Goals, contents and structure

Upon completion of the Master's Programme in Russian Studies, you will have acquired in-depth knowledge of Russia's past and present and developed Russia-related expertise for use in your future career. You will be able to recognise changes in your field of expertise, adjust your skills to these changes, 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 face challenges in diverse professional environments. For instance, you can continue on to a career in government and education, or find employment in the media, the business world or in the service of non-governmental organisations.

Your teachers will be scholars from the Aleksanteri Institute and other units of university of Helsinki. They have solid teaching experience and broad research credentials. Aleksanteri Institute at the University of Helsinki is the largest and well-known research institute for Russian studies in Europe. Our teachers use innovative teaching approaches to area studies, which develop your critical thinking and analytical skills in a global environment of increasing digitalization and complex social change.

The Master´s Programme in Russian Studies at the University of Helsinki promotes an understanding of Russia as a vital member of global and local communities and an important and powerful player today. There will be a continuing need in the future for expertise in Russian culture, politics, and society in a variety of fields in national and international arenas.

In the Master’s Programme, you will

  • acquire expertise in Russia for use in many fields that require knowledge of Russia, its culture and institutions
  • study basic Russian language courses to improve your skills in Russian
  • make short excursion(s)
  • participate in on-going research projects
  • strengthen your understanding of theory, and work on your academic writing skills
  • write your Master’s thesis and learn about career opportunities with Russia experts from different scientific fields

As a student of Russian Studies, you will write academic essays and learning diaries, but also practice problem-solving learning. Your education will include attending lectures, participation in group work and workshops/seminars, and examinations as well as project work.

Russian studies structure

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

The degree contains the following studies:

  • Obligatory study units (75 credits) (discipline-specific advanced studies)
  • Optional study units (15 credits)
  • Master's thesis 30 credits

In your Master’s studies, you focus mainly on discipline-specific advanced studies. During this stage, you deepen your knowledge of your chosen field through both studies and writing your Master’s thesis.

We help you to complete your studies systematically. Our academic staff supports you in preparing a personal study plan (PSP) and following it through. The programme, with full-time studies, is designed to lead to an MA degree in two years.


  RUS-300 Master’s Programme in Russian Studies                                                   120 credits

RUS-301 Orientation to Russian Studies  

  5 credits

RUS-500 Module Global Processes in Russia   (RUS-302 - RUS-304)

 15 credits
RUS-302 Norms and Ethics      5 credits
RUS-303 Processes and Flows            5 credits
RUS-304 Reactions and Responses          5 credits
RUS-305 Methods and Theories       10 credits
Optional Studies           15 credits
Module: Career Orientation (RUS-306­ – RUS-307)         10 credits
RUS-306 Mid-term Project      5 credits
RUS-307 Excursion   5 credits
Module Russia and Global Challenges   (RUS-308 - RUS-311)  20 credits
RUS-308 In/Equality & Resilience     5 credits
RUS-309 Security & Power     5 credits
RUS-310 Environment & Climate              5 credits
RUS-311 Identity & Culture               5 credits
RUS-312 Project Course         10 credits
RUS-313 MA Thesis Seminar      5 credits
RUS-800 Master’s Thesis              30 credits