Ulpukka Isopahkala-Bouret profile picture
Professor, Department of Education


+358 29 450 3883
+358 50 501 7306
Assistentinkatu 5

Areas of expertise

higher education
adult education
equality and justice in education
access to higher education
graduate employability
educational life course


I am working as a professor of education at University of Turku, Centre for Research on Lifelong Learning and Education (CELE), with a special emphasis on educational equality and justice. I have a title of docent at University of Helsinki. I have worked at University of Helsinki in various academic positions 2005-2016. I have been a team leader in the Nordic Centre of Excellence (2013-2018): ‘Justice through education in the Nordic countries’ (http://blogs.helsinki.fi/just-ed/). In addition, I have been a visiting scholar at University of Iceland (Iceland), University of Surrey (UK) and Northern Illinois University (USA). 

Since 2019, I have been a Chief Editor of Aikuiskasvatus, a peer-reviewed adult education research journal: https://aikuiskasvatus.fi/


My current teaching includes:

  • Educational Equality and Justice
  • Aspects of sociology and politics of education
  • Ajankohtaiset koulutuspolitiikan ilmiöt ja tasa-arvo
  • Doctoral course on qualitative methodologies - lecture on narrative analysis
  • Writing and publishing research
  • Graduseminaari


I have developed over time what one might describe as a cumulative research agenda. My research interest include equality in/through education, educational credentialing, access to higher education, graduate employability, and professional career trajectories. I am specialised in qualitative research, especially in narrative and discursive analysis. My research is particularly relevant to the fields of education policy, sociology of education, adult education, and life course studies. I apply theories from social sciences and cultural studies and most of my research projects are multi-disciplinary. I have recently expanded the research literature, especially on:

  1. credentialism and the relative value of degrees,
  2. fairness of access and non-attainment to higher education, and
  3. adult graduates’ employability

CURRENTLY, I am leading a research project: ‘Higher education graduates’ employability and social positioning in the labour market’ (duration Sep 2018 – Aug 2022), funded by Academy of Finland as a consortium between University of Turku and University of Eastern Finland. https://www.uef.fi/web/highemploy/


2016-2018 ‘Cross-cutting themes and issues in the Nordic higher education research’, NordForsk

2011–2015 'Ageing and expertise. Narrative inquiry into the experiences of older workers who acquire Master's degrees in their fifties', Academy of Finland

2009–2010 'Competence and the dual model of the Finnish system of higher education', Ministry of Education

2009–2013 'Citizenship, agency and difference in upper secondary education', Academy of Finland


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