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

Data science combines computer science and statistics to solve exciting data-intensive problems in industry and in many fields of science. Data scientists help organisations make sense of their data. As data is collected and analysed in all areas of society, demand for professional data scientists is high and will grow higher. The emerging Internet of Things, for instance, will produce a whole new range of problems and opportunities in data analysis.

In the Data Science master’s programme, you will gain a solid understanding of the methods used in data science. You will learn not only to apply data science: you will acquire insight into how and why methods work so you will be able to construct solutions to new challenges in data science. In the Data Science master’s programme, you will also be able to work on problems specific to a scientific discipline and to combine domain knowledge with the latest data analysis methods and tools. The teachers of the programme are themselves active data science researchers, and the programme is heavily based on first-hand research experience.

Upon graduating from the Data Science MSc programme, you will have solid knowledge of the central concepts, theories, and research methods of data science as well as applied skills. In particular, you will be able to

  • Understand the general computational and probabilistic principles underlying modern machine learning and data mining algorithms
  • Apply various computational and statistical methods to analyse scientific and business data
  • Assess the suitability of each method for the purpose of data collection and use
  • Implement state-of-the-art machine learning solutions efficiently using high-performance computing platforms
  • Undertake creative work, making systematic use of investigation or experimentation, to discover new knowledge
  • Report results in a clear and understandable manner
  • Analyse scientific and industrial data to devise new applications and support decision making.

The MSc programme is offered jointly by the Department of Computer Science, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and the Department of Physics, with support from the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT) and the Helsinki Institute of Physics (HIP), all located on the Kumpula Science campus. In your applied data science studies you can also include multidisciplinary studies from other master's programmes, such as digital humanities, and natural and medical sciences.

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 teaching is in English. You can also take exams and complete work, such as your Master's thesis, in Finnish or Swedish.

The Data Science MSc programme combines elements from computer science and mathematical sciences to provide you with skills in topics such as machine learning, distributed systems and statistical methods. You might also find that knowledge in a particular scientific field is useful for your future career. You can obtain this through elective studies in the MSc programme, or it might already be part of your bachelor-level degree.

Studies in the Data Science MSc programme include both theoretical and practical components, including a variety of study methods (lectures, exercises, projects, seminars; done both individually and in groups). Especially in applied data science, we also use problem-based learning methods, so that you can address real-world issues. You will also practise academic skills such as scientific writing and oral presentation throughout your studies. You are encouraged to include an internship in your degree in order to obtain practical experience in the field.

Elective studies give you a wider perspective of Data Science. Your elective studies can be an application area of Data Science (such as physics or the humanities), a discipline that supports application of Data Science (such as language technology), or a methodological subject needed for the development of new Data Science methods and models (such as computer science, statistics, or mathematics).

You can specialise either in the core areas of data science -- algorithms, infrastructure and statistics -- or in its applications. This means that you can focus on the development of new models and methods in data science, supported by the data science research carried out at the University of Helsinki; or you can become a data science specialist in an application field by incorporating studies in another subject. In addition to mainstream data science topics, the programme offers two largely unique opportunities for specialisation: the data science computing environment and infrastructure, and data science in natural sciences, especially physics.

You should be able to complete the MSc Programme in Data Science of 120 credits (ECTS) in two years of full-time study. The programme consists of

  • Common core studies of basic data science courses
  • Several modules on specific topics within data science algorithms, data science infrastructures and statistical data science, and on data science tools
  • Seminars and colloquia
  • Courses on academic skills and tools
  • Possibly an internship in a research group or company
  • Studies in an application domain
  • Master’s thesis (30 credits)

The programme includes a mandatory Master’s thesis. Your Master’s thesis will focus on a data science problem and on applying the knowledge you have learned during your MSc courses to solve that problem. The problem you address can be theoretical or practical in nature, but your thesis work must always have a research component and a scientific basis.

In your thesis you will demonstrate your ability to think scientifically, your command of research methods, your familiarity with the subject of study, and your aptitude for written scientific communication. Your thesis should contain a definition of the research questions, a review of the relevant literature, and theoretical, constructive or empirical parts developing answers to your research questions. 

You will have a supervisor appointed to oversee your thesis. You and your supervisor will have regular meetings to ensure that your work is progressing smoothly and on schedule. The thesis is worth 30 credits, roughly corresponding to one semester of full-time studies.

Although your thesis is independent work, you can often write it as part of a research group. You might also be able to write your thesis for a company as long as you fulfil the academic criteria described above. You can discuss these issues with your supervisor.

Industry and science are flooded with data and are struggling to make sense of it. There is urgent demand for individuals trained to analyse data, including massive and heterogeneous data. For this reason, the opportunities are expected to grow dramatically. The interdisciplinary Data Science MSc programme will train you to work in data-intensive areas of industry and science, with the skills and knowledge needed to construct solutions to complex data analysis problems.

If you are focusing on the core areas of data science, you will typically find employment as a researcher or consultant, sometimes after taking a PhD in Computer Science or Statistics to deepen your knowledge of the field and research methods. If your focus is on the use of data science for specific applications, you will typically find work in industry or in other fields of science such as physics, digital humanities, biology or medicine. 

A Master's degree gives eligibility to apply to positions that require a second cycle academic degree i.e. a Master’s level degree.

The Data Science MSc is an international programme, with students from around the world and an international research environment. All of the departments taking part in the programme are internationally recognised for their research and a significant fraction of the teaching and research staff come from abroad.

The departments participate in international student exchange programmes and offer you the chance to include international experience as part of your degree. Data Science itself is an international field, so once you graduate you can apply for jobs in any country.

In the programme, all courses are in English. Although the Helsinki area is quite cosmopolitan and English is widely spoken, you can also take courses to learn Finnish at the University of Helsinki Language Centre. The Language Centre also offers an extensive programme of foreign language courses for those interested in learning other languages.

Education in the programme is multidisciplinary, combining the expertise of the Department of Computer Science, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, the Department of Physics, the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT) and the Helsinki Institute of Physics (HIP). The University of Helsinki offers a huge variety of possibilities for elective studies with which you can complement your data science expertise. For example, you can take advantage of courses offered by the MSc Programme in Life Science Informatics. Collaboration with Aalto University, through the joint institutes HIIT and HIP, gives you further opportunities.

Teaching in the programme is based on research carried out in the above-mentioned departments and institutes, often in collaboration with other fields of science, as well as with industry. Particle physics data analysis, for instance, is carried out in collaboration with CERN. An example of industrial cooperation is the Nokia Center for Advanced Research, a joint research centre between the University of Helsinki, Aalto University, and Nokia.

The MSc programme in Data Science is offered jointly by three departments and two research institutes. Their research covers a wide spectrum of the many aspects of data science. At a very general level, the focal areas are

  • Machine learning and data mining
  • Distributed computation and computational infrastructures
  • Statistical modelling and analysis

Studies in the programme are tightly connected to research carried out in the participating departments and institutes.

After completing the MSc programme in Data Science, you can apply for doctoral studies at the University of Helsinki or elsewhere. Due to the high level of international recognition of the University of Helsinki and the data science research groups, you will have good chances to be accepted for doctoral studies at top universities. The additional skills gained in doctoral studies will not only be useful for an academic research career but also for work as a data scientist in industry. At the University of Helsinki, suitable doctoral programmes include:

For more information, please see www.helsinki.fi/en/research/doctoral-education.

How to apply
Below a list of the different ways to apply to this degree programme.
Faculties

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.