Degree level
Master's degree
Start semester
2018 Autumn
Scope of studies and length
120 ECTS credits, 2 years
Language of instruction
English, Finnish, Swedish
Tuition fee per year (non-EU/EEA students)
15000 €

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Programme

Society urgently needs experts with a multidisciplinary education in atmospheric and Earth System sciences. Climate change and issues of air quality and extreme weather are matters of global concern, but which are inadequately understood from the scientific point of view. Not only must further research be done, but industry and business also need environmental specialists with a strong background in natural sciences. As new regulations and European Union directives are adopted in practice, people with knowledge of recent scientific research are required.

Upon graduating from the Programme you will have competence in

  • Applying experimental, computational and statistical methods to obtain and analyse atmospheric and environmental data
  • Knowledge applicable to solving global challenges such as climate change, air pollution, deforestation and issues related to water resources and eutrophication
  • Making systematic and innovative use of investigation or experimentation to discover new knowledge
  • Reporting results in a clear and logical manner

The master's programme in Atmospheric Sciences is offered by the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Agruculture and Forestry.

Further information about the studies on the Master's programme website.

Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries, who do not have a permanent residence status in the area and pursue their studies in English, are liable to pay tuition fees. You can check from FAQ at the Studyinfo website whether or not you are required to pay tuition fees.

Find out more about the Be 1* of the Best Scholarship Programme.

All courses are taught in English, although you will also be able to use Finnish or Swedish when appropriate.

The six study lines are as follows:

Aerosol physics

Aerosol particles are tiny liquid or solid particles floating in the air. Aerosol physics is essential for our understanding of air quality, climate change and production of nanomaterials. Aerosol scientists investigate a large variety of phenomena associated with atmospheric aerosol particles and related gas-to-particle conversion using constantly improving experimental, theoretical, model-based and data analysis methods. As a graduate of this line you will be an expert in the most recent theoretical concepts, measurement techniques and computational methods applied in aerosol research.

Geophysics of the hydrosphere

Hydrospheric geophysics studies water in all of its forms using physical methods. It includes hydrology, cryology, and physical oceanography. Hydrology includes the study of surface waters such as lakes and rivers, global and local hydrological cycles as well as water resources and geohydrology, the study of groundwater. Cryology focuses on snow and ice phenomena including glacier mass balance and dynamics, sea ice physics, snow cover effects and ground frost. Physical oceanography covers saline water bodies, focusing on describing their dynamics, both large scale circulation and water masses, and local phenomena such as surface waves, upwelling, tides, and ocean acoustics. Scientists study the hydrosphere through field measurements, large and small scale modelling, and formulating mathematical descriptions of the processes. 

Meteorology

Meteorology is the physics of the atmosphere. Its best-known application is weather forecasting, but meteorological knowledge is also essential for understanding, predicting and mitigating climate change.  Meteorologists study atmospheric phenomena across a wide range of space and time scales using theory, model simulations and observations. The field of meteorology is a forerunner in computing: the development of chaos theory, for example, was triggered by the unexpected behaviour of a meteorological computer model. Meteorology in ATM-MP is further divided into dynamic meteorology and biometeorology. Dynamic meteorology is about large-scale atmospheric dynamics, modelling and observation techniques, whereas biometeorology focuses on interactions between the atmosphere and the underlying surface by combining observations and modelling to study the flows of greenhouse gases and energy with links to biogeochemical cycles, for example. As a graduate of the meteorology line, you will be an expert in atmospheric phenomena who can produce valuable new information and share your knowledge.

Biogeochemical cycles

Biogeochemistry studies the processes involved in cycling of elements in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems by integrating physics, meteorology, geophysics, chemistry, geology and biology. Besides natural ecosystems, it also studies systems altered by human activity such as forests under different management regimes, drained peatlands, lakes loaded by excess nutrients and urban environments. The most important elements and substances studied are carbon, nitrogen, sulphur, water and phosphorus, which are vital for ecosystem functioning and processes such as photosynthesis. Biogeochemistry often focuses on the interphases of scientific disciplines and by doing so, it also combines different research methods. It treats ecosystems as open entities which are closely connected to the atmosphere and lithosphere. You will thus get versatile training in environmental issues and research techniques. As a graduate of this line you will be an expert in the functioning of ecosystems and the interactions between ecosystems and the atmosphere/hydrosphere/lithosphere in the context of global change. You will have knowledge applicable for solving global challenges such as climate change, air pollution, deforestation and issues related to water resources and eutrophication.

Remote sensing

Remote sensing allows the collection of information about the atmosphere, oceans and land surfaces. Various techniques are applied for monitoring the state and dynamics of the Earth system from the ground, aircraft or satellites. While Lidar and radar scan from the surface or mounted on aircraft, instruments on polar orbiting or geostationary satellites permit measurements worldwide. In atmospheric sciences remote sensing has found numerous applications such as observations of greenhouse and other trace gases, aerosols, water vapour, clouds and precipitation, as well as surface observations, for example of vegetation, fire activity, snow cover, sea ice and oceanic parameters such as phytoplankton. Synergistic satellite data analysis enables the study of important processes and feedback in the climate system. Remote sensing advances climate research, weather forecasting, air quality studies, aviation safety and the renewable energy industry. As a graduate of the remote sensing line you will have broad expertise in the operational principles of remote sensing instruments as well as methods of data collection, analysis and interpretation.

Atmospheric chemistry and analysis

Atmospheric chemistry studies the composition and reactions of the molecules that make up the atmosphere, including atmospheric trace constituents and their role in chemical, geological and biological processes, including human influence. The low concentrations and high reactivity of these trace molecules place stringent requirements on the measurement and modelling methods used to study them. Analytical chemistry is the science of obtaining, processing, and communicating information about the composition and structure of matter and plays an essential role in the development of science. Environmental analysis consists of the most recent procedures for sampling, sample preparation and sample analysis and learning how to choose the best analytical methods for different environmental samples. Physical atmospheric chemistry studies focus on the reaction types and reaction mechanisms occurring in the atmosphere, with emphasis on reaction kinetics, thermodynamics and modelling methods. As a graduate of this line you will have understanding of the chemical processes of the atmosphere and the latest environmental analytical methods, so you will have vital skills for environmental research.

The study line is selected during the first semester of studies.

The basic degree in the Programme is the Master of Science (MSc). The scope of the degree is 120 credits (ECTS). As a prerequisite you will need to have a relevant Bachelor’s degree. The possible study lines are Aerosol Physics, Biogeochemical Cycles, Geophysics of the Hydrosphere, Atmospheric Chemistry and Analysis, Remote Sensing and Meteorology. The programme is designed to be completed in two years. Studies in ATM-MP consist of various courses and project work: lecture courses, seminars, laboratory work and intensive courses.

Your first year of studies will consist mainly of lecture courses. During the second year, you must also participate in the seminar course and give a presentation yourself. There is also a project course, which may contain laboratory work, data analysis, or theoretical or model studies. You will have to prepare a short, written report of the project. There are also several summer and winter schools as well as field courses for students in the Programme. Many of the courses take place at the Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station in Southern Finland. The intensive courses typically last 5–12 days and include a concise daily programme with lectures, exercises and group work.

Your Master's thesis is the culminating project for the MSc degree, which you will plan and complete independently. The aim of the thesis is to demonstrate your familiarity with scientific methodology, your ability to carry out a demanding project, and your mastery of the conventions of written scientific presentation. The extent of the thesis is 30 credits (ECTS). You will need to agree upon the topic of your thesis in consultation with a professor of the Programme. The topic is usually related to research problems of one of the research groups within the Programme; commonly the group is part of the Division of Atmospheric Sciences.

There is a global need for experts with multidisciplinary education in atmospheric and environmental issues. Governmental environmental agencies need people who are able to interpret new scientific results as a basis for future legislation. Industry, transportation and businesses need to be able to adapt to new regulations.

As a Master of Science graduating from the Programme you will have a strong background of working with environmental issues. You will have the ability to find innovative solutions to complex problems in the field of environmental sciences, climate change and weather forecasting. Graduates of the Programme have found employment in Meteorological Institutes and Environmental Administration in Finland and other countries, companies manufacturing instrumentation for atmospheric and environmental measurements and analysis, and consultancy companies. The Master's degree in ATM-MP also gives you a good background if you intend to proceed to doctoral level studies.

As a graduate of the meteorology line you will be qualified to use the title of Meteorologist (in Finnish: Meteorologi), as defined by Finnish government decree 1039/2013.

The Programme offers an international study environment with more than 30% of the students and teaching staff coming from abroad.

The ATM-MP is part of a Nordic Nordplus network in Atmosphere-Biosphere Studies, which gives you good opportunities to take courses currently in fourteen Nordic and Baltic universities. There are also several Erasmus agreements with European universities. The PanEurasian Experiment (PEEX) project provides you with opportunities to carry out part of your studies especially in China and Russia.

The programme works in cooperation with research institutes (such as the Finnish Meteorological Institute and Finnish Environment Institute) and industry (such as Vaisala, Airmodus, and Dekati). International and national cooperation with different universities is described above.

All the units teaching in the Programme belong to the National Centre of Excellence (FCoE) in Atmospheric Science – From Molecular and Biological processes to the Global Climate (ATM), which is a multidisciplinary team of the Departments of Physics, Forest Sciences and Chemistry at the University of Helsinki, the Department of Applied Physics at the University of Eastern Finland (Kuopio) and the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

The main objective of FCoE ATM is to quantify the feedbacks between the atmosphere and biosphere in a changing climate. The main focus of the research is on investigating the following topics:

  1. Understanding the climatic feedbacks and forcing mechanisms related to aerosols, clouds, precipitation and biogeochemical cycles.
  2. Developing, refining and utilising the newest measurement and modelling techniques, from quantum chemistry to observations and models of global earth systems.
  3. Creating a comprehensive understanding of the role of atmospheric clusters and aerosol particles in regional and global biogeochemical cycles of water, carbon, sulphur, nitrogen and their linkages to atmospheric chemistry.
  4. Integrating the results in the context of understanding regional and global Earth systems.

In addition to the research focus of FCoE, current research in hydrospheric geophysics at Helsinki University has an emphasis on cryology, with a focus on the effect of aerosols on Indian glaciers, the impact of climate change on the Arctic environment, the dynamics of the Austfonna ice cap in Svalbard, and the winter season in the coastal zone of the Baltic Sea

ATM-MP is a research oriented Programme. The Master's degree obtained in the ATM-MP gives you a good foundation if you are interested in proceeding to doctoral level studies. The Doctoral Programme of Atmospheric Sciences (ATM-DP) organises the doctoral education of the divisions and research groups involved in ATM-MP, and thus provides a straightforward opportunity for you to continue with postgraduate studies.

How to apply
Faculties

Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry

Become an expert in the responsible use of renewable natural resources!

Safe and sufficient food, the environment, climate change, and the diversity and sustainable use of forests, are global challenges of great concern to all of us. Finding solutions to these issues requires a multidisciplinary approach. By studying at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry you can acquire skills so that you can help to solve these important issues concerning the future of life on earth.

The Faculty offers studies in the fields of food and environmental sciences, agricultural sciences, forest sciences and applied economics. Your studies will enable you to apply chemistry, physics, biology and mathematics to solve practical problems. You will also acquire the skill to reconcile divergent economic and environmental viewpoints.

At the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, you will do more than just sit in the library and lecture rooms. Your studies at the Faculty are based on the most recent research. You will have access to many learning methods and learning environments, such as forests, fields, laboratories and web-based platforms.

Management or expert work in Finland or abroad

As a graduate of the Faculty you will have gained diverse expertise in the biosciences and economics, providing you with capabilities required by companies as well as by society at large. The multidisciplinary approach, the international scope of your education, and the close contacts you will gain with employers, will open doors for you in rewarding professions both in Finland and internationally. You will find more information on employment opportunities as well as personal career stories on the Faculty Website.

A multidisciplinary faculty

The Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, the fourth largest faculty at the University of Helsinki, comprises four departments:

  • The Department of Food and Environmental Sciences
  • The Department of Agricultural Sciences
  • The Department of Forest Sciences
  • The Department of Economics and Management

The Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry is located on the Viikki Campus, also known as the “green campus”. This is one of the most important concentrations of bio‑industry in Europe. In addition to the four faculties, the campus is home to bio‑industry research institutes, agencies and enterprises. Located just nine kilometres from the Helsinki city centre, Viikki brings the scents and sounds of the countryside into the city. The area offers you essential student services, including housing and student restaurants, UniSport services, a science library, and others.

Teaching at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry supports you on your path to becoming an expert in your field. Online studies and in-person teaching complement each other and provide you with diverse learning opportunities. Our study methods challenge you to develop your personal competence, cooperation skills and resources for generating and applying information and knowledge. Student feedback is used to support learning and to develop our teaching methods.

The Faculty provides real-life learning environments. The Viikki Campus includes the Faculty greenhouses, and the Viikki Research Farm is complete with fields and cowsheds. The Campus also houses numerous laboratories (such as the sensory analysis laboratory, chemistry and microbiology laboratories, and technology laboratories), a meat technology pilot plant, a pilot bakery, and a small‑scale dairy pilot plant. The Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station supports studies in forest sciences.

Our tutors, together with the teacher supervisors, support you in the early stages of your studies. The Faculty’s active student organisations provide you with a lively and influential network.

As a University of Helsinki degree student, you can participate in a student exchange or traineeship outside Finland. The University has approximately 500 high-quality partner universities throughout the world, and each year some 1,000 University students embark on a student exchange or traineeship. A stay abroad gives valuable skills and experiences:

  • You can incorporate an international dimension into your degree and obtain international expertise in your field. A well-planned student exchange provides you with diverse, unique skills!
  • You will gain a new perspective on the world, learn more about yourself and enhance your language proficiency.
  • You will get better acquainted with the culture of the target country, meet new people and be able to establish international networks in your field.

More information about studying abroad: guide.student.helsinki.fi/en/study-abroad

At the University of Helsinki we provide an accessible learning environment for all students.

If you have a disability, an illness or a learning disability, and might need some special arrangements to be able to complete your studies, please contact the faculty at the beginning of your studies or when the need arises.

You will usually agree upon the practical arrangements with your professor before the course or seminar begins. If needed, you can also consult the Head of Academic Affairs at the faculty.

Special arrangements for your studies, such as individual support for learning, might include extra time to complete assignments and exams, teaching materials given in advance or in electronic form, accessibility to classrooms and alternative ways to complete assignments and coursework.

If you would like more information about special arrangements, please contact the Student Services in the City Centre at specialneeds@helsinki.fi.

As a student at the University of Helsinki, you will have access to a wide range of services and benefits; such as housing, meals, health care, wellbeing and sports. On the New Student web pages, you will find information on necessary insurance, permits, and fees. As a member of the University of Helsinki Student union (HYY) you will have a great variety of services at your disposal and will be able to participate in various events and activities. Discounts are available for students, for example for travelling, cultural events, and several stores. Sub-organisations of HYY also organise a wide variety of social events. You will find more information on the University of Helsinki website http://www.helsinki.fi/newstudents.

Faculty of Science

Teaching and research in the natural sciences in Finland are highly regarded at the international level. The Faculty of Science at the University of Helsinki is centred on the Kumpula Science Campus, which is the biggest and most versatile cluster of scientific competence in the Nordic countries.

The Faculty has five departments:

  • Department of Physics
  • Department of Geosciences and geography
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Department of Mathematics and Statistics
  • Department of Computer Science.

Your education in the Faculty of Science is based on basic research by recognised and internationally distinguished scientists. There are many interdisciplinary and international research networks operating on campus. The theoretical and empirical research conducted within them forms a solid foundation for teaching focusing on meeting challenges related to global sustainable development and information technology, for example.

When designing the degree programmes, we have focused on addressing the requirements of working life, research and further education. You can complement your degree by choosing from a vast variety of minor subjects. You can also complete parts of your studies abroad.

In addition to Finnish, the languages of instruction are Swedish and English.

The aim of the Faculty of Science is to provide you with wide-ranging knowledge and skills in different research methods, enabling you to begin a career in many different fields. The Faculty of Science is a multidisciplinary research and learning environment. The modern facilities and high-tech teaching laboratories provide you with a dynamic environment where you can study many fields of natural sciences. The teaching employs the latest technology and principles of the Extreme Apprenticeship method. You will also have the opportunity to take part in field courses and research projects in the University of Helsinki’s research stations around the world.

You will have easy access to course textbooks, databases and scientific publications at the Kumpula Campus Library on campus as well as through the electronic services of the Helsinki University Library.

As a University of Helsinki degree student, you can participate in a student exchange or traineeship outside Finland. The University has approximately 500 high-quality partner universities throughout the world, and each year some 1,000 University students embark on a student exchange or traineeship. A stay abroad gives valuable skills and experiences:

  • You can incorporate an international dimension into your degree and obtain international expertise in your field. A well-planned student exchange provides you with diverse, unique skills!
  • You will gain a new perspective on the world, learn more about yourself and enhance your language proficiency.
  • You will get better acquainted with the culture of the target country, meet new people and be able to establish international networks in your field.

More information about studying abroad: guide.student.helsinki.fi/en/study-abroad

At the University of Helsinki we provide an accessible learning environment for all students.

If you have a disability, an illness or a learning disability, and might need some special arrangements to be able to complete your studies, please contact the faculty at the beginning of your studies or when the need arises.

You will usually agree upon the practical arrangements with your professor before the course or seminar begins. If needed, you can also consult the Head of Academic Affairs at the faculty.

Special arrangements for your studies, such as individual support for learning, might include extra time to complete assignments and exams, teaching materials given in advance or in electronic form, accessibility to classrooms and alternative ways to complete assignments and coursework.

If you would like more information about special arrangements, please contact the Student Services in the City Centre at specialneeds@helsinki.fi.

As a student at the University of Helsinki, you will have access to a wide range of services and benefits; such as housing, meals, health care, wellbeing and sports. On the New Student web pages, you will find information on necessary insurance, permits, and fees. As a member of the University of Helsinki Student union (HYY) you will have a great variety of services at your disposal and will be able to participate in various events and activities. Discounts are available for students, for example for travelling, cultural events, and several stores. Sub-organisations of HYY also organise a wide variety of social events. You will find more information on the University of Helsinki website http://www.helsinki.fi/newstudents.