Number of applicants for the University’s international Master’s programmes almost doubled

The international Master’s programmes of the University of Helsinki received a total of 2,946 applications, an increase of 83% from the previous year. A new degree programme, the Master’s Programme in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability, ranked among the top programmes.

The University of Helsinki has successfully increased the number of applicants to its international Master’s programmes after last year’s dip. The decline in applicants last year was largely due to the adoption of tuition fees for students from outside the EU and the EEA.The number of applicants clearly exceeded the equivalent figures for 2016 when the tuition fees were yet to be introduced.

The percentage of non-EU and non-EEA applicants was 58%, whereas last year it was 57%. Before the adoption of the tuition fees, approximately three quarters of all applications came from outside the EU and EEA. Finnish applicants accounted for 28% of all the applicants (29% in 2017).

As in previous years, the largest numbers of applicants came from Pakistan, China and Ghana. There was a marked increase in applications from many countries, such as India, Columbia, Ecuador, Chile, Peru, Indonesia, the USA, Hongkong, Russia and Vietnam. Applications were received from 127 countries in total.

The University also received a large number of scholarship applications, with 84% of the students affected by the fees applying for a University scholarship.

Degree programme on sustainability in the top three

The most applications, 230 altogether, were submitted for the Master’s Programme in Global Politics and Communication. In second place was a new programme, the Master’s Programme in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability  (202 applications). The third place went to the Master’s Programme in Computer Science with 182 applications.

Sini Saarenheimo, head of services for Admissions Services, explains that the placement of the Master’s Programme in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability in the top three in its first year is exceptional. Usually it takes several years for programmes to become this popular.

Helena Åström, vice-dean for academic affairs at the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, is delighted by the success.

“The multidisciplinary programme has an ambitious goal: solve the sustainability problems in the shared systems of humans and nature,” Åström explains. “The content of the education has been designed together with three separate faculties. It’s wonderful to have so much interest from applicants around the world!”

High-quality degree programmes the key to success

During the past two years, the University of Helsinki has made significant, long-term investments in increasing the number of international applicants. The University has also focused on targeting its digital marketing.  The University of Helsinki has upgraded the contents of its Master’s programmes in an effort to increase their attractiveness and to raise the profile of the University. The application process has been streamlined and admissions and student services enhanced.

“Our success is based on the high-quality degree programmes that attract interest globally. Thanks to digital marketing, we have been able to publicise them to prospective students around the world. We are very happy to see our hard work pay off,” says Saarenheimo.

The application period ended at 15.00 on Friday, 12 January 2018. Decisions regarding admission appeals and grants will be made in March-April, after which the admitted applicants will announce whether they accept the offered student place. Their studies will begin in autumn 2018.

More detailed information about applicant figures will be published during the week of 15 January at

Further information:

Sini Saarenheimo, head of services, Admissions Services, tel. +358 50 448 0840