Studies at University of Oulu 2016-2017

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

Geography, Master of Science, 120 ECTS Credits

Profile of the Degree: 

In the MSc-program of Geography, MSc degree is 120 ECTS cr. It is higher academic degree in Finland. Students who are accepted to study Geography can study Geography free of charge (Universities Act 2009/558 8§).

The major subject to all is Geography. In his/her major studies, in Geography, the student can choose his/her specialty between Physical Geography, Human Geography and Regional Development and Policy, Geoinformatics and Tourism Geography. Minor studies may be chosen freely. A student can also apply  for the double degree programme " Master in Tourism and Regional Planning" which is co-operated with The Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, in Germany. The double degree programme is partly taught in English and the structure of the studies differs from other master studies in geography.

After his/her MSc-studies the student is able to continue PhD-studies in UniOGS.

The research profile on the geography is very high (The CoE of Academy of Finland RELATE, RAE 2013), which reflects to all courses. The staff is internationally highly acknowledged and awarded. There are tens of visiting scholars annually in the department.


Courses Required for the Degree: 

MSc-level studies in Geography:

Major, Geography: Advanced studies 50 ECTC cr, Master Thesis 30 ECTS cr.

Minor studies: 40 ECTS cr which can be chosen freely. Recommendation: student can perform 25 ECTS cr + 25 ECTS cr in his/her minor studies.

Studies are planned so that the student will achieve 30 ECTS cr per semester, 60 ECTS cr per academic year. There can be more than 120 ECTS cr in the MSc degree. It is minimum.

The description of structure of the MSc degree is in appendix.

Learning Outcomes: 

After MSc-graduation the student can

  • define his/her the most essential research traditions in his/her field of specialization, and define the most important research challenges in the view point of present and future situation
  • analyze different geographical causalities and information using in-depth research methods in his/her field of specialization
  • apply learned aspects to new teaching and learning situations and clarify how different phenomena of Geography (and his/her field’s of specialization) are fixed together
  • analyze geographical knowledge and information wider research methods
  • clarify and argue about the implications of geographical phenomena as part of processes that are linked to his/her own field of specialization and also to wider geographical aspects
  • to widen geographical view with independent research work (Master Thesis) so that he/she can do new openings to the research traditions and to research challenges
Arrangements for Recognition of Prior Learning: 

The main principle for recognition of prior learning is that earlier studies in Geography or corresponding field may substitute some of the studies in Oulu. Each case is evaluated individually.

University of Oulu Education Regulations gives information on recognition of prior learning in article 27. The main principles of RPL are followed as ordered.

Modes of Study and Teaching: 

The 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 ECTS credits) can be completed in two years, studying full-time. The studies are carried out as contact teaching, but a part of the courses can be completed as book exams. Teaching is organized on weekdays, from 8:00 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Language of Instruction: 

Language of instruction is mostly Finnish. Exam material is mostly in English. Some of the courses are held totally or partly in English (for exchange students).

Examination Regulations, Assessment and Grading: 

Assessment methods and criteria for the studies: The degree-related studies can be completed based on the curriculum. This means that the student studies intermediate studies, advanced studies and elective studies the curriculum contains, in accordance with the curriculum. The study units are primarily completed by attending examinations and they are assessed by the person responsible for the study unit.

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 and work experience.

Grading (University of Oulu Education Regulations, article 17):

A numerical scale 0-5 in whole numbers or verbal grading Pass or Fail is used in assessing a completed course.

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: 

Geographers work in multiple professions. The most common professions are in the public sector (like researchers, teachers, planners, coordinators). There are also several posts in the open, private, sector and the expertise of the geographers is widely acknowledged. Teachers in Geography (and in Biology, if that is chosen as minor) can employ in schools in Finland and in the EU.

Access to Further Studies: 

The MSc-level degree gives qualification to the PhD studies.

In the University of Oulu, applying is organized by the University of Oulu Graduate School (UniOGS).

Graduation Requirements and Final Project: 

Requirement to achieve MSc-degree is to finish all the required courses in major and minor studies, Master Thesis.

Qualification Requirements and Regulations: 

The Master’s degree (MSc) 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 §.

 According to Government Decree on University Degrees (794/2004), Language Proficiency Section 6, 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.

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.

For special reasons, the university may either totally or partially exempt a student from the requisite language skills

referred to in subsection 1.

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.

Basic information

Level of the Degree: 
Master's Degree
Duration of Studies: 
2 years
ECTS Credits: 
Language of Instruction: 
Graduate Profiles: 
Geography Teacher in Primary, Secondary or High-school
Project Manager
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