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 Quaternary Geology

Profile of the Degree: 

Natural resources (including groundwater) of superficial Quaternary glacial deposits and their sustainable use contribute to the well-being of human societies and nature in formerly glaciated terrains. The M.Sc. degree programme in Quaternary Geology offers a student high level education to understand how exogenic processes operate in different sedimentary environments and what is the human impact on these natural processes today. The core issues in the Quaternary research and education in the Oulu University is to understand glacial sedimentology and stratigraphy in order to understand the relationship between the natural environmental change and its links to climate. This profound knowledge on the mechanisms that operate in sedimentary environments can be utilized in many fields in our modern society ranging from sustainable use of ground water resources to ore exploration and various environmental issues.

Courses Required for the Degree: 

The whole extent of the Master’s degree is 120 ECTS credits. 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 the study programme, students can apply gained knowledge and skills to sustainable use of superficial deposits (including ground water) and their protection. Furthermore, they are able to define how various sediments are related to different sedimentary environments in the context of exogenic erosional and depositional processes and the relationship of these processes to environmental and climate changes. After completing the sedimentological and stratigraphical courses, students know the basic principles of stratigraphy, are able to define different erosional and depositional processes and analyze different deposits and their architecture within sedimentary basins using facies analysis and architectural element analysis. In addition, after completing the programme students can apply field and remote sensing methods to categorize glacigenic landforms and carry out ore prospecting and ground water research using basic methods.

Arrangements for Recognition of Prior Learning: 

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.

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: 

Students study full-time, corresponding to c. 60 credits per year. This equals to 1600 hours of student workload per year. The full degree (120 credits) can be completed in two years. The studies are carried out as contact teaching, comprising lectures, field and laboratory courses.

Language of Instruction: 

Finnish. Part of the tuition can also be provided with English when necessary.

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: (The University of Oulu Education Regulations 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: 

The programme produces M.Sc. graduates in geology. They have capabilities to work in different fields connected to environmental planning and consulting in, for example, ore exploration, ground water and gravel resources management and protection, geotechnical engineering and palaeolimnology. 

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 obtain at least 25 ECTS credits from obligatory advanced-level studies in Quaternary Geology and 60 ECTS credits from other studies, achieving a total of 120 ECTS credits.  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 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 test/language proficiency test, if this test has not been done at the B.Sc. level, and show the attainment of 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 submitted 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 Master of Science degree is a higher university degree, which provides capability for application of scientific knowledge and methods and qualifications for independent, responsible work and post-graduate studies. The M.Sc. 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: 
Location of Instruction: 
+358 (0)294 481478
vesa.peuraniemi (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. Read more detailed information about admission requirements and applying from The Applicant’s Guide 2013.