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1. Degree programme title

Master's Programme in Materials Research

2. Degree title to be awarded and the competence provided by it

Master of Science (M.Sc.)

The Master of Science degree qualifies you for demanding expert positions and postgraduate education in Finnish and international doctoral programmes.

Within the programme it is possible to obtain qualification as a radiation protection expert (RPE) and radiation protection officer (RPO). RPE and RPO are the official EU-wide names for personnel responsible for radiation protection in working environments. The education and examination are regulated by radiation authorities such as STUK. Note that teaching for RPE and RPO is given in Finnish. The requirements for RPE and RPO will be defined before the end of 2017.

3. Degree level (first-, second-, third-cycle/European Qualifications Framework (EQF)

Master’s programmes, second-cycle degree/EQF level 7

4. Programme-specific admissions criteria

Admission criteria, Master's Admission, Master's Programme in Materials Research

(University of Helsinki, Degree Finder, How to Apply)

5. Programme-specific procedures for the recognition and validation of prior learning  


Aiemmin hankitun osaamisen tunnustamisessa noudatetaan myöhemmin keväällä/kesällä vahvistettavaa rehtorin päätöstä.

In case of single courses, the accreditation is primarily made by the responsible teacher of the course. In case of course packages and other larger entities, the accreditation is primarily made by the HOPS supervisor of the study track the entity belongs to. The programme director and vice-director have the right to accredit studies in the programme.

6. Programme profile (whether graduates will have an academic or professionally oriented
profile; examples of employer contacts during studies)  

Studies in the programme are integrated with research performed by the teachers. A broad spectrum of characterisation, modification and growth methods is used for a large variety of materials. Examples of lines of materials research within the programme are:

  • Biological materials
  • Computer simulation of materials
  • Fusion reactor materials
  • Materials from synthetic polymers and natural polymers
  • Radiation effects on materials, including radiation protection aspects
  • Thin film materials

(Opintopolku: Research focus)

7. Key learning outcomes/objectives of education

Materials are substances or things from which something is or can be made. Technological development is often based on the development of new materials. Materials research plays an important part in solving challenging problems relating to energy, food, water, health and well-being, the environment, sustainable use of resources, and urbanisation.

An expert in materials research studies the chemical and physical bases of existing and new materials; their synthesis and processing, composition and structure, properties and performance. As an expert in materials research, your skills will be needed in research institutions, the technology industry (electronics and electrotechnical industry, information technology, mechanical engineering, metal industry, consulting), chemical industry, forest industry, energy industry, medical technology and pharmaceuticals.

This programme combines expertise from the areas of chemistry, physics and materials research at the University of Helsinki, which are ranked high in international evaluations. In the programme, you will focus on the fundamental physical and chemical problems in synthesising and characterising materials, developing new materials and improving existing ones. Your studies will concentrate on materials science rather than materials engineering.

Upon graduating from the programme you will have a solid understanding of the essential concepts, theories, and experimental methods of materials research. You will learn the different types of materials and will be able to apply and adapt theories and experimental methods to new problems in the field and assess critically other scientists’ work.  You will also be able to communicate information in your field to both colleagues and laymen.

Depending on the study line you choose you will gain in-depth understanding of

  • The synthesis, processing, structure and properties of inorganic materials
  • Modelling methods in materials research
  • The structure and dynamics of biomolecular systems
  • The synthesis, structure and properties of polymers
  • Applications of materials research in industrial applications
  • The use of methods of physics in medicine

(Opintopolku: Goal of the programme)

8. Job descriptions and labour market sectors (examples for graduates)

With an MSc or PhD in materials research, you will be in a good position to find rewarding jobs in research institutions and industry. As a graduate in materials research you will have many potential career paths inside and outside universities. Many MSc graduates have continued their studies in doctoral programmes in Finland and abroad. Employers of our graduates include the technology industry (electronics and electrotechnical industry, information technology, mechanical engineering, metal industry, consulting), chemical industry, forest industry, energy industry, medical technology and pharmaceuticals.

(Opintopolku: Career prospects)

9. Postgraduate study options/opportunities

After completing the MSc degree you can apply to continue your studies in the Materials Research Doctoral Programme (MATRENA), in the Doctoral Programme in Chemistry and Molecular Sciences (CHEMS) or in the Doctoral Programme in Atmospheric Sciences (ATM-DP) at Helsinki University or in many similar programmes at other universities.

(Opintopolku: Postgraduate studies)

10. Career orientation/compulsory or elective traineeship

11. International mobility

International mobility is encouraged. The recommended window for student exchange is during the summer or the second autumn.

12. Degree programme structure (e.g., a figure displaying modules and their scope in
credits as well as the courses contained in the modules)

The programme consists of 120 credits (ECTS) and can be completed in two academic years. The studies cover:

  • Personal study plan
  • Common courses for all students in the programme (10-20 credits)
  • Advanced studies in your chosen study line and studies from other lines or programmes (70-80 credits)
  • Master’s thesis (30 credits)

(Opintopolku: Pro­gramme struc­ture)

At the beginning of your studies you will make a personal study plan, with the help of teaching staff, where you choose your study track. You can change your study track, but the change has to be discussed with and accepted by the teacher responsible for the receiving study line.

This programme has the following six study lines representing different branches of materials research.

Ex­per­i­mental ma­ter­i­als phys­ics 

Here you will study the properties and processing of a wide variety of materials using experimental methods of physics to characterise and process them. In this programme the materials range from the thin films used in electronics components, future fusion reactor materials, and energy materials to biological and medical materials. The methods are based on different radiation species, mostly X-rays and ion beams.

Com­pu­ta­tional ma­ter­i­als phys­ics

In this study line you will use computer simulations to model the structures, properties and processes of materials, both inorganic materials such as metals and semiconductors, and biological materials such as cell membranes and proteins. You will also study various nanostructures. The methods are mostly atomistic ones where information is obtained with atomic level precision. Supercomputers are often needed for the calculations. Modelling research is closely connected with the experimental work related to the other study lines.

Med­ical phys­ics 

Medical physics is a branch of applied physics encompassing the concepts, principles and methodology of the physical sciences to medicine in clinics. Primarily, medical physics seeks to develop safe and efficient diagnosis and treatment methods for human diseases with the highest quality assurance protocols. In Finland most medical physicists are licensed hospital physicists (PhD or Phil.Lic).

Poly­mer ma­ter­i­als chem­istry

In this line you will study polymer synthesis and characterisation methods. One of the central questions in polymer chemistry is how the properties of large molecules depend on the chemical structure and on the size and shape of the polymer. The number of applications of synthetic polymers is constantly increasing, due to the development of polymerisation processes as well as to better comprehension of the physical properties of polymers.

In­or­ganic ma­ter­i­als chem­istry

Thin films form the most important research topic in inorganic materials chemistry. Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) is the most widely studied deposition method. The ALD research covers virtually all areas related to ALD: precursor synthesis and characterisation, film growth and characterisation, reaction mechanism studies, and the first steps of taking the processes toward applications. The emphasis has been on thin film materials needed in future generation integrated circuits, but applications of ALD in energy technologies, optics, surface engineering and biomaterials are also being studied. Other thin film deposition techniques studied include electrodeposition, SILAR (successive ionic layer adsorption and reaction) and sol-gel. Nanostructured materials are prepared either directly (fibres by electrospinning and porous materials by anodisation) or by combining these or other templates with thin film deposition techniques.

Elec­tron­ics and in­dus­trial ap­plic­a­tions

Sound and light are used both to sense and to actuate across a broad spectrum of disciplines employing samples ranging from red hot steel to smooth muscle fibres. Particular interest is in exploiting the link between the structure and mechanics of the samples. The main emphasis is on developing quantitative methods suitable for the needs of industry. To support these goals, research concentrates on several applied physics disciplines, the main areas being ultrasonics, photoacoustics, fibre optics and confocal microscopy.

(Opintopolku: Selection of study track)

For more detailed information, see Degree Structure Details.

13. Assessment practices 


Opintokokonaisuuden kokonaisarvosana määräytyy siihen sisällytettävien opintojaksojen arvosanojen perusteella siten, että kutakin opintojaksoa painotetaan sen opintopistemäärän mukaisesti. Arvosanaa laskettaessa huomioidaan ainoastaan opintojaksot, jotka on arvioitu asteikolla 0-5. Opintokokonaisuuksien kokonaisarvosanojen laskemisessa käytetään seuraavia keskiarvorajoja:



5 (erinomainen)      



4 (kiitettävä)



3 (hyvä) 



2 (tyydyttävä)



1 (välttävä)  



 Mikäli kokonaisuuden opintopistemäärästä yli puolet on arvioitu muuten kuin asteikolla 0-5, opintokokonaisuudesta ei anneta kokonaisarvosanaa.

14. Graduation practices and criteria

15. Criteria for full-time and part-time studies, opportunities for distance learning, if any 

Attendance of the lectures is voluntary unless otherwise specified in course descriptions.

16. Practices for collecting and processing student feedback 

17. Degree programme director

University lecturer Antti Kuronen

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