NB. Information on this page considers studies at academic year 2016–2017. New bacherlor and master programmes will start at 2017, this page will be updated at the beginning of academic year 2017–2018.
The degrees available at the Faculty of Arts include a Bachelor of Arts degree (BA, 180 credits), which is a first-cycle academic degree, and a Master of Arts degree (MA, 120 credits), which is a second-cycle academic degree.
The Bachelor of Arts degree includes studies in your major subject (basic and intermediate studies) and one or more minor subjects. In addition, the degree includes general studies provided by the Faculty (language, communication and ICT studies), as well as other studies as necessary to meet the minimum scope of the degree. Your major subject studies also include the Bachelor’s thesis, which will be your first independent academic thesis.
The Master of Arts degree mainly consists of advanced studies in your major subject; in some disciplines, the Master’s degree consists entirely of major subject studies. In addition, the degree may include minor subject or other studies as necessary to meet the minimum scope of the degree. The advanced studies in the major subject also include the Master’s thesis.
The studies are completed in accordance with the degree requirements, which determine, for example, the assignments required for completing a specific course and the skills thus provided. The completion methods vary from participating in teaching and completing related assignments to literature examinations and independent written work, i.e., academic papers. More detailed information on degrees can be found on the University website.
Studies at the Faculty are quite unregulated, because you as a student are able to personalise the contents of your degree in many ways. Minor subjects, for example, may be selected quite freely. However, you will also have to plan your studies, formulate your objectives and make various choices in study-related matters more independently than students of other fields. However, you do not have to do all of this alone, because you will be provided with guidance and assistance in the planning and completion of studies at different stages of your studies.
Your major subject is the discipline in which you are granted the right to pursue a degree through the admission process. Most of your degree will consist of major subject studies. Under certain circumstances, you may be able to change your major subject within the Faculty during your studies. However, you should bear in mind already during the application process that if you have completed basic studies in your major subject at, for example, the Open University, or you are only pursuing a Master's degree, the Standing Regulations of the Faculty stipulate that you will not be able to change your major subject.
You may usually select your minor subjects quite freely. Some degrees include one or more compulsory minor subjects, but even so you are usually able to include additional minor subjects in your degree based on your personal interests. Few professions require that you complete specific minor subjects, but students interested in pursuing a career in teaching should note that pedagogical studies for teachers are required for obtaining teacher qualifications. You may complete minor subjects both at the Faculty of Arts and at other faculties of the University of Helsinki. Hence, the Faculty of Arts offers the most extensive range of available minor subjects in Finland. You may also complete a minor subject module at another Finnish university (through the Flexible Study Right scheme) or abroad (as, for example, an exchange student).
Most disciplines taught at the Faculty of Arts are unrestricted minor subjects, i.e., available for all degree students of the University of Helsinki. Some disciplines are restricted, which means that prospective minor subject students must first pass an entrance examination or submit an application for a right to pursue minor subject studies in the discipline. Typically, an entrance examination is required for pursuing minor subject studies in the history disciplines and the largest language disciplines.
The degree requirements and available teaching in the different disciplines can be found in WebOodi (you may browse the course catalogue from the menu at the left-hand side of the page without signing in). The University website contains information on various alternative methods for completing a degree. In addition, you should consult the University’s pages for planning your studies (available in Finnish and Swedish).
You may also include in your degree studies completed elsewhere. Studies that have not been incorporated in any other degree may be counted towards the minimum scope of your current degree. These may substitute for courses in your major or minor subject(s), a minor subject module, general studies, or other studies. A Bachelor of Arts degree may include up to 60 credits of studies (plus compulsory language studies) previously incorporated in another degree. The corresponding figure for a Master of Arts degree is 30 credits. Studies previously incorporated in another degree may be included in another degree of the same or lower cycle. Studies completed as part of a lower-cycle (Bachelor’s) degree may not be included in a higher-cycle (Master’s) degree.
As a student of the humanities you may map out an individual study path, learn new things about the world, engage in discussion about the society at large, and acquire an extensive education that will take you far in life.