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Theoretical and Computational Methods - MSc

Course Description

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. 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.

The University of Helsinki will introduce annual tuition fees to foreign-language Master’s programmes starting on August 1, 2017 or later. The fee ranges from 13 000-18 000 euros. 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 this FAQ at the Studyinfo website whether or not you are required to pay tuition fees: https://studyinfo.fi/wp2/en/higher-education/higher-education-institutions-will-introduce-tuition-fees-in-autumn-2017/am-i-required-to-pay-tuition-fees/

Programme Contents

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 Major

This Master’s programme does not have any sub-programmes; instead, can can tailor a suitable 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.

Programme Structure

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.

Career Prospects

The Master’s degree in sciences applying 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 industry are very well paid. On the other hand, a career at the 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 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 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 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.

Visit the Theoretical and Computational Methods - MSc page on the University of Helsinki website for more details!

Entry Requirements

See the website for the latest admission requirements: View Website

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