Master's Programme in Forest Sciences, Master of Science (Agriculture and Forestry), 2 years

Go to degree finder
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

Bottom content


Do you want to affect the future of forests, a key natural resource and the wellspring of biodiversity? Have you ever wondered why forests are called the lungs of the Earth and how climate change relates to forests? Or how trees are grown and processed into products in a sustainable and efficient manner? And how are the economy and forests interrelated?

You can find answers to these questions when you study forest sciences. You will come to view forests not only as a setting for jogging trails or as a source of wood, but rather as a source of versatile renewable resources and as complex ecological systems that are closely connected to their environment. The relationship between humans and nature and between society and natural resources is a strong feature of these studies.

The Master’s Programme in Forest Sciences offers a broad and versatile perspective on forests and their use. The studies focus on and apply knowledge in biology, business economics, environmental sciences, logistics, geoinformatics and information technology. As a graduate in forest sciences you will be a professional in forest ecology, the management and use of forest resources, forest bioeconomy business and policy, with ample career opportunities in Finland and abroad.

Come and study forest sciences at the University of Helsinki, in one of the world’s foremost degree programmes in the field.  For more information in Finnish about studies in forest sciences, the field of forestry and its opportunities, see

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.

The language of instruction is either Finnish or English. In all courses, you can choose to complete your examinations and presentations, as well as your Master’s thesis, in Finnish or Swedish.

General studies in the Master’s programme provide you with skills needed for the academic world and the labour market. In advanced studies, you focus on field-specific issues and develop your professional knowledge when writing your Master’s thesis and completing courses in your field of specialisation. In addition, the studies include elective courses that allow you to diversify and deepen your knowledge.

The Master's Programme in Forest Sciences comprises two study tracks: forest ecology and management and forest bioeconomy business and policy. These study tracks include a total of 10 fields of specialisation.

The specialisations in forest ecology and management focus on various types of forest and peatland ecosystems and their exploitation, examine the planning of forest use and the relevant collection of information, examine forest inventory models, wood harvesting and logistics as well as the processing of wood into bioeconomy products.

Topical issues include

  • climate change
  • the prevention of damage to forests caused by insects and fungi
  • the control of game populations
  • problems related to the exploitation of tropical forests
  • the application of new remote sensing methods in the planning of forest resource management
  • the combination of different values and targets in forestry and bioeconomy
  • various models of silviculture
  • increased efficiency in logging and transportation
  • generating added value in all areas of biorefining.

Studies in the forest bioeconomy business and policy are based on the sustainable use of a renewable natural resource and on the development of responsible business activities in a global environment. The focus of studies is on the globalisation of forest-based industry and business and its structural redevelopment into the bioeconomy. You will become familiar with forest-based issues of the bioeconomy in production, marketing and policy as part of the global operating environment.

Graduates from the Bachelor’s Programme in Forest Sciences at the University of Helsinki can continue their studies in the Master's Programme in Forest Sciences. There is an application process for graduates from other Bachelor’s programmes, from universities of applied sciences, and for international applicants. Bachelor’s graduates from the following applicable University of Helsinki Bachelor’s programmes can continue their studies in the Master’s Programme in Forest Sciences in accordance with previously determined criteria and principles without having to apply separately: bachelor´s programme in Biology, bachelor´s programme in Environmental and food economics and bachelor´s programme in Molecular biosciences.

If there are more applicants to the study tracks than there are student places, admission will be based on previous academic performance and the applicability of the previous degree.

In the application process, you are selected for the Master’s Programme in Forest Sciences. Upon admission you must select one of the two study tracks and you must select your specialisation by the second year of your Master’s studies.

Study tracks, specialisations and examples of topics covered by them:

Forest ecology and management

  1. The management and restoration of forest and peatland ecosystems: the sustainable and multitargeted use of forest, the use of peat
  2. Function and production of forests:ecophysiology of growth, production ecology, material fluxes between forest and the atmosphere
  3. Forest soil science: the biogeochemistry and hydrology of forest soil, soil and root ecology
  4. Forest pathology and mycology:  the microbiology and epidemiology of forests
  5. Forest zoology:  the biology and ecology of forest insects, the ecology of forest pests
  6. Wildlife management: game populations and society, the planning of game husbandry, mammal ecology
  7. The ecology, management and use of tropical forests:  methods of tropical forestry, agroforestry
  8. Forest resource management and geoinformatics: the collection and use of forest-related information in decision-making, laser scanning, remote sensing, forest inventory
  9. Forest technology and logistics: the management of forest products, terramechanics, forest bioenergy
  10. Wood technology: wood science and wood as raw material, laboratories in the forest industry, the structure and properties of wood raw material

Studies are composed of required core courses and elective courses. Course topics include

  • Marketing and management in the forest industry: strategic management and marketing, responsibility in forest bioeconomy, customer orientation, innovations
  • Business economics of units within forest bioeconomy, economics of silviculture, forest investment and the economic impact of environmental targets
  • Forest owners’ goals and behavior, structure of forest ownership
  • International forest policy: global processes and trends impacting the forest sector from the perspective of individuals, communities and nations

 More information about courses:

The Bachelor’s Programme in Forest Sciences includes two study tracks: forest ecology and the use of forest resources, and forest economics and marketing. The Master's Programme in Forest Sciences comprises also two study tracks: forest ecology and management and business economics and policies of forest bioeconomy. These study tracks include a total of 10 specialisations (see specialisations above).  Upon completing the Master's Programme in Forest Sciences you will be eligible to apply for the Doctoral Programme in Sustainable Use of Renewable Natural Resources.

More information about the programme structure in programme’s webpages.

Completing your Master's thesis will demonstrate your ability to solve a well-defined research problem of interest to your field of specialisation in accordance with the principles of scientific research. When writing the thesis, you will examine the research problem and background literature, apply different research methods, analyse the results and draw conclusions from them. The objective of the thesis project is for you to demonstrate that you have mastered the key terminology and theories of the field as well as academic writing (in Finnish, Swedish or English). The Master’s thesis is typically completed within a research project of the degree programme in forest sciences or as an assignment commissioned by a research institute or company. Hence, the Master’s thesis project also offers excellent opportunities to establish networks and contacts with potential employers.

A degree in forestry offers extensive and fairly unique professional competence on a global scale on forest and peatland ecosystems, forest management and use, forest conservation, the business economics and policies of forest bioeconomy as well as the collection, management and use of forest-related information. For more information in Finnish on the available career opportunities, see

Studies in forestry offer ample opportunities for international activities. For example, you can complete your practical training or collect material for your Master’s thesis abroad. Most courses in the Master’s programme are in English, and several international students participate. You can also serve as a tutor for international exchange students and establish contacts and networks in this way. Another example of international activities is the Helsinki Summer School, which offers intensive courses on topical issues and brings together students from as many as 60 countries.

The forest sector as a whole increasingly networks with other sectors, such as land use and the textile, packaging, information technology, energy, materials, chemistry and services industries. The forest sciences degree programmes engage in teaching and research across faculty boundaries, so you can choose from a wide variety of courses and modules also from outside your own programme. Examples range from environmental sciences, atmospheric sciences and land use to molecular biosciences and business economics.

University-level teaching is based on the latest research results. The teaching and research topics in forest sciences cover important current themes, such as the sustainable use of forests and other natural resources, climate change, urbanisation, new bioenergy production methods as well as digital services based on forest resource information. As a student of forest sciences, you will have the opportunity to seek solutions to these current challenges through actual research projects.

Key research areas in forest sciences include:

  • Interactions between forest and peatland ecosystems and climate change
  • Socio-economic changes and the global forest sector
  • The management of forest information
  • Economic-ecological models of forest use and conservation

The Department of Forest Sciences is engaged in two centres of excellence in research funded by the Academy of Finland:

The Department operates a forestry field station in Hyytiälä, which also accommodates a research station where most of the measurements performed by the Atmospheric Research Center take place (SMEAR II station). The Carbon Tree animation illustrates how the trees at the Hyytiälä SMEAR station assimilate carbon in real time..

The Master’s Programme in Forest Sciences has launched a new specialisation focusing on international forest policy. For further information about research related to the degree programmes in forest sciences.

Upon graduating from the Master’s Programme in Forest Sciences you will be eligible for doctoral education in Finland or abroad. A doctoral degree, which takes about four years to complete, opens doors to academic careers at universities and research institutes as well as to professions requiring a doctoral degree. The University of Helsinki has four doctoral schools with a total of 32 doctoral programmes. As a graduate of the Master's Programme in Forest Sciences you can pursue studies, for example, in the Doctoral Programme in Sustainable Use of Renewable Natural Resources or the Doctoral Programme in Atmospheric Sciences.

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.