Motivation letter for master programmes

These instructions applied to you if you applied to programmes that started in the autumn of 2017.

Motivation letter for International Master’s programmes

As the letter of motivation must be drafted on the online application form, no separate attachment needs to be submitted. The motivation letter will be used in the academic assessment of applications and thus serves as a criterion in the ranking of applicants. Some programmes require that applicants also draft a study plan for Master’s level studies as part of the motivation letter.

The motivation letter includes a set of predetermined questions. The space reserved for the answers is limited; the allowed number of characters is indicated on the application form. It is recommended that you think about the answers before completing the application form. The formulation of the questions may vary slightly, but the most common questions included in the motivation letter are as follows:

  • Why are you applying for this Master’s programme?
  • How do your previous studies support the successful completion of this Master’s programme?
  • How do the studies in this Master's programme supplement and expand your previous studies?
  • How do the studies in this Master's programme support your professional goals and orientation?
  • Outline the theme and topic of your Master's thesis and elaborate on how the topic relates to studies in this Master's programme.


The study plan as part of the motivation letter

The study plan must also be drafted on the online application form for the programmes where a study plan is required. When drawing up your study plan, you must consider which courses will comprise your Master’s degree. You should examine the structure of the Master’s programme you are applying to as well as the content of its studies on the programme’s website or on the portal. The advanced field-specific studies and optional studies should also be considered in planning the studies to be included in your degree.


Please note that the University of Helsinki runs a check-up on motivation letters and other similar documents with the plagiarism recognition tool if needed.