Studying Methods

​Lecture Courses

Lectures are an important part of Finnish academic life. A typical lecture course consists of 24 hours of lectures and ends in a written exam based on the lectures. These courses are usually worth 2-4 credits. For some courses, the mode of assessment is a learning diary  instead of an exam. In the Basic Studies of Contemporary History there are several compulsory lecture courses for all students, while in Intermediate Studies lecture courses change from year to year and are often given by guest lecturers on varying topics. These lecture courses are optional for students.

Book exams

Book exams are also a normal learning method. Students read the set books (usually two to four books per exam, totaling up to ca. 1000 pages) and sign up for the exam on one of the monthly faculty exam days for Contemporary History. In the exam students are required to answer questions about the books they read. Book exams can usually be replaced by writing essays . Essay topics need to be agreed on in advance with the teacher responsible for the particular exam. Writing essays is generally encouraged, and it is a great way to practice academic writing. Oral exams are rare. For taught courses


Seminars are courses focusing on writing the theses. There's a seminar in Intermediate Studies for the Bachelor's thesis, and three seminars in Advanced Studies for the Master’s thesis. Seminars are taught by the Professors and Senior Research Fellow of the Department, and they are designed to guide and help students working on their theses. In the seminar meetings students present papers that illustrate the advancement of their thesis, and they receive comments from the teacher and other participants of the seminar. Each seminar lasts for one term, so students are given one term to write their Bachelor's thesis and three terms to write their Master’s thesis, although for the latter the timeframe is flexible.