Master in English Studies University of Helsinki
How did English Become a World Language?
In the Master’s Programme in English Studies at the University of Helsinki, you develop your expertise in areas that are often separated in other programmes: English language and linguistics, literature in English and the teaching of English. You can take courses in all three areas or just focus on one of them. Up to 25 elective courses are offered each academic year as well as research seminars that will support you in writing your Master’s thesis. You can also combine modules from other programmes at the Faculty of Arts to your degree, for example, Digital Humanities and Literary Studies.
Why English Studies?
The Master’s Programme in English Studies helps you develop your expertise in areas that are often separated in other programmes: English language and linguistics, literature in English and the teaching of English. By working in a stimulating environment with accomplished researchers and teachers, you also develop work-life skills, such as skills in presentation, independent and group work and project management.
An MA in English Studies prepares you for a variety of jobs, and our graduates have been successful in finding employment. If combined with mandatory pedagogical studies, the Master’s degree in English Studies qualifies you to be a language teacher. Alternatively, you can find employment in media or publishing, business or international organisations. English is used globally as the language of science, culture, business and tourism, and experts in English are required in all of these fields.
Structure and content
The scope of the Master’s degree is 120 credits (ECTS). With full-time studies, you will complete the Master’s degree in two years. The degree contains the following studies:
- Advanced studies in the discipline (75–120 credits)
- Courses or modules from other programme (0–45 credits)
During your Master’s studies, you focus mainly on your specialisation, deepening your knowledge through coursework and writing your Master’s thesis. Depending on your interests, you can also include elective subjects and other supporting studies.
To help you complete your studies systematically, you prepare a personal study plan (PSP) at the beginning of your Master’s studies, with support from the programme staff and Student services.
You can also complete some of your studies abroad by taking part in a student exchange programme.
The language of instruction and the language of assignments is English.
Courses and teaching
The Master’s Programme in English Studies offers a wide range of courses in English linguistics, literatures in English and the teaching of English. You can take courses in all three areas or just focus on one of them. We offer up to 25 elective courses each academic year, as well as research seminars which support you in writing your Master’s thesis. You can also combine English studies with modules from other programmes in the Faculty of Arts, for example the Master’s programme in Linguistic Diversity and Digital Humanities or the Master’s programme in Literary Studies.
In linguistics courses, you learn about the structure and uses of English, language change, sociolinguistics, discourse studies and corpus linguistics. In literature courses, you study the various literatures in English from narrative, cognitive, postcolonial and ecocritical perspectives. Courses in applied linguistics are tailored especially for future language teachers.
As a student in English Studies, you attend lectures but also work in collaboration with other students, partly in digital learning environments. To assess your learning progress, a variety of methods are used, including examinations, essays, learning diaries and group projects. In English Studies you will also practice your spoken and presentation skills.
The Master’s programme culminates in writing the Master’s thesis, an independent scientific study. The aim of the Master’s thesis is to develop skills required for conducting research. The most important of these are the ability to draw on earlier research, define relevant research problems, and analyse and report independently acquired data.
In English Studies, you write your thesis in English.
The Master’s thesis process develops skills in the following areas:
- Defining your chosen research problem in the context of previous research in the field
- Finding information independently and assessing this information critically
- Mastering the theories and research methods required in your work
- Analysing data
- Communicating your results in a clear and logical format appropriate to the audience
Given its scope and complexity, the Master’s thesis will also help you develop research and project management skills which will be useful in a variety of professions.
International scope and cooperation
During your studies, you can engage in international activities in many ways, including an exchange period at another university. If you have not been on an international student exchange during your BA studies, you can do so while studying for your Master’s degree.
During the exchange, you will complete part of your studies at a foreign university. A well-planned and well-timed student exchange offers you the opportunity to make the degree more diverse and enables you to discover new perspectives on your own studies.
You can pursue an exchange visit either through an exchange programme or independently. All exchange programmes include a scholarship or a grant; the amount depends on the programme, the duration of the exchange visit and the target country. If you have arranged an exchange visit independently, you can apply for a travel grant.
You can also engage in international activities at the University of Helsinki. For instance, you can serve as a peer tutor for exchange students. The Faculty of Arts and the Department of Languages have many teaching and research staff members who have an international background and who thus bring an international perspective to your studies.
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 anniversary celebrations, academic dinner parties, cultural events, get-togethers and excursions.
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.
The Master’s Programme in English Studies offers a wide range of courses in English linguistics, literatures in English and the teaching of English. You can take courses in all three areas or just focus on one of them. During your Master’s studies, you can:
- Develop your expertise in linguistic or literary studies
- Strengthen your understanding of theoretical approaches and research methods within English Studies
- Strengthen your language skills, academic writing skills and presentation skills
- Participate in research projects
- Participate in the Master’s thesis seminar, during which you will write your thesis
The Master's Programme in English Studies prepares you for a variety of jobs and our graduates have been successful in finding employment. If combined with mandatory pedagogical studies, the Master’s degree (MA) in English Studies qualifies you to be a language teacher. Alternatively, you can find employment in media or publishing, business, or international organisations. English is used globally as the language of science, culture, business and tourism, and experts in English are required in all of these fields.