Goal, contents and structure
The programme structure is highly systematic, which well serves students wishing to graduate in two years. In addition to core courses, the programme includes field courses in economics, as well as optional courses from different fields.
This programme prepares you for a career as an economist in business, financial markets and the public sector. Upon completing the programme you will be awarded the Master of Social Sciences degree, having demonstrated that you have developed many skills needed in your future career:
- Profound knowledge of economic theory and familiarity with scientific economic literature,
- The ability to apply economic theory to solving practical problems and interpreting economic phenomena,
- Familiarity with econometric methods and the ability to apply them to practical research problems,
- The ability to collect and interpret empirical data,
- The ability to communicate conclusions and assess the significance of the assumptions made for them,
- Fluency in communicating economic issues to different domestic and international audiences as well as the capability to work independently and in multidisciplinary cooperation,
- Readiness to assess your own professional performance and systematically develop it, and
- Knowledge of sources of economic information and the ability to adopt new tools of economic analysis.
The programme comprises two tracks. The Research track is more demanding in that it gives more profound knowledge of economic theory and econometric methods than the General track. This track is particularly suitable if your goal is to pursue a doctoral degree in economics. Profound knowledge of economic theory and methods is also useful in many demanding careers as an economist.
The degree requirements in both tracks correspond to international standards, which will help you when finding employment and pursuing further studies towards a doctoral degree in Finland and globally.
The module of Economic Theory and Econometric Methods, which you will take in the autumn semester of your first year of study, is the foundation of the programme. It covers the central microeconomic and macroeconomic theory as well as basic econometric methods. After completing this module, you can choose from a wide selection of fields of economics to concentrate on. Optional studies consist of additional courses in economics, or other university-level courses. In addition, an internship or a labour market project is included in the degree requirements.
The programme mostly comprises lecture courses. The courses on economic theory and econometric methods consist of lectures and exercise sessions; for the most part they are completed by taking a written examination. Depending on the track, you take 3 to 4 field courses, selected based on your interests so that they form a meaningful whole. Additional field courses in economics can be included in the optional studies. In the field courses, you will be exposed to different teaching methods, such as problem-based learning and other group activities and seminars. Your grades in many field courses will be based on assignments, presentations and term papers in addition to a final examination.
Economics is a quantitative social science discipline, so you are expected to have good basic command of mathematics and statistics. Your skills in these areas will be systematically developed in this programme. Especially if you aim for a career as an economist or for doctoral studies, you are advised to include further methodological courses in your optional studies. In addition to mathematics and statistics, courses in computer science are recommended.
The structure of the programme is comparable to those of the Master's programmes in economics offered by the best international universities. It differs from the Master's programmes of the Finnish business schools in that the demanding courses in economic theory and econometrics comprise a greater proportion, and the goal is above all to prepare you for a career as an economist. The research track corresponds to Master's programmes in quantitative economics offered by some foreign universities. In line with our programme, the research track will prepare you for a career as an economist and for doctoral studies in economics.
The programme has two tracks:
- General track
- Research track
You select the track when applying for the programme: your choice will determine the degree requirements. The difference between the tracks is that the Research track aims at providing more profound knowledge of economic theory and econometric methods, whereas the General track emphasises fields and applications of economics, and it is possible to include more optional studies in the degree. The Research track prepares you for doctoral studies in economics, and its degree requirements contain most of the doctoral-level core courses in economic theory and econometrics. Taking these courses as part of the Master's degree helps you to graduate faster from the doctoral programme later. Graduates from the Research track are given precedence for the doctoral programme in economics at the University of Helsinki. The Research track is also recommended if you are interested in taking the more demanding core courses to acquire more profound knowledge of economics even if your goal is not to pursue doctoral studies.
The programme comprises 120 credits (ECTS, European Credit Transfer System), and it is designed to be completed in two years. The degree requirements consist of the following modules (in the General / Research track):
- Advanced studies (at least 90 ECTS / 100 ECTS)
- Economic theory and econometric methods (30 ECTS / 45 ECTS)
- Research skills (10 ECTS)
- Master's thesis (30 ECTS)
- Field courses in economics (at least 20 ECTS / 15 ECTS)
- Internship or Labour market project (5 to 15 ECTS)
- Optional studies (15 to 25 ECTS / 5 to 15 ECTS)
After completing the unit in economic theory and econometric methods, you select the fields in economics that you want to concentrate on. It is advisable for you to include further advanced field courses in economics or methodological courses in your optional studies. The study unit in research skills prepares you for writing the Master's thesis, and familiarises you with scholarly work in economics, research ethics and reporting research results. In addition, you prepare a research proposal for your thesis. Integrated into the studies, the degree requirements include drawing up a personal study plan, and career planning. An internship period, a labour market project or other studies aimed at developing employment skills are also included (5 to 15 ECTS so that the extent of these studies and the optional studies amount to 30 ECTS in the General track and to 20 ECTS in the Research track).
You will write your Master's thesis (30 ECTS) during the spring semester of your second year of study. This can be either a theoretical or an empirical thesis on a topic selected under the guidance of your supervisor, where you apply the knowledge and skills you have acquired in the programme. In a theoretical thesis, you will consider an economic problem in the light of existing literature and potentially extend existing economic models. In an empirical thesis, on the other hand, you will approach an economic problem by applying econometric methods to relevant economic data. It is also possible to concentrate on developing a new econometric method or comparing the properties of existing methods.
You start preparing for writing your thesis in the autumn semester of your second year of study by completing the Research skills study module, which includes drawing up a research proposal for your thesis. Supervision primarily takes place in the Master's Thesis seminar, lasting the entire spring semester of your second year of study. You may write the thesis in English, Finnish, or Swedish.