The discipline of psychology conducts multidisciplinary basic and applied research of a high international standard on human behaviour, as well as provides teaching based on this research. The subjects of the research encompass the entire course of human life from individual and collective perspectives. Research is aimed at understanding human growth, development and learning, as well as promoting human wellbeing and the development of communities by employing a range of research-based methods and means. At the University of Helsinki, the profile of the discipline of psychology is nationally oriented towards behavioural life science. Strong research focus areas include developmental psychology, health psychology and cognitive brain research. In addition, the discipline conducts research in, for example, observational psychology, cognitive psychology and clinical neuropsychology.

Basic education in psychology includes the Bachelor’s Programme in Psychology and the Master’s Programme in Psychology, in addition to which doctoral education is provided in the discipline. The discipline is also responsible for the national Specialisation Programmes in Neuropsychology and Clinical Mental Health Psychology.

At the University of Helsinki, you can complete a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) and Master of Arts (Psychology) degree. Students admitted to the Bachelor’s Programme in Psychology can continue studying directly in the Master’s Programme in Psychology. Persons who have completed the required prior studies elsewhere are also eligible to apply to the Master’s Programme in Psychology. Descriptions of the degrees are available in the Studyinfo service.

The degree programmes in psychology establish knowledge and skills needed in the profession of psychologists. While the language of the programmes is Finnish, part of the teaching is in English. The degree programmes  in psychology are multidisciplinary, providing a link to, for example, medicine, the natural sciences and the social sciences. Students are also offered teaching organised collaboratively with the other degree programmes of the Faculty of Medicine. At the latest, students will be integrated into research groups specialising in psychology when working on their master’s theses.

The degree programmes in psychology train students in the use of psychologists’ clinical skills relating to the mental health of children, adolescents and adults as well as to questions of neuropsychology. The master’s degree requirements include a five-month clinical traineeship period. After graduating with a master’s degree, students will be licensed as healthcare professionals (psychologists). 

Spe­cial­ist education in psy­cho­logy

Specialist education in psychology is academic postgraduate specialist education organised as university network collaboration. A more detailed description of the training alternatives can be found on the Psykonet – the Finnish University Network of Psychology website (in Finnish only).

Specialist education in psychology is arranged in five fields of specialisation (coordinating university in parentheses):

  • Clinical health psychology (University of Eastern Finland)
  • Children and adolescents (University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University)
  • Neuropsychology (University of Helsinki)
  • Psychotherapy (University of Jyväskylä)
  • Work and organisational psychology (University of Tampere)

Specialist training in neuropsychology, coordinated by the University of Helsinki, provides graduates with the qualifications required for working as clinical neuropsychologists in the health care system.

Psykonet is a university network in the field of psychology consisting of the psychology departments and discipline groups at the Universities of Helsinki, Eastern Finland, Jyväskylä, Tampere and Turku, and Åbo Akademi University. The network has served as the umbrella organisation in the field since 1989.

Psy­cho­ther­apy train­ing

Psychotherapy training is continuing education comparable in nature to continuing education organised for health care professionals, and requires prior experience in the field of mental health or equivalent fields, as well as an applicable background education in health or social services. After completing and passing the training, students will be granted the professional title of psychotherapist by Valvira, the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health.

Further information on the application procedure and training content is available on the psychotherapy training website (in Finnish and Swedish only).

At the Faculty of Medicine, the Doctor of Philosophy (Psychology) degree may be completed by postgraduate students majoring in psychology, provided they have completed the advanced studies and traineeship included in the Master of Arts (Psychology) degree, as well as a second-cycle degree in a Finnish university (or an equivalent degree in a university abroad). If no clinical training is to be completed, students majoring in psychology may complete a Doctor of Philosophy degree. An increasing number of doctoral students in psychology pursue their degree at the Doctoral School in Health Sciences.


Attention and Memory Networks of the Human Brain
The group investigates brain activity related to perception, memory and attention using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), as well as electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG).

Clinical Neuropsychology Research Group
The group investigates both acquired and developmental cognitive disorders in children and adults, the development of cognition from childhood to adulthood, neuropsychological methods for assessing cognition, as well as multidisciplinary and multi-professional rehabilitation methods.

Clinical psychology and mental health interventions (CLIPI)
We focus our research on underpinnings of mental distress and cognitive abilities as well as on the means to support mental wellbeing. We are especially interested in studying interplay of environment and biological factors in shaping mental health. We also investigate effectiveness of brief mental health interventions and psychotherapies. Our vision is that eventually understanding on the biological mechanisms of mental distress will improve the outcome of psychosocial interventions.

Cognitive Brain Research Unit (CBRU)
The group investigates perceptual and cognitive processes in humans, and their development, disorders and plasticity particularly in functions related to language and music.

Developmental Psychology Research Group (DEPSY)
The group investigates themes related to the development of the human psyche throughout the life-span. Its interests include foetal programming, maternal health and wellbeing during pregnancy, mental health, neurocognitive development, cardiovascular risk factors, sleep and aging. The group works with various follow-up datasets, conducts wide-ranging cooperation in Finland and abroad, and utilises several different methods to study the development of the human mind.

Emotional Interaction and eHealth (EIeH) Research Group
The group explores emotions, health and well-being in the era of virtual reality and digital health apps. The group's research combines social psychology, human-computer interaction and cognitive neuroscience.

Higher Cognition 
We study the cognitive underpinnings of thinking and reasoning, both from the perspective of individual differences and general processes. Our current research focuses on understanding argument evaluation, or how people distinguish well-justified from poorly justified arguments. Other research themes include analytic and intuitive thinking dispositions, dual process theories of thinking and reasoning, cognitive predictors of epistemically suspect beliefs, and cognitive biases. We use methods such as statistical modeling of survey data, behavioral measures such as mouse tracking, and experimental designs.

Mind and Brain in the Sys­temic Con­text
We are interested in characterizing how mental phenomena and the physiology of the human body interact, and discovering new ways to modulate the observed interactions. Our goals are to identify systemic mechanisms for common mental disorders such as depression and to utilize the generated knowledge to develop or optimize new treatment applications. We are seeking to achieve our goals by working with different populations ranging from healthy volunteers to individuals affected by mental disorders.

The Neurogenomics Laboratory 
We investigate the genetic and neurobiological basis of anxiety disorders

The O’BRAIN Lab is a group of researchers investigating the interplay between obesity and the brain.
Overweight and obesity rates have risen steadily in recent decades. Although many of us share similar environments, only a few people become obese. How come? In our search for the cause, we are confronted with a complex interplay of many factors: In addition to the environment, behaviour, brain function, and genetic influences determine the decisions we make and thus ultimately also our body weight.

Perception, Action and Cognition (PAC)
We use methods of psychophysics, eye movement recordings, EEG, fMRI, and computational modelling to investigate how human brain receive, process, store and interpret information to control behavior. Our research topics include color and brightness processing, perception of shapes, motor control and coordination of hand movements, audiovisual speech perception, multisensory and perceptual learning, short term memory and face perception.

Population Mental Health
We investigate how individual characteristics and social circumstances are related to people’s mental health. Our research combines perspectives from clinical psychology, personality psychology, social epidemiology, and public health. Most of our research is based on longitudinal cohort studies from different countries, and the methodological emphasis is on epidemiological methods and individual-participant meta-analysis of multiple studies.

Psychological treatment, etiology, and mental health (PsyTEAM) 
The group investigates psychotherapies, psychosocial treatments, mental health, and epidemiology and aetiology of psychopathology. The group uses a wide range of methods, including register-based research, statistical modelling, machine learning, and theoretical modelling, with members being occasionally involved in analysis of randomized trials too.

Sleep & Mind Research Group
The group investigates sleep, cognition, learning and mental health in a multidisciplinary manner by combining methods and approaches from psychology, medicine and brain research. The group conducts both longitudinal follow-up studies and experimental studies with children and adolescents as the most common target group. Special attention is given to circadian rhythm regulation and sleep microstructures.

The Psychosocial Factors & Health Research Group
The group investigates the mental, social, behavioural and biological processes underlying mental and physical health that may be related, among other things, to early childhood environment, work, social relations in old age or cross-generational factors.

Visual Cognition Research Group
The group investigates visual cognition from the perspectives of basic and technological research.

  • Kompleksi

    Kompleksi is the student organisation for University of Helsinki psychology students. Its purpose is to act as a special interest group for students of psychology, promote teaching, research and professional practices of psychology, as well as support social interaction between students.
  • Finnish Psychological Association
  • Finnish Psychological Society (in Finnish only)
Contact details

Head of de­part­ment

professor Laura Hokkanen

PO Box 21 (Haartmaninkatu 3)

00014 University of Helsinki

Dir­ect­or of the De­gree pro­gram

university lecturer Eino Partanen


PO Box 21 (Haartmaninkatu 3)

00014 University of Helsinki


Contact details (in Finnish) for the Department of Psychology

Teaching staff office hours

University and stu­dent services

Faculty of Medicine staff contact details

University of Helsinki Student Services, Meilahti student services