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 Geoenvironment, Major Subject Quaternary Geology or Geology and Mineralogy

Profile of the Degree: 

Geological knowledge has a remarkable role in environmental research and in soil constructing work. The study programme concentrates on practical knowledge of geoenvironmental issues, such as geomaterials, geomechanical processes, risk assessment of environmental damages, protecting and mitigation techniques and ground water technique. Teaching is in collaboration with the the Department of Process and Environmental Technology, Technical Faculty. The major subject can be either geology and mineralogy or Quaternary geology. Students will choose besides geology courses also courses from geotechnics and water technics. A basic course in mathematics (Technical Faculty) is compulsory and good to be finished before beginning the courses in geotechnics and water technics. Courses in geochemistry are very recommendable as complimentary courses.

Courses Required for the Degree: 

The Master’s degree includes advanced studies in geoenvironment at least 10 ECTS credits, advanced studies in the major subject (Quaternary geology or geology and mineralogy) worth of at least 15 ECTS credits and a Master’s thesis corresponding to 35 ECTS credits, all amounting to 60 ECTS. Studies in the major subjects are shown in the descriptions of the Master’s degrees in Quaternary geology and economic geology.  In addition, students can choose other intermediate- and advanced level courses from the Department of Geosciences or elsewhere so that the total of ECTS credits of the degree amounts to 120. In the geoenvironmental specialization, a basic course in mathematics (031010P) is compulsory and recommended to be taken at the Bachelor level together with other intermediate studies listed below. Of these studies, students are required to do a minor subject entity of 15 ECTS in geoenvironment for their Bachelor degree. Alternatively, this can be included in their Master’s degree.

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

Learning Outcomes: 

After completing a M.Sc. degree in geoenvironment students are able to:

  • identify the most important processes in geoenvironment
  • unite geological and technical knowledge in planning of environmental work
  • make risk assessment of environmental damages
  • apply methods learned in solving practical working problems
  • make sound conclusions on the basis of research material and analytical results
  • select appropriate protection and mitigation techniques to environmental damages.
Arrangements for Recognition of Prior Learning: 

The recognition of prior learning will take place after choosing the specialization Geoenvironment. If the student already has a University or other degree, and if he/she would like to utilize his/her earlier studies, he/she has to contact the departmental coordinator (Amanuensis).

Relevant Master level courses in Quaternary Geology previously passed in other universities / institutions of higher education can be used to gain credits in the programme.

More information: Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Modes of Study: 

Student studies full-time, corresponding to 60 ECTS credits per year. This equals to 1600 hours of student workload per year. The full degree (120 credits) can be completed in two years, studying full-time. The studies are carried out as contact teaching, comprising lectures, seminars, and field and laboratory courses. Exams are organized after each course and on common exam days of the department. Credits can also be obtained from practical training done usually as summer work.

Language of Instruction: 

Teaching is mainly in Finnish. Some courses can be also in English.

Examination Regulations, Assessment and Grading: 

A Personal Study Plan (PSP) is compiled for each student, considering student’s prior learning and work experience.

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 Quaternary Geology (25 credits), other intermediate or advanced studies (60 credits) and Master’s thesis (35 credits). Courses are composed of lecture courses, seminars, 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, micro exams (continuous assessment), work reports etc. Study unit descriptions give more exact information on the assessment of study units. The Master’s thesis will be written as the final work in the degree.

Grading: (University of Oulu Rules of Procedure, article 17): a numerical scale 0-5 in whole numbers or verbal grading Passed or Failed is used in assessing a completed course. In the numerical scale, zero stands for failed. In determining the final grade for a study module, a credit-weighted average is utilized. The grade of the Master’s thesis is not 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: 

After completing their M.Sc. degree, graduated students can be employed by governmental research institutes (GTK, VTT), Finnish Environment Centre, regional environmental centres, private companies and consulting offices and work as researchers or project leaders.

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: 

Master's level students have to produce a Master’s thesis (35 credits) based on their own field or laboratory research data and at least 10 credits of advanced-level studies in geoenvironment and 15 ECTS credits in the major subject, with all these totaling 60 ECTS credits. In addition, students need to do 60 credits of other optional studies, which can include both intermediate and advanced level studies. In order to successfully complete the M.Sc. thesis project, students have to show their ability to gain theoretical knowledge from previously published literature on the research topic, to apply essential research methods to carry out the research and to make scientific arguments based on the results obtained.

To obtain the M.Sc. degree in the programme, students have to pass the so-called maturity/language proficiency test if this test has not been done at the B.Sc. level. Students are required to attain the language skills in Swedish and Finnish as defined in the Act (424/2003) section 6, subsection 1. In addition, a Degree Certificate Request form has to be completed before the M.Sc. Degree Certificate can officially be granted.    

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 degree of Master of Science is a higher university degree, which provides capability for application of scientific knowledge and methods and qualifications for independent and responsible work and post-graduate studies. The Master’s degree is compulsory for posts of geologists and it gives professional competence and qualification for positions in the state institutions. Master’s degree in geoenvironment gives competence for working in duties dealing with different practical environmental issues.

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: 
Environmental Consultant
Research Project Leader
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 Read more detailed information about admission requirements and applying from The Applicant’s Guide 2013.