Natural sciences are emphasised in the research and teaching carried out by the discipline of psychology at the University of Helsinki. Research focus areas include developmental psychology, health psychology and cognitive brain research. Discipline-specific research is conducted also in perceptual psychology, cognitive psychology, the psychology of values and clinical neuropsychology. The discipline is responsible for nationwide specialist education in clinical neuropsychology.

Students of psychology have an opportunity to complete the degrees of Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) and Master of Arts (Psychology). Master’s graduates in psychology will be licensed as health care professionals (psychologists). Students of psychology also have an opportunity to complete a Master of Arts degree that does not lead to the profession of psychologist.

Specialist education in psychology

Specialist education in psychology is academic postgraduate specialist education organised as university network collaboration. A more detailed description of the training alternatives can be found on the Psykonet – the Finnish University Network of Psychology website (in Finnish only).

Specialist education in psychology is arranged in five fields of specialisation (coordinating university in parentheses):

  • Clinical health psychology (University of Eastern Finland)
  • Children and adolescents (University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University)
  • Neuropsychology (University of Helsinki)
  • Psychotherapy (University of Jyväskylä)
  • Work and organisational psychology (University of Tampere)

Specialist training in neuropsychology, coordinated by the University of Helsinki, provides graduates with the qualifications required for working as clinical neuropsychologists in the health care system.

Psykonet is a university network in the field of psychology consisting of the psychology departments and discipline groups at the Universities of Helsinki, Eastern Finland, Jyväskylä, Tampere and Turku, and Åbo Akademi University. The network has served as the umbrella organisation in the field since 1989.

Psychotherapy training

Psychotherapy training is continuing education comparable in nature to continuing education organised for health care professionals, and requires prior experience in the field of mental health or equivalent fields, as well as an applicable background education in health or social services. After completing and passing the training, students will be granted the professional title of psychotherapist by Valvira, the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health.

Further information on the application procedure and training content is available on the psychotherapy training website (in Finnish and Swedish only).

At the Faculty of Medicine, the Doctor of Philosophy (Psychology) degree may be completed by postgraduate students majoring in psychology, provided they have completed the advanced studies and traineeship included in the Master of Arts (Psychology) degree, as well as a second-cycle degree in a Finnish university (or an equivalent degree in a university abroad). If no clinical training is to be completed, students majoring in psychology may complete a Doctor of Philosophy degree. An increasing number of doctoral students in psychology pursue their degree at the Doctoral School in Health Sciences.

Attention and Memory Networks of the Human Brain
The group investigates brain activity related to perception, memory and attention using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), as well as electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG).

Clinical Neuropsychology Research Group
The group investigates both acquired and developmental cognitive disorders in children and adults, the development of cognition from childhood to adulthood, neuropsychological methods for assessing cognition, as well as multidisciplinary and multi-professional rehabilitation methods.

Cognitive Brain Research Unit (CBRU)
The group investigates perceptual and cognitive processes in humans, and their development, disorders and plasticity particularly in functions related to language and music.

Developmental Psychology Research Group (DEPSY)
The group investigates themes related to the development of the human psyche throughout the life-span. Its interests include foetal programming, maternal health and wellbeing during pregnancy, mental health, neurocognitive development, cardiovascular risk factors, sleep and aging. The group works with various follow-up datasets, conducts wide-ranging cooperation in Finland and abroad, and utilises several different methods to study the development of the human mind.

Mind and Brain in the Sys­temic Con­text
We are interested in characterizing how mental phenomena and the physiology of the human body interact, and discovering new ways to modulate the observed interactions. Our goals are to identify systemic mechanisms for common mental disorders such as depression and to utilize the generated knowledge to develop or optimize new treatment applications. We are seeking to achieve our goals by working with different populations ranging from healthy volunteers to individuals affected by mental disorders.

Perception, Action and Cognition (PAC)
The group investigates perception, motor control, learning and memorisation related to data processing. Methods used include psychophysics, brain imaging and computational modelling. Research subjects include perception of surface structures, colours and shapes, coordination and motor control of hand movements, perceptual learning and work memory, perception of speech, sensory integration, as well as face perception and recollection.

Research on Everyday Thinking
The group investigates everyday thinking, particularly intuitive, analytical, mentalistic and mechanistic cognition, as well as everyday beliefs and cognitive bias (e.g., supernatural beliefs and beliefs related to food and health). Research methods include questionnaires (primarily with scales and cognitive tasks), experimental research and brain research.

Sleep & Mind Research Group
The group investigates sleep, cognition, learning and mental health in a multidisciplinary manner by combining methods and approaches from psychology, medicine and brain research. The group conducts both longitudinal follow-up studies and experimental studies with children and adolescents as the most common target group. Special attention is given to circadian rhythm regulation and sleep microstructures.

The Psychosocial Factors & Health Research Group
The group investigates the mental, social, behavioural and biological processes underlying mental and physical health that may be related, among other things, to early childhood environment, work, social relations in old age or cross-generational factors.

Visual Cognition Research Group
The group investigates visual cognition from the perspectives of basic and technological research.

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  • Kompleksi (in Finnish only)
    Kompleksi is the student organisation for University of Helsinki psychology students. Its purpose is to act as a special interest group for students of psychology, promote teaching, research and professional practices of psychology, as well as support social interaction between students.
  • Finnish Psychological Association
  • Finnish Psychological Society (in Finnish only)

Head of department

professor Laura Hokkanen
PO Box 21 (Haartmaninkatu 3)
00014 University of Helsinki

Dir­ect­or of the De­gree pro­gram

professor Anu-Katriina Pesonen


PO Box 21 (Haartmaninkatu 3)
00014 University of Helsinki


Contact details for the Department of Psychology and Logopedics
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