Stydy­ing at Ex­pREES

The goal of the Expertise in Russian and Eastern European Studies (ExpREES) is to educate students who plan to become experts with a profound knowledge both in their own discipline and in Russian and Eastern European studies. Those who finish ExpREES studies and are awarded the Master's degree together with a separate ExpREES certificate will have competencies and skills to work both in the public and private sector in different positions as well as in the field of research. The multidisciplinary approach will help to learn about the past, present and future of societies of the given regions. The REES network gathers teachers/researchers and course offerings in different fields of study focusing on Russia and Eastern Europe from all network universities and creates a comprehensive package of courses available for ExpREES students only; no one network university would be able to offer such a programme on its own. 

ExpREES studies constitute a substantial part of the Master's degree. Please note that the Aleksanteri Institute does not award degrees to ExpREES students, but the student remains as a student of his/her home university and will obtain the degree there. Therefore, only students who already have got the right to study in a network university are eligible for the ExpREES.

A student must complete a minimum of 25 cr from the courses offered by the ExpREES curriculum in order to complete ExpREES programme. 15 cr are covered by obligatory joint studies and the rest of the courses may be freely chosen by the student. In addition to the courses students must also write a thesis that is related to Russia, Eastern Europe or the region of former Soviet Union.

Compulsory courses

A student must complete a minimum of 25 cr from the courses offered by the ExpREES curriculum in order to complete ExpREES programme. The module consists of three obligatory courses (13–15 cr):

This year, ExpREES will begin with a joint summer school (5 cr), which will be held in two parts: August 2020 and May 2021.

ExpREES Multimodal course on timely research of Aleksanteri Institute, in the academic year 2020-2021 course is “Perspectives on Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern Europe” (5 cr)

ExpREES Thesis seminar (5 cr) or at least 5 cr course from another field of science.


Optional and Supporting Courses

In addition to obligatory studies and seminars, students choose other courses according to their own study plans and interests. A minimum is 25 cr, but you can study more if you want.

Curriculum 2020-2021.

ExpREES Summer school (in Finnish) in Zoom in August 2020 and Lammi Biological station in May 2021.

This year, ExpREES will begin with a virtually organized ExpREES Summer school that will take place 24-25 August 2020. As the summer school will be held in two parts this year, the second part of the summer school will take place 3-8 May 2021. For the virtual part of the summer school, students will write an idea paper (DL 11.8.2020) on their research plan or research topic, in which methodological, theoretical or other problematic aspects are introduced. The purpose of the idea paper is to help the student to get started with writing their Master’s thesis. In addition, it serves as a great opportunity to get feedback on students’ ideas from other students as well as experts in the field.

Registration for the virtual part of the summer school ends 22 June 2020. More information from ai-verkko and Moodle.

ExpREES Multimodal course: Perspectives on Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern Europe (5 cr) 

Perspectives on Russia, Eurasia and Eastern Europe is a multidisciplinary, partly phenomenon-based, Master's level introductory course in which various issues, themes and related problems as well as models for their explanation and understanding are presented. The course introduces the diversity of area studies and different approaches in area studies. The course consists of three face-to-face teaching days and six distance learning modules in Moodle. Each module consists of different ways of teaching / reading / examples to be offered regarding Russia, other countries/regions in the former territory of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Several teachers and experts are taking part in the course. The course is meant for students of ExpREES and ECEBB.

After completing the course, the student understands the diversity of phenome-na and approaches (theoretical and methodological models) in area studies, especially in Russian, Eurasian and Eastern European studies. The student can apply some of these models to her/his own areas of interest in the context of Russia, Eurasia and Eastern Europe. The student will practice both independent and group work skills and develop critical thinking as well as analytical and argumentation skills. The student will be able to search for relevant research and other information related to the area as well as to complete oral and written presentations.

The face-to-face teaching days of the course will be held as intensive lecture days in Helsinki or, in case of the Corona situation, in Zoom, 30 October 2020, 11 December 2020 and 12 March 2021. In order to complete the course, the student must take part in a group assignment to be presented during a student conference, which will take place during the last face-to-face teaching day 12 March 2021. In addition, the student will produce independently two mini-essays. Each distance learning module consists of a small-scale assignment that must be completed in order to advance on the course.

ExpREES thesis seminars are designed to support the writing process of the Master’s thesis

The multidisciplinary ExpREES thesis seminar is an obligatory part of ExpREES studies. However, in some cases it can be substituted by a course in a discipline other than student’s own one. The purpose of the seminar is help the student in her/his thesis writing process. Please note that the ExpREES thesis seminar does not replace the obligatory thesis seminars offered by student’s home department.

The ExpREES may also assist ExpREES students in the search for relevant research data and literature. In addition, the ExpREES may cover part of ExpREES students' travel expenses in the case of gathering primary data in relevant archives abroad or conducting expert interviews abroad. Please contact the ExpREES coordinator Hanna Peltonen for the instructions for writing a free-form application for funding the given travel expenses. 

Thesis seminar for the academic year 2020-2021

 ExpREES thesis seminar (5 cr)

The ExpREES thesis seminar is recommended for all ExpREES students. It provides an opportunity to engage with peers in multi/interdisciplinary discussions about one’s research topic. In addition to providing a venue for student-led discussion, the seminar also offers additional thesis supervision by experts on Russia, other territories of the former Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe as a whole. The ExpREES thesis seminar does not replace the thesis seminars offered by the home department/degree programme in one’s field of studies.

In the ExpREES seminar student will present their idea papers, research proposals, and drafts of thesis chapters (at least two papers in addition to the idea paper and research proposal) while simultaneously providing constructive feedback/peer review on their fellow students’ papers. The seminar requires active participation from all students.

The seminar takes place on the premises of the Aleksanteri Institute approximately once a month on Thursdays at 12.15-18.00. The seminar include Zoom-option.

In order to pass the seminar and obtain 5 cr, the students will present four papers (see above) and provide comments on fellow students’ papers. A student should attend a minimum of five seminar meetings.

Registration by 27 August 2020 elomake:

Responsible teacher: Sirke Mäkinen. Other teachers from the Aleksanteri Institute will be invited to give comments on papers in their fields of expertise.

The ExpREES Study Guide includes the following information: 1) the ExpREES curriculum, 2) instructions for studies and 3) the list of the courses that are offered to ExpREES students. As you can see from this list, ExpREES students have a plenty of courses to choose from. The majority of them are ordinary courses offered by network universities in their own degree programmes but a part of them - approximately 20 courses each year - are particularly planned for ExpREES and funded or co-funded by the REES network/ExpREES. If you would like to include a course not listed in the Study Guide to your ExpREES studies, please contact the ExpREES office.

In the Study Guide you can find separate lists for courses beginning in the autumn semester and those beginng in the spring semester. Courses of the autumn/spring semester are further divided according to their form of teaching. In addition, there is a separate list of the compulsory ExpREES courses. 

Our aim is to offer such a teaching programme that all ExpREES students may take these courses regardless of where they are based. It means that we encourage, in particular in courses that are (co-)funded by ExpREES, to organise teaching either as short intensive courses or by offering distance learning opportunities. 

Please note that all students, irrespective of their home university, have the right to participate in all the courses listed in this guide.

You may get support for your travel costs if you take part in a course that is organised by a university different from your home university and in a city different from your permanent residence. More information about the support for travel costs can be found at the travel support section.

Some courses are taught in Finnish, a few in Russian but a significant number of the courses is taught in English. The language of the course outline indicates the language of instruction.

The printed version of the Study Guide has been sent to new ExpREES students only, but you may access it here.


On Aleksanteri Institute’s webpages and through mailing list you will find information on interesting lectures and seminars connected to Russia and Eastern European regions. It is desired that also ExpREES students attend these events.

By attending eight lectures and writing 16 pages long learning diary a student can get 2 cr. Lecture is an event which lasts for at least 1,5 hour. Student needs a signature from lecturer or event organizer to his/her lecture pass or alternatively he/she can enclose seminar’s programme with lecture diary.

In lecture diary a student discusses and analyses issues learned in the lecture. Lecture diary is not only notes from the lecture. Analysis can be based for example on student’s master’s thesis or more generally on a question setting in your field of science. If one has work experience relevantly related to the lecture, one can reflect on the lecture also in relation to it.

Below one can print lecture pass. A student needs to submit filled in lecture pass and lecture diary to the coordinator for approval. Technical instructions for lecture diary: spacing 1,5; font Times New Roman 12; all margins 2,5 cm.

Expertise in Russia and Eastern Europe and employment

Aleksanteri Institute’s Multidisciplinary studying programmes offer students the possibility to grow into experts on Russian and Eastern European issues. Diverse and international regional expertise gives excellent preparedness for work life.

Part of the work life education, Aleksanteri Institute with the Tampere University of Applied Sciences are organizing a project course titled " Environmental awareness and waste recycling in Russia: Innovation workshops with Sustainable Business Model Canvas, 5 cr. Course will be in Spring 2021. More information later.

Caucasus studies at the Malmö University

"Caucasus Studies includes a range of area courses with a focus on the Caucasus region. All courses are offered exclusively online with instruction in English. There are no mandatory seminars or lectures on campus.” Caucasus studies credits can be transferred to the ExpREES studies.

Caucasus studies I
Includes the following four course modules:

  • Introduction to Caucasus Studies
  • History of the Caucasus
  • A language of the Caucasus
  • Post-Soviet developments in the Caucasus

Caucasus Studies II
Includes the following four course modules:

  • State and nation building in the Caucasus
  • Conflicts and conflict resolution in the Caucasus
  • Peoples and languages in the Caucasus
  • The Caucasus region: causes and consequences of migration

You can find more information here: Caucasus Field and Case Studies


ExpREES students have many possibilities for internationality, such as excursions, international summer and autumn schools and student exchange offered by students' home universities.

The Moodle page of ExpREES also has a list of different courses and summer schools taking place abroad:

ExpREES encourages students to apply to student exchange in Russia or Eastern Europe through their home universities. You can find the links of exchange places in Russia of all of the network universities below. ExpREES helps willingly together with the student’s own home university in finding a suitable place of exchange.

Aalto University


University of Helsinki

University of Eastern Finland

University of Jyväskylä

University of Lapland

LUT University

University of Oulu

Tampereen University

University of Turku

University of Vaasa

Åbo Akademi