Goal of the programme
Global socio-ecological problems call for multidisciplinary solutions that transcend the usual boundaries of science and decision-making. The Environmental Change and Global Sustainability (ECGS) Master’s programme trains you in wide-ranging interdisciplinary thinking skills and provides you with the ability to:
- Study environmental and sustainability issues in your respective fields of expertise and
- Solve problems of socio-ecological sustainability in cooperation with various social actors.
Further information about the studies on the Master’s programme website.
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 Scholarship Programme.
Information on the languages of instruction
The ECGS Master’s programme is taught in English. All assignments, exams and dissertations can be done in English, as well as in Finnish and Swedish.
ECGS is a truly multidisciplinary Master’s programme. It covers an introductory Core Module common to all students, followed by two distinct study tracks.
The introductory Core Module focuses on the methodologies of environmental and sustainability science as well as the interactions between science and society. The Core Module also offers a pool of optional methodological studies, providing you with the necessary research tools to tackle socio-ecological challenges.
If your orientation is in natural sciences, the Environmental Change study line can provide you with an understanding of the functioning of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and can give guidance toward their sustainable use.
If your interests are more in the social sciences and humanities, on the other hand, the Global Sustainability study line provides an understanding of the socio-cultural underpinnings of global sustainability challenges so that you can help to develop solutions that take social and environmental justice into consideration.
Selection of the study track
You can apply for one of the two studytracks in the ECGS Master’s programme: the Environmental Change study line or the Global Sustainability study line. You can refine your expertise in your chosen study line by choosing from study modules related to your specialised field of science or from interdisciplinary phenomenon-based modules.
Environmental Change modules are offered in, for example, the following research fields: aquatic sciences, soil and earth sciences, environmental ecology, environmental biotechnology and agroecology. Global Sustainability modules include themes such as environmental and natural resource economics, environmental policy, development studies, public and social policy, consumer research, forest policy and economics, and development geography. ECGS also offers a variety of modules integrating both natural and social scientific perspectives including phenomenon-based modules on the Baltic Sea and the Arctic as well as a variety of interdisciplinary fields such as climate change, food and consumption systems, urban studies and socio-ecological systems studies.
As an international applicant, you will be assessed and accepted for the Master’s program based on the scientific relevance of your bachelor’s degree and your success in previous studies.
You will graduate with a Master’s degree in Science (M.Sc.) or Social Sciences (M.Soc.Sc.). Your Master’s degree (120 credits, ECTS) will consist of the following studies:
- Advanced studies, 60 credits, including your Master’s thesis (30 credits)
- Other studies, 60 credits, including 30 credits of Core Module studies and 30 credits of elective science specific studies from either ECGS modules or other relevant Master’s programs.
During your second year you will write an individual Master’s thesis (30 credits). The Master’s thesis is a proving ground there you demonstrate your capabilities in scientific thinking, methodological research and scientific communication and writing. During the writing process you will also attend a Master’s thesis seminar headed and instructed by a faculty member with expertise in your particular field.
The interdisciplinary ECGS Master’s program provides you with a unique education which is widely applicable for a future career path. Upon graduating from ECGS you will have sufficient expertise in environmental sciences, sustainability sciences and environmental policy to act as a specialist in the public, private and third sectors, and you will have gained essential skills to undertake a career in sustainable business and communication. The Master’s program prepares you to advance to doctoral level studies and thereafter positions in environment-related research. ECGS has a multidisciplinary learning community with faculty from a wide range of sciences, accommodating students in a multicultural network with excellent career prospects.
If you are admitted into the programme in 2019, you will not be able to apply for a study right in pedagogical studies during your Master’s degree. However, you can apply for a study right after you have completed the Master’s degree.
You may apply if you meet the following three requirements:
- 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.
- You have completed or will complete studies required for the master’s programme by 11 January 2019. Below are more details concerning applicable studies.
- You are able to demonstrate your proficiency in English. For further instructions on demonstrating your proficiency in English, see the section “Required enclosures”.
If you are currently or have previously been a student at the University of Helsinki, please note the following rules.
If you have refugee status or are in a refugee-like situation, and you do not have the official documents to prove your eligibility to apply for higher education, you can still apply to the University of Helsinki.
Choosing a study track
The Environmental Change and Global Sustainability (ECGS) programme offers two study tracks: A) Environmental Change (max. 5 students) B) Global Sustainability (max. 5 students). In the application form you must choose the study track to which you apply. You can only apply to one study track and the choice of study track is binding.
In addition to choosing your study track, you must also choose the degree to which you apply for. Your choice of study track affects the degree that you can choose.
In the Environmental Change study track, you can choose one of the following degrees:
- Master of Science, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences
- Master of Science (Agriculture and Forestry), Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry
In the Global Sustainability track, you can choose one of the following two degrees:
- Master of Science (Agriculture and Forestry), Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry
- Master of Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences
You may be admitted if
- You prove your eligibility (see above) by the deadline
- You submit the application and the required attachments within 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 at least a first-cycle degree (e.g., bachelor’s degree) in a field applicable to the Master’s programme. Please note: even if the degree serving as grounds for application is not completed during the application round, you must have a sufficient number of applicable studies completed by 11 January 2019.
Admissions to the ECGS programme are based on the following criteria, each of which will be scored on a scale of 0–10:
- Applicability of previous studies to the ECGS programme
- Academic performance (grades, study progress) in completed applicable studies required for the ECGS programme
- Motivation letter
The required minimum score for each criterion is 6.
Applicants must have completed at least a first-cycle degree in a field applicable to the Master’s programme. In order for the studies completed for the degree serving as the grounds for application (or any studies completed to supplement this degree) to provide sufficient qualifications and knowledge for the completion of Master’s studies, their content and level must be applicable and appropriate for the Master’s programme and its disciplines. Applicants’ choice of study track is taken into account when assessing the applicability of their previous studies and their motivation letter. The applicability and sufficiency of these studies will be assessed during the admissions procedure. The University of Helsinki does not provide any preliminary evaluation on the suitability of the applicant’s previous studies.
In the event the programme quota cannot accommodate all applicants who have completed studies applicable to the degree programme, a comparison between the applicants will be made. Only the best applicants will be accepted. There is no requirement for the programme to fill its admission quota.
If two or more applicants are tied after the evaluation, they will be ranked firstly on the basis of applicable studies, secondly on the basis of academic performance and thirdly on the basis of the motivation letter.
The assessment is based on the studies applicants have completed by the end of the application period.
Applicants with a second-cycle degree in the same or related field will only be taken into consideration for compelling reasons and if the targeted degree is sufficiently different from their previously completed degree. As a rule, second-cycle degrees are used as grounds for applying for a right to complete a postgraduate degree.
If in this round of admissions you are applying for more than one master’s programme at the Faculty of Biological and Environmental 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.
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 programmes in the spring 2019.
Study right to be awarded
If you are admitted, you have been granted the right to pursue the degree of Master of Science in the multilingual Master’s Programme in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability.
In the multilingual Master’s Programme in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability, you can choose the language of your degree to be Finnish, Swedish or English. You will also have to choose the language of your degree (English, Finnish or Swedish) on the application form. This means that even though most of the teaching will be offered in English, you can answer examination questions and write course assignments and your Master’s thesis in the language that you select as the language of the degree. Please note that you can apply to this Master’s programme through only one language option and that the selected option defines the language of your degree (English, Finnish or Swedish). The Master’s programme admits no more than 20 students regardless of their selected language of degree and application option.
Statistics on applicants can be found on the university’s web page.
The application must be accompanied by the following documents, and the documents must be submitted as instructed below:
- Official photocopy of the degree certificate/diploma
- Official transcript
- Certificate of language proficiency
- Authorised translations into English, Finnish or Swedish
- A photocopy of your passport, your official identity card or your Finnish residence permit card
- Diploma supplement (if available)
- Motivation letter 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, Finnish or Swedish (Updated 18/12/2018: Finnish and Swedish added). 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|
Admission Services, University of Helsinki
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