Master's Programme in Russian Studies, Master of Arts (2 years)

Go to degree finder
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 (only non-EU/EEA citizens)
13000 €
Application period
3.12.2018 - 11.1.2019

Bottom content


Upon completion of the Master’s Programme in Russian Studies, you will have acquired in-depth knowledge of Russia’s past and present and Russia-related expertise for use in your future career. You will be able to develop your expertise and skills, find your own career path, and update your knowledge and skills independently. 

Your expertise will give you a solid background in critical thinking and provide you with the readiness to operate in diverse professional environments. For instance, you can choose a career in government, education, the media, the business world or in non-governmental organisations. You can also focus on a research career and apply to doctoral programmes.

Your studies will be conducted by the scholars of the Aleksanteri Institute and other units of the University of Helsinki, who have solid teaching experience and broad research credentials. The Aleksanteri Institute is the largest and best-known research institute for Russian studies in Europe. Based on the scholars’ experience in innovative approaches to area studies, the programme focuses on global challenges in the Russian context. Our themes include the environment, society, politics, culture and history.

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 Scholarship Programme.

The Master´s Programme in Russian Studies is in English

Russian Studies approaches Russia as an increasingly important global player. Our programme is based on the conviction that there will be a continuing need for expertise in Russian culture, politics and society in a variety of fields in national and international arenas.

As a student of Russian Studies, you will participate in courses which approach Russia through globally significant phenomena and processes. These provide you with an understanding of both the challenges Russia faces and the world in which Russia operates. The courses facilitate case-study–based learning and utilise our annual conference and excursions. You also have the possibility to include courses from other programmes at the University of Helsinki.

In the Master’s studies programme, you will

  • Have the opportunity to acquire versatile expertise benefitting many fields that require knowledge of Russia, its culture and institutions
  • Have the opportunity to study basic Russian language courses if you have no prior skills in Russian
  • Have the opportunity to make short excursion(s)
  • Have the opportunity to participate in ongoing research projects and create new ones
  • Strengthen your understanding of theory, and work on your academic writing skills
  • Participate in the master’s thesis seminar, during which you will write your master’s thesis and participate in a student conference
  • Learn in the project courses about career opportunities with Russian experts from different scientific fields

The scope of the Master of Arts degree is 120 credits (ECTS).

The degree contains the following studies:

  • Obligatory study units (75 credits) (discipline-oriented advanced studies, including a total of 20 credits for excursions and projects)
  • Optional study units (15 credits)
  • Master’s thesis 30 credits

Full-time studies in the programme are designed to lead to an MA degree in two years.

In the discipline-oriented advanced studies, you deepen your knowledge of your chosen field and complete your master’s thesis.

The programme is designed to facilitate the completion of your studies on time.  At the beginning of your master’s studies, you prepare a personal study plan (PSP) with an academic tutor. We aim to tailor your studies according to your own aims.

Your master’s studies culminate in the writing of a master’s thesis, which is an independent scholarly study. You will practice thesis writing during the thesis seminar.

The aim of the master’s thesis is to develop the skills required to understand a scientific research process. The most important of these include the abilities to seek information independently, analyse and assess existing information critically, and produce and apply information systematically. In addition, writing your master’s thesis develops your project management skills and your mastery of an extensive body of knowledge.

After completing your master’s thesis, you will

  • Have the ability to define and discuss your chosen research problem
  • Have mastered the theories and research methods required in your work
  • Have demonstrated familiarity with the topic of your thesis and the relevant literature
  • Be able to communicate scientifically and analyse material
  • Be ready to work in a systematic manner and able to understand complex concepts

Russian Studies will prepare you for careers in the public sector, education, research, journalism, business and non-governmental organisations.

  • Depending on your studies and acquired expertise, you can find employment in government, the media, and different national and international organisations.
  • You can also continue your studies as a postgraduate student after completing your master’s degree.  Successful completion of postgraduate studies will also give you an opportunity to consider an international career in the academic world.
  • In the project courses, you will have a specific focus on working life skills.

During your studies, you can engage in international activities both in foreign universities and at your home university. The Russian Studies programme gives you a good opportunity for international interaction due to the approach of the teaching staff and our active collaboration with Russian partners. Your professional orientation will be developed together with expertise in Russian and Eastern European Studies.

The programme collaborates with our Russian partners and partner programmes at the University of Helsinki. The research projects conducted at the Aleksanteri Institute can offer unique materials for seminar work and master’s theses. A good example of such materials is the Finnish Centre of Excellence in the Russian Studies data bank.

The Russian Studies programme has disciplinary expertise in different fields of humanities and social sciences. The programme approaches Russia in the global context through significant phenomena, processes and concepts from multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary points of view.

After completing the Master of Arts degree, you can apply for the postgraduate research degree programme leading to a Doctor of Philosophy.

The Faculty of Arts in the University of Helsinki is Finland’s leading centre of humanistic research. The Faculty has a strong research orientation, and its research represents the top level in many fields, both in Europe and internationally.

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 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

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.