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How will the Big Wheel affect my studies?

27.04.2016

The degrees offered by the University of Helsinki are being reformed, with the reform entering into force on 1 August 2017. This reform is based on the Big Wheel project that began in 2014 at the initiative of Vice Rector Keijo Hämäläinen, in charge of education. The Big Wheel will see the current degree structures of the University of Helsinki’s faculties change into new entities, degree programmes.

The names of the new degree programmes leading to Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees have now been decided. Planning for the programmes continues in the University’s Big Wheel working group, in faculties and departments and in the executive groups of the new programmes.

What will happen to the current degree structures and requirements and why? Which faculties will the new degree programmes be in? Can my studies expire? When do current students have to move into the new programmes?
We compiled a small FAQ package to answer these questions and many others.

If we have neglected to ask or answer something below, please contact our Board or Specialists!

On the progress of the Big Wheel in general: HYY Members of the Board Laura Luoto and Maria Loima, Specialist Anne Rautanen, Communications Officer Tapio Reinekoski.

On student’s legal protection: HYY Member of the Board Tarik Ahsanullah, Specialist Anne Rautanen, Communications Officer Tapio Reinekoski.

For more information, you can also contact your own subject’s student representatives (also known as “hallopeds”). Their contact information, categorised by faculty, can be found here: https://www.halloped.fi/en/helsinki/organs.
The new degree programmes’ student representatives and their contact information will also be updated into the halloped.fi website as soon as all representatives have been chosen.

1) How are my studies affected by the Big Wheel? Will subjects be discontinued because of the Big Wheel? What happens now? Who looks after students’ interests?

The Big Wheel’s aim is to create new degree programmes into the University of Helsinki that start at the beginning of the academic year of 2017–18. Instead of the current structure of subjects, departments and faculties, these degree programmes would be based on the different disciplines of the University. After the reform, a degree programme could thus include study units and contents from several current departments or faculties. On the other hand, some degree programmes may be almost identical to the degree structures of current subjects.

In other words, the Big Wheel in itself does not pose a threat to the subjects’ future. Instead, the University’s change programme, that is, the internal cuts made because of the huge cuts to universities’ funding, is causing both the Rector and the Deans and Heads of Department to lay off people. The situation is currently the most alarming for subjects that had limited resources to begin with. Even if these subjects would not get their own Bachelor’s or Master’s programme after the Big Wheel has turned, they could still be taught as optional modules or specialisation options. However, this requires that the student representatives chosen into the executive groups of the new degree programmes have the will to defend these subjects and that subject organisations cooperate closely with the representatives.

In the Big Wheel working group, students are represented by HYY’s Specialist (educational policy) Janne Lardot. Broad matters of principle and issues such as finalising the new degree programmes are decided by the University’s Academic Affairs Council (ONE) where students are represented by HYY’s Specialist (educational policy) Anne Rautanen. The Student Union has been recruiting new student representatives to the executive groups of new Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes throughout the winter and spring.

2) What are the new degree programmes like?
The new degree programmes are listed at the end of this page. However, the division of the Master’s programmes is still not finalised. The Bachelor Degrees only have Finnish titles for now.

Starting at the beginning of the academic year of 2017–18, you can apply to the new Bachelor’s or Master’s programmes. You will not have to make a binding choice on any single discipline when applying. Instead, you will be able to choose a specialisation option out of a selection of several disciplines or thematic study modules within the degree programme. Students can also get individually chosen optional studies from other degree programmes’ disciplines and contents included in their degree.

Precise learning outcomes will be drafted in concrete terms for each degree programme, study module and study unit. The descriptions of study units must include their contents, teaching methods and methods used for assessing students. The goal is to get rid of the current vague descriptions such as “after having completed the course, the student knows the basic terms and theories of the field” and replace them with practical information. Each study unit should include a breakdown of what kinds of skills students acquire during the unit and for what purpose – are the skills relevant for later studies or for work duties after graduation.

The schedules and working methods of the new degree programmes must also help students smoothly progress in their studies and study full-time.

3) Is my major going to change? Will my current studies expire?

Current students will get a three-year transitional phase, during which they can complete their studies according to the current degree structures. The degree requirements of the academic year of 2016–17 will be in effect until the end of the transitional phase.

Current students may also choose to move into the new degree programmes to complete their studies. The exact conditions of this move, such as the amount of supplementary studies, are still in the planning stages.
If you choose to move into a new programme, you cannot return to the old degree structure later. If you want to move into a new degree programme and have already completed studies included in a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, these studies can be used to replace study units from the new degree programme. An equivalency table will be drafted for each subject at a later point. This table will show the correspondence between study units in the old degrees and study units in the new degree programmes.

Completed degrees will not expire. However, studies that are over ten years old and have not been tied to a completed Bachelor’s or Master’s degree cannot be included into degrees completed according to the new degree programmes.

For those who graduate during the transitional phase, the expiry of studies will follow the current regulations.

The University is collecting information on the progress of the Big Wheel, its preparatory work, its schedule and decisions concerning it into Flamma on the following page:  https://flamma.helsinki.fi/fi/iso-pyora.

We also recommend following the websites and notices of the faculties.

If you want to know what the Rector’s decisions or the memoranda of the Big Wheel working group mean in practice, you can also contact your subject’s student representatives or the members of the board or specialists in charge of education policy at HYY.

4) I want to influence the future of my subjects – what should I do?

This is the time to give feedback on the study-related problems that your subjects have. There is power in numbers: together with your subject organisation and student representatives, tell the vice deans in charge of education in your faculties and the chairpersons of the executive groups of the new degree programmes how your studies should be reformed.

Even though the Big Wheel’s goal is to make it more clear what skills students have acquired after completing their degrees and to help students better identify their own skills, these goals can easily remain on the level of rhetoric. This is why students should be actively involved when the new programmes are planned as well as give feedback on how the work has succeeded so far. Cooperation between subject organisations and student representatives is most likely taken into account in the executive groups of the new degree programmes. However, we still recommend gathering the entire subject organisation’s views and support to back up the student representatives acting in the executive group.

The University Management often tell the Student Union that students themselves have not pointed out any problems in the planning and completion of studies, nor have they suggested any improvements. This, however, does not necessarily mean all is well: the “lack” of criticism is most likely due to the students’ worries and problems not reaching the ears of the University Management.

Simultaneously with reforming the degree programmes, the University is laying off its employees and reshaping its administration into a new form, the new service organisation or UPO. Any problems caused by the University’s cuts and lay-offs cannot be explained with the changes caused by the Big Wheel or the administrative reform. These reforms cannot be used as excuses for slowing down studies, cancelling teaching and exams or the lack of study counselling.

We recommend you start seeking student counselling right now from the personnel in your own subject’s or department’s academic administration. The academic administration must perform their duties without exception: they must admit new students, offer counselling to students and take care of the administrative tasks related to graduation.

None of the ongoing changes can impede the smooth progress of studies or delay graduation. HYY has collected information from students on the effects of the cuts to the University funding and the simultaneous large structural changes, and it is clear that problems have already arisen. The Student Union hopes that it would be informed of problem situations as frequently and early as possible – either directly or through student representatives.

The new Bachelor's Degrees as of August 2017, names available only in Finnish for the time being:

Biologian kandiohjelma
Bio- ja ympäristötieteellinen tiedekunta
Luonnontieteiden kandidaatti LuK

Elintarviketieteiden kandiohjelma
Maatalous-metsätieteellinen tiedekunta
Elintarviketieteiden kandidaatti (ETK)

Eläinlääketieteen kandiohjelma
Eläinlääketieteellinen tiedekunta
Eläinlääketieteen kandidaatti (ELK)

Farmaseutin koulutusohjelma
Farmasian tiedekunta
Farmaseutin tutkinto

Filosofian kandiohjelma
Humanistinen tiedekunta / Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta
Humanististen tieteiden kandidaatti (HuK) / Valtiotieteiden kandidaatti (VTK)

Fysikaalisten tieteiden kandiohjelma
Matemaattis-luonnontieteellinen tiedekunta
Luonnontieteiden kandidaatti (LuK)

Geotieteiden kandiohjelma
Matemaattis-luonnontieteellinen tiedekunta
Luonnontieteiden kandidaatti (LuK)

Historian kandiohjelma
Humanistinen tiedekunta
Humanististen tieteiden kandidaatti (HuK)

Kandidatprogram i samhällsvetenskaper + socialt arbete
Svenska social- och kommunalhögskolan
Politices kandidat (Pol. Kand.)

Kasvatustieteiden kandiohjelma
Käyttäytymistieteellinen tiedekunta
Kasvatustieteen kandidaatti (KK)

Kemian kandiohjelma
Matemaattis-luonnontieteellinen tiedekunta
Luonnontieteiden kandidaatti (LuK)

Kielten kandiohjelma
Humanistinen tiedekunta
Humanististen tieteiden kandidaatti (HuK)

Kotimaisten kielten ja kirjallisuuksien kandiohjelma
Humanistinen tiedekunta
Humanististen tieteiden kandidaatti (HuK)

Kulttuurien tutkimuksen kandiohjelma
Humanistinen tiedekunta
Humanististen tieteiden kandidaatti (HuK)

Logopedian kandiohjelma
Lääketieteellinen tiedekunta
Humanististen tieteiden kandidaatti (HuK)

Maantieteen kandiohjelma
Matemaattis-luonnontieteellinen tiedekunta
Luonnontieteiden kandidaatti (LuK)

Maataloustieteiden kandiohjelma
Maatalous-metsätieteellinen tiedekunta
Maatalous-metsätieteiden kandidaatti (MMK)

Matemaattisten tieteiden kandiohjelma
Matemaattis-luonnontieteellinen tiedekunta / Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta
Luonnontieteiden kandidaatti (LuK)

Matematiikan, fysiikan ja kemian opettajan kandiohjelma
Matemaattis-luonnontieteellinen tiedekunta
Luonnontieteiden kandidaatti (LuK)

Metsätieteiden kandiohjelma
Maatalous-metsätieteellinen tiedekunta
Maatalous-metsätieteiden kandidaatti (MMK)

Molekyylibiotieteiden kandiohjelma
Bio- ja ympäristötieteellinen tiedekunta / Maatalous-metsätieteellinen tiedekunta
Luonnontieteiden kandidaatti (LuK)

Oikeusnotaarin koulutusohjelma
Oikeustieteellinen tiedekunta
Oikeusnotaarin tutkinto (ON)

Politiikan ja viestinnän kandiohjelma
Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta
Valtiotieteiden kandidaatti (VTK)

Psykologian kandiohjelma
Lääketieteellinen tiedekunta
Psykologian kandidaatti (PsK)

Sosiaalitieteiden kandiohjelma
Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta
Valtiotieteiden kandidaatti (VTK)

Taiteiden tutkimuksen kandiohjelma
Humanistinen tiedekunta
Humanististen tieteiden kandidaatti (HuK)

Taloustieteen kandiohjelma
Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta
Valtiotieteiden kandidaatti (VTK)

Teologian ja uskonnontutkimuksen kandiohjelma
Teologinen tiedekunta
Teologian kandidaatti (TK)

Tietojenkäsittelytieteen kandiohjelma
Matemaattis-luonnontieteellinen tiedekunta
Luonnontieteiden kandidaatti (LuK)

Yhteiskunnan ja kulttuurin muutoksen ja kehityksen kandiohjelma
Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta
Valtiotieteiden kandidaatti (VTK)

Ympäristö- ja elintarviketalouden kandiohjelma
Maatalous-metsätieteellinen tiedekunta
Maatalous-metsätieteiden kandidaatti (MMK) / Elintarviketieteiden kandidaatti (ETK)

Ympäristötieteiden kandiohjelma
Bio- ja ympäristötieteellinen tiedekunta / Maatalous-metsätieteellinen tiedekunta
Luonnontieteiden kandidaatti (LuK)


The new Master's Degrees as of August 2017 (only confirmed English titles listed here) and the Heads of the programmes:

Data Science    Hannu Toivonen
Ekologian ja evoluutiobiologian maisteriohjelma    Veijo Kaitala
Eläinlääketieteen lisensiaatin koulutusohjelma    Mirja Ruohoniemi
Elintarvikealan liiketoiminnan ja kulutuksen maisteriohjelma (ELK)    Sari Ollila
Elintarviketieteet    Marina Heinonen
English Studies    Sanna-Kaisa Tanskanen
Environmental Change and Global Sustainability    Janne Hukkinen
European and Nordic Studies -maisteriohjelma    ONE nimeää johtajan myöhemmin
Filosofian maisteriohjelma    Aki Lehtinen
Fysiikan maisteriohjelma (tähtitiede, kosmologia, avaruus- ja hiukkasfysiikka)    Kenneth Österberg
Genetiikan ja molekulaaristen biotieteiden maisteriohjelma    Eeva-Liisa Eskelinen
Geologian ja geofysiikan maisteriohjelma    Tapani Rämö
Hammaslääketieteen koulutusohjelma    Terhi Karaharju-Suvanto
Historian maisteriohjelma    Laura Kolbe
Ihmisen ravitsemus ja ruokakäyttäytyminen
Human Nutrition and Food Behaviour    Mikael Fogelholm
Ilmakehätieteiden maisteriohjelma    Antti Lauri
Intercultural Encounters, Diversity and Integration (InDi)    Martti Pärssinen
International Business Law    Ville Pönkä
Kääntämisen ja tulkkauksen maisteriohjelma    Liisa Tiittula
Kasvatustieteiden maisteriohjelma (valmisteluvaihe jatkuu vielä)    Sari Lindblom-Ylänne
Kasvibiologian maisteriohjelma    Johannes Enroth
Kaupunkitutkimuksen maisteriohjelma    Mari Vaattovaara
Kemian ja molekyylitieteiden maisteriohjelma    Mikko Oivanen
Kielten maisteriohjelma    Ahti Nikunlassi
Kirjallisuuden maisteriohjelma    Pirjo Lyytikäinen
Kulttuuriperintö ja kulttuurien tulkinnat -maisteriohjelma    Lotte Tarkka
Lääketieteen koulutusohjelma – Utbildningsprogrammet i Medicin    Tiina Paunio
Life Science Informatics    Mats Gyllenberg
Linguistic Diversity in the Digital Age (LingDA)    Matti Miestamo
Logopedian maisteriohjelma    Kaisa Launonen
MA Program for Finnish Teacher Education (valmisteluvaihe jatkuu vielä)    ONE nimeää johtajan myöhemmin
Maailman kulttuurien maisteriohjelma    Hannu Juusola
Maantieteen maisteriohjelma    Sami Moisio
Maatalous-, ympäristö- ja luonnonvaraekonomian maisteriohjelma    Marko Lindroos
Maataloustieteiden maisteriohjelma    Mervi Seppänen
Magisterprogram i samhällsvetenskaper    Mirjam Kalland
Magisterprogrammet i kultur och kommunikation    Derek Fewster
Matematiikan ja tilastotieteen maisteriohjelma    Matti Lassas
Matematiikan, fysiikan ja kemian opettajan maisteriohjelma    Juha Oikkonen
Materiaalitutkimuksen maisteriohjelma    Antti Kuronen
Metsätieteiden ja biotalouden maisteriohjelma    Markus Holopainen
Mikrobiologian ja -biotekniikan maisteriohjelma    Sari Timonen
Neurotieteen maisteriohjelma    Juha Voipio
Oikeustieteen maisterin koulutusohjelma    Sakari Melander
Pohjoismaisten kielten maisteriohjelma    Beatrice Silén
Politiikan ja viestinnän maisteriohjelma    Mervi Pantti
Proviisorin koulutusohjelma    Pia Vuorela
Psykologian maisteriohjelma    Anu-Katriina Pesonen
Russian Studies    ONE nimeää johtajan myöhemmin
Sosiaalitieteiden maisteriohjelma    Ilkka Arminen
Sukupuolentutkimuksen maisteriohjelma    Johanna Kantola
Suomen kielen ja suomalais-ugrilaisten kielten ja kulttuurien maisteriohjelma    Jyrki Kalliokoski
Taiteiden tutkimuksen maisteriohjelma    Hanna Korsberg
Taloustieteen maisteriohjelma    Markku Lanne
Teologian ja uskonnontutkimuksen maisteriohjelma    Auli Vähäkangas
Teoreettisten ja laskennallisten menetelmien maisteriohjelma    Kari Rummukainen
Tietojenkäsittelytieteen maisteriohjelma    Veli Mäkinen
Translationaalisen lääketieteen koulutusohjelma (TRANSMED)    Dan Lindholm
Yhteiskunnallisen muutoksen maisteriohjelma    Pauli Kettunen