Master in Food Sciences

University of Helsinki

Program Description

Master in Food Sciences

University of Helsinki

Do you want to have an impact on what people will eat in the future? Would you like to know what makes food taste good, due to the raw materials and processing technologies? Do you want to know how we could improve the healthiness, safety, ecology and ethics of food and food processing? Are you interested in exploring innovations in food, such as "pulled oats" or using insects as food? If you answered yes, enrol in Food Sciences master’s programme.

The food industry is the 4th most important employer both in Finland and internationally. This industry is constantly looking for experts to solve new problems. With a Master’s degree in Food Sciences you could embark on a career in the food industry; in a food, agricultural or environmental control laboratory; as a teacher, researcher, or self-employed entrepreneur; or as an expert in government ministries or other expert organisations.

As a master in Food Sciences you will be able to help the food industry develop and renew itself, since you will possess know-how on:

  • Raw materials and processes, including their theoretical basics
  • Different food constituents and their impact on food quality
  • Factors that ensure good quality and food safety

You can enrol in the Food Sciences masters' programme if you hold a bachelors' degree in Food Sciences or in Molecular Biosciences. You can also apply to the programme if you have a bachelors' degree in a related area of the natural sciences from a Finnish or foreign university, or if you have a degree from a Finnish university of applied sciences within food sciences or other related areas of the natural sciences.

Your studies in the Food Sciences masters' programme will offer you a broad education covering courses in the composition and processing of food, in the structures and chemical reactions of food proteins, lipids and carbohydrates, and in food legislation and the safety of food additives.

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

Teaching is in English, but you can also complete the programme in Finnish or Swedish.

Pro­gramme con­tents

Food Sciences on the Viikki campus is a nationally unique programme that covers the whole food production chain from primary production via food processing to consumers. Food Sciences is an internationally appreciated field of education: food research at the University of Helsinki has been highly ranked.

Your masters' studies in food sciences will enable you to make an impact on the the creation of innovative solutions for the whole chain of food production. You will:

  • Study the theory and applications of the broad area of food sciences in lecture courses and in group work
  • Increase your knowledge of food composition, processing, structure, and legislation
  • Deepen your knowledge of how the reactions of different food components, production processes and packaging affect the structure, sensory quality, healthiness and safety of animal and plant based foods
  • Learn laboratory working skills
  • Acquire employment skills for example by training in the food industry

Se­lec­tion of the ma­jor

You can affect the sort of expertise you would like to gain. You can tailor your Master’s degree by choosing special studies in food chemistry, food technology, and in the science and technology relating to meat, dairy and cereals.

You can also complement your expertise in food sciences with, for example, studies in food development, food safety, food research and analysis, economics, marketing, sustainable food production, microbiology, biotechnology or nutrition.

Pro­gramme struc­ture

You will need 120 credits (ECTS) for the Master’s degree. Together with your faculty adviser, you will make a personal study plan consisting of:

  • 60 credits of advanced studies in food sciences including a Master’s thesis
  • Studies of your choice in special areas of food sciences
  • Complementary studies of your choice
  • Studies of your free choice

You can also include career planning, an internship and studies abroad in your Master’s degree.


A Master’s thesis (30 credits) is included in the Master’s degree programme. Your thesis should consist of a review of the existing literature and an experimental section. In the Food Sciences Masters' programme, you can often complete your thesis within a research group or in collaboration with the food industry.

When you pose the question addressed in your thesis, your goal should be to acquire new understanding of an issue and to develop your own problem-solving skills. The topic of your thesis might also be the development of a new technology or product. In terms of methodology, your thesis can be based on chemistry, physics, technology, biochemistry, microbiology or sensory science. Doing your Master’s thesis will train you in scientific thinking, analysis of problems, development of explanatory models and hypotheses, planning experiments and working in the laboratory and/or making pilot-plant experiments, and presenting your research results and your critical discussion.

Ca­reer pro­spects

With a Master’s degree in Food Sciences, you can find work as a product quality manager in the food industry; as an inspector in a food, agricultural or environmental control laboratory; as a teacher or researcher at a university; as self-employed entrepreneur; or as an expert in a government ministry or other expert organisation.


As a student in Food Sciences you have excellent opportunities for an international student exchange or internship. You can also perform part of your degree studies at a university abroad. Due to the instruction in English, the many international students on the Viikki campus, and the many international personnel in the research groups, you will be part of an international community in your daily student life.


The Viikki campus of biosciences offers you plenty of possibilities to broaden the scope of your Food Sciences Master’s degree. The education and research cover for all areas of the food production chain from the field to the table. You can also take advantage of the education offered by other fields of science within Helsinki University.

The Food Sciences faculty work in close collaboration with research institutes and with the food industry. These include the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the National Food Safety Authority Evira, the Customs laboratory, LUKE National Resources Institute Finland, and environment centres.

Re­search fo­cus

Research in food sciences at the University of Helsinki is multidisciplinary and has been acknowledged both nationally and internationally. The research focus is:

  • Food production chains
  • Food quality and healthy nutrition

Department of Food and Environmental Sciences

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