Guest blogger: Finding my way to University of Helsinki

Inkeri in the library

I never knew what I wanted to do as an adult. I found many things interesting, but when I had to decide which discipline could be my field, I had no idea. I will tell you how I ended up studying in Adult Education and Developmental Work Research Master’s Degree Programme (ATMO) and why I find it the best choice for me. This is also a story about the fact that by drifting you can eventually end up in something that really interests you. It is not easy to know what you want after high school.

Long story short: After high school I was kind of interested in studying in University of Art and Design, as I thought I was artistic and creative (and I was very interested in art student boys…), but ended up studying bachelor’s degree in Business Polytechnic. After studies I ended up working in a big Telecommunication company. I did not find it my thing and was still dreaming of becoming an art teacher. I started to study Educational Sciences at the Helsinki Open University. There I realized that I was very interested in Adult education, and wanted to learn more about it. I quit my job and applied to University of Helsinki.

After studying Education at University I heard about the ATMO Master’s degree programme in Adult education and developmental work research. This was the thing that I was really interested in! I really enjoyed my studies in the programme. The best part was to do my Master’s Thesis to a real research project. I felt I could really see what it is like to do research at University. Though I had my doubts about work research at the beginning; am I really interested enough to concentrate my studies in work research? I was happily surprised by the fact that among Activity theoretical work research, only the sky is the limit to choose your research interest! My fellow students made their Master’s thesis from the following subject: Foreign professionals’ experiences at the University of Helsinki, Patient participation in Healthcare consultations in new care model, the development of debt counselors’ work, and the formation of indigenous University at Bolivia.  Talk about diversity!

The best thing about Cultural historical Activity theory, which developmental work research is based on, is that it is an excellent framework to study various fields of interests. Only your imagination is the limit!

Inkeri Aalto-Setälä

P.S. Next intake for ATMO is in 2014, please visit the ATMO website for more information on the programme.

The ABC of Finnish Bureaucracy

Are you aware of your rights as tenant? Would you like to know more about
working life in Finland, housing possibilities or welfare services? Counselling Centre Ne-Rå and Kalliola Adult Learning Centre organize The ABC of Finnish bureaucracy for foreigners. Those who have arrived to Finland for example for work, studies or marriage would benefit from the

The ABC of Finnish Bureaucracy
Thurdays 17-20
at Kalliola, Sturenkatu 11

Join the course at Kalliola and discuss and learn more about Finnish society and welfare system. The course will be held in English and it is free of charge Enrolments: or you can just drop in.

For more information: info(at)

The University Promotes a Smoke-Free Environment

Towards a tobacco-free academic community. Our University will work towards a non-smoking environment.” This was the decisions of the University’s Cooperation Committee at the beginning of 2012 in response to a proposal by the occupational health and safety committees concerning a smoke-free University. The non-smoking policy will apply to the academic community as a whole, including both staff and students.

The non-smoking policy will be adopted during the academic year 2012–2013. After the launching of the policy smoking (normal and electronic cigarettes) will be forbidden in all University facilities and permitted only in designated areas outside University buildings. Areas designated for smoking will be located, with signs, at an appropriate distance from buildings to ensure that tobacco smoke does not enter the buildings. Smoking areas will be indicated on campus maps, and any changes will be reported on each campus. All University events will also be smoke-free.

After a tentative launch of the non-smoking policy last spring, the Kumpula Campus has removed established smoking areas which were unofficial or close to the main entrances.
On the City Centre Campus, areas previously used for smoking on the stairs outside the Main Building on Unioninkatu and in the immediate vicinity of the Fabianinkatu entrance were designated smoke-free. Waste bins incorporating ash trays at the entrance to the Porthania building were also moved closer to the street.

Want to know more about the smoke-free university? Ask Pirjo Kekäläinen, Occupational Safety Officer, Tel. 09 191 22257

Time to Learn Some Finnish!

Photograph by Eeva Anundi
Photograph by Eeva Anundi

The time to register for the autumn semester’s Finnish courses for international exchange and degree students has started! The registration period will end next Friday on August 31st at 11.59pm or 4pm depending on the course.

The Department for Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies is responsible for the Finnish language teaching for all the International Students of the University of Helsinki. Check out their webpages on more information about different courses and means of registration.

For those students who won’t be arriving before August 31st, if you missed the registration, you can still contact the teacher of the course you’re interested in to enquire whether there would be space in the course.

Still time to apply for the International Student Grants 2012!

The application period for the International Student Grants 2012 closes on Friday, August 31st 2012 at 15:00 (3:00 p.m.) Finnish time.

The University of Helsinki is giving about 50 start-up grants this year to qualified students who are accepted to study in an International Master’s Degree Programme. The amount of each grant will be in total 1000-1500 euro tax free. The grants are not meant to cover living expenses, but we hope that the little extra money will help you to settle in Helsinki!

Applications can be submitted through an online application form. The application time closes on Friday, August 31st 2012 at 15:00 (3:00 p.m.) Finnish time.

See more info on the grants, criteria and how to apply on the application pages.

Teaching periods at the University of Helsinki

Yesterday, on Sunday May 20th, the fourth and final teaching period of the 2011-2012 academic year at the University of Helsinki ended.

The academic year in Finland is divided into two terms (August 1 to December 31 and January 1 to July 31). At the University of Helsinki the terms are further divided into seven-week teaching periods.

In most Faculties the teaching periods for the 2012-2013 academic year are:

• September 3 to October 21
• October 29 to December 16
• January 14 to March 3
• March 11 to May 19*

* Includes Easter week and a two week optional intensive teaching period at the end of the period.

In the Faculties of Biosciences, Law, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy and Behavioural Sciences the teaching periods might vary from the dates above. Please check the exact dates from the Faculty.

Best regards,
Student Services

UH goes Riyadh!

University of Helsinki was invited to participate IECHE, the largest education fair in Saudi-Arabia, in April for the third time. We would like to thank all the students visiting us at our booth!

We gathered here information and links about the most frequently asked questions on the fair.

What to study in English at UH?

For international students we offer over 30 two-year Master’s Degree Programmes fully in English.  PhD studies can be taken fully in English, too. If you have studied at least for two years in a university, you can apply for an intensive course in Helsinki Summer School.

If you master Finnish or Swedish languages well, you can apply also to undergraduate studies.

Computer Science

Computer Science is among the most popular subjects among our applicants – and among our visitors in Riyadh, too! Department of Computer Science is a world leader in algorithm and machine learning research and the department has over 2300 students. The Department of Computer Science offers two master’s programmes, Algorithms and Machine Learning, and Networking and Services.

Application period for our Master’s Degree Programmes opens 19 November, 2012 and closes 31 January 2013. Language skills are crucial in the admissions process, so please make sure you have e.g. IELTS or TOEFL. More information about the language requirements and the application process is available at the How to Apply website.

PhD studies

You can start searching for the faculty contact details and some general guidelines of the application process on the How to Apply website. There is a more comprehensive PhD Guide in the making and it will be available from the above mentioned website latest in the beginning of next autumn term.

Please note that procedures and admission requirements may vary from one faculty to another.  Some Faculties require that you have found a research group or at least a supervisor for your thesis before sending the application to the Faculty. Please contact the administrative person in charge of postgraduate student’s admissions before leaving your application. The administration has the most recent information/regulations of the application process as well as of the timetable of the admitting governing body.

Summer School

This is perhaps the easiest way to get to know Finland, Helsinki, our university and hundreds of other students from all over the world during three weeks in August. There are many courses given by our Master’s Degree Programmes, see the list of courses here.

Tuition fees and cost of living

What surprised most of you was the fact the UH does not charge tuition fees. Only in three Erasmus Mundus programmes non-EU students may be required to pay tuition fees. More information about cost of living is availabe at the New Students website. For newly admitted degree students UH offers start up-grants. The amount of each grant is about 1500 euro.

Helsinki and Finland

Helsinki has about half a million inhabitants, in the whole metropolitan area the number is closer to a million (and the public transport really works and it is quite cheap for students). According to our international students one of the most important things about Helsinki is the safety.

To find out more, there are videos about Helsinki are available at the Visit Helsinki Youtube channel (one of the most popular videos is actually a video by UH). General information about Finnish higher education is available at the Study in Finland website.

If you are interested to find out more about study options at UH, feel free to contact us!

Kind regards,
Admissions Services

The application period for the International Student Grants 2012 has started!

The application period for the International Student Grants 2012 has started! Accept your placement in the university and apply now!

Photograph by Eeva Anundi
Photograph by Eeva Anundi

The University of Helsinki is giving about 50 start-up grants this year to qualified students who are accepted to study in an International Master’s Degree Programme. The amount of each grant will be in total 1000-1500 euro tax free. The grants are not meant to cover living expenses, but we hope that the little extra money will help you to settle in Helsinki!

Applications can be submitted through an online application form. The application time begins on Monday, May 7th 2012 and the closing date for applications is on Friday, August 31st 2012 at 15:00 (3:00 p.m.) Finnish time.

See more info on the grants, criteria and how to apply on the application pages.

Helsinki Summer School – happy customers since the year 2000!

Wondering what it would be like to study in Helsinki? Or did you perhaps miss the application round 2012? Don’t worry, there is a way to come to Helsinki for three weeks in August and see if this is the place for you to live and study.

Helsinki Summer School is organized by all the universities in the Helsinki area. Last year there were 400 students from 60 different countries. The majority of the courses are arranged by the University of Helsinki (UH) and its Master’s Degree Programmes. Here’s the list for this year’s courses by UH:

Activity Theory and Formative Interventions
Change and Continuity in Russian and Eastern European Development
Cognitive Neuroscience
Cultural Activities and International Networks
Cultural Heritage, Chemistry and Spectroscopy
Design and the City
Designing Sustainable Forest Landscapes – Ecosystem Services in the Future
Designing Teacher Education for the Future – What Can We Learn from the Finnish Experience
Designing Tomorrow’s Agriculture: role of Ecosystem Services
Developing Intercultural Competence
Ecology and Management of Urban Green Space
Introduction to Bioethics
Introduction to Conceptual History
Introduction to Holocaust and Genocide Studies
Skills of an Active Citizen Towards an Inclusive Society
Video in Research on Learning and Education

Taking it easy in Nuuksio National ParkThe feedback from the students has been excellent every year. HSS arranges accommodation for the students in hostels or student flats and offers also an extensive social programme (e.g. canoeing trips to Nuuksio National Park).  For more information visit the HSS website and find HSS on Facebook!

Pictures: Veikko Somerpuro

Get Your Master’s Thesis Written! Grant – Report from Kilpisjärvi

If you already are a master’s student starting your thesis, you have the chance to apply for the Get Your Master’s Thesis Written! Grant. The aim of the grant is to promote the finalizing of the master’s thesis by providing for an intensive thesis writing period at one of the field stations of the University. The field stations are located in Hyytiälä, Kilpisjärvi, Lammi, Tvärminne and Värriö.

Read our students report from the Kilpisjärvi research station!

Kilpisjärvi research station and the Saana fell

Today I am spending my last day at the Kilpisjärvi biological station. I have been here for two weeks and decided now to send report about this period of time.

The grant has been very useful for me. Finishing of my thesis has been delayed as I am doing nearly full-time work. Now I got leave of absence for March in my work. At the beginning of March I was writing my thesis in Helsinki, but working here in Kilpisjärvi has been more efficient. It has been easier to read and write, which is certainly because of peace of the place. Here I do not have to worry about cooking and washing dishes as meals are included to the grant. I can easily clear my thoughts by skiing amidst beautiful scenery as ski tracks are situated next to the station. Here I have managed to make bigger step in my writing process. I wish to return my thesis and graduate at the end of the year. All in all I have really enjoyed my stay here.

The lake Kilpisjärvi
The lake Kilpisjärvi

One reason, why I wanted to come to Kilpisjärvi, is the theme of my thesis. I am majoring in social and cultural anthropology. I am writing my thesis about the holy places of Udmurts. They are a Finno-Ugric people living on Central Russia, where I have conducted my fieldwork. Some subgroups of Udmurts have maintained their ethnic religion in, which rituals conducted in holy places are essential. I was interested to come to Kilpisjärvi because of the old holy places of Sami people. They are also a Finno-Ugric people inhabiting the Northern parts of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia. Their holy places were called seita, which were unusual rocks or big stones. They were prayed for hunting and fishing luck. For Sami holy places are not anymore living part of their religion, but seita can still be seen in the landscape. Actually the most prominent holy place in Kilpisjärvi is Saana fell, by which the biological station is situated.

While being here I have read a lot about the holy places of Sami. It has brought useful comparative perspective for my thesis. During my summer holiday I will return here for hiking and searching for more seita, which I have already marked on the map.

Thanks for this useful grant!”

Kirsi Hafeez


More information about the grants for enrolled students can be found in the University of Helsinki intranet Alma.