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 Plant Ecology (Subject Teacher Education)

Profile of the Degree: 

Plant ecology studies plants in relation to their environment which often is highly variable in time and space. Plants have adapted to this variation by means of plasticity in their physiological responses and growth patterns. They tolerate suboptimal conditions, and effectively utilize favourable growth conditions. Often their success depends on interactions with other plants, animals, fungi or microbes. Sometimes they have to disperse to new growing sites. Plant ecological research in Oulu emphasizes adaptation to the north, population and community ecology and conservation biology.

In addition to basic research, applied plant ecology has gained increasing attention. Plant ecological knowledge is especially important when planning the sustainable use of natural resources, the conservation and management of endangered species, communities, and ecosystems. New areas of applied plant ecology are restoration ecology and urban ecology. Teaching and research in plant ecology is supported by the Botanical museum and the Botanical gardens of the University and a network of northern research stations.

Advanced studies in plant ecology emphasize evolutionary, population and community ecology, especially in relation to challenges of boreal, subarctic and arctic environments.

Course Structure Diagram and Courses Required for the Degree: 


Specialisation Subject Teacher, Major Plant Ecology

MSc degree (120 ECTS) consists of plant ecology major (60 ECTS). Compulsory minor studies include pedagogical studies (30 ECTS) and a subsidiary entity for subject teacher 35 ECTS (25 ECTS in BSc degree).

Further information: see Course Structure Diagram.


Learning Outcomes: 

General learning outcomes

The Master of Science subject teacher in Biology

  • Teach and supervise students with the help of wide knowledge in different fields of biology

  • Can apply theory into practice: produce new biological data and make conclusions

  • Can comment and participate in scientific discussion and can justify own opinions in scientific questions

  • Is able to study analytically and critically existing knowledge

  • Is able to analyse, represent, make conclusions and apply skills in own special field with the help of diverse methodological proficiency and good basic knowledge

  • Is thoroughly international in work and in objectives

Specific learning outcomes

The Master of Science in Plant Ecology

  • Can explain how boreal ecosystems function and develop

  • Can plan, carry out field and laboratory experiments, and critically discuss the outcomes

  • Can conduct population viability analyses and apply the results to nature conservation

  • Can apply biological knowledge to studies of plant adaptations and species diversity
Arrangements for recognition of prior learning: 

The recognition of prior learning and credit transfer will take place in the beginning of the studies. If the student already has a university or other degree, and if he/she would like to apply his/her prior learning, he/she has to contact the amanuensis.

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: 

Biology studies are full-time studies and they equal to 60 ECTS per year. This is 1 600 study work hours in one academic year. MSc degree is done in two years as full-time studies. Studies are carried out as contact teaching. Studies consist of lectures, exercises, laboratory work and field excursions. Problem solving, group works and seminars are also typical studying methods as well as self-directed learning. Studies are full-time and teaching takes place normally between 8 and 18 o’clock.

Modes of study for the pedagogical studies and subsidiary entity for the subject teacher is described in the degree programmes in question.

Language of Instruction: 

Teaching is mainly in Finnish. Some courses are also in English.

Examination Regulations, Assessment and Grading: 

The student completes the degree-related studies as defined in the curriculum. MSc studies in major have to be advanced studies. Minor and other studies can be general studies, basic studies, intermediate studies or advanced studies. Student does personal study plan which includes the study modules and schedule. The study plan describes the compulsory and optional courses and credits. It supports the progress of studies and helps the student to make a meaningful, personal degree.

1 ECTS is estimated as 27 hours studies. During one academic year (Autumn and Spring semester) students will perform 60 ECTS (i.e. 1 600 hours studies). Lectures are free of attendance however active participation is strongly recommended. In practical courses there is compulsory attendance.

The study units are primarily completed by attending examinations and they are assessed by the person responsible for the study unit. Typically in academic year there are three exam opportunities per course. Student has to register in weboodi system to courses and exams. The assessment is often based on the grades of final or mid-term exams. Also other assessment criteria are used, including species identification exam, oral exam, work report, practical work, seminar presentation and study journal. Study unit descriptions give more exact information on the assessment of study units.

Grades used in assessment of studies are pass/failed or numeric values 0-5 where 5 (excellent; ECTS A), 4 (very good; ECTS B), 3 (good; ECTS C), 2 (satisfactory; ECTS D), 1 (sufficient; ECTS E), 0 failed. See also The University of Oulu Education Regulations paragraph 17. The Master’s thesis (Pro Gradu Thesis) will be written as the final work in the degree and it is graded as 0-5. In determining the final grade for a study module, a credit-weighted average is used. The grade of Pro Gradu Thesis will not be considered when determining the average of advanced studies. Pedagogical studies minors are assessed as pass/fail.

Occupational Profiles of Graduates: 

The majority of subject teachers in biology work as teachers. If they have also done the ecology option, they can work as researchers. Plant ecologists have also been recruited to environmental administration and institutions of applied sciences.

Access to Further Studies: 

The MSc degree in Plant ecology (subject teacher education) qualifies to do postgraduate studies and degree for the Licentiate of Philosophy (PhLic) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree if the Master’s thesis is 40 ECTS.

More information: University of Oulu Graduate School (UniOGS)

Graduation Requirements: 

Student has to apply for the Master of Science Degree from the Faculty of Science after finishing all the required studies. Accepted personal study plan is attached to the degree application. Master of Science degree’s compulsory and optional studies are described in the structure of the MSc studies section.

Faculty of Science instructions and forms (in Finnish).

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.

Master of Science degree (MSc) is the higher academic degree which gives an opportunity to variety of employments. Subject teacher in biology qualifies to teach in basic education, upper secondary school or other educational institutions.

Educational qualification requirements for subject teacher positions are specified by Finnish legislation. Acts 986/1998 and 1168/2010. Finnish National Board of Education.

The degree provides language proficiency required of personnel in public bodies in accordance with the Language Proficiency Section 6:

Government Decree on University Degrees 794/2004, Language Proficiency Section 6

Basic information

Level of the Degree: 
Master's Degree
Duration of Studies: 
2 years
ECTS Credits: 
Language of Instruction: 
Graduate profiles: 
Subject Teacher
Plant Ecologist
Location of Instruction: 
+358 (0)294 481528
juha.tuomi (at)


Applying Information: 
The degree is part of a five-year degree programme which is applied for through the joint application system at The main language of instruction in the degree programme is Finnish. Detailed information about admission requirements and applying is only available in Finnish.