The University of Helsinki is the oldest and largest institution of academic education in Finland, an international scientific community of 40,000 students and researchers. In international university rankings, the University of Helsinki typically ranks among the top 100. The University of Helsinki seeks solutions for global challenges and creates new ways of thinking for the best of humanity. Through the power of science, the University has contributed to society, education and welfare since 1640.
The University of Helsinki in Brief
The University of Helsinki is the only Finnish university to consistently rank in the top 100 of international university rankings. There are approximately 18 000 universities in the world.
In 2017, the University of Helsinki placed 56th in the Shanghai Ranking, 90th in the Times Higher Education World University Ranking and 102th in the QS World University Ranking and 81th in the Taiwan (NTU) ranking.
The University’s core duties are research, teaching and their support through community relations.
The University of Helsinki aims to produce research of a high international standard in all fields. Research provides the University’s scholars with solid expertise to participate in the development of society and the business sector in various national and regional cooperation projects. The University of Helsinki is a member of more than half of all national and Nordic centres of excellence in research. It is also the only Finnish university to have received an invitation to join the League of European Research Universities (LERU), which is an association of the leading research-intensive universities in Europe.
The University allocates funding to research based on competition and evaluation. Special emphasis is placed on multidisciplinary initiatives within basic research. About half of the research conducted at the University of Helsinki is financed from the University’s operating expenses and the other half from external funding sources.
Teaching at the University of Helsinki is based on research. The underlying principle is that every teacher does research and every researcher teaches. According to an international evaluation, teaching at the University of Helsinki is of a high European standard. As a research-intensive university, the University of Helsinki encourages most of its students to complete a second-cycle degree. The great variety of minor subject options continues to be an important component in the high quality of degrees completed at the University. The Open University offers teaching in accordance with the degree requirements of the University of Helsinki, and University of Helsinki Centre for Continuing Education HY+ provides professional education programmes in the various fields represented at the University.
The University of Helsinki is a responsible social force, an advocate of science and scholarship, and a valued partner. The University boasts an extensive network of partners, including its alumni and friends, donors and funders, foundations and civic organisations, businesses and the media as well as political decision-makers and civil servants in the public sector.
The University’s social engagement is manifested through its core duties of research and teaching, in addition to which the University and members of the University community interact with the surrounding society in numerous ways.
Interaction with the University enhances the operational conditions of its partners, the business sector and the society at large. Graduates serving as experts in various fields constitute the University’s most significant contribution to society. The University’s representatives are consulted by decision-makers, participate in public debate and provide research information for public use. Productive, well-functioning partnerships generate solutions to the great challenges facing not only Finnish society, but societies globally.
In 2016, a total of 32 033 students of all levels were enrolled at the University of Helsinki. Of them, 20 207 were women, a ratio of 63.1%. The number of international students was 1997 (6%).
First Cycle or Bachelor's degree: 17 540 students, of whom women 10 803 (61.6%) and men 6 737 (38,4%)
Second Cycle or Master's degree: 9 662 students, of whom women 6 366 (65,9 %) and men 3 296 (34,1%)
Licentiate's degree: 209 students, of whom women 155 (75,2%) and men 51 (24,8%)
Doctoral degree: 4 470 students, of whom women 2 736 (61,2%) and men 1 734 (38,8%)
Other degrees: 155 students, of whom women 147 (94,8%) and men 8 (5,2%)
In 2016, a total of 6 012 degrees were completed at the University of Helsinki. Women completed 4 103 (68,2%) of these degrees.
First Cycle or Bachelor’s degree: 2 756 degrees, of which 1 877 (68,1 %) completed by women and 879 (31,9 %) by men.
Second Cycle or Master’s degree: 2 685 degrees, of which 1 872 (69,7 %) completed by women and 813 (30,3 %) by men.
Licentiate degree: 45 degrees, of which 35 (77,8 %) completed by women and 10 (22,2 %) by men.
Doctoral degree: 508 degrees, of which 303 (59,6 %) completed by women and 205 (40,4 %) by men.
Other degrees: 18 degrees, of which 16 (88,9 %) completed by women and 2 (11,1 %) by men.
The University of Helsinki employs 7 553 people in 2016. Of them, 61,2 % represent teaching and research staff. 50.0 % of them are women.
The total number of person years was 7 266, and 4 154 of them were spent on teaching and research.
University of Helsinki's employee's average age is 43.1 years and the average age of retirement is 65.1.
Teaching and Research Staff
Altogether 4 621 persons (4 154 person years) during year 2016.
599 professors, research directors and senior curators (level 4)
1 262 university lecturers, clinical teachers, university researchers, senior researchers, research co-ordinators, intendants, assistant professors (tenure track) (level 3)
941 post-doctoral researchers, university instructor (level 2)
1 585 doctoral students, specialising physician/dentist/veterinarian, research and teaching assistants (level 1)
234 other teaching and research staff
Altogether 2 789 persons (2975 person years) during year 2016.
269 IT staff
267 library staff
317 technical staff
1 119 administrative staff
657 teaching and research support staff
143 Teaching school's teachers
In 2016, University of Helsinki researchers produced 10 552 publications. Of peer-reviewed academic publications half are produced as international cooperation.
Publications ( number and % of all)
6 984 Peer reviewed scientific articles (62.2%)
1 219 Non-refereed scientific articles (11.6%)
265 Scientific books (monographs, edited works) (2.5%)
1 280 Publications intended for professional communities (12.1%)
1 069 Publications intended for the general public (10.1%)
The University of Helsinki has 11 faculties, and it provides teaching on four campuses in Helsinki: the City Centre, Kumpula, Meilahti and Viikki. In addition, the University has research stations in Hyytiälä, Värriö, Kilpisjärvi and Kenya.
The University of Helsinki is the only Finnish university to be a member of the League of European Research Universities, or LERU, an association of 21 leading European universities promoting the conditions and opportunities for basic research in Europe.
Of the University of Helsinki’s teachers and researchers, 22% are from outside Finland. The University has 1 700 international Master’s and doctoral students in 2016.
Approximately 800 students embark on a student exchange every year. Meanwhile, the University of Helsinki receives approximately 1,000 incoming exchange students every year.
The University of Helsinki was established in Turku in 1640, and the University continues to celebrate its anniversary on the date of the establishment of the Royal Academy of Turku, 26 March. The University moved to Helsinki during Finland’s Russian rule in 1828, and when Finland gained its independence, it was renamed the University of Helsinki.
The Royal Academy of Turku was one of the four national universities of the Swedish realm at the time. Its academic community comprised 11 professors and 250 students. Teaching and research was connected to Lutheran theology and European humanism. Research topics of the time included the structure of the universe, the nature of matter, the rules of mechanics and the resources of the earth.
After Finland became a part of Imperial Russia in 1809, the University was dramatically expanded. The Imperial Alexander University became a Humboldtian university of science and edification which studied humanity and its environment through the scientific method.
Once Finland gained its independence in 1917, the University assumed a central role in building the nation state and its welfare. Members of the University community promoted the fledgling state’s international interaction and economic development.
The University of Helsinki Annual Review 2016 and Strategy Review 2013–2016 describes the operational results of the University of Helsinki during the strategy period 2013–2016.