctoral programmes at the University of Helsinki after completing your degree. Successful completion of your postgraduate studies will provide you with the opportunity to pursue an international career in the academic world.

Related study possibilities

The Master's Programme in Russian, Eurasian and Eastern European Studies works closely with other Russian and Eastern European study programmes. Read more about the co-operation partners below.

Students in spotlight

Insights through excursions

The MAREEES programme provides also opportunities to investigate Eastern European and Central Asian cultural and political phenomena on a grassroots level.

Students have for instance taken part in study trips to countries of interest where they have been given free hands to plan and arrange the travel programmes independently. Lately the travels have taken our students to Latvia (2023, 2022) and Lithuania (2022). 

Read about the field course of 2023

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.