Goal of the programme
Why are microbes the most important group of organisms on our planet? How is knowledge of microbiology applied in medicine and industry, or in food production? What research techniques are used to study viruses, bacteria and other microbes? These are important questions, and you can find answers to these and many others in the study of Microbiology and microbial biotechnology.
Upon completing your degree, you will:
- Understand the global significance of microbes as remodelers and processors of life and the environment
- Understand the potential for the use of microbes in the development of new applications, such as foodstuffs, drugs, and industrial processes
- Understand the molecular mechanisms that underpin microbial function
- Be able to evaluate the effects of changes in the environment on microbial communities and thus on the function of the biosphere
- Be able to estimate the risks of microbes, and assess the use of microbes in a variety of environments and situations
- Be able to evaluate ethical questions and the prerequisites of commercialisation related to the use of microbes and biotechnology
- You will understand the most important functional mechanisms of the major groups of microbes
- Be aware of the most important pathogens and virulence mechanisms
- Have mastered the most important microbiological and biotechnological research methods, and become proficient in the interpretation and evaluation of research results
- Be able to develop and evaluate new microbiological and biotechnological applications
- Have the capability to plan and lead activities that involve microbiology and biotechnology, and will be able to propose appropriate actions in various situations
- Know how to search for, produce and critically evaluate scientifically relevant information
- Have developed the capacity for disseminating relevant information about your topic to various target groups in an appropriate manner within an international environment.
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 Be 1* of the Best Scholarship Programme.
Information on the languages of instruction
The language of instruction is mainly English. You can write exams and your thesis in Finnish, Swedish or English.
The key contents of the study programme in Microbiology and microbial biotechnology are:
- Research methods in microbiology, biotechnology and bioinformatics
- Application of microbiological knowledge
- Solving microbiological problems
- Critical, research-based scientific thinking
- Planning, implementation and reporting of microbiological and biotechnological research
- Functional principles of microbial cells and communities
- Development from research to product
- Leadership, entrepreneurship and patenting
- Other studies, through which you can adapt the degree towards your own interests
- Discovery of novel findings in the field of biology.
Selection of the study track
Students graduating from the University of Helsinki bachelor’s programmes in Molecular biosciences, Food sciences, Environmental sciences or Biology can enter the master’s program in Microbiology and microbial biotechnology. Although each of the bachelor’s programmes provides a different base of knowledge, they all provide a sufficient preparation for the master’s programme in Microbiology and microbial biotechnology. Selection of students, if necessary, will be carried out according to study performance.
If you have obtained a bachelor’s degree at another university, or a suitable polytechnic degree at a university of applied sciences, you can apply to enter the master’s programme via a separate application process. When you apply for the programme under these conditions, you will be evaluated on the basis of your previously completed studies, language skills and motivation.
You can modify the master’s degree programme for your own interests with elective subjects.
There is intensive interaction between teachers and students in the master’s programme in Microbiology and microbial biotechnology. A variety of learning methods are used in the courses, including:
- Laboratory work, seminars, lectures
- Oral presentations
- Written reports (individual, paired, group)
- Independent reading
- Work practice, instruction in research groups, project courses
- Oral group exams, written exams, home essays.
At least half of the study credits (60 of 120 credits) will be from courses in Microbiology and microbial biotechnology. By selecting elective and other study opportunities, you will be able to shape the study programme towards many subject areas, such as the environment, food, viruses, fungi, health and microbial diseases, or microbial biotechnology.
Your Master’s thesis accounts for 30 credits. The thesis is generally based on an experimental research project, which you can perform under the supervision of an experienced researcher. During the thesis process, you train yourself in scientific thinking, identifying problems, constructing hypotheses, collecting material, working in the laboratory, analysing results and presenting the results logically, as well as putting your results into the context of current scientific views. You will write your thesis in the format of a scientific publication in which you critically discuss your results from the perspective of the relevant scientific field.
As a master of science graduating from the master’s programme in Microbiology and microbial biotechnology you will be well prepared to (a) continue your studies toward a doctoral degree, (b) specialise as a hospital microbiologist, or (c) proceed directly to a career in working life. Statistically, the situation for microbiologists proceeding to employment has been very favourable. As a microbiology graduate, you can work in the following sectors:
- Research and development (universities, research institutes, companies)
- Surveillance/monitoring in healthcare, food and environment (food industry, drug and diagnostics industry, regulatory authority)
- Administration, professional roles and consultancy (companies, ministries, supervision offices, EU)
- Business and management (companies, ministries, supervisory offices, EU)
- Teaching and education (universities, universities of applied sciences, vocational schools, high schools, comprehensive schools, organisations). 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.
You may be admitted if
- You prove your eligibility (see above) by the deadline
- You submit the application in Studyinfo.fi 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 a sufficient amount of academic studies suitable to the field of the Master’s Programme in Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology.
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.
Choosing the language of your Master’s degree
In the Master’s Programme in Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology, you can choose the language of your degree to be Finnish, Swedish or English. 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 pursue this Master’s programme in one language only and you must demonstrate your language skills accordingly. You must select the language of your degree when submitting your application.
Factors affecting admissions
Applicants to the Master’s Programme in Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology must have completed a sufficient amount of studies applicable to the discipline of the Master’s programme. 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.
The following factors will be taken into consideration in admission decisions: the suitability of applicants’ previous studies for the Master’s programme, success in previous studies suitable for the Master’s programme, and motivation.
Applications are academically assessed and scored, with emphasis on the above factors in the following order:
- Suitability of previous studies for the prospective master’s programme
- Success in previous studies suitable for the prospective master’s programme
You must receive at least the minimum score required for each area of assessment. If you do not receive the minimum score required for a specific area, the subsequent area(s) will not be scored.
If you apply for more than one Master’s programme at the University of Helsinki Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry in this master’s application process, you must rank them in order of preference on the application form. If you meet the criteria for admission to more than one Master’s programme at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, you can only be admitted to the programme ranked the highest on your application.
Applicants will be informed of the results of the student selection by email 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 granted admission, you will receive the right to pursue the degree of Master of Science in the Master’s Programme in Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology.
Statistics on applicants can be found on the University’s webpage.
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
- Motivation letter, which you will write on the application form
- Diploma supplement (if available)
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 addressAdmission Services, University of HelsinkiUnioninkatu 40 C00170 HELSINKI
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