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The award

How long you will study
2 years

Domestic course fees
find out

How you will study

Course starts

International course fees
EUR 13000 per year

All study options

About Intercultural Encounters at University of Helsinki

Goal of the programme

When studying in the Master's Programme in Intercultural Encounters (ICE), you will acquire critical knowledge and skills to examine complex social and cultural phenomena as applied to your thematic specialisation. You will gain a profound understanding on how micro- or macro-level phenomena interact in local, international, multicultural and transnational contexts. You will learn to analyse why and how conflicts arise for various cultural, political and religious reasons, and you will gain insights into the possibilities of dialogue in conflict resolution. In addition, you will learn to communicate and evaluate information on intercultural encounters in different academic, professional and societal contexts.

Upon completing the Master's programme, you will be able to pursue a national and international career. You will be able to act and grow in multidisciplinary and multicultural groups, and deal with issues of intercultural interaction, diversity, internationalisation, cultural management, media and power.

The programme provides:

  • profound knowledge of intercultural encounters, including thematic specialisation;
  • the ability to conduct research and apply scholarly knowledge and scientific methods;
  • eligibility for postgraduate research;
  • awareness of intercultural competence.

Tuition fees

Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries, who do not have a permanent residence status in the area, are liable to tuition fees. You can check from FAQ at the Studyinfo website whether or not you are required to pay tuition fees.

Find out more about the Be 1* of the Best Scholarship Programme.

Information on the languages of instruction

The language of the programme is English. However, you can complete up to 25% (30 credits) of the studies in another language.

Programme contents

The Master's Programme in Intercultural Encounters offers a multidisciplinary approach to intercultural issues, and aims to foster in the students an appreciation of the many facets of intercultural contact. The teaching in the programme supports this by making use of a range of pedagogical approaches to interculturalism.

The ICE Programme offers courses grounded in the latest academic research, which enables students to apply their theoretical grasp to practical situations in a multicultural and internationally oriented working life.

The thematic module on Religion, Conflict and Dialogue prepares students for critical analyses of the role of religion in conflicts in local, national and global contexts. Students will also develop expertise in conflict resolution and reconciliation projects involving religious issues, and gain an understanding of the requirements of such work.

The thematic module on Tradition, Knowledge and Change offers an opportunity to obtain knowledge of epistemological differences in a decolonising perspective. Student's expertise will extend to indigenous peoples' philosophies and concepts, with new insights into knowledge-making, power relations and diverse interactions in the production of tradition.

The thematic module of Communication and Media focuses on practical intercultural communication situations and processes, as well as on cultural beliefs and values present and produced in communication and social relationships. Students will also learn to analyse relationships between culture, media and power both in traditional mass media and present-day Internet and social media.

The thematic module on Transnational and International examines strengthened interconnectivity and relations between people transcending the borders. Particular attention is given to transnational actors and activities which impact on culture and politics across traditional borders. These include non-governmental organisations, multinational corporations, religious actors, ethnic actors, terrorism, migration, hybrid identities and diasporas. You will also learn more about the culture and practice of diplomatic relations.

Students can specialise in different local, national and supranational cultures in, for example, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, or North America. Also, the perspectives of the study of religions, theology, communication and indigenous studies provide students with the regional, cultural, and socio-political knowledge, which will help create a theoretical framework for understanding the dynamics of intercultural encounters. Furthermore, a range of disciplines at the University of Helsinki supports the study of the ICE thematic modules, such as media, social psychology, and area and cultural studies.

Selection of the study track

Depending on your choice, the ICE programme will lead to a Master of Arts (Humanities) degree or a Master of Theology degree. Students taking the Master of Theology degree should specialise in the thematic module Religion, Conflict and Dialogue. Humanities students can choose two thematic modules.

Programme structure

The Master's programme is 120 credits (ECTS) in scope, and the degree shall be completed in two academic years. The degree contains Joint Studies in Intercultural Encounters (20 credits) and Seminars (10 cr). There will be also be a common module of Professional Contexts for all the students (15 credits). You will specialise in thematic studies of your choice (at least 60 credits including your Master's thesis). In addition, you will take up to 15 credits of optional studies.

At the beginning of your studies, you will draw up a personal study plan (PSP), which supports the planning and progress of your studies. During and after completion of your degree we warmly welcome your feedback on your studies.

During your studies, you will have the chance to develop your professional skills, typically during an internship or project work. You can also participate in a student exchange programme and complete some of your studies abroad.


Master's studies culminate in writing your Master's thesis, an independent scientific study of 30 credits. Your research and writing will be supported in an advanced studies seminar.

Writing your Master's thesis develops your skills for conducting research. The process will enhance your ability to seek information independently, analyse and assess existing information critically, and produce and apply information independently. In addition, writing your Master's thesis develops your project management skills and your mastery of an extensive range of knowledge in your field of study. You will write your thesis in English.

Upon completing your Master's thesis, you will

  • have the ability to define and discuss your chosen research problem
  • have mastered the theories and research methods required in your work
  • have demonstrated familiarity with your thesis topic and the literature in the field
  • be able to analyse materials and communicate scientifically
  • be ready to work in a persevering manner and be able to understand large concepts

Career prospects

The ICE programme emphasises professionalism and preparation for working life. First, the content of the programme is based on the needs of professional life. Second, our aim is to work as much as possible with real-life situations and case studies. Exercises integrate academic knowledge and theories, further advanced through on-site visits and by guest lecturers from professional life. And third, the Master's programme develops skills and working methods that you will need in your future career.

Employment opportunities range from cultural and public management to internationalising projects in private companies. Potential employees include the EU, the UN and other national and international organisations; ministries; universities; the municipal sector; non-governmental organisations; and the media.


During your studies, you can engage in international academic research and activities in many different contexts. For instance, our students serve as peer tutors for exchange students, and the Faculty of Arts has numerous teaching and research staff members whose international background brings a diversity of perspectives to your studies.

You can take part in an exchange either through an international exchange programme or independently. All exchange programmes include a scholarship or a grant; the amount depends on the programme, the duration of the exchange visit and the target country. If you obtain an exchange place independently, you can apply for a travel grant. You can also complete an internship abroad.


The Master's programme in Intercultural Encounters cooperates closely with other Master's programmes in the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Theology and the Faculty of Social Sciences. The programme also has exchange partnerships.

Research focus

For more information about research at the Faculty of Arts, please see, and at the Faculty of Theology

Postgraduate studies

After completing the Master's programme, you are eligible to apply for PhD programmes. For options at the University of Helsinki please see

Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardMA, MThHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study2 years
    Course startsSeptemberDomestic course fees find outInternational course feesEUR 13000 per year

Notes about fees for this course

Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries, who do not have a permanent residence status in the area and pursue their studies in English, are liable to pay tuition fees. You can check from FAQ at the Studyinfo website whether or not you are required to pay tuition fees.

Find out more about the Be 1* of the Best Scholarship Programme.

Entry requirements

Contact University of Helsinki to find course entry requirements.

What students think about University of Helsinki

    Flexible and chances to dive deep

    I was positively surprised by flexibility of studies (now I am working abroad and at the same time writing my thesis and participating in Helsinki Law Clinic) and number of courses aimed at developing teamwork. Also, master degree programmes last 2 years which was one of decisive factors for me as against one-year programmes. Two year period provide more chances to dive deep into studies!

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