The scientific expertise in Finlands holds a high standard internationally. The exact sciences at the University of Helsinki are concentrated to the Faculty of Science, which is located at the Kumpula campus. The teaching within the sciences is based on the research, which is carried out by internationally renowned scientists.

The faculty is grounded in the basic science research, applied and complemented by geography and geology. The faculty has a significant responsibility in promoting the development of the information society and scientific expertise, which are the focus areas of the national science and education policy. The research and teaching on the topic of global climate change is hardly the smallest of these challenges! There are five departments: Department of Physics, Department of Geosciences and Geography, Department of Chemistry, Department of Mathematics and Statistics and Department of Computer Science.

Research units also working within the faculty are Helsinki Institute of Physics (HIP, a collaboration between the University of Helsinki, Aalto University, the University of Jyväskylä, and the Universities of Technology in Lappeenranta and Tampere) and Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT, a collaboration between the University of Helsinki and Aalto University).

The department of physics is a large and multidisciplinary department that offers the most varied university programme in the physical sciences in Finland. At the beginning of 2017, the department employs over 300 people, of which 26 are professors, 6 are assistant professors, and there are many visiting professors from abroad. The research at the department and the research-based teaching follow a high international standard, are nationally significant, and promote the mental and economic wellbeing in society.

The subject of the department, physical sciences, comprises physics, theoretical physics, geophysics, meteorology, and astronomy. Teaching in Swedish and English are natural parts of the work at the department. The education of physics teachers is part of the department curriculum.

The research at the Department of Physics is divided into three sections in accordance with the focus areas of the department:

The F2k centre is a resource centre working as part of the LUMA centre and the Department of Physics to support teaching, learning, and knowledge of physics.

Chair of the department: Professor Hannu Koskinen. Deputy heads: Professor Kaarle Hämeri and Professor Heikki Järvinen.

The field of the Department of Geosciences and Geography is the whole planet, from the glaciers of Antarctis to the hustle and bustle of cities. It includes the Division of Biogeoscience, the Division of Urban Geography and Regional Studies, the division of Geology and Geochemistry, and the Institute of Seismology.

Objects of study range from the housing status of minorities in urban areas to plate tectonics and environmental change through the ages since the beginning of life.  The common denominator in the research at the department is the earth, from its core to the structures on its surface. The government duties of the Institute of Seismology, which is a part of the department, also relate to the earth. The institute monitors and registers seismological events all over the world. The institute also participates in the international supervision of nuclear testing.

Head of the department: Professor Juha Karhu. Deputy head: Professor Mari Vaattovaara.


The Department of Chemistry is the leading hub of chemistry teaching and research in Finland. The research carried out at the department is highly valued internationally, and it is divided into three research programmes: Materials chemistry, Molecular science, and Synthesis and analysis.

Within the research programmes, there are numerous research groups, and you can read more about their work on their own websites. In addition, the department houses the Finnish Institute for Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention, VERIFIN, and the The Unit of Chemistry Teacher Education. The researchers at the Department of Chemistry have numerous collaboration projects within the University of Helsinki, but they also carry out research in partnership with other national and international universities, research institutes, and corporations.

Head of the department: Professor Heikki Tenhu. Deputy heads: Professor Mikko Ritala and Professor Mikko Oivanen.

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics is the largest university department for mathematical sciences in Finland. The multifaceted research carried out at the Department of Mathematics and Statistics has received the highest points in several evaluations. The department collaborates actively with other universities, as well as with many research institutes in the sector, both at home and abroad.

Head of the department: Professor Mats Gyllenberg. Deputy head: Professor Juha Oikkonen.

The Department of Computer Science is responsible for teaching and research in computer science at the University of Helsinki. The main areas of research at the department are bioinformatics, algorithms, data analysis, machine learning, distributed systems, data communications, and software systems. The department works in collaboration both with other universities and the corporate world. Within teaching, the department is in charge of the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programmes in computer science, as well as the separate master’s programme data science, in which the other faculty departments also participate. Most of the teaching in the master’s and doctoral programmes is given in English.

Head of department: Professor Sasu Tarkoma. Deputy heads: Professor Veli Mäkinen and Professor Valtteri Niemi.

The Helsinki Institute of Physics is a joint research institute between the University of Helsinki, Aalto University, the University of Jyväskylä, the Lappeenranta University of Technology, and the Tampere University of Technology, with national duties. HIP operates in connection with the University of Helsinki.The mission of HIP is to carry out and promote basic and applied research within physics, develop technological applications for particle accelerator centres, and to educate researchers in physics. HIP is responsible for Finland’s cooperation with CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The department is also in charge of Finlands part in building the international FAIR particle accelerator laboratory in Germany, and the reasearch carried out in it.

Head of department: Paula Eerola

HIIT, Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, is a joint research institute for the University of Helsinki and Aalto University. Its mission is to carry out high-end international basic and strategic research in information technology, and to promote the competitiveness of the ICT industry in the long run by bringing together Finnish university research with the industrial innovation chain, especially in the field of long-term strategic product development. It is also the duty of HIIT to carry out multi-disciplinary collaborations with different fields of research in universities and research institutes.

Head of department: Petri Myllymäki