Studies at University of Oulu 2013-2014

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

MA, Major Subject English Philology

Profile of the Degree: 

An MA in English Philology offers the student a solid command of English and an understanding of the languages, literature and culture of the Anglophone world. On the Master’s level, students move towards more theoretical courses and research; more options also become available, allowing students to concentrate on topics that they find particularly interesting. The students also write a master’s thesis on a topic of their choice. Residence in an Anglophone country is also a crucial part of the studies. A degree in English Philology can lead to a variety of professions. In addition to the minor subjects that the student chooses, work practice during the studies and the contacts made in the professional world that it brings are often crucial in obtaining a job after graduation. Many graduates find work in IT companies (technical writing, client documentation), or may work as translators, journalists, researchers, planning officers, educators and administrators.

Courses Required for the Degree: 

Master's degree: Major subject English Philology (120 ECTS credits)

In the major subject, a Master’s degree must include the Advanced Studies (40 ECTS credits) and a Master's Thesis (40 ECTS credits). The degree must also include studies in minor subject(s), language and communication studies, training, or other studies (in total 40 ECTS credits).

Further information: see the Course Structure Diagram.

Learning Outcomes: 

The Advanced Studies curriculum in English Philology encourages students to broaden their skills as well as their knowledge base and to learn to apply them to increasingly specific tasks. These goals are especially important in the Seminar and Thesis Workshop, which make up the core of the Advanced Studies, equipping students with the formal and intellectual skills that are necessary for independent study and the writing of their Master's Thesis (their Pro Gradu Thesis). The wide range of elective courses at this level is specifically designed to allow students more opportunities to pursue their own interests within the field.

After completing their Master's degree, the students

  • will know the dimensions of theoretical discourse within the field of their main subject, are able to implement this discourse on a practical level in interpreting and categorizing information, and are able to disseminate information to others.
  • are able to distinguish between scholarly thinking and common perception, and are able to work independently to produce new academic discourse.
  • are able to work independently on challenging assignments that demand analytical skills, creativity and ethical judgment, as well as work as experts in diverse groups and settings.
  • are able to plan and implement demanding projects by seeking and applying information, and are able to produce scholarly discourse.
  • will know the fundamentals of their minor subjects, and are able to follow and interpret related developments as well as to assess their significance with regards to society.
  • will have good oral and written skills in their native language, and can communicate fluently with other academics in their field of study as well as with people outside the field.
  • are able to communicate and interact internationally in their field of study in Finnish or Swedish and in at least one foreign language.  (Different requirements apply for foreign degree students)
Arrangements for Recognition of Prior Learning: 

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 expected to be pursued fulltime. The average input needed for the studies of one academic year is 1600 working hours, which is equivalent to 60 ECTS credits. Studying fulltime, it should be possible to complete the entire degree (120 ECTS credits) in two years. The studies are primarily carried out as contact teaching, but some of the courses can be completed by independent learning (e.g. so-called book examinations or essays) or by distance learning. The alternative methods are explained in the various descriptions of the study units.

Language of Instruction: 

The language of instruction in the major subject is English. Other languages of instruction depend on the minor subjects a student includes in his or her degree.

Examination Regulations, Assessment and Grading: 

The degree-related studies can be completed based on the curriculum. This means that the student studies the advanced studies and elective studies the curriculum contains, in accordance with the curriculum. The study units are primarily completed by attending examinations and with written assignments and they are assessed by the person responsible for the study unit. The assessment is often based on the grades of final exams and term papers. Also other assessment criteria are used. Study unit descriptions give more exact information on the assessment of study units. 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.

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. When assessing doctoral dissertations and licentiate’s theses, verbal grading kiittäen hyväksytty (Approved with Distinction), hyväksytty (Approved) tai hylätty (Rejected) can be used. 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 Diploma Theses 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: 

Employment prospects for students graduating with a degree in English Philology have been highly favourable for a number of years. The overwhelming majority of graduates have found employment in the fields of either teaching or information technology, and it is clear that the near future will see an increase in the demand for fully-qualified teachers of English. But beyond these two career paths the growing importance of English in the global community means that job opportunities for graduates in English Philology are widening all the time within a large number of other spheres, including publishing, the media, translation, business, tourism and the leisure industry.

Access to Further Studies: 

The Master’s degree is required for the commencement of postrgraduate studies and the Doctor of Philosophy degree. At the University of Oulu, the postgraduate studies are coordinated by University of Oulu Graduate School (UniOGS).

Graduation Requirements: 

A Master’s degree must include Advanced Studies in the major subject (40 ECTS credits), and a Master's Thesis (40 ECTS credits). The degree must also include studies in minor subject(s), language and communication studies, training, or other studies (in total 40 ECTS credits), and a so-called maturity test (0 ECTS credits) will be administered on the basis of the thesis.

The study modules included in a degree must be compiled in Oodi (the official student register). This is done by the person responsible for compiling studies in the subject in question. Diplomas are granted by the Dean of Education and distributed to the graduates in an official graduation ceremony. The ceremony is usually held once a month, apart from in July and August. Students should register for the graduation ceremony by filling in a form and submitting it to the Faculty Student Affairs office. The forms, as well as detailed information on graduation ceremony dates and closing dates for applications, can be found on the following website:


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’s degree (MA) is a qualification for doctoral studies as well a general qualification for many jobs in the civil service. The language proficiency requirements of the degree qualify the student for employment in the civil service according to the section on language proficiency, 6 §.

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

1. The student must demonstrate in studies included in education for a lower or higher University degree or otherwise that he/she has attained:

(1) proficiency in Finnish and Swedish which is required of civil servants in bilingual public agencies and organizations under Section 6(1) of the Act on the Knowledge of Languages Required of Personnel in Public Bodies (424/2003) and which is necessary for their field; and

(2) skills in at least one foreign language needed to follow developments in the field and to operate in an international environment.

2. The provisions of subsection 1 do not concern a student who has been educated in a language other than Finnish or Swedish or a student who has been educated abroad. The language proficiency of such students shall be determined by the university.

3. For special reasons, the university may either totally or partially exempt a student from the requisite language skills referred to in subsection 1.

Basic information

Level of the Degree: 
Master's Degree
Duration of Studies: 
2 years
ECTS Credits: 
Language of Instruction: 
Graduate Profiles: 
Technical Writer
Location of Instruction: 


Applying Information: 
The degree is part of a five-year degree programme which is applied for through the joint application system at Read more detailed information about admission requirements and applying from The Applicant’s Guide 2013.