The Master’s programme in geography is divided into study tracks. The study tracks offer students the opportunity to specialise in different areas of geography. The Master’s programme contains both general and study track-specific courses. The teaching within the Master’s programme in geography is seamlessly connected with the Master’s programme in urban studies and planning, which is jointly implemented with Aalto University.
The study tracks in the Master’s programme for geography are:
- physical geography
- human & urban geography and spatial planning
Physical geography is an area of geography that studies natural systems and the regional interaction between nature and humans. The main parts of physical geography are geomorphology, climatology, hydrogeography, biogeography, and research into global change. The Master’s courses in physical geography work towards deeper regional syntheses, explain the physical surroundings and their changes as a part of the function of regional systems, and analyse and model the relationships between different sectors. Focus areas in the Master’s programme in physical geography are the effect of global change on natural systems, watershed research, and the regional modelling of geomorphological processes and local climates. A considerable part of the Master’s programme in physical geography consists of work in small groups or in the field, where you will learn to implement theories in practice.
Having completed the Master’s programme in physical geography, you will be able to analyse and model regional systems of nature, as well as the interaction between nature and humans. In addition, the programme teaches you to analyse sustainable use of natural resources, and evaluate environmental impact. You will learn to implement theoretical knowledge and regional methods in planning a scientific thesis, implementing it in practice, and presenting your results orally and in writing. Further, the courses will train you to take specimens independently, analyse them, and interpret them. The teaching at the Master’s stage is closely connected with research on physical geography: theses are done in collaboration with a research group or research institute.
Human & urban geography and spatial planning is a study track, where regional structures and related planning is studied. Urban structures, regional social structures, statewide regional structures, the regional development in the European Union, and globalisation are studied. At the core of the study track is the spatial transformation of society. The Master’s programme studies such phenomena as the divergence of regional and urban structures, urban culture, as well as the political-geographical dynamics of regions. In addition, sustainability, multiculturalism, segregation, housing, and migration are at the core of the study track. Relevant themes for the study track are also regional and urban planning, the political ecology of use of natural resources and land, and gobal development issues. These geographical phenomena and themes are studied through both theoretical and empirical questions, which can be analysed with different qualitative and quantitative methods.
The programme goes into how theories on cities and regional systems can be transformed into empirical research questions. After completing their Master’s theses, students can independently gather empirical data on the main dimensions of regional and urban structures and regional development, they can analyse these data with both qualitative and quantitative methods, and they can evaluate the planning practices connected with regional and social structures. After graduating from the Master’s programme, students will be able to communicate about phenomena and research findings in regional and urban structures, both orally and in writing.
Geoinformatics is an effective approach to the study and understanding of complex regional issues. Geoinformatics studies and develops computational methods for gaining, processing, analysing, and presenting positioning data. As a part of geography, geoinformatics is a research method on the one hand, to be used in the study of complex regional issues from urban environments to natural ones, from studying local environments to issues of sustainability in developing countries. On the other hand, the methods are the object of research. In urban environments, the methods of geoinformatics can be used to study accessibility and mobility, for example, or to plan a good park network. In the context of developing countries, the research into climate change, land use, or interaction between humans and environment with the help of quantitative, qualitative, and involving methods rises into the front. Students in geography reach a basic understanding of geoinformatics methods in the study of geographical issues, the sources and use of different sets of data (remote sensing, global and national databases, geographical Big Data), analysis methods, and effective visualisation of results.
At the Master’s level, as a student specialising in geoinformatics you will advance your skills both theoretically and technically, developing your methodological expertise from data acquisition to data refinement and visualisation with the help of geoinformatics methods. The instruction is directly connected with the work of research groups and theses are often written as a part of research work. After graduating, you will be able to utilise versatile approaches in geoinformatics in research into geographical questions. You will be able to follow the rapid development of the subject independently, and participate on your own.