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

MSc in Biophysics

Profile of the Degree: 

The University of Oulu is the only place in Finland where biophysics can be studied as a major subject in MSc or PhD studies. Biophysics is an interdisciplinary field of science located at the intersection of natural and medical sciences and engineering. In biophysics we study and teach the fundamental processes of living organisms, starting from the basis of physics and mathematics. Important sub-fields during studies are measurement and modeling methods, signal analysis, bimolecular and cellular biophysics and neuroscience. Both MSc’s and PhD’s in biophysics are in demand, because biophysicists are trained for various interdisciplinary research and development tasks and, at the PhD level, for research at high international level.

The degree constitutes of compulsory and optional studies in biophysics major and optional studies in minor subjects. Learning takes place in lectures, calculation exercises, laboratory works and projects, research projects and student’s independent studies. Already during the master’s studies it is possible to become a member of the biophysics research group and take part into international projects. Active students will have possibilities to participate in writing articles into international publications and to attend international scientific conferences.

Courses Required for the Degree: 

The Master of science degree includes at least 80 ECTS credits worth of advanced studies in biophysics and some optional studies to produce a degree of 120 ECTS credits.

The course structure diagram (attachment) shows the degree structure of each semester (autumn and spring semester) and the required study modules with their credits.

Learning Outcomes: 

A M.Sc. in biophysics is able to (in addition to the skills acquired during the bachelor studies)

  • utilize the existing and produce new information in biophysics
  • plan and carry out small scale scientific research in biophysics
  • analyze the biophysical phenomena using mathematical and computational methods
  • communicate literally and orally about his/hers skills and the results of his/hers work using the scientific terminology of biophysics

A M.Sc. in biophysics has broad understanding of biophysics and adequate understanding in the minor subjects supporting the major. The graduate has a mathematical scientific way of thinking and solving problems. He/she has an ability to seek for information and compile and write reports. He/she is capable for evaluating information critically.

Arrangements for Recognition of Prior Learning: 

The main principle for the recognition of prior learning in the degree programme is recognizing official learning. Any course included in the degree programme in physics can be substituted with a previously passed university course at the same level of requirements and similar contents. The student must provide the department of physics with a certificate and a description of the contents of the substitutive course.

The programme applies the main principles that the University of Oulu has defined for recognition of prior learning: (Equivalent page in English is under construction).

Modes of Study: 

It is possible to finish the master of science degree (120 ECTS credits) in two years when studying full time. Lectures, calculation exercises, laboratory works etc. are organized during working days in the premises of the university. Teaching takes place mainly hand-to-hand, but some courses may have also home assignments and/or home exams. Studies naturally include a substantial amount of independent work by the student.

Language of Instruction: 

The Master of Science degree can be completed in Finnish or English. The lectures and exercises for advanced courses are given in Finnish or English.

Examination Regulations, Assessment and Grading: 

A student carries out the compulsory major courses named in the study plan of degree programme in biophysics and the optional studies according to a plan. Courses are passed mainly via exams and are evaluated by the responsible teacher of each course. Evaluation is usually based on the grades of the final exams of the courses. Other evaluation methods are also used, like home exams, work reports etc. What is required to pass a course is explained in more detail in the description of each course in WebOodi, an internet based study system. Evaluation of the courses is done with a numeric grading scale (0-5) or verbally, with passed/failed. The description of each course tells how the evaluation is done. The grades of the major (biophysics) and the minors are calculated as ECTS credit weighted averages of the included courses.

The M.Sc. studies are completed with the writing of a thesis (the “pro gradu”) either in Finnish or in English. The thesis is separately marked and graded in the diploma of the degree. The grade of the thesis is not taken into account when calculating the grade of the major subject.

Occupational Profiles of Graduates: 

After completing the M.Sc. studies a biophysicist can work either nationally or internationally in the fields of basic research, applied research, industry, education, state administration, publishing etc.

Access to Further Studies: 

Master’s degree in biophysics with the minors included gives good abilities to continue studies towards to a doctoral degree in the chosen field of biophysics.

More information: University of Oulu Graduate School (UniOGS)

Graduation Requirements: 

The master of science degree consists of major and minor studies accepted to the biophysics programme. The diploma work (master’s thesis; in Finland normally called “pro gradu”) of the M.Sc. programme is a dissertation worth 35 ECTS credits. A short summary of the dissertation is written to act as a maturity test of the M.Sc. degree. The degree can be granted via application.

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’s degree provides competence to work for instance as an expert in research facilities. In addition it provides competence to start advanced studies to be a scientist or a specialist. These studies can produce advanced university degrees like the licentiate’s or doctoral degree (PhD) or for example the vocational degree of the medical physicist.

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

Basic information

Level of the Degree: 
Master's Degree
Duration of Studies: 
2 years
ECTS Credits: 
Language of Instruction: 
Graduate Profiles: 
Location of Instruction: 
+358 (0)294 481125
matti.weckstrom (at)


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.