Master's Programme in English Studies, Master of Arts (2 years)

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Degree level
Master's degree
Start semester
2020 Autumn
Scope of studies and length
120 ECTS credits, 2 years
Language of instruction
English, Finnish, Swedish
Tuition fee per year (only non-EU/EEA citizens)
13000 €
Application period
3.12.2019 - 10.1.2020

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The Master’s Programme in English Studies helps you develop your expertise in areas that are often separated in other programmes: English language and linguistics, literature in English and the teaching of English. By working in a stimulating environment with accomplished researchers and teachers, you also develop work life skills, such as skills in presentation, independent and group work and project management.  

An MA in English Studies prepares you for a variety of jobs, and our graduates have been successful in finding employment. If combined with mandatory pedagogical studies, the Master’s degree in English Studies qualifies you to be a language teacher. Alternatively, you can find employment in media or publishing, business or international organisations. English is used globally as the language of science, culture, business and tourism, and experts in English are required in all of these fields.

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, are liable to 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 Scholarship Programme.

The language of instruction and the language of assignments is English.

The Master’s programme in English Studies offers a wide range of courses in English linguistics, literatures in English and the teaching of English. You can take courses in all three areas or just focus on one of them. We offer up to 25 elective courses each academic year, as well as research seminars which support you in writing your Master’s thesis. You can also combine English studies with modules from other programmes in the Faculty of Arts, such as the Master’s programme in Linguistic Diversity in the Digital Age or the Master’s programme in Literary Studies.

In linguistics courses you learn about the structure and uses of English, language change, sociolinguistics, discourse studies and corpus linguistics. In literature courses you study the various literatures in English from narrative, cognitive, postcolonial and ecocritical perspectives. Courses in applied linguistics are tailored especially for future language teachers. 

As a student in English Studies, you attend lectures but also work in collaboration with other students, partly in digital learning environments. To assess your learning progress, a variety of methods are used, including examinations, essays, learning diaries and group projects. In English Studies you will also practice your spoken and presentation skills.

During your Master’s studies, you will

  • develop your expertise in linguistic or literary studies
  • strengthen your understanding of theoretical approaches and research methods in your chosen specialisation
  • strengthen your language skills, academic writing skills and presentation skills
  • participate in research projects
  • participate in the Master’s thesis seminar, during which you write your thesis

You can also complete some of your studies abroad by taking part in a student exchange programme.

You can choose between three specialisations: linguistics, literary studies and applied linguistics.

The scope of the Master’s degree is 120 credits (ECTS). The degree contains the following studies:

  • Advanced studies in the discipline (75–120 credits)
  • Courses or modules from other programme (0–45 credits)

With full-time studies you will complete the Master’s degree in two years.

During your Master’s studies, you focus mainly on your specialisation, deepening your knowledge through coursework and writing your Master’s thesis. Depending on your interests, you can also include elective subjects and other supporting studies.

To help you complete your studies systematically, you prepare a personal study plan (PSP) at the beginning of your Master’s studies, with support from the programme staff and Student services.

Degree structure (2017-2020)

The Master’s programme culminates in writing a Master’s thesis, an independent scientific study. The aim of the Master’s thesis is to develop basic skills required for conducting research, including:

  • Defining your chosen research problem in the context of previous research in the field
  • Finding information independently and assessing this information critically
  • Mastering the theories and research methods required in your work
  • Analysing your data
  • Communicating your results in a clear and logical format appropriate to the audience.

Given its scope and complexity, the Master’s thesis will help you develop research and project management skills which will be useful in a variety of professions.

In English Studies, you write your thesis in English.

English Studies prepares you for different types of careers in business and culture, as well as in public administration and education:

  • With careful selection of supporting studies, you can find employment in government, the media, libraries and other cultural institutions, national and international organisations, or tourism.
  • If you complete 60 credits of pedagogical studies in conjunction with English studies, you will be qualified to teach English in Finnish schools as well as in adult education in Finland.
  • After successfully completing your Master’s degree, you can also apply to continue your studies as a doctoral student and later build a career as a university researcher or teacher.

The University of Helsinki has the most comprehensive selection of disciplines in Finland, making it easier for you to plan your specialisation and supporting studies to benefit your future career.

Combined with mandatory pedagogical studies, a Master’s degree in English Studies gives you the qualifications required to become a language teacher.

In order to qualify as an English teacher in Finland, you must complete: 

  • basic, intermediate and advanced studies in English (120 credits)
  • studies in another discipline taught in schools, such as another language (60 credits, not mandatory but recommended) 
  • pedagogical studies (60 credits; separate selection procedure)
  • a Master’s degree.

Please note that you will not be able to apply for a study right in pedagogical studies during your Master's degree. However, you can apply for a study right after you have completed the Master's degree (so-called "non-degree studies").

During your studies, you can engage in international activities in many ways at foreign universities and in Finland. If you have not been on an international student exchange during your BA studies, you can do so while studying for your Master’s degree.

You can pursue an exchange visit either through an exchange programme or independently. All exchange programmes include a scholarship or a grant; the amount depends on the programme, the duration of the exchange visit and the target country. If you have arranged an exchange visit independently, you can apply for a travel grant.

You can also engage in international activities within the University of Helsinki. For instance, you can serve as a peer tutor for exchange students.

The English Studies programme collaborates with several other Master’s programmes, for instance the Master’s programme in Linguistic Diversity in the Digital Age and the Master’s programme in Literary Studies. During shared courses, you can benefit from the expertise of teachers and collaborate with students in these other programmes.

The English unit is home to several research projects in linguistics and literature, in which you can participate as part of your studies. A good way to become familiar with research is to write your Master’s thesis on one of the topics of a research project.

Internationally, the English unit at the University of Helsinki is known for the study of the history, variation and change of the English language. Helsinki researchers are particularly well known for the digital text collections (corpora) they have compiled for research purposes. Other topics studied at the unit include English as a global language and lingua franca, academic discourse and digital or computer-mediated discourse. Methods are drawn from pragmatics, sociolinguistics and discourse analysis, among others.

Literary studies in the discipline are also active – staff members study all kinds of literature in English from the 1500s to the present. Key subjects include Anglo-American fiction, postcolonial and Native American literature, Renaissance drama and poetry, science fiction and fantasy. Primary material features novels, short stories, poems and plays, and the methods employed include narratological, cognitive and postcolonial approaches.

After completing your Master of Arts degree, you can apply to complete the postgraduate Doctor of Philosophy degree. You will usually apply for this in the same discipline in which you received your Master’s degree.

The University of Helsinki Faculty of Arts is Finland’s leading centre of research in the humanities. The Faculty has a strong research orientation, and its research represents the top level in many fields, both in Europe and globally.

How to apply
Below you’ll find a link to the entry requirements for this programme. The application period to our international programmes is in December every year.

Faculty of Arts

People trained in the liberal arts play an important role in all sectors of society, from the traditional humanities fields of education and administration to business and technological fields. There is always a need for people who can think clearly, analyse issues, find creative solutions, and present them persuasively.

The University of Helsinki is among the top one hundred of such institutions in the world –the only one in Finland to be rated so highly. It is also Finland’s largest and most multidisciplinary university, offering around 300 disciplines in 11 faculties. The University’s staff and over 36,000 students constitute an international academic community, which is spread over four campuses in Helsinki and several other localities around Finland. Students here complete over 5,800 degrees each year.

The University’s Faculty of Arts is a significant international community of research, education and culture. It is Finland’s oldest and largest centre of teaching and research in the humanities and the country’s most versatile faculty. At the University of Helsinki, your education in the arts integrates international scope, linguistic interaction, reasoning skills, and a broad-based education. It will form the foundation for an enduring interest in lifelong learning and in understanding your fellow human beings.

The Faculty of Arts and its departments are located in the centre of Helsinki, mainly in three blocks near the Senate Square, in the University of Helsinki Main Building, Topelia and the Forestry Building. You will find everything you need for your studies – libraries, exercise facilities, learning centres and the like – within a short walk.

The Faculty of Arts is located in the centre of Helsinki, close to the Helsinki University Library (Kaisa House) and Alexandria Learning Centre, offering you easy access to modern study facilities and library services. The National Library of Finland, with the country’s broadest and most important collections in the field of arts, is also located on the City Centre Campus.

Helsinki is a compact city, built on a peninsula and islands in the Baltic Sea. Most of the city centre is within walking distance. In recent years the city has become much more cosmopolitan – there are restaurants and cultural activities from all over the world. Students and faculty here speak English, and most people working in shops and restaurants speak at least some English. So you can interact with most people in English, though it will enrich your stay here if you learn Finnish. Tervetuloa! Welcome!

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:

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

University students have access to various services and benefits; among them housing, meals, health care, wellbeing as well as sports. On the New Student web pages, you find information on necessary insurances, permits, and fees. The University of Helsinki Student union (HYY) members may use a great variety of services and participate in various events and activities. Not to mention discounts available for students e.g. on travelling, cultural events, and several stores. Sub-organizations of HYY also organize a wide variety of social events. More information is available at Instructions for students.