Europe. Why Does It Matter?
The world is becoming an increasingly small place – a planet we all share together, and try to solve those challenges, contradictions and conflicts that threaten to shake it to the core.
What is the role of Europe in this, with its historical and philosophical legacies, a conflict ridden past, but at the same time continuous efforts to strive for peace and cooperation? What about the Nordic countries that have come to symbolize equality, welfare and connecting to nature?
Learning about European societies, politics and culture, with a Nordic twist, will give you keys to understand the world around you and in the end, transform it.
Understanding Europe today requires much more than understanding the process of European integration. The tensions, challenges and possibilities that are manifesting themselves today have their roots in a longer political, social and cultural history.
The units responsible for the programme are rated among the best in Europe and beyond, thus guaranteeing the students high-quality research-based teaching and supervision. As a student in the programme, you also have the freedom to follow your own initiatives and access to a wide range of courses organised throughout the University of Helsinki.
Why European and Nordic Stud­ies?
In the Master's Programme in European and Nordic Studies (ENS), you gain a rich and multidisciplinary understanding of European society, politics and culture today and in history. All along the way, the programme draws from the strengths of Nordic research on Europe with its strong focus on regional cooperation, diversity, identities, institutions, culture and politics of history and memory. You learn to know the Nordic countries through a European perspective and Europe from a Nordic perspective.
Studying the ways in which Europeans cooperate, how European states and societies are interconnected, and how they are governed, forms an important part of the programme. Besides looking at the processes of integration and the evolution and functioning of the European Union, the programme highlights the significance of regional cooperation in the Nordic context, the EU’s relations with its neighbours and its place in the global system.
This is a unique programme in the Nordic countries where you can specialise in Nordic Studies in English.
At the end of your studies you have:
a broad understanding of European issues and in-depth proficiency in your chosen thematic specialization;
gained advanced research and critical analysis skills as well as skills to do independent and creative projects
earned a Master of Arts degree (M.A.) or a Master of Social Sciences degree (M. Soc. Sc.) depending on your chosen study track
received high-quality research training enabling you to pursue a career in academic research
the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue a career in higher education, local and national administrations, the media, the European Union, Nordic regional and international institutions, non-governmental organisations, and the business sector.
Structure and Content
The scope of the Master's Programme in European and Nordic Studies (ENS) is 120 credits (ECTS) to be completed in two academic years. The programme consists of joint courses and specialisation studies that introduce you to various aspects of Europe, the Nordic countries and the Baltic Sea Region.
One of the available options is to specialise in Nordic Studies. ENS is a unique Nordic Studies programme taught in English in the Nordic countries.
The programme has two study tracks:
Humanities track emphases regional and cultural studies, and history. Thematic modules specific to this track include: Nordic Studies; European Legal History and Traditions; and ECEBB (East Central European, Balkan and Baltic Studies).
Social Sciences track is oriented towards political history, politics, civil society and public life. Thematic modules specific to this track include: EU Studies; History and Memory in Europe; Politics and Communication; and Migration and Minorities.
The language of instruction is English. Upon completion of the programme, you will receive either the Master of Arts degree or Master of Social Sciences degree depending on your study track.
Courses and Teaching
The ENS programme involves substantial interaction between you and your teachers. You will complete several writing assignments and research papers along the way, culminating in a Master’s thesis in your second year. Some courses use active learning or flipped classroom pedagogy.
The multidisciplinary selection of courses introduces you to various aspects of Europe, the Nordic countries, and the Baltic Sea Region. The topics include, for example:
Contemporary European politics
Nordic societies and cultures
Institutions, ideologies and identities in Europe
Nations and nationalism
Human rights and civil society activism
Migration and minorities
(Nordic) welfare models
European Union and Nordic cooperation
European legal traditions
Politics of memory
The Master's thesis is an integral part of your degree. During the thesis project, you are expected to:
demonstrate that you can formulate relevant and interesting research questions
create a coherent research design
analyse and produce data
write a scientific research report
Although the project is extensive independent research work, you will have a supervisor acting as your advisor. You will also regularly present the progress of your project in a joint seminar with your fellow students.
After completing your thesis, you have gained a broad understanding of European issues and in-depth proficiency on your more specific thesis topic as well as acquired advanced research skills. You have also learned how to conduct a large independent research project and how to report your research results.
Students and Student Life
Student life and especially the student organisation culture is exceptionally rich and diverse in Finland. Also at the University of Helsinki, the student community is very active.
More than 250 student organisations operate within the Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY), ranging from faculty and subject organisations to political and societal organisations, and from choirs and orchestras to sports and game clubs. Their activities include societal affairs, excursions, cultural events, get-togethers, anniversary celebrations, and academic dinner parties.
As a student and member of the Student Union (HYY), you are entitled to many benefits and services. For example, affordable student housing, basic healthcare services, sports facilities and student-priced meals. You also get numerous discounts, for example on public transport fees across the country.
European and Nordic Studies programme will train you to become a critical thinker, who is well informed about European issues. You will learn to do independent and creative analytical projects in a multicultural environment. It will hopefully also help you to grow more wise and compassionate in the face of our current societal problems.
There is currently a great need for professionals like this within the public and private sectors. The programme will provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue work in higher education, local and national administrations, the media, the European Union, Nordic regional and international institutions, non-governmental organisations, and the business sector.
European studies graduates from the University of Helsinki have begun careers for example in the European Commission, European Parliament, Committee of the Regions, European NGOs, College of Europe, communication offices, and associations promoting Nordic cooperation. You will meet some potential future employees, as well as alumni from our university, in the visits organised in the framework of our programme. You will also have the opportunity to complete an internship during your studies.
If you are interested in pursuing a future in academic research, the programme provides you with high quality research training i.e. an excellent basis for postgraduate studies. At the University of Helsinki you can continue your studies, for example, under the aegis of our:
Doctoral Programme in Political, Societal and Regional Change
Doctoral Programme in History and Cultural Heritage
Centre of Nordic Studies
Centre for European Studies