Master's Programme in Neuroscience, Master of Science (2 years)

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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)
18000 €
Application period
3.12.2018 - 11.1.2019

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We are conscious, we sense, we feel and we act because of our brains. The brain coordinates and is affected by bodily functions, and it integrates the information about the outside world conveyed by our senses – it is the most central player in the physiology of the whole body. Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary field that studies the brain and the entire nervous system at different levels of organisation, from genes and molecules to nerve cells and networks; and beyond. The focus of a neuroscientist’s research may lie in understanding the neurobiological bases of behaviour, analysing the functional roles of a single molecule, or developing new treatments for neurological disorders or sensory deficits.

The Master’s Programme in Neuroscience provides you with the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills in a scientifically vibrant international environment. You will be taught by scientists who will provide you with a wide spectrum of opportunities for practical training and for becoming integrated into the stimulating neuroscience community. When you graduate, you will have mastered the essentials of neuroscience and have deeper knowledge and skills in the subfields of your choice. The Programme prepares you for PhD studies and a research career, or for a career in the private or public sector.

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 Master’s Programme in Neuroscience is a truly international programme that brings together students from many countries. English is the language of instruction and of study materials for compulsory courses and most optional courses. You can write all exams, reports and your Master’s thesis in English. If you are fluent in Finnish or Swedish you can use these languages.

Training is arranged in modules and consists of lecture courses, hands-on laboratory courses, seminars and book exams. Group work, reports and presentations help you to develop critical thinking and communication skills that are essential for a successful career within Academia and in jobs in the public and private sectors. Compulsory studies provide you with a broad general knowledge of the field, whereas optional studies will offer you freedom to focus on topics of interest to you. You can choose lecture or laboratory courses for example in molecular and cellular neuroscience, developmental neurobiology, sensory biology, regeneration biology, systems neuroscience, electrophysiology, neuroanatomy, brain disorders, etc. You can also expand your knowledge by taking courses from other Master’s Programmes. 

With optional study modules you can refine your specialisation within the field of neuroscience and broaden your knowledge in other disciplines.  Discussing the options with your teachers and study advisors during the first months of your studies will help you to identify the various opportunities and prepare your personal study plan. You can revise your plan, if necessary, as your studies progress.

You undertake modules amounting to the value of 120 credits (ECTS) according to your personal study plan. The Master’s Degree consists of

  • 60 credits of advanced studies, including a research project (Master’s thesis, 30 credits)
  • 60 credits of other studies chosen from the Programme or from other Programmes (e.g. Genetics and Molecular Biosciences, Translational Medicine, or Psychology)

The curriculum of the Programme enables you to complete 90 credits in 12 months of full-time studying and utilising study opportunities during the summer months, but not including your Master’s thesis research project. However, we recommend that you complete the Programme in 2 years as this will give you more flexibility for your optional studies. You can include career planning or extracurricular activities in your personal study plan.

In order to qualify as a biology teacher, you will need to have 60 credits of pedagogical studies in your degree. This applies only to Finnish or Swedish speaking students.

Further information is available on the website of the programme.

All students undertake a Master’s thesis (30 credits). You will learn how a research project proceeds, from planning the work and choosing appropriate methods to performing the experiments and analysing the results. The Master’s thesis is typically based on an experimental research project carried out in one of the University’s research groups under the supervision of an experienced researcher. Your thesis may also consist of a a theoretical literature study. You will write your Thesis as if it were a scientific publication, critically describing, contemplating and discussing your results in the light of previous scientific literature on the topic. In your written thesis you will be expected to demonstrate that you are capable of scientific thinking, that you have mastered the relevant research methods and that you are profoundly familiar with your research topic. Completing your Master’s thesis demonstrates that you have acquired the relevant skills in project management and written scientific communication.

During the Master's Seminar in Neuroscience, you will get support for all stages of the thesis process and beyond, including data acquisition, communication skills, peer interaction and support, networking and career opportunities.

If you are studying for biology teacher qualification, your Master’s thesis can deal with pedagogical or didactic issues in biology teaching. This applies only to Finnish or Swedish speaking students.

Basic research and biomedical research are career paths that offer many opportunities. After completing a Master’s degree in Neuroscience, you will be eligible for Doctoral Programmes at the University of Helsinki (e.g. Doctoral Programme Brain & Mind) or worldwide for other Doctoral Programmes in neuroscience, biosciences or biomedicine. 

In addition to Academia, neuroscientists work as specialists in many fields, such as the pharmaceutical industry, education, biotechnology, public policy, science writing and publishing.

A Master’s degree in Neuroscience is a popular choice among Finnish and Swedish speaking students studying towards biology teacher qualification.

Although many of the students from the Programme continue to doctoral training (PhD), the Programme will also give you qualifications for specialist jobs outside Academia, for example in the pharmaceutical industry or companies.

If you are admitted into the programme in 2019, you will not be able to apply for a study right in pedagogical studies during your Master's degree. However, you can apply for a study right after you have completed the Master's degree.

Neuroscience research at the University of Helsinki is conducted at the highest international level. The research groups participate in international collaborative networks, which is also reflected in teaching and research training. A large number of international exchange students and degree students pursue their studies in neuroscience, and many international scholars participate in teaching.

As a student here you are encouraged to seek exchange or postgraduate positions in international partner universities and companies.

The Master’s Programme in Neuroscience is part of the Network of European Schools in Neuroscience, NENS, which provides further opportunities for exchange programmes and networking within European universities.

Tutoring brings together students from many countries and cultural backgrounds. You can also participate in the many activities of the students’ association. For further information, see

Neuroscience is a highly multidisciplinary field of study, and the Master’s Programme in Neuroscience links teachers and researchers especially within the biosciences and biomedicine. Our courses are organised and thesis projects conducted mainly on two campuses of the University of Helsinki:  Viikki and Meilahti. More information about the research units.

In addition to neuroscience, you will be able to select courses from related programmes, such as Genetics and Molecular Biosciences, Translational Medicine, or Psychology.

As we also collaborate with the Aalto University Life Science Technologies - Human Neuroscience and –technology, you will be able to include their relevant courses in your degree. Many courses and training events organised by the Doctoral Programmes in the field are also open to Master’s students.

Through the Network of European Schools in Neuroscience (NENS), you will have unique opportunities to participate in courses and symposia organised by other European Neuroscience Programmes.

The University of Helsinki hosts many internationally prominent neuroscience research groups.   This offers unique opportunities for you to pursue studies in state-of-the-art facilities and in an inspiring research-oriented atmosphere.

Current research focusses on the following areas: molecular and cellular neuroscience, developmental neuroscience and regeneration biology, sensory biology, cognitive and systems neuroscience, electrophysiology, and basic research on diseases of the nervous system. Closely related are prominent research groups in functional proteomics and lipidomics. The research strategies are strongly integrative, so that questions are addressed at different levels of organisation, from molecules to behaviour, at different stages of development, and under both normal and pathophysiological conditions.  Further information on research is available at

After completing a Master’s degree in neuroscience, you can apply for a Doctoral Programme at the University of Helsinki or any other relevant PhD programme within or outside Europe.

At the University of Helsinki, doctoral studies consist of a 40-60 credit study module and a doctoral dissertation. Doctoral candidates often do their dissertation work in the same research group in which they completed their Master’s thesis. Courses suitable for postgraduate students are organised by Doctoral Programmes, such as the Doctoral Programme Brain & Mind and Doctoral Programme in Integrative Life Sciences. More information about doctoral training at the University of Helsinki can be found here:


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 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.

Helsingin yliopiston tutkinto-opiskelijana sinulla on mahdollisuus lähteä opiskelijavaihtoon tai harjoitteluun ulkomaille. Helsingin yliopistolla on yli 500 vaihtokohdetta ympäri maailman. 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.

Tutustu ulkomailla opiskeluun, Helsingin yliopiston vaihtokohteisiin sekä vaihtokokemuksiin.

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

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 Instructions for students.