Data science and computer science again popular among applicants to international master’s programmes

The international master’s programmes of the Faculty of Science continue to increase their popularity. The biggest climbers were in the fields of physics and chemistry.

The Master’s Programme in Data Science was again the most popular programme at the University of Helsinki in the application round for the University’s international master’s programmes that ended on 15 January, with a total of 573 applications received. At the same time, a total of 490 applications made the international Master’s Programme in Computer Science the third most popular programme at the University. The former programme has 30 available places and the latter 45.

Compared to last year, the number of applicants to the Master’s Programme in Data Science grew by 60%, while the increase in the Master’s Programme in Computer Science was as much as 83%. 

“Both data science and computer science are at the heart of well-functioning modern societies. We at the department are very pleased about the popularity and high profile of the disciplines. Global online courses make it possible for people to familiarise themselves with our educational offerings at a time of their choosing. Furthermore, the degree programmes are supported by an active and growing researcher community as well as new research initiatives,” says Sasu Tarkoma, director of the Department of Computer Science.

The highest growth in applicant numbers at the Faculty of Science overall, 113% from last year, was seen in the Master’s Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences. The second-highest increase in applicants, 98%, was attained by the Master’s Programme in Chemistry and Molecular Sciences.

According to University Lecturer Anca Tureanu, the current director of the Master's Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences, and Professor Kenneth Österberg, its previous director, the explanation for the growth in applications to the programme could probably be that its reputation for high-quality and research-oriented teaching and good student–teacher interaction has spread, inspiring international prospective students to apply.

Applicant numbers grew at the University and at the Faculty

A total of 7,401 applications were received overall in the international master’s programme application round of the University of Helsinki, an increase of 58% from the previous year. The number of applications has now increased over four consecutive years to almost five times what it was in 2017. 

The international master’s programmes of the Faculty of Science received a total of 2,100 applications, an increase of 64% from last year. After data science and computer science, the highest applicant–intake ratio was in the Master’s Programme in Geology and Geophysics, the Master’s Programme in Mathematics and Statistics and the Master's Programme in Urban Studies and Planning

“The persevering efforts of the Faculty’s degree programmes and teachers are bearing fruit. The high quality of instruction and the links of the master’s programmes to pioneering research attract good applicants internationally,” says Professor Hannu Toivonen, vice-dean for academic affairs.

Applications to the Master’s Programme in Data Science were received from a total of 86 countries. The largest share of applications came from Finland (124), followed by Pakistan (58), India (56), Iran (39) and China (38). Of all applicants to the programme, 28% were women, with the share remaining unchanged in recent years. The Master’s Programme in Computer Science received applications from 81 countries, with the largest share from the same countries as in the Master’s Programme in Data Science. 

Career tracking surveys conducted by the University show that the employment opportunities of computer science graduates are good. More than 90% of the respondents to the latest survey were satisfied with their studies in terms of their career, while a similar share would recommend their education to others.