How can forests help us fight climate change?
Do you want to affect the future of forests, a key natural resource and wellspring of biodiversity? Have you ever wondered why forests are called the lungs of the Earth and how climate change relates to forests? Or how trees are grown and processed into products in a sustainable and efficient manner? And how are the economy and forests interrelated? You can find answers to these questions when you study forest sciences. You will come to view forests not only as a setting for jogging trails or as a source of wood, but rather as a source of versatile renewable resources and as complex ecological systems that are closely connected to their environment. The relationship between humans and nature and between society and natural resources is a strong feature of these studies. The Master's Programme in Forest Sciences at the University of Helsinki has been ranked 4th in the world, placing it as one of the best educational programmes in Finland.
A multidisciplinary master's degree programme
The Master’s Programme in Forest Sciences offers a broad and versatile perspective on forests and their use. The studies focus on and apply knowledge in biology, biogeochemistry, business economics, environmental sciences, logistics, geoinformatics and information technology. As a graduate of forest sciences, you will be a professional in forest ecology, the management and use of forest resources, forest bioeconomy business and policy, with ample career opportunities in Finland and abroad. Come and study forest sciences at the University of Helsinki, in one of the world’s foremost degree programmes in the field. You can study and complete your master's degree either in English, Swedish or Finnish.
Goal of the programme
Do you want to affect the future of forests, a key natural resource and the wellspring of biodiversity? Have you ever wondered why forests are called the lungs of the Earth and how climate change relates to forests? Or how trees are grown and processed into products in a sustainable and efficient manner? And how are the economy and forests interrelated?
You can find answers to these questions when you study forest sciences. You will come to view forests not only as a setting for jogging trails or as a source of wood, but rather as a source of versatile renewable resources and as complex ecological systems that are closely connected to their environment. The relationship between humans and nature and between society and natural resources is a strong feature of these studies.
The Master’s Programme in Forest Sciences offers a broad and versatile perspective on forests and their use. The studies focus on and apply knowledge in biology, business economics, environmental sciences, logistics, geoinformatics and information technology. As a graduate in forest sciences, you will be a professional in forest ecology, the management and use of forest resources, forest bioeconomy business and policy, with ample career opportunities in Finland and abroad.
Come and study forest sciences at the University of Helsinki, in one of the world’s foremost degree programmes in the field. For more information in Finnish about studies in forest sciences, the field of forestry and its opportunities, see www.metsatieteet.fi.
Information on the languages of instruction
The language of instruction is either Finnish or English. In all courses, you can choose to complete your examinations and presentations, as well as your Master’s thesis, in Finnish or Swedish.
General studies in the Master’s programme provide you with skills needed for the academic world and the labour market. In advanced studies, you focus on field-specific issues and develop your professional knowledge when writing your Master’s thesis and completing courses in your field of specialisation. In addition, the studies include elective courses that allow you to diversify and deepen your knowledge.
The Master's Programme in Forest Sciences comprises two study tracks: forest ecology and management and forest bioeconomy business and policy. These study tracks include a total of 10 fields of specialisation.
The specialisations in forest ecology and management focus on various types of forest and peatland ecosystems and their exploitation, examine the planning of forest use and the relevant collection of information, examine forest inventory models, wood harvesting and logistics as well as the processing of wood into bioeconomy products.
Topical issues include
- climate change
- the prevention of damage to forests caused by insects and fungi
- the control of game populations
- problems related to the exploitation of tropical forests
- the application of new remote sensing methods in the planning of forest resource management
- the combination of different values and targets in forestry and bioeconomy
- various models of silviculture
- increased efficiency in logging and transportation
- generating added value in all areas of biorefining.
Studies in the forest bioeconomy business and policy are based on the sustainable use of a renewable natural resource and on the development of responsible business activities in a global environment. The focus of studies is on the globalisation of forest-based industry and business and its structural redevelopment into the bioeconomy. You will become familiar with forest-based issues of the bioeconomy in production, marketing and policy as part of the global operating environment.
Selection of the study track
Graduates from the Bachelor’s Programme in Forest Sciences at the University of Helsinki can continue their studies in the Master's Programme in Forest Sciences. There is an application process for graduates from other Bachelor’s programmes, from universities of applied sciences, and for international applicants. Bachelor’s graduates from the following applicable University of Helsinki Bachelor’s programmes can continue their studies in the Master’s Programme in Forest Sciences in accordance with previously determined criteria and principles without having to apply separately: bachelor´s programme in Biology, bachelor´s programme in Environmental and food economics and bachelor´s programme in Molecular Biosciences.
If there are more applicants to the study tracks than there are student places, admission will be based on previous academic performance and the applicability of the previous degree.
In the application process, you are selected for the Master’s Programme in Forest Sciences. Upon admission, you must select one of the two study tracks and you must select your specialisation by the second year of your Master’s studies.
Study tracks, specialisations and examples of topics covered by them:
Forest ecology and management
- The management and restoration of forest and peatland ecosystems: the sustainable and multitargeted use of forest, the use of peat
- Function and production of forests: ecophysiology of growth, production ecology, material fluxes between forest and the atmosphere
- Forest soil science: the biogeochemistry and hydrology of forest soil, soil and root ecology
- Forest pathology and mycology: the microbiology and epidemiology of forests
- Forest zoology: the biology and ecology of forest insects, the ecology of forest pests
- Wildlife management: game populations and society, the planning of game husbandry, mammal ecology
- The ecology, management and use of tropical forests: methods of tropical forestry, agroforestry
- Forest resource management and geoinformatics: the collection and use of forest-related information in decision-making, laser scanning, remote sensing, forest inventory
- Forest technology and logistics: the management of forest products, terramechanics, forest bioenergy
- Wood technology: wood science and wood as raw material, laboratories in the forest industry, the structure and properties of wood raw material
Forest bioeconomy business and policy
Studies are composed of required core courses and elective courses. Course topics include
- Marketing and management in the forest industry: strategic management and marketing, responsibility in forest bioeconomy, customer orientation, innovations
- Business economics of units within forest bioeconomy, economics of silviculture, forest investment and the economic impact of environmental targets
- Forest owners’ goals and behaviour, structure of forest ownership
- International forest policy: global processes and trends impacting the forest sector from the perspective of individuals, communities and nations
The Bachelor’s Programme in Forest Sciences includes two study tracks: forest ecology and the use of forest resources, and forest economics and marketing. The Master's Programme in Forest Sciences comprises also two study tracks: forest ecology and management and business economics and policies of forest bioeconomy. These study tracks include a total of 10 specialisations (see specialisations above). Upon completing the Master's Programme in Forest Sciences you will be eligible to apply for the Doctoral Programme in Sustainable Use of Renewable Natural Resources.
More information about the programme structure in programme’s web pages: www.helsinki.fi/en/programmes/master/forest-sciences/studying/study-tracks-and-degree-structure
Completing your Master's thesis will demonstrate your ability to solve a well-defined research problem of interest to your field of specialisation in accordance with the principles of scientific research. When writing the thesis, you will examine the research problem and background literature, apply different research methods, analyse the results and draw conclusions from them. The objective of the thesis project is for you to demonstrate that you have mastered the key terminology and theories of the field as well as academic writing (in Finnish, Swedish or English). The Master’s thesis is typically completed within a research project of the degree programme in forest sciences or as an assignment commissioned by a research institute or company. Hence, the Master’s thesis project also offers excellent opportunities to establish networks and contacts with potential employers.
A degree in forestry offers extensive and fairly unique professional competence on a global scale on forest and peatland ecosystems, forest management and use, forest conservation, the business economics and policies of forest bioeconomy as well as the collection, management and use of forest-related information. For more information in Finnish on the available career opportunities, see www.metsatieteet.fi.
Studies in forestry offer ample opportunities for international activities. For example, you can complete your practical training or collect material for your Master’s thesis abroad. Most courses in the Master’s programme are in English, and several international students participate. You can also serve as a tutor for international exchange students and establish contacts and networks in this way. Another example of international activities is the Helsinki Summer School, which offers intensive courses on topical issues and brings together students from as many as 60 countries.
The forest sector as a whole increasingly networks with other sectors, such as land use and the textile, packaging, information technology, energy, materials, chemistry and services industries. The forest sciences degree programmes engage in teaching and research across faculty boundaries, so you can choose from a wide variety of courses and modules also from outside your own programme. Examples range from environmental sciences, atmospheric sciences and land use to molecular biosciences and business economics.
Teachers and researchers in the Master’s Programme in Forest Sciences also have good contacts with businesses, government agencies and research institutes outside the University. These include companies in the forest industry and bioeconomy sector (Stora Enso, Metsä Group, UPM), operators in the forest sector (Metsähallitus, the Finnish Forest Centre), research and development organisations (the Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE), the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute (FGI) of the National Land Survey of Finland, the Finnish Food Safety Authority, the Finnish Environment Institute, Pellervo Economic Research, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Metsäteho, TTS Work Efficiency Institute and the Tapio Group), consulting companies focused on forests, the bioeconomy and natural resources (e.g., Pöyry Management Consulting, Indufor, Arbonaut), the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment as well as various associations (including the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners and WWF Finland). Internationally, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) offer traineeship placements for our students.
University-level teaching is based on the latest research results. The teaching and research topics in forest sciences cover important current themes, such as the sustainable use of forests and other natural resources, climate change, urbanisation, new bioenergy production methods as well as digital services based on forest resource information. As a student of forest sciences, you will have the opportunity to seek solutions to these current challenges through actual research projects.
Key research areas in forest sciences include:
- Interactions between forest and peatland ecosystems and climate change
- Socio-economic changes and the global forest sector
- The management of forest information
- Economic-ecological models of forest use and conservation
The Department of Forest Sciences is engaged in two centres of excellence in research funded by the Academy of Finland:
- Centre of Excellence in Atmospheric Sciences
- Centre for Excellence in Laser Scanning Research
The Department operates a forestry field station in Hyytiälä, which also accommodates a research station where most of the measurements performed by the Atmospheric Research Center take place (SMEAR II station). The Carbon Tree animation illustrates how the trees at the Hyytiälä SMEAR station assimilate carbon in real time.
The Master’s Programme in Forest Sciences is about to launch a new specialisation focusing on international forest policy. For further information about research related to the degree programmes in forest sciences, see: www.helsinki.fi/forestsciences/research/index.html
Upon graduating from the Master’s Programme in Forest Sciences you will be eligible for doctoral education in Finland or abroad. A doctoral degree, which takes about four years to complete, opens doors to academic careers at universities and research institutes as well as to professions requiring a doctoral degree. The University of Helsinki has four doctoral schools with a total of 32 doctoral programmes. As a graduate of the Master's Programme in Forest Sciences, you can pursue studies, for example, in the Doctoral Programme in Sustainable Use of Renewable Natural Resources or the Doctoral Programme in Atmospheric Sciences.
Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries, who do not have a permanent residence status in the area and pursue their studies in English, are liable to pay tuition fees. You can check from FAQ at the Studyinfo website whether or not you are required to pay tuition fees.