Degree level
Master's degree
Start semester
2018 Autumn
Scope of studies and length
120 ECTS credits, 2 years
Language of instruction
English, Finnish, Swedish
Tuition fee per year (non-EU/EEA students)
18000 €

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Programme

Why are microbes the most important group of organisms on our planet? How is knowledge of microbiology applied in medicine and industry, or in food production? What research techniques are used to study viruses, bacteria and other microbes? These are important questions, and you can find answers to these and many others in the study of Microbiology and microbial biotechnology.

Upon completing your degree, you will:

  • Understand the global significance of microbes as remodelers and processors of life and the environment
  • Understand the potential for the use of microbes in the development of new applications, such as foodstuffs, drugs, and industrial processes
  • Understand the molecular mechanisms that underpin microbial function
  • Be able to evaluate the effects of changes in the environment on microbial communities and thus on the function of the biosphere
  • Be able to estimate the risks of microbes, and assess the use of microbes in a variety of environments and situations
  • Be able to evaluate ethical questions and the prerequisites of commercialisation related to the use of microbes and biotechnology
  • You will understand the most important functional mechanisms of the major groups of microbes
  • Be aware of the most important pathogens and virulence mechanisms
  • Have mastered the most important microbiological and biotechnological research methods, and become proficient in the interpretation and evaluation of research results
  • Be able to develop and evaluate new microbiological and biotechnological applications
  • Have the capability to plan and lead activities that involve microbiology and biotechnology, and will be able to propose appropriate actions in various situations
  • Know how to search for, produce and critically evaluate scientifically relevant information
  • Have developed the capacity for disseminating relevant information about your topic to various target groups in an appropriate manner within an international environment.

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 mainly English. You can write exams and your thesis in Finnish, Swedish or English.

The key contents of the study programme in Microbiology and microbial biotechnology are:

  • Research methods in microbiology, biotechnology and bioinformatics
  • Application of microbiological knowledge
  • Solving microbiological problems
  • Critical, research-based scientific thinking
  • Planning, implementation and reporting of microbiological and biotechnological research
  • Functional principles of microbial cells and communities
  • Development from research to product
  • Leadership, entrepreneurship and patenting
  • Other studies, through which you can adapt the degree towards your own interests
  • Discovery of novel findings in the field of biology.

Students graduating from the University of Helsinki bachelor’s programmes in Molecular biosciences, Food sciences, Environmental sciences or Biology can enter the master’s program in Microbiology and microbial biotechnology. Although each of the bachelor’s programmes provides a different base of knowledge, they all provide a sufficient preparation for the master’s programme in Microbiology and microbial biotechnology. Selection of students, if necessary, will be carried out according to study performance.

If you have obtained a bachelor’s degree at another university, or a suitable polytechnic degree at a university of applied sciences, you can apply to enter the master’s programme via a separate application process. When you apply for the programme under these conditions, you will be evaluated on the basis of your previously completed studies, language skills and motivation.

You can modify the master’s degree programme for your own interests with elective subjects.

There is intensive interaction between teachers and students in the master’s programme in Microbiology and microbial biotechnology. A variety of learning methods are used in the courses, including:

  • Laboratory work, seminars, lectures
  • Oral presentations
  • Written reports (individual, paired, group)
  • Independent reading
  • Work practice, instruction in research groups, project courses
  • Oral group exams, written exams, home essays.

At least half of the study credits (60 of 120 credits) will be from courses in Microbiology and microbial biotechnology. By selecting elective and other study opportunities, you will be able to shape the study programme towards many subject areas, such as the environment, food, viruses, fungi, health and microbial diseases, or microbial biotechnology.

Your Master’s thesis accounts for 30 credits. The thesis is generally based on an experimental research project, which you can perform under the supervision of an experienced researcher. During the thesis process, you train yourself in scientific thinking, identifying problems, constructing hypotheses, collecting material, working in the laboratory, analysing results and presenting the results logically, as well as putting your results into the context of current scientific views. You will write your thesis in the format of a scientific publication in which you critically discuss your results from the perspective of the relevant scientific field.

As a master of science graduating from the master’s programme in Microbiology and microbial biotechnology you will be well prepared to (a) continue your studies toward a doctoral degree, (b) specialise as a hospital microbiologist, or (c) proceed directly to a career in working life. Statistically, the situation for microbiologists proceeding to employment has been very favourable. As a microbiology graduate, you can work in the following sectors:

  • Research and development (universities, research institutes, companies)
  • Surveillance/monitoring in healthcare, food and environment (food industry, drug and diagnostics industry, regulatory authority)
  • Administration, professional roles and consultancy (companies, ministries, supervision offices, EU)
  • Business and management (companies, ministries, supervisory offices, EU)
  • Teaching and education (universities, universities of applied sciences, vocational schools, high schools, comprehensive schools, organisations).

As a microbiology student you will have good opportunities to participate in international student exchanges. You can complete some parts of the degree at universities abroad. In addition, there are many international students and researchers on the Viikki campus, bringing a global multicultural atmosphere to your everyday life.

The Viikki bioscience campus offers many opportunities to enrich your studies. The teaching and research cover all areas of microbiology, from the molecular level to environmental ecology and global processes. You can also widen and deepen your knowledge at the University of Helsinki in many other subjects, for example in bioinformatics, chemistry, law, and economics.

The master’s programme in Microbiology and microbial biotechnology operates in close collaboration with research institutes and industry: you can apply for an opportunity to perform the laboratory work included in your studies or undertake research for your thesis at another institution. The student organisations Helix, Symbioosi and Lipidi—as well as the Mikrobiologikilta society for students and graduate microbiologists—organise many activities, including excursions, seminars, and meetings.

The multidisciplinary research in microbiology and biotechnology taking place within the Viikki campus is recognised both nationally and internationally. For more information regarding research in microbiological sciences and biotechnology at Viikki, please see the following:

As a graduate of the Master’s degree programme, you will be able to proceed to scientific postgraduate studies (i.e. doctoral degrees) in several fields of the biosciences. In addition to the disciplines of microbiological sciences and biotechnology, you could undertake a postgraduate degree in related sciences such as biomedicine and forest science.

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

Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences

The Faculty provides expert training in the biological and environmental sciences, giving you a competitive edge in the labour market. As an expert in the biological and environmental sciences, you can find work in many areas, such as health care, medicine, the sustainable use of natural resources, the resolution of environmental problems, food production, and many fields of industry.  

The Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences plays a key role in the research and teaching conducted on the Viikki Campus. The Faculty and its associated units constitute Finland’s largest centre of research and teaching in the biological and environmental sciences. The Faculty’s strengths include high-quality research as well as a wide range of research and teaching. 

The Faculty consists of two departments:

  • Department of Biosciences (Viikki Campus)
  • Department of Environmental Sciences (Viikki Campus and Lahti University Campus)  

The Faculty also operates three biological field stations:

  • Kilpisjärvi Biological Station in the northwestern region of Finnish Lapland
  • Lammi Biological Station in the Kanta-Häme region in central Finland
  • Tvärminne Zoological Station in Hanko in southern Finland by the Baltic Sea

 

The Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences provides the bulk of its teaching in the modern research and teaching facilities of the Viikki Campus. Degree education in the environmental sector is also provided on the Lahti University Campus. Instruction is in Finnish, Swedish, and English.  

The Faculty employs a wide range of learning methods, including lectures and small group work, as well as laboratory and field courses. The majority of field courses take place at the Faculty’s field stations in Lammi, Kilpisjärvi and Tvärminne. Your work in many major subjects here can also include study and research trips abroad. You will have the opportunity to take part in a traineeship and in practical training in a research group in Finland or abroad. For the experimental section of your Master’s thesis, you will be able to collect data and conduct experiments in the laboratory or in the field, in the research environment of your choice. The Faculty’s research groups also include a large number of international researchers. The atmosphere is international; communication is in English.  

Your education here combines lectures and web-based teaching. Lectures and other study materials are available on virtual learning platforms. We have developed a separate online learning environment for species identification of organisms and various habitats.  

A campus library is located in Viikki in conjunction with a public library. The institutes of higher education operating on the Lahti University Campus have also established a joint scientific library.

The Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences provides you with excellent opportunities for internationalisation during your studies. The easiest option is to participate in a student exchange in another Nordic country, elsewhere in Europe or outside Europe. Exchange programmes usually offer grants and exemptions from tuition fees. Outgoing exchange students are also entitled to student financial aid.
 
Internationalisation may also involve:
• Tutoring international students
• Participating in the Faculty’s English-language teaching, the Language Centre’s language courses or the Helsinki Summer School’s intensive courses and extracurricular activities
• Completing a traineeship abroad
• Getting involved in the international activities of subject organisations or the University’s Student Union
 

All students can participate in a student exchange. Exchange destinations are selected from among universities of the highest standards. Exchange opportunities are currently available in 66 countries in every part of the world. Studies can also include a traineeship completed abroad.

Mobility arrangements help you excel in an increasingly international world:
• You will improve your language skills and ability to interact with people from other cultures.
• You will gain a different perspective on the subject you study.
• You will be able to include studies completed abroad in your degree.
• Studies completed abroad may be key for finding employment after graduation.
 

 

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.

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.