Studies at University of Oulu 2012-2013

The University of Oulu offers study opportunities with a solid academic foundation ranging from 5-6 year degree programmes and master’s programmes to doctoral training. There are also several possibilities such as open university studies, executive training and continuing education for developing and maintaining skills and competencies.

In addition to a variety of student exchange programmes, international master’s degree programmes in English are offered in six fields of study, making the university an international study environment.

5-6 Year Degree Programmes

MSc in Geology and Mineralogy, Specialisation in Exploration and Mining

Profile of the Degree: 

Due to the increasing demand of raw materials obtained from bedrock, the significance of mining industry has greatly increased recently in northern Europe, while demands for environmental management according to the principles of sustainable development have increased at the same time. Having both the Faculty of Science and Faculty of Technology under the same roof, the University of Oulu has an excellent opportunity to organize teaching and research that contribute to our understanding on processes and activities that are involved in the whole life cycle of mining industry. Those students who have chosen geology and mineralogy as their major subject can specialize in exploration and mining, which is a line taught in collaboration between the Department of Geosciences and the Department of Process and Environmental Engineering of the Faculty of Technology. It is also possible for the students to include in their course list relevant optional courses from the Luleå University of Technology (Sweden). The most important topics in this specialization are exploration, ore geology, ore mineralogy, technical mineralogy, ore beneficiation, mining technology, environmental technology related to mining activities, industrial economy and environmental and mining laws. The course selection will create a good basis for future geologists to collaborate with mining engineers in solving problems related to exploration, excavation and beneficiation of ore deposits.

Studies are free and public (Universities Act 2009/558 8§).

Course Structure Diagram and Courses Required for the Degree: 

The major subject of the students specializing in exploration and mining is geology and mineralogy of which they have to conduct courses totaling 60 ECTS credits. These comprise a Master’s thesis of the field corresponding to 35 ECTS credits and at least 25 credits of advanced-level studies in the major subject. In addition, students are expected to do a 15-ECTS-credit entity of intermediate-level studies in process and environmental technology (can be done during the Bachelor studies) and at least 40 ECTS credits of minor subject courses in exploration and mining as indicated in tables below. Optional courses amount to 15 or 30 ECTS credits depending on the timing of the process and environmental engineering studies. Te extent of the whole degree is 120 ECTS credits.

Further information: see Course Structure Diagram.

Learning Outcomes: 

After completing the study programme, students should be able to identify the common ore types, apply relevant research methods to study their properties and geological setting, understand the processes and mechanisms of their genesis and devise strategies for exploration for them. They can assess the applicability of different ore exploration methods and are able to utilize them in practice. In addition, they are able to plan exploitation and beneficiation of mineral deposits in close collaboration with other professionals in the mining field and to assess how these can take place with minimal negative consequences for the environment.

Arrangements for recognition of prior learning: 

During Bachelor studies, some minor subject courses are required (Faculty of Technology; see a separate list later). Relevant Master and Bachelor level courses in geology previously passed in other universities/institutions of higher education can be used to gain credits in the programme.

The recognition of prior learning follows the main principles as defined by the University of Oulu.

More information: Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Modes of study: 

Studies are full-time and correspond to c. 60 ECTS credits per year. Teaching is carried out as lectures and related examinations, laboratory exercises, field courses and literature essays. Credits can also be obtained by practical training in working life (normally as summer work).

Language of Instruction: 

The degree is primarily completed in Finnish but tuition can be provided in English when necessary and written exams can be done in English.

Examination Regulations, Assessment and Grading: 

Assessment methods and criteria for the studies: The degree-related studies can be completed based on the curriculum. This means that the student studies a total amount of 120 credits, which consists of advanced studies in mining and exploration  (40 credits), other optional intermediate or advanced level studies (45 credits) and M.Sc. thesis (35 credits). It needs to be mentioned that the student is expected to take mining and exploration -related courses (minimum 15 ECTS) as a minor subject during the Bachelor stage. Courses are composed of lecture courses, seminars, and field and laboratory courses. The study units are primarily completed by attending examinations and they are assessed by the person responsible for the study unit. The assessment is often based on the grades of final or mid-term exams. Also other assessment criteria are used, including portfolio tasks, microexams (continuous assessment), work reports etc. Study unit descriptions give more exact information on the assessment of study units. The Master’s thesis shall be written as the final work in the degree. A Personal Study Plan (PSP) is compiled for each student, considering student’s prior learning and work experience.

Grading: (The University of Oulu Education Regulations 17§): a numerical scale 0-5 in whole numbers or verbal grading Pass or Fail is used in assessing a completed course. In numerical scale zero stands for fail.

In determining the final grade for a study module, a credit-weighted average is utilized. The grades of Pro Gradu Theses and shall not be considered when determining the average of advanced studies. 

Separate provisions have been laid down for assessing the proficiency in Finnish and Swedish language required in accordance with the Government Decree on University Degrees (794/2004).

Occupational Profiles of Graduates: 

In this field, the student will graduate to work as a mine geologist or an ore geologist mainly employed by a private mining or exploration company or the governmental sector research institute (GTK). He/she can also carry out independent consulting work.  A geologist can participate in ore exploration, inventorying investigations of a promising ore deposit or its later exploitation, and at a late stage, appropriate closing a mine. He/she can work as a researcher or leader of a research project. The field is very international and therefore it is possible that the first employer of a graduated geologist is an international company and the place of work is either in Finland or abroad.

Access to Further Studies: 

Provided that the graduated student has obtained his/her master’s degree with good rates (at least 60% of the maximum, 3/5, both the courses and master’s thesis), he/she will have the access to postgraduate studies in accordance with the confirmed curricula accepted by the University of Oulu Graduate School (UniOGS)

Graduation Requirements: 

Requirements of the graduation for M.Sc. are following minimum studies:

  • 40 ECTS Advanced studies in exploration and mining

  • 45 ECTS Optional intermediate- and advanced-level studies in major or minor subjects

  • 35 ECTS Master’s thesis and related maturity test *)

Total: 180 ECTS

*) The maturity test is a one-page abstract of the thesis (written using a special form)

After completion of all required studies, the student can obtain the degree by submitting the relevant application form to the faculty.

Qualification Requirements and Regulations: 

All education in the University of Oulu is based on the principles of the joint European credit transfer system (ECTS) which facilitates the transparency of education and the recognition of degrees at an international level. All degrees awarded from the University of Oulu are recognised by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.

The Master of Science degree is the higher university degree, which provides capability for application of scientific knowledge and methods and qualifications for independent, responsible work and post-graduate studies. The MSc degree is the basic degree for geologists and gives professional competence and qualification for positions in the state institutions.

Basic information

Level of the Degree: 
Master's Degree
Duration of Studies: 
2 years
ECTS Credits: 
Language of Instruction: 
Graduate profiles: 
Mine Geologist
Location of Instruction: 
+358 (0)294 481461
eero.hanski (at)


Applying Information: 
The degree is part of a five-year degree programme which is applied for through the joint application system at