Master in Computer Science

University of Helsinki

Program Description

Master in Computer Science

University of Helsinki

Computer science has a brilliant future! You could help to create new network solutions, build the future digital society, develop secure digital services, or be involved in a ground-breaking international software project. Perhaps you will develop algorithms for utilising genome data in medicine or optimise bus routes using positioning data. Do you wonder about all the things that can be automated? Or would you like to dig deeper and become a researcher?

In the Master’s programme in computer science you can become an expert in a wide range of fields. You will have access to the focus areas of research in computer science at the University of Helsinki: algorithms, distributed or networked systems, and software engineering. You will gain lasting professional skills for specialist, design, or managerial posts in the corporate world, or for research and doctoral education, since the Master’s programme in computer science gives you the aptitude for both independent working and multidisciplinary teamwork.

This education will give you:

  • The ability to advance your knowledge in the different areas of computer science
  • The skill to seek, assess, and analyse scientific information in your own area of expertise, and apply the methods of the field in an ethical and sustainable way
  • The ability to act as expert in the field, and to develop the practices and methods of your field in cooperation with specialists from other fields
  • Oral and written communication skills in an international work environment

The quality teaching within the computer science programme at the University of Helsinki has been highlighted repeatedly in national and international teaching assessments. The student-centred, in-depth learning gives you a solid basis for life-long learning. Studying at the leading research unit for computer science in Finland offers you constant interaction with current research and insight into the development patterns in the field.

The University of Helsinki will introduce annual tuition fees to foreign-language Master’s programmes starting on August 1, 2017 or later. The fee is 15 000 EUR. Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries, who do not have a permanent residence status in the area, are liable to these fees. You can check the FAQ at the Studyinfo website whether or not you are required to pay tuition fees.

In­form­a­tion on the lan­guages of in­struc­tion

Instruction can be given in English or Finnish. Within these sub-programmes, instruction is nearly always in English:

  • Algorithms
  • Networking and Services

Within the following sub-programme, some of the instruction is given in Finnish, but it is also possible to graduate with teaching in English:

  • Software systems

You can take exams in English, Finnish or Swedish (unless the nature of the course demands otherwise), and you can write your Master’s thesis in Finnish, Swedish or English.

Pro­gramme con­tents

In future, we will increasingly be using intelligent tools, consisting of networked hardware, software, services, and data. They will work based on intelligent, learning algorithms, data streams carried by communication protocols, and global infrastructures.

Within the Algorithms sub-programme, you will study effective algorithms and their application within other disciplines and in corporate life. Future IT systems will contain more and more intelligent components, the function of which will be based on complex mathematical models created automatically with the aid of machine-learning methods. The problems to be solved are computationally challenging, and the ever increasing amounts of data will create their own challenges when it comes to the efficiency of the algorithms needed.

The Networking and services sub-programme educates you to become an expert and strategic leader in the design and management of new global infrastructures. The infrastructures include Internet technologies in fixed networks and mobile environments, as well as the information and service networks built on top of them. Focus areas include the theory, data security, and trust within distributed systems, interactive systems, and the adaptability of services in a changing environment.

The Software systems sub-programme introduces you to the design and implementation of advanced software. The development of a shared software framework or platform for several software products is very demanding both technically and from the development project viewpoint. Developing such software requires technical skills, but also team- and project work, quality assurance, and communication. Within this sub-programme, you can specialise in software engineering, software technology, or information management, and study the current research questions in these areas in depth.

Se­lec­tion of the ma­jor

The sub-programmes in the Master’s programme for computer science are:

  • Algorithms
  • Networking and services
  • Software systems

You can select any of these programmes according to your preferences at the beginning of your studies. The sub-programme determines which courses you should take.

Pro­gramme struc­ture

The Master’s programme comprises 120 credits, which can be completed in two years, in accordance with an approved personal study plan. The degree includes:

  • 80 credits of advanced courses, including
    • Shared courses within the programme
    • Courses within the programme which support the thesis topic
    • The Master’s thesis (Pro gradu), 30 credits
  • 40 credits of other courses from your own or other programmes
    • The other courses can include a work-orientation period


The advanced module in the Master of Science degree includes a thesis (30 credits). In this project you demonstrate your ability for scientific thinking, your grasp of research methods, your in-depth knowledge of the thesis topic, and your aptitude for scientific written communication. Some common types of theses are the literature-based comparison or analysis, and the experimental or constructive application. All theses demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the research literature within the writer’s own field, and command of the communication style prevalent in computer science publications.

Some of the theses are written in collaboration with research groups at the department, so you may be able to participate in top research even before completing your degree. Due to the breadth of the field and its impact on society, the thesis topics range over many themes. Recent thesis topics have included cloud computing, big data, management of large genome data, machine learning, service- and model-based solutions, software development methods, and software quality assurance.

Ca­reer pro­spects

The employment outlook within the field is excellent. Masters of computer science find varied positions within the ICT field, both as employees and entrepreneurs. The nature of the education is also geared towards giving you an aptitude for managerial posts. All the sub-programmes provide the qualifications to find employment in a wide variety of jobs.

Software-system graduates often start their careers as software developers and designers, while network graduates often start with software at the infrastructure level (such as data communications, computation, or data entry). The skills learned in the algorithms sub-programme enable you to work on challenging tasks in various fields.

As a graduate you can find employment within small or large corporations as well as organisations in the private, public, or third sector. Due to the global nature of the field, you can find employment anywhere in the world. Taking modules from other education programmes will help you apply your computer science skills in other areas. Many jobs are based on these combinations.

Thanks to its strong scientific basis, the degree is also an excellent springboard to a doctoral programme.


A Master's degree gives eligibility to apply to positions that require a second cycle academic degree.


There is a very international atmosphere within the programme, as nearly a third of the students come from abroad, and the advanced courses are instructed by international researchers.

In addition, the University of Helsinki and the Faculty of Science offer you many opportunities for international activities:

  • Instruction in English within other education programmes
  • International tasks within the students’ organisations or union
  • Language courses at the Language Centre of the University of Helsinki

You can also get information and counselling about independent international experience, such as:

  • Student exchange in one of the exchange locations of the faculty or university
  • Traineeships abroad

Computer science at the University of Helsinki is a popular exchange location, especially from Germany. Some 5-10 students come annually; exchange students have come from 14 countries in recent years. The students in the department have taken exchange periods in 16 countries in the past few years.


In the Faculty of Science, your course opportunities are not limited to the modules offered by your own education programme. You can choose courses from other programmes, both within your own faculty and from the university’s other faculties. The teaching within the data science and the Life Science Informatics Master’s programmes is designed in close cooperation with the computer science Master’s programme.

Thanks to the flexible study rights agreement (the JOO), you can also take courses at other Finnish universities, so it is easy to tailor your degree according to your interests and career plans.

Contacts with working life are important at every stage of the programme. Many computer science students work alongside their studies, and can incorporate this experience in their degrees through the trainee section of the degree. You can develop your own business idea during the university’s entrepreneur courses and at Think Company, which is a new kind of meeting place for students and researchers interested in starting companies, as well as corporate partners in various fields.

In addition, you can participate in research projects through thesis and seminar work, i.e. concrete research work. Writing your MSc thesis in cooperation with a corporation or research organisation is also a good way to improve your working-life abilities.

Computer science at the University of Helsinki participates in the Luma network, spreading programming and digital-society skills to school pupils and the public. The work within Luma includes educating science teachers in computer science to meet schools’ teaching needs. Clubs and camps offer teaching experience in the field to computer science students and teaching students, as well as teachers gaining complementary training.

Computer science at the University of Helsinki has considerable collaboration with corporations in the fields of networks, data security, data science, etc. Within the field of data security there is the Intel Collaborative Research Institute (ICRI-SC); the Nokia Centre for Advanced Research (NCAR) was established in spring 2016 to promote research on data science and networks.

The Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT) is a joint research institute of the University of Helsinki and Aalto University, which supports and coordinates research collaboration within the field of computer science. The research in computer science in the Helsinki region gains considerable added value and international impact through this collaboration.

Re­search fo­cus

There are several multidisciplinary research projects under way at the Faculty of Science, which are being carried out in cooperation with the research institutes on the science campus and with other faculties, universities, and corporations. The role of computer science within these projects is to develop the basic methods of the discipline in strategic areas and to collaborate in depth with other disciplines.

The sub-programmes within the Master’s programme cover a considerable part of the strategic focus areas of computer science research at the University of Helsinki: algorithms, data analysis and machine learning, networking and services, software systems, bioinformatics, and data science.

Computer science is part of three Finnish Academy centres of excellence: for computational inference, inversion problems, and cancer genetics. These units represent the collaboration between computer science and other disciplines.

Computer science has coordinated the long-lived Algodan centre of excellence, which has been the basis for many current research groups.

This school offers programs in:
  • English
  • Finnish
  • Swedish


Start Semester: Autumn 2017

Last updated October 16, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2017
2 years
Full time
30,000 EUR
Jan. 12, 2017
Start date Aug. 2017
Finland Helsinki
Application deadline Jan. 12, 2017
End date Request Info
Duration 2 years
Price 30,000 EUR
Per year: non-EU/​EEA stu­dents 15,000