On the 28th of November 2017, the Master’s Programme in Urban Studies & Planning (USP) organized an info session for students who are interested in applying for the programme. The info session was held in “Urbarium”, the new teaching space of the USP Programme in Porthania at the City Centre Campus

USP Info Session Mari Vaattovaara

Programme director Professor Mari Vaattovaara introduced the background of the USP Programme and discussed future plans with regards to the Helsinki Institute of Urban and Regional Studies (Kaupunkitutkimusintituutti KATI). In the future, KATI will be closely tied to the USP programme through both research and teaching. Professor Laura Kolbe talked about multidisciplinary collaboration and teaching within the programme from a historian’s perspective. 

Programme coordinator Doctor Salla Jokela presented the target degrees and study tracks available in the USP Programme, introduced the programme structure, and showed examples of excursions, lectures and coursework carried out during the first autumn semester. 

USP Info Session

USP students Daria Tarkhova and Jalmari Sarla talked about the programme’s curriculum from a student’s point of view. According to them, the intensive weekly schedule during the first semester has fostered genuine team spirit among the students. This spirit has led to the establishment of a student association called Mesta

The student representatives praised the high quality lectures and group work for opportunities to learn from leading experts and practitioners in the fields of urban studies and planning. They also acknowledged the “Urban GIS and Visual Tools” course for providing them with up-to-date data analysis and visualization skills.  

Emmi Peltonen from Admission Services at the University of Helsinki presented the admission process. The application period for the Master’s Programme in Urban Studies & Planning at the University of Helsinki is open from 1 December 2017 to 12 January 2018. Students who choose a target degree from Aalto University can apply from 15 December 2017 to 24 January 2018. Staff reminded the participants that while applicants can freely choose their target degree, those applicants who apply for Urban Studies & Planning in Architecture or Landscape architecture specializations should have a relevant earlier degree in these respective fields.

In the Q&A session, participants asked about the eligibility of their previous degrees for the USP Master’s Programme. The programme’s academic selection committee welcomes applicants with a variety of backgrounds. Applications should include an academic or professional portfolio and a motivation letter with a study plan through which the applicants can demonstrate how their previous studies and other relevant experiences would complement their studies in the USP Programme. 

The prospective participants also wanted to know how easy it is to combine studies in the USP Programme with family life and work. The first semester is very intensive, so USP students should be prepared to study full time during the days. The student representatives nevertheless affirmed that in most cases it is possible to combine studying with flexile hourly paid work. 

Learn more about the USP Programme:

Are you interested in applying for the USP Programme at Aalto University? Check out the following websites:

In case you have questions, please contact us by email:

  • Admission process at the University of Helsinki: admissions@helsinki.fi 
  • Admission process at Aalto University:  admissions@aalto.fi
  • Curriculum: katariina.kosonen[at]helsinki.fi or salla.jokela[at]helsinki.fi
  • Student life: daria.tarkhova[at]helsinki.fi