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Programme

Why do we eat the way we do? What happens to food in our body?   How does nutrition maintain our health? How do we study the way people use food? How does culture influence our food choices? How is food discussed in the media? How can we change food behaviour?

The Master’s Programme in Human Nutrition and Food-Related Behaviour focuses on human nutrition and related behaviour from the perspective of public health nutrition, nutrition physiology and social sciences. The innovative, thought-inspiring programme is built around human nutrition, food behaviour and food consumption.  

The goal of the Master’s programme is to enable you to

  • Understand the significance of nutrition to bodily functions and health
  • Learn to analyse the physiological, psychological, social and cultural aspects that determine food choices of individuals and communities
  • Recognise the diversity of food and nutritional issues and ways to influence them

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 Master’s programme is multilingual, with teaching provided in both Finnish and English. You can complete the degree in English, Finnish or Swedish.

The Master’s Programme in Human Nutrition and Food-Related Behaviour focuses on

  • The role of nutrition and other lifestyle factors in promoting health and preventing illness
  • The mechanisms through which food impacts our body at the molecular biology level
  • Food choices and consumption behaviour, and means of influencing them through policies, interventions and communication
  • Food services and their management
  • Food culture and social movements
  • Research methods in the fields of nutrition and food-related behaviour
  • The Master’s thesis
  • Other studies, which you can choose according to your interests


The multidisciplinary University of Helsinki provides numerous options for other studies.

The courses incorporate different methods of study, such as

  • Contact teaching, lectures
  • Group work
  • Oral presentations
  • Written reports (individual, pair, group)
  • Independent study
  • Laboratory work and other assignments and related reports
  • Learning journals, oral group examinations, written examinations, take-home essays
  • Seminars

The diversity of learning methods enhances the development and application of critical thinking, argumentation and problem-solving skills.

In the Master’s Programme in Human Nutrition and Food-Related Behaviour, you can choose between three focal areas:

  • Nutritional physiology: The impact of nutrition and other lifestyle factors on bodily functions and health, as well as the underlying mechanisms at the level of molecular biology
  • Public health nutrition and food services: Insight into the nutritional factors affecting the health of the country’s population and population groups and the use of this insight to promote health, as well as nutritional questions related to food services and the food industry
  • Food behaviour in a changing society: The ways in which food choices are linked to individual, cultural and social factors, the construction of identity, the consumption society, as well as food and health policies

With a scope of 120 credits (ECTS), the Master’s programme can be completed in two academic years. The programme includes two study lines – human nutrition, and food-related behaviour – one of which you choose during the application process. The degree comprises

  • 60 credits of advanced studies, including the Master’s thesis (30 cr)
  • 60 credits of other studies, which can include studies from your own degree programme or other degree programmes, a practical training period or international studies
  • Career orientation and career planning
  • A personal study plan

The theses completed in the Master’s programme differ widely. You can choose your approach from epidemiology, physiology, molecular biology, the behavioural sciences or the social sciences. Irrespective of your discipline, you will focus on a question or phenomenon related to food, nutrition, health, food services, food behaviour or food culture.

The thesis has a scope of 30 credits. The thesis project improves your skills in academic thinking; problem detection; hypothesis formulation; material collection; laboratory work (if involved in the thesis); the analysis, interpretation and logical presentation of results; and the ability to evaluate the results in terms of prevailing scientific theories and prior research. The research approach can be either qualitative or quantitative. You are encouraged to adopt an interdisciplinary approach.

The Master’s programme qualifies you for work in expert, teaching, research and managerial posts in the public sector, NGOs and companies, and as an independent entrepreneur. The education provides you with profound field-specific competence and skills in knowledge work, as well as a solid professional identity.

Examples of positions available to graduates include

  • Expert in nutrition and food
  • Product manager
  • Product development manager, development manager
  • Director of food services
  • Researcher, special researcher
  • Planning officer
  • Senior inspector
  • Teacher or lecturer at a university of applied sciences
  • Growth entrepreneur
  • Journalist, press officer, content provider

As a student in the Master’s programme you are encouraged to complete part of your studies outside Finland, either at a university or in practical training. The Master’s programme provides you with an excellent capability to deal with nutrition, food and consumption questions outside Finland, including in developing countries.

You can also include study modules from other degree programmes, for example in the fields of molecular biology, physiology, epidemiology, food sciences, public health, home economics, social sciences, education, consumption research, communications and economics.

In addition to the University’s other Master’s programmes, you can also work with Finnish and international companies and organisations in connection with your practical training or Master’s thesis.

Research in human nutrition focuses on determining the state of nutrition and the links between nutrition and diseases. Research methods in human nutrition range from follow-up population studies to cell models.

Social sciences-oriented food research aims to determine how eating and food choices are linked to political, social, financial, cultural and social-psychological factors. It focuses on current phenomena related to eating, as well as on changes in society and the lives of individuals, using both quantitative and qualitative research methods. The material used includes survey and interview data as well as texts and images.

As a graduate from the Master’s Programme in Human Nutrition and Food-Related Behaviour, you can apply for doctoral education at the University of Helsinki and at universities within and outside Finland. Suitable doctoral programmes offered by the University of Helsinki include

  • The Doctoral Programme in Population Health
  • The Doctoral Programme in Food Chain and Health
  • The Doctoral Programme in Integrative Life Science
  • The Doctoral Programme in Social Sciences
  • The Doctoral Programme in School, Education, Society and Culture

Further information about University of Helsinki doctoral programmes is available at 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 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: 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.

Faculty of Social Sciences

The Faculty of Social Sciences is Finland’s most diverse and multidisciplinary academic community and social force in its field. Global economic and political events increase the need for experts who are able to place them in a historical, internationally comparable context. Changes in social structures require a novel understanding of, for example, the foundations of the welfare society. 

The Faculty is known for its international top-level research that utilises diverse research corpora and challenging research methods as well as engages in innovative discourse. Teaching at the Faculty emphasises multidisciplinarity and critical thinking. The Faculty has a long tradition of collaboration with ministries, municipalities, various organisations and the media. 

Students enjoy their time at the Faculty of Social Sciences and feel like a part of the community. The Faculty and the students’ respective home departments are the students’ closest and most important operational environment. There is active interaction across disciplines and between different faculties.

There are some 4,000 undergraduate and 700 active postgraduate students at the Faculty, which is located on the City Centre Campus and includes two departments and a total of 13 disciplines. The Faculty website can be found at http://www.helsinki.fi/socialsciences.

The Faculty of Social Sciences is located on the City Centre Campus near the Helsinki University Main Library (Kaisa House) and Learning Centre Aleksandria, which provide students with modern learning facilities. Other services of the Helsinki University Library, such as databases, online journals and textbooks, are readily available as well.

The Faculty of Social Sciences is a high-quality, research-based, international and multidisciplinary learning environment that trains versatile experts with a solid grasp of research methods and a profound understanding of the society for a wide range of positions in the public and private sectors. The teaching makes use of blended learning in a wide range of ways, thus increasing flexibility and providing efficient support for learning.

Helsingin yliopiston tutkinto-opiskelijana sinulla on mahdollisuus lähteä opiskelijavaihtoon tai harjoitteluun ulkomaille. Yliopistolla on noin 500 laadukasta partneriyliopistoa ympäri maailman, ja joka vuosi noin tuhat opiskelijaamme suuntaa joko opiskelijavaihtoon tai harjoitteluun. Jakso ulkomailla antaa

  • kansainvälisen lisän tutkintoosi, ja saat kansainvälistä osaamista omalta alaltasi. Hyvin suunniteltu opiskelijavaihto tuo osaamiseesi monipuolisuutta ja ainutlaatuisuutta!
  • Saat uudenlaisen näkökulman maailmaan, opit myös itsestäsi ja kielitaitosi vahvistuu.
  • Tutustut kohdemaan kulttuuriin uudella tavalla, tapaat uusia ihmisiä ja saat erinomaisen mahdollisuuden verkostoitua alallasi kansainvälisesti.

Lisätietoja opiskelusta ulkomailla guide.student.helsinki.fi/fi/opiskele-ulkomailla

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.

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 the University of Helsinki website http://www.helsinki.fi/newstudents.