Sustaining a growing population on our dynamic planet requires deep understanding of geological and geophysical processes within the Earth, and of how they interact with the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biota. The Master's Programme in Geology and Geophysics trains you to address pressing questions concerning our home planet's evolution, its role as the source of raw materials needed by modern civilisation, and environmental issues. Key questions include:
How can we decode Earth’s rock record to reveal the evolution of Earth’s crust and mantle over billions of years?
How do we make natural resource exploration and extraction more sustainable and environmentally friendly?
What can the Earth’s history tell us to help us forecast the impacts of climate change?
Where can we safely construct power plants or store nuclear waste?
The programme includes four specialist options: Petrology and Economic Geology; Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology; Palaeontology and Global Change; and Solid Earth Geophysics.
Upon completion of the programme, you will have gained expertise in a number of scientific and professional skills, including, depending on your specialist option:
- Assessment of geological materials (minerals, rock types, bedrock, groundwater)
- Understanding the genesis and sustainable use of mineral commodities
- Sustainable use of the environment from the Earth Science perspective
- Palaeontology and modelling global change using the geological record
- The physical evolution of the Earth (plate tectonics, interplay of the mantle and crust)
- Independent and team-driven project research
- High-level scientific writing (M.Sc. thesis and related work)
- Presentation of scientific results to scientists, students, and the general public
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
All teaching is given in English, expect on the specialist option Hydrogeology and Environmental geology, where some of the courses are only in Finnish. You can also take exams in Finnish or Swedish, and you can write your Master’s thesis in Finnish or Swedish.
At the beginning of the advanced studies, you will familiarise yourself with the central research methods in the field. The studies consist of intensive learning in small groups on practical work courses, guided laboratory work on specialised courses, and tailored short-term courses led by international and Finnish experts. In addition, you will be able to take part are a variety of field courses and excursions (in Finland and beyond) to familiarise yourself with research topics in their natural surroundings.
Selection of the major
As a student in the Master’s Programme in Geology and Geophysics, you are free to choose among the four specialist options offered:
- In Petrology and Economic Geology you will study solid rock, mineral material and associated fluid systems, with targets ranging from the microscopic (and submicroscopic) scale to continents. The focus is on study of magmatic systems (volcanic and plutonic); the composition, lithology and structure of bedrock; evolution of continental crust and mantle; and the origin and assessment of economically important commodities in rock systems.
- Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology combines understanding of earth surface systems such as 3D sedimentary environments, groundwater and low temperature geochemistry. The specialist option is based on practical training using top-notch analytical facilities and survey methods in cooperation with industry and authorities. In addition to basic research, the line aims to build your expertise for future careers.
- Palaeontology and Global Change deals with the changing conditions and evolution of life on Earth. Research topics include fossil mammals and their environments during the last 25 million years, the environmental and evolutionary context of early humans in Africa, and the history of climate change and ecosystems during the last 100,000 years. The effect of humankind on the biosphere is a multidisciplinary topic.
- Solid Earth Geophysics combines geology with geophysics to study the structure of the Earth’s interior and the physical processes related to its evolution. These ideas are not only crucial for understanding phenomena such as earthquake and volcanic activity related to Plate Tectonics, but also important for exploration of natural resources, environmental studies and engineering, for example.
A Master’s degree in Geology and Geophysics requires 120 credits (ECTS) and is designed to be completed in two years of full-time study. The study requirements are:
- Advanced studies in your specialist option (60-70 credits)
- Joint studies in topics related to your specialist option (25-30 credits)
Master’s thesis (30 credits)
As a student in the Master’s programme you will be expected to write a thesis. The goal of the Master’s thesis is to enable you to study an area of interest to you within your specialist option, and to help you develop research skills such as scientific writing, literature review, and advanced knowledge in your area of study. The thesis typically includes a review of current literature and experiments or analysis of geological or geophysical data. You will write your thesis independently, under the supervision of one or more faculty members in your specialist option.
Expert geoscientists are in demand and employed in a range of fields nationally and internationally. Recent graduates have gone on to pursue:
- Employment in the mining and mineral resource exploration industry
- Work as environmental and groundwater scientists in private companies and in the public sector
- Doctoral studies in geoscience or geophysics both in Finland and abroad
- Research work on the geology of Finland at the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK)
- Work as experts in the field of engineering geology and applied mineralogy
About 20% of the professors in the programme are from outside of Finland, and the number of international students and other researchers in the department has been increasing steadily over the past decade.
The Department of Geosciences and Geography collaborates with private, governmental and university researchers in Finland and abroad. Major players include the GTK and SYKE. In addition, the specialist option in Solid Earth Geophysics is organised in collaboration with the Department of Physics at the University of Helsinki.
There are many ongoing interdisciplinary research projects in the Faculty of Science. These projects are conducted in active cooperation with research institutes on the Kumpula Science Campus, as well as with other faculties, universities, and private industry.
The field of Geosciences is broad, and our research focus covers multiple branches of it. Some of the main interests at the moment include environmental topics related to groundwater and contaminated soils, the genesis of plutonic and volcanic igneous rocks, evolutionary palaeontology of mammals based on fossil teeth, and the structure and evolution of the continental crust. We are focusing on scientific research that makes it possible to understand geological processes and the structure of the Earth using our modern and diverse laboratory infrastructure.
This school offers programs in:
Start semester: Autumn 2017
Last updated October 4, 2017