Strong growth continues: The University of Helsinki received 3,900 applications for its international master’s programmes

The applicants represent an increasingly diverse range of countries from around the world. The most popular programme was the Master’s Programme in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability.

The international master’s programmes offered by the University of Helsinki have demonstrated their popularity. Altogether 3,899 applications were submitted in the application round that ended on Friday, 11 January 2019 – an increase of 33% from the previous year.

The number of applicants has been significantly growing for two consecutive years. The international master’s programmes were reformed in 2017, and in the two years since that time the number of applications has grown 2.5-fold.

The tuition fees for applicants from outside the EU and EEA countries, introduced in 2017, have not had a negative impact on interest in studying at the University of Helsinki. Only in the first year after the introduction of the fees was there a slight dip in the number of applications.

“Thanks to the tuition fees, certain students value our education more highly than before. European students may realise that they are paying nothing for an education that could be valued at €15,000 per academic year,” says Sini Saarenheimo, head of admissions at the University of Helsinki.

The percentage of non-EU and non-EEA applicants was 63% (58% in 2018). Before the adoption of tuition fees, approximately three quarters of all applications came from outside the EU and EEA. Finnish applicants accounted for 24% (28% in 2018).

Interest in solving global problems

Applications were received from 130 countries. After Finland, the most applications were submitted from Nigeria, Ghana and India.

The largest number of applications, 317, was submitted to the Master’s Programme in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability. In second place with 278 applications was the Master’s Programme in Data Science. The third place went to the Master’s Programme in Global Politics and Communication, which received 269 applications.

During the same round, applications were also accepted for the Bachelor’s Programme in Science, the first international bachelor’s programme at the University of Helsinki. Additional applications for this programme will be received at a later date, as part of the applicants are applying through the joint application procedure.

From among the applicants subject to a tuition fee, 81% also applied for a grant.

Focus on the quality of applications

In recent years, the University of Helsinki has invested in increasing the number of international students. Degree programmes and studies at the University of Helsinki are promoted, for example, through targeted digital marketing.

Saarenheimo is openly enthusiastic about the increasing number of students interested in the programmes. In addition to the number of applications, their quality is of utmost importance.

“As we aim to admit the best possible students to our degree programmes, we are continuously looking for ways to enhance the quality of applications,” Saarenheimo notes.

Decisions on admissions and grants will be made at the turn of March and April, after which the admitted applicants will announce whether they accept the student place offered to them. Their studies will begin in autumn 2019.

More detailed information on the applicant numbers will be published in the week of January 14

Read more about studying at the University of Helsinki

Further information can be obtained from

Sini Saarenheimo, Head of Admissions, phone +358 50 448 0840