Master's Programme in Food Sciences, Master of Science (Food Sciences), 2 years

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Degree level
Master's degree
Start semester
2019 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)
15000 €
Application period
3.12.2018 - 11.1.2019

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Do you want to have an impact on what people will eat in the future? Would you like to know what makes food taste good, due to the raw materials and processing technologies? Do you want to know how we could improve the healthiness, safety, ecology and ethics of food and food processing? Are you interested in exploring innovations in food, such as "pulled oats" or using insects as food? If you answered yes, enrol in Food Sciences master’s programme.

The food industry is the 4th most important employer both in Finland and internationally. This industry is constantly looking for experts to solve new problems. With a Master’s degree in Food Sciences you could embark on a career in the food industry; in a food, agricultural or environmental control laboratory; as a teacher, researcher, or self-employed entrepreneur; or as an expert in government ministries or other expert organisations.

As a master in Food Sciences you will be able to help the food industry develop and renew itself, since you will possess know-how on:

  • Raw materials and processes, including their theoretical basics
  • Different food constituents and their impact on food quality
  • Factors that ensure good quality and food safety

You can enrol in the Food Sciences masters' programme if you hold a bachelors' degree in Food Sciences or in Molecular Biosciences. You can also apply to the programme if you have a bachelors' degree in a related area of the natural sciences from a Finnish or foreign university, or if you have a degree from a Finnish university of applied sciences within food sciences or other related areas of the natural sciences.

Your studies in the Food Sciences masters' programme will offer you a broad education covering courses in the composition and processing of food, in the structures and chemical reactions of food proteins, lipids and carbohydrates, and in food legislation and the safety of food additives.

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.

Teaching is in English, but you can also complete the programme in Finnish or Swedish.

Food Sciences on the Viikki campus is a nationally unique programme that covers the whole food production chain from primary production via food processing to consumers. Food Sciences is an internationally appreciated field of education: food research at the University of Helsinki has been highly ranked.

Your masters' studies in food sciences will enable you to make an impact on the the creation of innovative solutions for the whole chain of food production. You will:

  • Study the theory and applications of the broad area of food sciences in lecture courses and in group work 
  • Increase your knowledge of food composition, processing, structure, and legislation
  • Deepen your knowledge of how the reactions of different food components, production processes and packaging affect the structure, sensory quality, healthiness and safety of animal and plant based foods
  • Learn laboratory working skills
  • Acquire employment skills for example by training in the food industry

You can affect the sort of expertise you would like to gain. You can tailor your Master’s degree by choosing special studies in food chemistry, food technology, and in the science and technology relating to meat, dairy and cereals.

You can also complement your expertise in food sciences with, for example, studies in food development, food safety, food research and analysis, economics, marketing, sustainable food production, microbiology, biotechnology or nutrition.

You will need 120 credits (ECTS) for the Master’s degree. Together with your faculty adviser, you will make a personal study plan consisting of:

  • 60 credits of advanced studies in food sciences including a Master’s thesis
  • Studies of your choice in special areas of food sciences
  • Complementary studies of your choice
  • Studies of your free choice

You can also include career planning, an internship and studies abroad in your Master’s degree.

A Master’s thesis (30 credits) is included in the Master’s degree programme. Your thesis should consist of a review of the existing literature and an experimental section. In the Food Sciences Masters' programme, you can often complete your thesis within a research group or in collaboration with the food industry.

When you pose the question addressed in your thesis, your goal should be to acquire new understanding of an issue and to develop your own problem-solving skills. The topic of your thesis might also be the development of a new technology or product. In terms of methodology, your thesis can be based on chemistry, physics, technology, biochemistry, microbiology or sensory science. Doing your Master’s thesis will train you in scientific thinking, analysis of problems, development of explanatory models and hypotheses, planning experiments and working in the laboratory and/or making pilot-plant experiments, and presenting your research results and your critical discussion.

With a Master’s degree in Food Sciences, you can find work as a product quality manager in the food industry; as an inspector in a food, agricultural or environmental control laboratory; as a teacher or researcher at a university; as self-employed entrepreneur; or as an expert in a government ministry or other expert organisation.

As a student in Food Sciences you have excellent opportunities for an international student exchange or internship. You can also perform part of your degree studies at a university abroad. Due to the instruction in English, the many international students on the Viikki campus, and the many international personnel in the research groups, you will be part of an international community in your daily student life.

The Viikki campus of biosciences offers you plenty of possibilities to broaden the scope of your Food Sciences Master’s degree. The education and research cover for all areas of the food production chain from the field to the table. You can also take advantage of the education offered by other fields of science within Helsinki University.

The Food Sciences faculty work in close collaboration with research institutes and with the food industry. These include the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the National Food Safety Authority Evira, the Customs laboratory, LUKE National Resources Institute Finland, and environment centres.

Research in food sciences at the University of Helsinki is multidisciplinary and has been acknowledged both nationally and internationally. The research focus is:

More info about the researchers and their  research activities:

The Master’s degree in Food Sciences gives you qualifications for further scientific education (a doctoral degree) in Food Sciences or related sciences.

Food Chain and Health doctoral programme

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 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:

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

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 Instructions for students.