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Is your goal to understand the complex issues associated with contemporary societies? As societies become increasingly diverse, change rapidly, and are confronted with inequalities, there is a growing need for professionals trained in the analysis of these dynamics. To become an expert in the analysis of contemporary societies – choose COS!

The multidisciplinary, research-based Master’s Programme in Contemporary Societies (COS)focuses on the key themes in the dynamics of contemporary societies, both in a European and a global context.  Depending on your study track, one or several of the following pathways are available to you: Ethnic Relations and Migration, Mind and Society, Socio-Cultural Shifts, and Sources of Inequalities.

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.

Find out more about the Be 1* of the Best Scholarship Programme.

The entire course programme is taught in English.

COS is a two-year programme. The programme includes studies in your study track (Sociology; Social and Public Policy; Social Psychology; Social and Cultural Anthropology; Development Studies) and thematic studies. The compulsory studies in a thematic pathway are specific to different study tracks as follows:

  • Ethnic Relations and Migration: Sociology and Social Psychology
  • Mind and Society: Sociology and Social Psychology
  • Socio-Cultural Shifts: Social and Cultural Anthropology; Development Studies
  • Sources of Inequalities: Social and Public Policy; Development Studies; Sociology

The thematic pathways highlight the strengths of research at the University of Helsinki and its methodological expertise. As a student here you can include courses from all pathways in your optional studies. The teaching in the COS programme is organised so that you can acquire expertise and skills relevant for working life as well as qualifications for doctoral studies. The unique context offered by the COS programme helps you to develop versatile expertise. The programme design allows you to build your individual portfolio according to your interests and career plans.

During your first year in the programme you will study in your study track and take COS thematic and  research skills courses. You will also begin your work towards your Master’s thesis. The second year consists of further thematic studies, attending thesis seminars and writing your thesis.

The home of the COS programme is the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki, in the heart of Helsinki and the City Centre Campus. The city campus, with 21,000 students, is situated near many potential workplaces: ministries, important public institutions, NGO headquarters and the Faculties of Education, Law, Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, and Theology.

Finland in general, and the University of Helsinki in particular, offer an exceptionally rich setting for interdisciplinary studies focusing on contemporary societies. The international teaching staff are research leaders in their fields and have longstanding experience of teaching multicultural student groups. All of the participating disciplines are ranked among the best 100 subjects in the QS World University Ranking by Subject. Moreover, the COS programme invests in building an alumni network and gives you support for both international mobility and work experience.

COS offers five major subjects (study tracks): Sociology, Social and Public Policy, Social Psychology, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Development Studies.

To apply you must have a Bachelor’s degree including studies in one of these disciplines or cognate fields. You should apply for the study track that is closest to your previous studies.

The scope of the Master´s programme is 120 credits (ECTS), to be completed in two academic years. The programme comprises COS thematic studies, research skills courses, studies in a study track including a thesis seminar and a Master’s thesis. In addition, it is possible for you to complete some studies of your own choice. Example courses and the preliminary syllabus.

You will start working on your Master’s thesis on a topic that relates to your study track and the relevant thematic pathway during your first year of studies, although you will write your thesis mainly during the second year. You practice thesis writing in thesis seminars, where teachers and fellow students provide feedback on your work. You will also be assigned a thesis supervisor, who will mentor you and provide feedback as you write your thesis.

Completing the thesis requires the ability to formulate research questions, write scientific text and employ research methods. It teaches you to acquire and produce information as well as to conduct independent research. It may even inspire you to choose a research career as either a doctoral candidate or a researcher outside academia.

As a graduate of COS with a Master’s in Social Science (MSocSc) you will have built your portfolio with courses that provide solid expertise in your field of study and reflect your personal interests and career goals. You will be qualified to work in both the public and private sectors, in governmental administration or in various types of organisations. Making use of the unusually broad range of courses available, you will also have acquired excellent qualifications to continue with an academic career and PhD studies.

Eli­gib­il­ity

You may apply if you meet the following three requirements:

  1. You have completed by 31 July 2019 a first-cycle degree (e.g., bachelor’s degree) or second-cycle degree (e.g., master’s degree) or a postgraduate degree in Finland or abroad.
  2. You have completed or will complete studies required for the master’s programme by 11 January 2019. Below are more details concerning applicable studies.
  3. You have sufficient proficiency in English. For further instructions on demonstrating your language proficiency, see the section “Required attachments”.

If you are, or have been, a degree student at the University of Helsinki, please check any special provisions that may apply to you.

If you have refugee status or are in a refugee-like situation, please read the applicable instructions.

Choosing a study track

The Master’s Programme in Contemporary Societies has five study tracks and can admit no more than 32 new students. You can only apply for one of the study tracks, and you will have to select your study track on the application form.

Study tracks in the programme:

  • Anthropology (5 new students)
  • Development Studies (5 new students)
  • Social Psychology (6 new students)
  • Sociology (9 new students)
  • Social and Public Policy (7 new students)

If the maximum intake of students per study track is not filled, the master’s programme may, within the resources available, admit additional students from another study track of the programme so that the maximum intake of admissions is filled.

Ad­mis­sion proce­du­re

Applicants to the Master’s Programme in Contemporary Societies must have completed a sufficient amount of studies applicable to the discipline of the selected study track. The studies included in the degree serving as grounds for application to the programme, or the studies completed in addition to that degree, must be applicable and appropriate to the master’s programme and its disciplines in terms of both content and the applicant’s performance so as to provide sufficient knowledge and skills for master’s studies.

You may be admitted if

  • You prove your eligibility (see above) by the deadline
  • You submit an electronic application during the application round and submit the required attachments by the specified deadline.The application form is open from 3 December 2018 (8:00h Finnish time) to 11 January 2019 (15:00h Finnish time). Read more about what will happen after the application period.
  • You have completed studies worth at least 35 credits providing a sufficient basis for master’s level studies in the field or a related field (anthropology, development studies, social psychology, sociology, social and public policy, or applicable related fields) of the study track applied for
  • You have completed studies worth at least 15 credits that provide appropriate methodological knowledge and skills for master’s studies

Please note: even if the degree you are using as grounds for application is not completed during the application round, you must have a sufficient amount of applicable studies completed by 11 January 2019.

The applicability of the field and the sufficiency of the completed studies will be evaluated in conjunction with admission. The University of Helsinki does not provide any preliminary evaluation on the suitability of the applicant’s previous studies.

Factors affecting admissions:

  • Applicability of previous studies to the selected study track in the master’s programme
  • Academic performance
  • Letter of motivation
  • Short scientific text

Applications will be scored, and your admission will depend on the score your application has received.

If in this round of admissions you are applying for more than one master’s programme at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, you must rank them in order of preference on your application form. If you could be admitted to more than one programme, you can only be admitted to the one you have ranked the highest.

Ad­mis­sion res­ults

Applicants will be informed of the results of the student selection by 12 April 2019 at the latest. Please note the one study place per term provision if you are applying for more than one study programme in spring 2019.

Stu­dy right to be awar­ded

If you are admitted, you have been granted the right to pursue the degree of Master of Social Sciences in the Master’s Programme in Contemporary Societies.

Stat­ist­ics

Statistics on applicants can be found on the University’s webpage.

Re­quired at­tach­ments

The application must be accompanied by the following documents, and the documents must be submitted as instructed below:

  • Officially certified copy of the degree certificate/diploma
  • Official transcript
  • Certificate of language proficiency
  • Authorised translations into English, Finnish or Swedish (when necessary)
  • A photocopy of your passport OR your official identity card OR your Finnish residence permit card
  • Diploma supplement (if available)
  • Letter of motivation to be included in the application form
  • Short scientific text to be included in the application form

1) Read carefully the instructions on application enclosures and their submission.

2) You must demonstrate your proficiency in English. Read the instructions on proving your language skills.

3) If the degree serving as grounds for application to the programme is still incomplete, you need not submit a degree certificate/diploma with the application documents. If you are admitted, the admission decision will be conditional, and you will receive instructions with your letter of admission for submitting the official degree certificate/diploma. NB! The final degree certificate/diploma must be presented by 14 August 2019 at the latest.

Due date 11.1.2019, 15:00
Delivery address
Admission Services, University of Helsinki
Unioninkatu 40 C
00170 HELSINKI
Admissions Services
P.O. Box 3 FI-00014 University of Helsinki Finland

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