News from the University

"The duties of the chancellor include contacts with various sectors of society. Alumni play a key role in the chancellor’s cooperative network. Through them, the University can be seen, and make a difference, in all sectors in Finland and beyond. I will continue to enjoy my activities in the Alumni Association as a member of its Board as well as my regular meetings with the alumni community.

The competition inherent in academia has always been reflected in the way our researchers and teachers pursue their careers. To me, it is also clearly reflected in the competition for results, funders, partners and attention in the international academic arena. We wish to be an attractive, high-quality and high-impact university where people want to work and study and which offers the best possible setting for them to do so. We must focus on quality to stand out and succeed."

Kaarle Hämeri, Chansellor of the University of Helsinki

Of the approximately 18,000 universities around the world, the University of Helsinki ranks among the top 100 (top 0.5%) in almost all rankings. Alumni are encouraged to mention their studies at the University in their CV, as well as in other contexts. The University of Helsinki publishes topical information on ongoing top-level research on its website

In 2017, the University of Helsinki maintained its rank of 56 in the internationally prestigious Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). In another internationally respected ranking, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THE), the University was ranked 90th, largely due to scientific citations. Based on the ranking, primary development challenges for the University of Helsinki are relations with businesses and the world of industry and commerce. In this area, alumni can definitely help!

One of the best in the Nordics

From year to year, North American universities remain at the top of the rankings. In the 2017 Shanghai ranking, Harvard University and Stanford University took ranks one and two. The University of Cambridge rose to third position at the expense of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and University of California, Berkeley.

There were only a handful of Nordic universities among the global top 100. Of these, the University of Copenhagen and the Stockholm-based Karolinska Institutet surpassed the University of Helsinki. Compared to earlier years, the University of Helsinki has risen above both Uppsala University and the University of Oslo.

What are the rankings based on?

International university rankings measure several factors, such as the extent and impact of research, the level of teaching, as well as the reputation and international outlook of universities. For instance, the ARWU ranking takes the Nobel Prize and the Fields Medal, a prestigious award in mathematics, and their numbers awarded to alumni members into account in addition to scientific publications and citations. The Times ranking, on the other hand, is focused on the reputation of teaching, the number of doctoral degrees and research from a wider perspective. The Nobel Prize awarded to Bengt Holmström, the Alumnus of the Year 2016, will gain additional points for the University of Helsinki in future rankings

New students have more Master’s degree studies to choose from. Careers and digitalisation are also an increasingly integral part of studies.

Last autumn, the University of Helsinki substituted major subjects with degree programmes. This change is part of the Big Wheel reform, where Bachelor’s and Master’s level studies are increasingly separate from each other.

Whereas the number of fields open for application used to be close to 200, today there are 32 Bachelor’s programmes and 61 Master’s programmes available. However, this does not mean that the number of disciplines has decreased. Individual degree programmes may include studies from several disciplines or even faculties, and studies can also be selected from outside the student’s own degree programme. On the other hand, the content of certain degree programmes – for example, in medicine – is quite similar to the earlier major subjects.

Freshmen in, Masters out. This is the manner in which university studies have usually progressed in Finland. Then again, in North America and the United Kingdom in particular, it has long been the norm to complete Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in different universities. Today, this is an increasing trend also at the University of Helsinki.

“For ideas and their dissemination, this is a very good thing. There is no reason to get stuck in a rut. We must encourage our Bachelors to boldly consider whether our offerings are suitable to them, or whether they would be better off by pursuing Master’s degree studies elsewhere,” says Esko Koponen, a specialist at Strategic Services for Teaching.

In today’s world, nothing is stable and static, and the University must be able to create environments that facilitate creativity. We want to offer international students what we are good at and what is in demand, while at the same time further improve our offerings. Next autumn, altogether 33 international Master’s degree programmes will be operational at the University of Helsinki.

Does your organization need a trainee, a master thesis writer or an employee? Contact the Career Services at the University of Helsinki:

Research-based start-ups are being established every year. New businesses need a lot of support on their journey. Are you in a position to become a mentor, sparring partner or investor?

Helsinki Innovation Services (HIS), a company owned by the University of Helsinki, supports researchers in utilising scientific innovations. In practice, HIS experts explore the commercial potential of innovations and the market situation, provide help in applying for patents and funding, as well as look for investors and members for start-up entrepreneur teams.

There are currently dozens of projects undergoing commercialisation, the most topical including GlucoModicum, Memocate and Moprim.

Start-ups need help to grow

To many start-ups, alumni expertise and networks are worth their weight in gold. If you are interested in helping new businesses get off the ground, please contact HIS CEO Jari Strandman, or tel. +358 40 700 6968.

Further information on topical innovations is available on the new HIS website: