Studies at University of Oulu 2015-2016

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

Geosciences, Bachelor of Science, 180 ECTS Credits

Profile of the Degree: 

Geology is the scientific study of the Earth and its materials, such as minerals and rocks and geological formations, and the physical, chemical and biological processes responsible for their generation. These processes include magmatism, metamorphism, deformation, erosion, and sedimentation run by the internal and external energy of the Earth system. Geology is a typical natural science as it applies the methods of physics and chemistry to unravel the genesis of earth materials, but at its heart, it is also a historical science with many of its concerns involving the element of time and sequences of natural events that took place millions or even billions of years ago. The importance of the geological knowledge has increased due to increasing demands for locating new mineral resources and water supplies and, at the same time, requirements for the sustainable development of the modern society.

Teaching in the faculty is divided into four sub-disciplines: Geology and Mineralogy, Quaternary Geology, Geochemistry, and Geophysics. In Geology and Mineralogy, the focus of studies is on the old bedrock and its minerals and rock types, and evolution through time. Quaternary Geology addresses the processes that shape the Earth's surface leading to the formation of different sedimentary formations. Knowledge obtained from sediments can be used for paleoclimatological studies, for example. Geochemistry encompasses studies of the chemical and isotopic composition of natural substances such as minerals, rocks and waters, and involves attempts to describe and quantify how elements behave in various geological processes, including ore formation. Geophysics, which can be studied at the Bachelor level in the degree programme in Physics, is a science that involves the study of the physical structure and physical properties of the Earth and its surrounding space environment, and related physical processes.

Teaching consists of normal contact teaching like lectures, seminar works and written exams. In addition, there are laboratory and field courses. Besides theoretical studies, an important role in learning is played by field work which is often done as summer work. After the B.Sc. degree, the students will continue to the two-year studies of the M.Sc. degree.

The B.Sc. degree will give basic knowledge on different fields of geology and their practical applications. The degree will introduce the main concepts, theories and methodologies of geology, and will equip the students with basic skills for doing research, such as data collection, management, organization and interpretation, and presentation of the results with different communication tools.

Studies at the B.Sc. level are free of charge and public (University Law 2009/558 8§).

Courses Required for the Degree: 

The Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in Geology is a joint degree for all geology students; later in the Master’s studies, the students will select either Geology and Mineralogy or Quaternary Geology for their major subject. The B.Sc. degree constitutes a total of 180 ECTS credits including 9 credits of compulsory orientation, language and communicational studies. Compulsory minor subject studies from other degree programmes (chemistry, (geo)physics) should be taken at least for 8 credits. Common major subject studies in Geology for all students amount to 80 credits, which are divided into basic studies (28 credits), obligatory intermediate studies (43 credits), and the Bachelor thesis and related maturity test (9 credits). It is recommended that during the Bachelor studies, the student takes a sufficient amount of intermediate-level courses in his/her future major subject to ensure that courses needed as pre-requirements for the Master’s studies are done. In addition, the student is required to do a 25-credit entity in both major subjects, Geology and Mineralogy and Quaternary Geology. Suitable minor subjects include chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer sciences, geography, and process and environmental engineering.

The course structure diagram shows the list of courses, their code, scope as ECTS credits, and timing in terms of semester.

Geology students can take basic- and intermediate-level courses in Geophysics from the degree programme of Physics as minor subject studies. Those students who want to become geophysists can apply for studying Geophysics as their major subject in the degree programme in Geosciences after they have completed a B.Sc. degree in Physics with sufficient basic and intermediate-level course in Geophysics. 


Learning Outcomes: 

When the student has gained the B.Sc. degree in Geology, he/she has acquired basic knowledge of different subfields of geology and their practical applications and is able to:

  • recognize the most important concepts in geology,
  • use independently scientific literature,
  • independently produce written scientific accounts according to standards of the courses,
  • apply various research methods to solve given geological problems,
  • make conclusions based on the research collected material and information obtained from it,
  • work in assisting research jobs in companies or research institutes of the field.
Arrangements for Recognition of Prior Learning: 

The recognition of prior learning will take place in the beginning of the studies. If the student already has a University or other degree, and if he/she wants to utilize his/her earlier studies, he/she has to contact the Chief Academic Administrator and a representative of the major subject. Courses of the degree programme in geosciences can be substituted by prior courses of the same level and approximately the same contents. The student must deliver a document and a course description of any previously completed course to the faculty.

Note that University of Oulu has defined the main principles followed by everyone, but each field may have its special features. More information: Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

Koulutuksen johtosääntö (University of Oulu Rules of Procedure, in Finnish) gives information on recognition of prior learning in article 27.

Modes of Study and Teaching: 

Studies are carried out normally by contact teaching, including lectures, seminars, practical laboratory courses and field courses, but some courses can also be done by independent literature essays. Examinations are normally arranged after each lecture course and later they can be done on common exam days of the faculty. Laboratory training commonly involve filling laboratory note books. Practical work training is usually conducted during summer work.

The basic studies are completed during the 1st academic year (autumn and spring semesters). Studies of the second year include compulsory intermediate courses with many of them containing a laboratory component. Field courses are organised in May and September. During the 3rd year, students write their Bachelor's thesis. Compulsory minor subject courses (chemistry, geophysics) should be taken already during the 1st year. There is more time for optional minor subject courses during the 2nd and 3rd year. Studies are full-time and are usually carried out between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm, allowing a B.Sc. degree to be achieved within 3 years.

Oulu Mining School has an Erasmus exchange agreement with the Universities of Oslo, Chieti, Halle, Leoben and Granada and the Technical University of Luleå. In addition, the University of Oulu has a large number of international exchange student agreements with different countries. It is recommended that a visit to other universities takes place earliest during the 2nd year but preferably during a late stage of the B.Sc. studies.

Language of Instruction: 

Language of instruction is mostly Finnish. Some courses are given in English. Almost in all courses, an English textbook is in use. Written examinations and essays, including the Bachelor’s thesis, can be done in English when agreed separately.

Examination Regulations, Assessment and Grading: 

All obligatory courses and a sufficient number of optional courses must be passed before gaining the degree. In some courses, regular attendance is required (languages, reading circles, seminars). Lectures are free of attendance but, however, it is strongly recommended that the students participate lectures actively. The courses are mainly completed by taking an exam, and they are assessed by the person in charge of the course. Grading scale is normally 1–5. In some cases, the scale “pass/ fail” is used. Further information about grading in each course is found in WebOodi. In determining the final grade for a study module, a credit-weighted average of the course credits is calculated.

The basic-level teaching in Geology concerns minerals and rock and soil types made of them, and general picture is given on the common geological processes. This knowledge forms a foundation for later intermediate-level studies. It is therefore recommended that the students follow the planned path from basic to intermediate studies. In the intermediate studies, apart from the Bachelor’s thesis, there are obligatory joint studies of 52 ECTS credits (including an obligatory seminar and practical training). In addition, optional courses are provided in Geology and Mineralogy (43 cr.), Quaternary Geology (38 cr.) and Geochemistry (10 cr.). 1 ECTS credit is estimated to be equal to 27 hours of studies. Completing a B.Sc. degree within 3 academic years means that,  during one year (autumn and spring semester), students will perform ca. 60 ECTS credits (i.e., 1600 hours of studies).

Occupational Profiles of Graduates: 

A Bachelor of Science degree provides the student with a basic knowledge of geosciences and, depending on the minor subjects, other sciences. After completing a B.Sc. degree, the students will continue their university studies with advanced-level courses to gain the degree of Master of Science (M.Sc.). Having the B.Sc. degree completed, they are competent to participate in assisting geological research work in surveys and companies.

Access to Further Studies: 

The B.Sc. degree in geology and the minor subject module in the degree provide a firm basis for the M.Sc. studies in the selected major subject. The students are justified to continue to the M.Sc. studies without having the B.Sc. degree completed. However, it very strongly advised that the students carry out the necessary studies and apply for the B.Sc. degree at the end the 3rd year. A student can begin his/her M.Sc. studies during the 3rd year, normally during the spring semester. If these contain advanced-level studies, they cannot be included in the Bachelor’s degree, but will be part of the Master’s degree.

Graduation Requirements and Final Project: 

In order to graduate, the student must have completed the general studies included in the curriculum and the required major and minor subject studies, totaling a minimum of 180 credits. At the end of the intermediate studies, the student will write a B.Sc. thesis and the maturity test, which will test the student’s ability to produce scientific text. The required language skills in Swedish and Finnish are defined in the Act (424/2003) section 6, subsection 1. After completion of all required studies, the student can obtain the degree by submitting the relevant application form to the faculty.

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).

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 Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree is a lower academic degree. After gaining the B.Sc. degree, the students will continue their university studies with advanced-level courses to gain the degree of Master of Science (M.Sc.). B.Sc. is not a professional degree but provides language proficiency required from the 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: 
Bachelor's Degree
Duration of Studies: 
3 years
ECTS Credits: 
Language of Instruction: 
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. The main language of instruction in the degree programme is Finnish.
Application Period: 
March 17 - April 9, 2015 at 15:00 (UTC +3)