Sami studies focuses on the Sami people, their languages, culture and history, from the perspective of several disciplines. The Sami languages are examined particularly within the framework of minority questions and ethnohistory.
A special linguistic focus for scholars of Sami studies at the University of Helsinki is the Northern Sami language.
Approximately 50,000 to 100,000 Sami people live in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia. Some live outside the actual Sami regions, for example in capital cities. Sami studies is also focused on questions concerning Arctic nature and the northern ecology, as well as traditional Sami livelihoods and their changes. In addition to material culture, another central theme is spiritual culture, including Sami religion, mythology, art, as well as folk poetry and literature.