Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences


General information

In the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences it is possible to study for the following graduate degrees: Bachelor of Science (luonnontieteiden kandidaatti), Master of Science (filosofian maisteri) in the field of Natural Sciences, Bachelor of Science in Technology (tekniikan kandidaatti) and Master of Science in Technology (diplomi-insinööri). The Bachelor’s degree is a first cycle university degree and the Master’s degree a second cycle university degree. The studies aiming for the first and second cycle university degrees are conducted in degree programmes.

In the Faculty there are 10 degree programmes leading to Bachelor's Degree and 24 programmes leading to Master's Degree. In eight of the Master's Programmes the language of instruction is English. Students admitted to these programmes must already hold a BSc degree that formally qualifies the student for Master’s level studies in the country where the degree has been completed. Good command of English is naturally also required.

The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences also awards the following postgraduate degrees: Licentiate of Philosophy (filosofian lisensiaatti), Licentiate of Science in Technology (tekniikan lisensiaatti), Doctor of Philosophy (filosofian tohtori) and Doctor of Science in Technology (tekniikan tohtori).

The unit used for measuring academic work is the ECTS credit point (opintopiste = op in Finnish). The aver-age workload for one academic year, 1600 hours, equals to 60 credit points. The workload for one ECTS credit point is about 27 hours.
The Bachelor’s degree requires 180 ECTS credits, and the normative study time is three years. The Master of Science and the Master of Science in Technology degrees require 120 ECTS credits, and the normative study time is two years. Students take the lower university degree first and after that go for the higher degree. These are separate degrees and students receive separate degree certificates for each. Study modules which are included in the lower university degree cannot be included in the higher university degree.

Studies are organized in three levels: basic, intermediate and advanced. In the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, the basic study modules equal to 25 ECTS credit points. Intermediate study modules are 35 ECTS credits. The lower university degree includes basic and intermediate studies in the major subject one or more minor subjects as defined in the curriculum of the degree programme and a Bachelor’s thesis.

The advanced studies are included in the Master’s degree. The student must complete advanced studies in the major subject. Advanced studies offer students specific knowledge in the particular field of science and prepare for carrying out scientific research.

Advanced studies also include a Master's thesis, known as the pro gradu. The thesis defines a specific scientific problem, reports on the observations and experiments carried out to solve it and interprets the results. In case a minor subject should be included in the higher university degree, it is specified in the curriculum of the degree programme.

The teaching and learning methods used in the Faculty include attending lectures and demonstrations, reading course literature, and carrying out practical work either at home, at the department, or in the field. Students' work is assessed throughout the year in several different ways, including, for example, book examinations, continuous assessment of assignments, and tests at the end of taught courses.

Requirements for the Master of Science (MSc) degree
a) Advanced studies at least 60 ECTS credits in accordance with the regulations for one of the Faculty's de-gree programmes (and, where relevant, a specified track)
b)     The Master’s thesis (pro gradu), in the student's major subject, 20– 40 ECTS credits.
c)     Minor subject studies or language studies

Major subjects

Students’ major subject depends on the degree programme and the specialization field or track. The major subject can be different in the lower degree and the higher degree. In the international Master’s Degree Programmes the major subject in the IT field is same as the track of the student and in Environmental Sciences it is Environmental Science for all students irrespective of the chosen specialization field.

Minor subjects

There are compulsory and optional minor studies included in the degree studies. Each degree pro-gramme’s requirements are specified in its curriculum. Usually the higher university degree does not include any minor subjects. In case a minor subject is required, it should be planned with the academic advisor when making the personal study plan.

Students have the right to study more credits than the minimum degree requirements. Study modules which are more than 20 ECTS credits will be recorded in the degree certificate as a minor subject.

Language and communication studies

According to the regulations governing the Faculty's degrees and approved by the Faculty Council, all foreign students whose native language is not Finnish have to pass Finnish language courses worth at least 5 ECTS credits. Courses can be freely chosen from those available. Please find more information from the Language Center study guide or from their web site: http://kielikeskus.utu.fi/. It is also possible to study additional language studies, even though they are not included in the curriculum. Especially Finnish language courses are recommended, since knowledge in Finnish is very important when finding employment in Finland. The Language Center also offers a 20 ECTS study module in Finnish language. The module can be included as a minor subject into the MSc. degree, although it may not fit within the minimum of 120 ECTS; this depends on the curriculum of the programme.

All students with Finnish education background (suomenkielinen peruskoulu) must pass virkamiesruotsi (KIRU2321 and KIRU2341) either in their BSc. or MSc. Degree (Valtion virkamieheltä kaksikielisellä kielialueella vaadittava kielitaito siitä annetun lain (424/2003) 6§:n 1 momentin mukaan.) The Finnish students exempt for the Swedish and Finnish course should compensate for the language course credits with their major subject studies.

As the tuition language and the language of science generally is English, also a course in Basic academic writing is required from the students. It is also warmly recommended that the students would also take other courses in academic English and presentation skills.

Personal study plan (HOPS)

All students will make a personal study plan. The system of personal study plans increases students’ guidance and promotes advancement in studies. In the beginning of the studies the personal study plan is made with the coordinator of the programme. Later, and especially on the issues concerning practical courses and Master´s Thesis, the students should turn to academic advisors at the departments. The personal study plan is not a written agreement on the completion of studies. Instead, it is an indicative plan about the content of the degree and studies included in it. Students can complement and modify this plan during their studies. Students are responsible for keeping, updating and implementing their own personal study plans. A personal study plan may be drawn up electronically or as a hard copy.

Right to study

Students must register each academic year for attendance or non-attendance in the manner defined by the Rector’s Office. Students who are currently registered will be sent a registration letter in the spring to the address recorded in the student register. In case a student fails to register, s/he will lose her/his right to study. If a student wishes to start his/her studies at a later date or continue with them, s/he must literally apply for a new right to study and pay a fee of 35 euros.

According to the Universities Act (556/2005) those students who have started to study in a university in 2005 or later have the right to study for a BSc. degree for 3+2 years and for a Master’s Degree 2+2 years. The university must arrange the education to enable the student to complete the degree according to the normative timing.

Four years study time (MSc.) does not include absences that are due to military service, maternity leave or other parental leave of absence. Nor does it include absences less than four semesters, when a student has registered for non-attendance. The University can allow more time to complete the studies, if a student presents a feasible study plan of completing her/his studies. Otherwise a student will lose her/his right to study.

Academic teaching periods

For the periods, see https://intranet.utu.fi/en/units/sci/studying/graduate/periods/Pages/home.aspx

Participation in teaching

For lecture courses, registration is normally not required. For smaller groups (demonstrations, field courses, etc.) students usually need to register, and for elective or optional courses it may in some cases be necessary to limit the number of those admitted. Detailed information about registration for a particular course should be found in the description of the course in the electronic curricula guide.

Students' work may be assessed on the basis of continuous assessment (assignments during a course), tests during or following a taught course, or 'book exams' on specified scientific literature.

Following every taught course, at least three opportunities to take the relevant test will be provided during the following twelve months. In some cases, admission to the examination of a lecture course may also require active participation in the corresponding demonstrations. If, after 12 months, a student has either not attended the tests or has failed to pass, he or she may be required to report to the examiner in person. The examiner may then either extend the student's right to take the test, or require the student to attend the course again. The timing of book exams can usually be chosen more freely, allowing students to individually pace their own work during the year.

Detailed instructions about registering for tests and examinations can be found on websites. Information concerning the names of examiners responsible for different courses and examinations is available in the published degree programme regulations or from the relevant department office.

All results for completed study units (courses, examinations, theses) are recorded in 'OPSU', the University's computerised student register, either by the department office or by the examiner. Students may obtain an English transcript of their current status in NettiOpsu (nettiopsu.utu.fi - credits - pdf-transcript) or by picking up an official stamped and signed transcript from the Student Services, Faculty office or the department office.


All courses are measured in credits, one credit point (abbreviated op in Finnish) referring to an input of approximately 27 overall hours of work by the student. This workload includes all the requirements for a course: not only attending lectures and practicals, but the time spent studying privately as well. By studying full time (40 hours/week) a student should complete 60 ECTS/year to meet the normative timing of studies.

Examinations, tests and assignments may be assessed either on a PASS/FAIL basis, or on the following scale:

5 = Excellent
4 = Very good
3 = Good
2 = Satisfactory
1 = Sufficient
0 = Fail

Grades are determined and rounded up as follows:

5    4.50 to 5    Excellent
4    3.50 to 4.49    Very good
3    2.50 to 3.49    Good
2    1.50 to 2.49    Satisfactory
1    1 to 1.49    Sufficient

Where a study unit comprises several distinct sections, they may be differentially weighted in the assessment for the unit as a whole. Test and examination results should normally be published within two weeks, unless special arrangements have been made. Students have the right to ask for an explanation of the criteria for the assessment.

Master’s Thesis

The Master’s thesis for the MSc degree (pro gradu) is a written report of research carried out in the student's major subject, comprising laboratory work, field work, and the study of relevant scientific literature. The thesis should demonstrate that the author is capable of dealing competently with the research material and applying appropriate research methodology, is familiar with the relevant literature, and can present the results in accordance with the conventions of scientific writing. The topic for the thesis should be agreed in consultation with a professor or other senior member of staff from the subject concerned.

The Master’s thesis should be at least 20 (teacher’s degree) and at most 40 credits. Generally the thesis can be written in Finnish or Swedish but in the international MPDs the language of the thesis should be English. The department can also allow the student to use some other language than the mentioned ones.

When the thesis is ready, a hard-cover copy of it must be submitted to the department office (in some cases more copies are needed). As specified in the regulations, a summary of the thesis must be prepared. A copy of this summary is bound in the thesis immediately after the title page; an additional separate copy is submitted to the department office. The department will then appoint two (or if necessary more) examiners.

After submitting the Master’s thesis, the student must write a maturity essay (in Finnish, kypsyysnäyte), in which the student writes an essay in examination conditions on a topic relating to his/her thesis. Finnish nationals write this essay in their own first language; foreign students write it in the same language as the Master’s thesis. The maturity essay must show the student’s ability in academic writing and his/her thor-ough knowledge of the topic of the thesis.
During teaching periods the Master’s thesis must be graded within one month after submission to the department. In case the thesis is submitted in June, July or August, it will be graded during the following September at the latest. The pro gradu thesis is assessed on a seven-point scale: approbatur (pass), lubenter approbatur, non sine laude approbatur, cum laude approbatur, magna cum laude approbatur, eximia cum laude approbatur, and laudatur (distinction). The department informs the Faculty about the approval of the Master’s thesis.

The grading of the Master’s thesis will be considered as part of the advanced studies by changing the seven-point scale into 1–5 point scale as follows: approbatur = 1, lubenter approbatur = 1.667, non sine laude approbatur = 2.333, cum laude approbatur = 3, magna cum laude approbatur = 3.667, eximia cum laude approbatur = 4.333, and laudatur = 5.

Completing the degree and obtaining a degree certificate

Once a student has fulfilled all the requirements for the degree, in order to obtain the degree certificate, it is necessary that all the student's completed study units (tests and examinations, fieldwork, and the thesis) have been registered in OPSU and, where relevant, incorporated into the appropriate Module. To ensure that this process is complete, students should consult the department or the coordinator of the programme. The student then submits to the Faculty office a degree certificate application form and a transcript of studies. The decisions about any course compensations or changes made into the degree requirements must also be attached. The time needed for processing a degree certificate application is normally about two weeks.
In order to obtain a degree certificate, the student must be registered as currently attending the University at the time when the certificate is issued.

The degree certificate

The certificates state the student’s Degree Programme, major subject and minor subjects, and track, where relevant. The total amount of studies completed will be stated in ECTS credits (op), including relevant studies completed elsewhere and incorporated into the Finnish degree. The credits completed are also listed and assessed separately for the student's major and for all minor subjects. Any study units outside these categories which are less than 20 ECTS credits will be listed together on the degree certificate as 'Other Studies', with the number of credits but no other information. The certificate will also state the grade awarded for the Master’s thesis.

The degree certificate has two appendices. One is the transcript of records, which will list the student's completed study units as recorded in OPSU, and will also state the title of the Master’s thesis. The other is the Diploma Supplement, an appendix designed for international purposes. It is a document developed by the European Commission, Council of Europe and UNESCO for facilitating the international recognition and comparison of degrees. This appendix contains information on the university awarding the degree, on the studies and completed courses referred to in the degree certificate, on the qualification obtained through the studies, as well as on the level and status of the degree in the international educational system.


The regulations governing the Faculty's degrees and its administration are contained in statutes which are either national or apply specifically to the University of Turku or the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. These documents are all public and may be consulted, but not all of them are available in English. In the case of any problem requiring reference to the statutes, foreign students are advised to apply for help from their department office, the Faculty office, or the University's International Office.
The University Act is available at the website http://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/kaannokset/ (2005) and The Gov-ernment Decree on University Degrees at http://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/kaannokset/2004/en20040794.pdf

Transfer of credits

If the student has previous studies that are not included in his/her BSc level degree, the studies may be transferred into the Finnish system. International credit transfers are made wherever possible by means of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). One Finnish credit (op) equals one ECTS credit. In many cases, incoming students in this situation will need to complete less than 120 ECTS studies in order to obtain the Finnish MSc degree. Even when credits are transferred in to a degree, the degree programme must reach its aims that are stated in the regulations governing the Faculty's degrees.
The transfer of credits can be either substitution or incorporating credits. Substitution means that it is possible to replace certain study modules in the curriculum with modules passed in another university. In this case the content of the study modules must be the same. Incorporating studies means that the study modules passed in another university are included in the degree as minor subjects or optional studies.

Right of study in other Faculties and Institutes of Higher Education

It is possible for a student to select studies in other scientific institutes or art academies of higher education in Finland. The University of Turku has concluded a so called JOO-agreement with all Finnish universities, which means that study modules in another university are free of charge for an enrolled student. An application for JOO-studies can be filled electronically at www.joopas.fi after which the application is processed by the study counsellor of the Faculty in the home university and then by the processing official in the target university. The permission is not given, in case it is possible to study similar study modules at the University of Turku, or the studies are not included in the minimum degree requirements. Instructions to use the service are available at https://haku.joopas.fi/litu/en/help/opiskohje.pdf

In the field of information technology, education and research in Turku is coordinated by TUCS (Turku Centre for Computer Science). IT-related advanced level courses at Åbo Akademi University are also applied for through joopas-service. To apply for courses held by the Turku School of Economics the students must equally use the joopas-service but choose the option “Enrol to Network courses” instead of “Apply for Flexible Study Right (JOO)”.
Students can also study part of their degree in a foreign university through an exchange programme such as ERASMUS or NORDPLUS. Students can find out more information about student exchange from the International Affairs Office. The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences recommends that the students of the Master’s Degree Programmes would participate in the student exchange for one semester at the most as longer exchanges tend to lengthen the total study time.

Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Finnish Study Modules
Postgraduate Degrees, sci