Degree level
Master's degree
Start semester
2019 Autumn
Scope of studies and length
120 ECTS credits, 2 years
Language of instruction
Tuition fee per year (non-EU/EEA students)
13000 €

Bottom content


The aim of the Master´s Programme in Intercultural Encounters (ICE) is to learn an appreciation of the many facets of intercultural contact. You will acquire theoretical knowledge and skills to examine complex social and cultural phenomena in different kinds of intercultural encounters. You will gain a profound understanding of how everyday local life is connected to international, multicultural and transnational issues. You will learn to analyse why and how conflicts arise for various cultural, political and religious reasons. You will gain insights into the possibilities of dialogue in conflict resolution. You will learn to communicate and evaluate information on intercultural encounters. 

Upon completing the programme, you will be able to act and grow in multidisciplinary and multicultural groups, and deal with issues of intercultural interaction, diversity, internationalisation, cultural management, the media and power. 

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 Be 1* of the Best Scholarship Programme.

The language of the programme is English. However, you can complete up to 25% (30 credits) of the studies in another language.

The Master’s Programme in Intercultural Encounters offers a multidisciplinary approach to intercultural issues. The programme offers courses grounded in the latest academic research, which enables you to apply a theoretical grasp to practical situations in a multicultural and internationally oriented working life. You can specialise in different local, national and supranational cultures in, for example, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East or North America. Further, the perspectives of the Study of Religions, Theology, Communication and Indigenous Studies provide you with regional, cultural and socio-political knowledge, and a variety of theoretical frameworks to understand the dynamics of intercultural encounters.

Depending on your target degree, you will specialise in one or two thematic modules. Thematic studies are constructed as follows: 

The thematic module on Religion, Conflict and Dialogue prepares you for critical analyses of the role of religion in conflicts in local, national and global contexts. You will also develop expertise in conflict resolution and reconciliation projects involving religious issues, and gain an understanding of the requirements of such work.

The thematic module on Tradition, Knowledge and Change offers an opportunity to obtain knowledge of epistemological differences from a decolonising perspective. Your expertise will extend to indigenous peoples’ philosophies and concepts, with new insights into knowledge-making, power relations and diverse interactions in the production of tradition.

The thematic module of Communication and Media focuses on practical intercultural communication situations and processes, as well as on cultural beliefs and values present and produced in communication and social relationships. You will also learn to analyse relationships between culture, the media and power both in the traditional mass media and the present-day internet and social media.

The thematic module on Transnational and International Interactions examines strengthened interconnectivity and relations between people transcending the borders. Particular attention is given to transnational actors and activities which impact culture and politics across traditional borders. These include non-governmental organisations, multinational corporations, religious actors, ethnic actors, terrorism, migration, hybrid identities and diasporas. You will also learn more about the culture and practice of diplomatic relations.

Depending on your choice, the ICE programme will lead to a Master of Arts (Humanities) degree or a Master of Theology degree. You will choose your target degree when you apply to the programme. Students taking the Master of Theology degree specialise in the thematic module Religion, Conflict and Dialogue

The master’s programme is 120 credits (ECTS) in scope. The degree shall be completed in two academic years.

The degree contains Joint Studies (20 credits), which are compulsory to all ICE students:

  • An introductory course to interdisciplinarity and key concepts
  • Intercultural Communication 
  • A course on Digital Humanities
  • Research methodology 

In addition, you will complete the Professional Contexts module (15 credits), which consists of a Career Clinic, practical projects and an option to do an internship.

The Master’s Thesis Seminars (in total 10 credits) provide support for completing the Master’s Thesis (30 credits).

Finally, you have the opportunity to specialise in thematic studies of your choice (30 credits), and you may even complete Optional Studies (15 credits).

Master’s studies culminate in writing your master’s thesis, an independent scientific study of 30 credits. Your research and writing will be supported in a seminar. The work on the master’s thesis begins in the spring of the first academic year and continues throughout the second academic year. 

Writing your master’s thesis develops your skills for conducting research. The process will enhance your ability to seek information independently, analyse and assess existing information critically, and produce and apply information independently. In addition, writing your master’s thesis develops your project management skills and your mastery of an extensive range of knowledge in your field of study. You will write your thesis in English.

The ICE programme takes professionalism and preparation for future work life seriously. Our aim is to work as much as possible with real-life situations and case studies. In the courses, we integrate academic knowledge and research with on-site visits and guest lecturers from professional life. Part of ICE compulsory studies focus on developing skills and working methods that you will need in your future career. 

Employment opportunities for ICE programme graduates range from cultural and public management to international projects in private companies. Potential employees include the EU, the UN and other national and international organisations; ministries; universities; the municipal sector; non-governmental organisations; and the media.

During your studies, you can, for example, serve as a peer tutor for exchange students, study abroad on a short exchange, or complete an internship abroad. For study exchanges and internships, the University of Helsinki provides a scholarship or a grant.

 The Master’s Programme in Intercultural Encounters cooperates closely with other international master’s programmes at the University of Helsinki.

For more information about research at the Faculty of Arts, see For details about research at the Faculty of Theology, visit

After completing the Master’s programme, you are eligible to apply for PhD programmes. For options at the University of Helsinki, please see

How to apply
Below a list of the different ways to apply to this degree programme.

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

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.