About the Master's Programme
The basis of natural sciences is the modelling of phenomena and solving these models. The Master’s Programme in Theoretical and Computational Methods will give you a strong basis in the theoretical methods, modelling, and mathematical and numerical analysis within physics, mathematics, chemistry and/or computer science. The special feature of this programme is that you can combine the above disciplines into a comprehensive programme. It is well suited for the needs of basic research and for many fields of application.
Goal of the programme
The basis of natural sciences is the modelling of phenomena and solving these models. The Master’s programme in theoretical and computational methods will give you a strong basis in the theoretical methods, modelling, and mathematical and numerical analysis within physics, mathematics, chemistry and/or computer science. The special feature of this programme is that you can combine the above disciplines into a comprehensive programme. It is well suited for the needs of fundamental and applied research. This programme requires a strong commitment from you to develop your own skills and plan your degree. You can tailor your programme according to your existing knowledge and interests, in cooperation with the programme professors.
The programme’s strong scientific emphasis makes it a natural gateway to further studies in physics, mathematics, chemistry, and computer science. This will usually take place within one of the research groups working on the Kumpula campus.
Upon completing the Master’s programme, you will:
- Have a solid basis of skills in your chosen scientific field
- Have good skills in analytical and computational thinking and deduction
- Be able to apply theoretical and computational methods to the analysis and understanding of problems in various fields
- Be able to generalise information on scientific phenomena, and identify the inner relationships
- Be able to create mathematical models of natural phenomena
- Be able to solve the models, both analytically and numerically
As a graduate of this Master’s programme, you can work as an expert in many kinds of scientific jobs in the private and the public sectors. The employment rate in this field is good.
Information on the languages of instruction
The programme is multi-lingual. Instruction is given in English, but the courses and assignments can also be done in Finnish or Swedish. The programme has an international study track that you can take completely in English, but you have to apply separately for this study track.
The special feature of this programme is its great scope: it consists of several modules in physics, mathematics, chemistry, and/or computer science. Out of these, you may select a suitable group of subjects according to your interests and the courses you took for your Bachelor's degree. The programme incorporates modules from e.g. the following areas:
- Theoretical physics
- Cosmology and particle physics
- Computational physics
- Physical chemistry
- Laser spectroscopy
- Mathematical physics and stochastics
- Applied analysis
- Software engineering
- Theoretical computer science
The courses include group and lecture instruction, exercises, literature, and workshops. Most courses also include exams or project assignments. In addition, you can complete some courses independently, by taking exams.
Selection of the study track
This Master’s programme does not have any study track; instead, you can tailor a suitable course combination according to your plans and existing knowledge from the modules in physics, mathematics, chemistry, and computer science. Your personal study plan will ensure that your courses will form a functional combination.
The Master’s programme comprises 120 credits (ECTS) and it is possible to complete the degree in two academic years. The degree includes:
- 90 credits of courses in the Master’s programme, including the Master’s thesis (Pro gradu) of 30 credits
- 30 credits of other courses from your Master’s programme or other programmes
Your studies will include a personal study plan, working-life orientation, and career planning. The other studies could also include a traineeship, complementary courses in your major or minor subject, or a completely new minor subject.
The advanced module of your major subject includes a Master’s thesis that will demonstrate your ability for scientific thinking, your command of scientific methods, your mastery of the topic of your thesis, and your aptitude for scientific communication. The extent of the Master’s thesis is 30 credits. The thesis is often written under the supervision of one of the research groups in the departments belonging to this programme, so you will become familiar with top research during your Master's programme. These projects are a natural gateway to postgraduate studies.
The Master’s degree in theoretical and computational methods gives you an excellent basis for postgraduate studies or for work in many careers in Finland or internationally. Masters of Science employed within research and R&D in the industry are very well paid. On the other hand, a career at a university or a research institute lets you carry out academic research on a topic of your own choosing.
As a graduate with an MSc degree, you could embark on a career in:
- Industry, especially advanced technology corporations (applied research and R&D, leadership),
- Universities and research institutes abroad and in Finland (basic scientific research)
- Teaching in universities and universities of applied sciences
- Software engineering, e.g. gaming industry
- Various design and consultation jobs in the public and private sectors
Graduates of similar programmes in the earlier degree system have found employment as researchers and teachers in universities and research institutes in Finland and abroad (e.g. CERN, ESA, NASA), for example, in administration (e.g. the Finnish Academy), and in private corporations. The strong analytical skills provided by the education are sought after in areas such as data analysis (industries, media companies, gaming industry, finance), and corporate research, product development, and consultation (e.g. Nokia, Ericsson, Apple, Sanoma, Spinverse, Supercell, Nielsen, Valo Research and Trading, Planmeca, Reaktor, Comptel, Vaisala, KaVo Kerr Group, IndoorAtlas and Goldman Sachs).
The Master’s degree (Master of Science) is an upper university degree that qualifies you for many expert duties and for postgraduate studies in doctoral programmes both in Finland and internationally. By combining the Master’s programme with courses in pedagogy, you can gain competence to work as a teacher on the secondary school level.
The Master’s programme works in a very international atmosphere, with many top researchers from Finland and abroad teaching in it. If you write your MSc thesis in one of the research groups, you will get the first-hand experience of work in an international research project. In addition, the University of Helsinki and the Faculty of Science offer you many opportunities for international activities:
- Student exchange in one of the exchange locations of the faculty or university
- Traineeships abroad
- Courses are given in English within the faculty
- Cooperation with students in the international programme
- International tasks within the students’ organisations or union
- Language courses at the Language Centre of the University of Helsinki
The Faculty of Science aims to be at the cutting edge of European research within its disciplines.
The collaboration partners include several top international research centres, such as CERN, ESA, ESRF, and ITER.R.
As a graduate student at the Faculty of Science, you will be able to apply for research training at places such as CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, or the ESRF centre in Grenoble, France. A traineeship in one of the internationally active research groups on campus will enable you to acquaint yourself and form contacts with the international research community during your studies. In addition, the international exchange programmes offer many opportunities for you to complete part of your degree at a foreign university.
As a Master’s degree student, you can select your minor subject both from your own faculty and from the other faculties at the university. Thanks to the contract for flexible study access (JOO), you can also study at another university in Finland, so it will be easy to tailor your degree to your own interests and career goals. Some of the courses are organised in cooperation with Aalto University.
You can also participate in research projects in your field while you are studying. Writing your Master’s thesis is cooperation with a corporation or research organisation is also a good way to improve your working-life skills. The programme has close collaboration with the Helsinki Institute of Physics (HIP) and Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT).
The programme maintains contacts with its alumni within the corporate sector. You can develop your own business concepts at the university’s entrepreneurship courses and at Think Company, which is a new kind of communal meeting point for students and researchers interested in starting their own business, as well as for entrepreneurs in different fields.
This Master’s programme is strongly orientated towards research. At the Kumpula campus, top research is being carried out in many of the disciplines included in the programme, such as theoretical particle physics, cosmology, computational material physics, aerosol physics, mathematical physics, inversion problems, theoretical chemistry, laser spectroscopy, and algorithm theory. The instruction in the programme is given by the researchers in these groups. This Master’s programme will give you a solid basis for continuing with postgraduate studies and research in one of these areas.
The programme cooperates with Helsinki Institute of Physics (HIP) and Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT) and collaborates with the centres of excellence for Analysis and dynamics research, Inverse problems and Atmospheric Sciences.
After completing an upper university degree, you can apply for doctoral programmes both at the University of Helsinki and at other top international universities. Some of the suitable doctoral programmes at the University of Helsinki are:
- Doctoral Programme in Particle physics and universe sciences (PAPU),
- Doctoral Programme in Mathematics and Statistics (DOMAST),
- Doctoral Programme in Atmospheric Sciences (ATM),
- Doctoral Programme in Chemistry and molecular sciences (CHEMS),
- Doctoral Programme in Computer science (DoCS),
- Doctoral Programme in Materials research and nanoscience (MATRENA),
- Doctoral Programme in Geosciences (GeoDoc),
For more information on doctoral programmes at the University of Helsinki, please see doctoral education.
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.