What are the studies like?

At the Faculty of Arts, you may complete the first-cycle degree of Bachelor of Arts (BA, 180 credits) and the second-cycle degree of Master of Arts (MA, 120 credits). The doctoral degree comprises of a doctoral thesis and 40 credits of additional compulsory studies.
Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes

The Bachelor of Arts degree is pursued in a one of the six Bachelor’s programmes at the Faculty of Arts. The Bachelor’s programmes may include several study tracks (for example, the Bachelor’s Programme in Languages includes study tracks in English, French, German, etc.). The Bachelor’s degree includes studies in your degree programme/study track (including compulsory studies and basic and intermediate studies) as well as studies in another discipline (optional studies). In addition, the degree requirements include language and communication studies as well as IT studies. Some individual courses may also be required if the minimum scope of the degree is not otherwise obtained.   You will also complete your first academic research text, the Bachelor's thesis, as part of the intermediate studies in your field/study track.

The Master of Arts degree is pursued in one of the Master’s programmes at the faculty. The advanced studies of the degree programme/study track make up most of the studies leading to the Master’s degree (at least 50%). Depending on your degree programme, you may incorporate optional studies in the degree. You will also complete a Master’s thesis as part of the advanced studies of the degree programme/study track.

Studies are pursued in accordance with the curriculum. The curriculum determines the workload of each course as well as students’ learning outcomes at the end of the course. The course completion methods vary from compulsory attendance and course assignments to literature examinations and independent written assignments, i.e., essays.

You can influence the content of your degree in many ways. For example, optional studies may often be selected according to individual preferences. To counterbalance the freedom of choice, humanities students are required to plan their studies and reflect on their objectives and selected studies much more independently than students in many other fields. However, you will not be alone in making your plans and choices, for support and guidance is available for studies and study planning at the various stages of your progress towards your degree.

Few professions in the humanities require the completion of certain studies; however, students interested in teaching should consider that to obtain teaching qualifications, they must complete the studies in education required of teachers. The selection of optional studies available within the Faculty of Arts is considerable, in addition to which students may select courses from other faculties and universities (under the Flexible Study Right Scheme in Finland and during an international student exchange).

Most of the optional studies offered by the Faculty of Arts are freely available, meaning that any degree student at the University of Helsinki may start completing such optional studies modules. Some restrictions apply to some studies, in which case there will be a separate test or students will have to separately apply for the right to study before they can embark on completing a study module. Typically, such restrictions apply to the major language subjects and history.

It is possible to have studies completed elsewhere recognised for your degree. These studies can substitute for courses in your degree programme/study track, optional studies or compulsory language and communication studies. Studies completed for another degree can be recognised for a degree of the same level or for a lower level degree. Studies completed for a first-cycle degree cannot be recognised for a second-cycle degree.

As a humanities student, you can design your individual degree, learn new things about the world, engage in debate about society at large and acquire a broad-based education that will take you far in life.