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.

Other Master's Programmes (2016-2017)

Geosciences, Master of Science, 120 ECTS Credits

Profile of the Degree: 

In the M.Sc. programme of Geosciences, a higher academic degree is done, totalling 120 ECTS credits. Students deepen their earlier Bachelor-level studies and through a research project related to their Master’s thesis, they develop their abilities to conduct independent research work. The aim of the degree is to provide the students with academic professional competence and create a firm foundation for continuing to potential further studies for a doctoral degree in Geosciences.

Mineral resources and their proper utilization form an important material basis for a stable national economy and modern life style. In general, research and education related to natural resources require a multidisciplinary approach. This is well suited to the University of Oulu where natural and technical sciences are located under the same roof. Geosciences coupled with Water and Environmental Engineering, Process Engineering, Mineral Processing, Mining Technology, Metallurgy, and Chemistry allows versatile research and teaching through the whole mine lifecycle, beginning with the search for minerals and continuing with resources estimates, mining operations, mineral processing and metal production, and ending with mine closure and rehabilitation.

The degree programme of Geosciences offers three lines of specialisation:

  1. Ore Geology (major subject: Geology and Mineralogy)
  2. Quaternary Geology (major subject: Quaternary Geology)
  3. Applied Geophysics (major subject: Geophysics)

Teaching of Geosciences with specialisation in Ore Geology provides suitable education to those students who want prepare themselves for a career in mineral exploration, mining industry or generally in bedrock research. This line of specialization responses to the increased demand of ore geology experts in mineral exploration and mining operations in Northern Europe. Emphasis of advanced-level courses is on teaching of the characteristics, occurrence and genesis of different metallic ore deposits, but there are also courses on bedrock of Finland, Applied Geophysics, Geometallurgy and GIS applications, for example. Minor subject courses in Mineral Processing, Mining Technology and resource evaluation complement the expertise in the mining field.

Specialisation 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 mineral exploration and various environmental issues. Minor subject courses in water and environmental engineering supplement the competence in environmental research.

In the specialisation in Applied Geophysics, teaching and research are focused on using of geophysical methods in exploration and mapping of natural resources and in environmental and engineering studies. A central subject is Computational Geophysics, in which multidimensional numerical modelling and inversion are taught and investigated as an essential part in the interpretation of geophysical data. Lithosphere Geophysics is also taught and studied, dealing with the structure, composition and evolution of the Earth's crust and upper mantle, which are linked to the genesis and distribution of geological resources. In the life cycle of a mine, Geophysics plays an important role in all stages: before opening the mine in mineral exploration and resource assessment, during active mining operations in exploration for additional resources and environmental monitoring, and after the closure of the mine in environmental monitoring and mapping of potentially contaminated areas.

A student can apply for a two-year Master’s programme in Geosciences with specialisation in Geophysics if he/she has completed a Bachelor’s degree in Physics (see the degree programme of Physics) and a sufficient amount of basic- and intermediate-level courses in Geophysics. A student can apply for Geophysics from other degree programmes as well, provided he/she has a sufficiently wide background in Physics and Geophysics.

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

Courses Required for the Degree: 

The whole extent of the Master’s degree is 120 ECTS credits, including a 35-credit Master’s thesis. It is required that in the line of specialisation in Ore Geology and Quaternary Geology, advanced level courses in the major subject should amount to at least 25 ECTS credits (in addition to the Master’s thesis) and in the line of specialization in Geophysics 45 ECTS credits. The other optional intermediate- and/or advanced-level studies are chosen in such a way that the total number of credits is at least 120 ECTS credits.

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

Learning Outcomes: 

After completing a M.Sc. degree, geologists and geophysicists are capable of working in expert posts of their field. They have a scientific way of thinking and solving problems and are able to search for information and capable of evaluating information with a critical approach.

After graduating from the line of specialization in Ore Geology, students:

  • are able to identify the common ore types,
  • can apply relevant research methods to study their properties and geological setting,
  • understand the processes and mechanisms of ore genesis and devise strategies for mineral exploration,
  • can assess the applicability of different mineral exploration methods and is able to utilize them in practice,
  • are able to plan exploitation and beneficiation of mineral deposits in close collaboration with other professionals in the mining field,
  • are able to assess how these can take place with minimal negative consequences to the environment.

After graduating from the line of specialization in Quaternary Geology, students:

  • can apply gained knowledge and skills to sustainable use of superficial deposits (including ground water) and their protection,
  • 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,
  • 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,
  • can apply field and remote sensing methods to categorize glacigenic landforms and carry out ore prospecting and ground water research using basic methods.
  • combine geological and technical knowledge in planning of environmental studies

After graduating from the line of specialization in Applied Geophysics, the geophysicists:

  • can exploit all the prior information to choose the proper geophysical methods for solving the existing or given geoscientific tasks,
  • can accomplish geophysical field measurements for having good geophysical data,
  • can interpret and analyze the measured data using mathematical and computational methods,
  • can communicate their expertise and the results of their work orally and in writing using the concepts of geophysics.
Arrangements for Recognition of Prior Learning: 

The recognition of prior learning will take place after selecting the major subject. 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: 

Completing a Master’s degree within two years generally requires full-time studies, corresponding to 60 ECTS credits per academic year. The studies are carried out as contact teaching, comprising lectures, seminars, and field and laboratory courses. Exams are usually organized after each course and on common exam days of the faculty. Credits can also be obtained from practical training done usually as summer work. Preparing a Master’s thesis involves independent studies of relevant literature and employment of various research methods. Often the research material is also collected by the student, for example, in connection with the field work during the 3rd or 4th summer.

Language of Instruction: 

In the line of specialisation in Ore Geology, the language of instruction is mostly English and in other lines of specialisation, Finnish but if necessary also English. In all courses, an English textbook is in use. Written examinations and essays, including the Master’s thesis, can be done in English when agreed separately.

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 a total amount of 120 credits, which consists of advanced studies in the major subject (60 credits), other optional intermediate or advanced level studies (60 credits) and a M.Sc. thesis (35 credits). Courses are composed of lecture courses, seminars, and 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, microexams (continuous assessment), work reports etc. Study unit descriptions in WebOodi give more exact information on the assessment of study units. The 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: (The University of Oulu Education Regulations 17§): a numerical scale 0-5 in whole numbers or verbal grading Pass or Fail is used in assessing a completed course. In numerical scale zero stands for fail. In determining the final grade for a study module, a credit-weighted average is utilized. The grades of the Master’s thesis is not be considered when determining the average grade of the 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 Geoscience students can be employed by governmental research institutes (GTK, VTT), Finnish Environment Centre, regional environmental centres, private companies and consulting offices. They commonly work as researchers or leaders of a research project or carry out independent consulting work. The field is very international and therefore it is possible that the first employer of a graduated geologist is an international company and the place of work is either in Finland or abroad.

Depending of the specialisation, they are employed for various duties. Ore/mine geologists can participate in mineral exploration, inventorying investigations of a promising ore deposit and its later exploitation, and at a late stage, in closing of the mine.

Geologists with expertise in Quaternary Geology have capabilities to work in different fields connected to environmental planning and consulting in, for example, mineral exploration, ground water and gravel resources management and protection, geotechnical engineering and palaeolimnology.

Geophysicists holding a M.Sc. degree can find employment in Finland or abroad in e.g. research, industry, geophysical services companies, education or public administration.

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 and Final Project: 

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 the advanced-level studies in the major subject 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 relevant research methods to carry out research and to make scientific arguments based on the results obtained. Students also need 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.

A M.Sc. degree holder is qualified to work e.g. as an expert in research institutes and in geophysical observatories. She/he is also qualified to complete a post-graduate degree aiming at a position as a researcher or specialist. Such degrees include the Licentiate of Philosophy (Ph.Lic.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees.

The Master of Science degree is the 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.

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: 
Finnish and English
Graduate Profiles: 
Project manager
Location of Instruction: 
+358 (0)294 481461
eero.hanski (at)


Applying Information: 
The master's programme is applied for through the
Application Period: 
December 15th 2015 – January 29th 2016 (15.00 UTC +2)