Welcome to study in MARS!
The Master’s Programme in Russian Studies (MARS) invites our newly admitted students starting their studies in autumn 2021 to take a moment to explore this page and get to know us better.

Our staff, students and faculty welcome you!

The admission results for the application round that took place between 1 Dec 2020 and 15 Jan 2021 have been sent to the applicants to the e-mail address given on their application form. The results can also be found by logging into your My Studyinfo –service.

Greetings from the programme director

Dear new students,

It is an immense pleasure to wish you all welcome in the Master's Programme in Russian Studies coordinated by the Aleksanteri Institute. You are the fourth batch of scholars to join our young programme, and while we were excited to launch the programme in 2018, the experience has shown that it only gets better year to year! The first MARS students graduated in spring 2020.

Our aim is to keep the programme young and agile even as it eventually grows out of the toddler age. You as students have a key role in helping us develop it further. We also keep an eye out for the changes in the global environment and reform the contents of our courses and the selection of our study methods accordingly. We want our graduates to be equipped with a strong and relevant skill set as they launch into their future careers, be it in international organisations such as the UN, in business life or in the Academia. 

As a relatively small programme, we are able to provide individual support, active tutoring and face-to-face conversation about your needs and aims. I sincerely encourage you to take advantage of this. Let's make the coming two years an inspiring and meaningful experience for us all!

Despite the exceptional circumstances around the world, I hope you are able to feel excited about your future studies and that I can welcome you to our campuses in August! Until then, stay safe!

Sari Autio-Sarasmo
Director of the Master's Programme in Russian Studies, University of Helsinki

Welcome to the Aleksanteri community!

As a MARS student, you are automatically part of the Aleksanteri Institute's research community as well. We are one of the largest academic centres in Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies, and a home of  more than 50 international researchers from a wide range of disciplines. Our research projects stretch from Russian military and defence policy via Arctic sustainability to the use of history in present day political discourse. — Please browse through the research section of the Aleksanteri site to find out more!

In addition to the multidisciplinary approach, our special strength lies in the close connection of research and teaching. The courses offered in MARS are taught by genuine experts in their fields and are based on the latest research findings. Your teacher is not just your teacher — they might also be the keynote speaker in a major conference or the specialist you see in the evening news. MARS students also have an opportunity to collaborate with the research groups.

The programme collaborates closely with our PhD networks such as the International Network in Russian and Eastern European Studies (INREES). You'll have many chances of meeting up with the doctoral students and learning from their experiences.

You are warmly welcome to participate in all Aleksanteri events!

A good way of getting to know our people and their research is to attend some of the 70+ open seminars and other events organised annually by the Aleksanteri Institute either online or on-site. Keep an eye on what's going on by checking the Aleksanteri website or by following us in Facebook & Twitter.

You are always warmly welcome to participate, and your questions and insights are greatly valued.

Our networks are your networks

The academic world is built of networks: from scholars collaborating in individual research projects, to institutions committing to long-term joint structures. Mostly it's something in between.

Networks and networking make up the core of the Aleksanteri Institute as well. While studying in MARS, you will have a great opportunity to get to know them and make use of them in planning your future career. Be active and ask your supervisor or tutor to introduce you to the people and groups you find interesting.

Meet everyone at the Aleksanteri Conference

The international networks are often informal or they might be hard to find. Once a year, however, they materialise over a three day conference. The Annual Aleksanteri Conference in late October is an event that in normal - non-pandemic - conditions, brings hundreds of scholars of Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies to Helsinki to discuss their research in panels and roundtables. In 2021, the theme of the conference is Eurasia and Global Migration. For the first time in its 20 years of excistence, all the lectures and panel dicussions of the conference will take place online. The upside of this is that the event is now truly accessible for scholars around the globe, and the keynote speakers represent the absolute top of their field of research.

The downside is, that while there are plenty of opportunities to get to know people and their work at the conference, this ideally happens over a cup of coffee, glass of wine and some snacks. In the present circumstances cocktail parties have reluctantly given way to virtual coffee breaks. However, as a MARS student, you are warmly welcome to attend those, too, and in 2022 we will hopefully be able to resume the normal way of socialising.

As a MARS student, you can cut the line and present your work at the conference poster session

To participate in an academic conference, you normally go through a process of submitting a proposal and an abstract of your work to the conference organisers who carefully select the best proposals to be invited to present at the event. However, as a MARS student, you can cut the line and present your work at the conference poster session. In 2019 this proved to be a huge success, and the students got amazing feedback and tips from senior scholars.

Get acquainted with other students

As a newly admitted student, you will belong to the fourth generation of MARS students. Would you like to know what your predecessors think about the programme? What did they find most rewarding and what caused them problems?

Chat with our Student ambassadors:

MARS is not the only study programme coordinated by the Aleksanteri Institute. Getting to know fellow students from other study programmes such as

can really help you get the most out of your time in Helsinki!

There are many student organisations at the University of Helsinki, that are worth checking, but our very own Sasha is our favourite, of course. Their website is in Finnish only, but in real life they are a multilingual bunch that organises parties, discussion events and unique excursions to places like Azerbaidzan, Georgia and Uzbekistan.

Orientation and tutoring

The teaching officially starts on 6 September 2021, but we highly recommend you to participate in the orientation activities for the new students during the previous week (starting as of 31 Aug 2021). These are arranged both by the Student Services of the University of Helsinki and by the MARS programme.

You will be assigned to a tutor group led by a senior student, or student tutor, and learn more about studying in our programme. During the orientation, you'll also get support with administrative matters and get to visit the university campuses and facilities. This will make it easier for you to start your studies and find your place in Helsinki.

The detailed information and schedule concerning your orientation and tutoring will be published in the Instructions for students in the summer. Make sure the MARS programme is selected on the dropdown menu to access the correct information.

Please note that depending on the coronavirus situation, the orientation activities might be organised partly or entirely online.

Hel­sinki­UNI In­ter­na­tional Tal­ent Pro­gramme

The international students in the Master's Programme in Russian Studies (MARS) can apply to the HelsinkiUNI International Talent Programme (HITP). It is designed to support international students in building professional networks in Finland and to gain insight into local working life. Students take part by attending monthly group meetings with a company mentor for a period of seven months. During the programme, the University Career Services also provides training in career management skills.

More information about the HelsinkiUNI International Talent Programme and how to apply in autumn 2021.

Contacts and useful links

If you have questions related to the admissions and accepting your study place, please contact the Admission Services.

If you have questions about the content of the MARS programme, please contact Director of the Programme Sari Autio-Sarasmo.

Useful links: