Master's Degree Programme in Inequalities, Interventions and New Welfare State

A cross-disciplinary, international study programme, located in the INVEST Research Flagship Centre at the Department of Social Research, Faculty of Social Sciences.

The Master's Degree Programme is designed to give students rigorous training on social inequalities and welfare, effective social policy or intervention design, and using advanced statistical methods to measure data on these topics. There is a strong emphasis in developing students quantitative research skills.

The extent of the programme is 120 ECTS credit units and the completion time is two years. The degree consists of major studies in the degree programme, elective studies and a thesis. The students will be linked with the research groups of INVEST. The language of tuition is English.

Research in the INVEST flagship:

Entry requirements


General Requirement

You are an eligible applicant for Master’s studies if

  • you have a nationally recognized first cycle degree – usually a Bachelor’s degree – from an accredited institution of higher education,
  • your degree correponds to at least 180 ECTS (European credits) or to three years of full-time study,
  • your degree gives eligibility to master level studies in the country where it was issued,
  • your degree is in a relevant field for the Master’s degree programme that you’re applying to. Please check the section on programme-specific admission requirements for detailed degree requirements.

Language Requirements

Applicants must have excellent English language skills and a certificate that proves those skills. You can indicate your language skills by taking one of the internationally recognized English language tests. 

Applicants must reach the minimum required test results to be considered eligible to be accepted to the University of Turku. No exceptions will be made. Read more about the language requirements, recognized qualifications, required levels and exemptions here. 


Before you start preparing your application, always read the full admission requirements on the application portal

Who can apply?

All applicants must have at least a Bachelor’s degree in applicable fields of social and behavioural sciences. This degree should correspond to at least 180 ECTS (European credits) or to three years of full-time study. It should be awarded by a nationally accredited institution of higher education and give eligibility to master level studies in the country where it was issued. The content of previous studies should be similar/related to the INVEST project. For example:

  • social inequality
  • comparative social research
  • child and youth development
  • welfare state services, benefits, and policy processes
  • population and family demographics
  • prevention and intervention research and quantitative methodological courses (e.g. STATA skills)

Note: Persons who have the Finnish first-cycle polytechnic degree called "ammattikorkeakoulututkinto” and have completed courses on scientific thinking, writing and research methods (esp. quantitative methods) in areas relevant to the programme are also eligible to apply.

Verified proficiency in the English language is needed according to the instructions of the University of Turku. See recognized qualifications, required levels and exemptions:


Admission Criteria

An annual minimum number of students for a new cohort to begin their studies is 8, the quota of the programme is 15. The new students admitted to the programme begin their studies each autumn.

The eligible applications will be scored based on their previous studies and work experience (0 to max. 30 points) and the letter of motivation (6 to max. 15 points), with a maximum of 45 points achievable. The following describes the scoring in more detail:

The following selection criteria will be used when assessing the applicants:

  1. Previous degree studies (relevance), maximum 7 points
  2. Academic performance, maximum 10 points
  3. Thesis or research paper title and abstract, maximum 4 points
  4. Content of previous studies: quantitative research methods, maximum 4 points  
  5. Other relevant work/ study related experience, maximum 5 points
  6. A Letter of Motivation, maximum 15 points.  


Previous studies and work experience 0-30 points:

1. Bachelor’s or higher degree 0-7 points

  • Bachelor’s or higher degree with major in Social and Behavioural sciences (including political sciences, statistics, data science) – 7 points
  • Bachelor’s or higher degree in a related field (for example: social work, computer science, nursing science, international relations, law) – 5 points

2. Academic performance in previous studies 0-10 points

3. Thesis or relevant research paper title and abstract 0-4 points

The applicant should include the title and abstract of a Bachelor’s or Master’s thesis or of a research paper (if applicable) in the application form. If the abstract is from a research paper the applicant must provide details regarding the research institution/affiliation (e.g. if the research was conducted as part of a research group/organization, what funding was used (if applicable) and include any co-authors). Applicants who have not written a thesis for their previous studies or research paper can submit a prospective thesis title and abstract related to the work they wish to carry out as part of the INVEST project. The applicant must state clearly whether the abstract and title is a prospective thesis idea. This will be graded based on the criteria below as well as relevance and quality. The abstract should be no more than 200 words that includes:

  1. A clear-cut research question/s
  2. Theoretical framework and hypotheses
  3. Information on the data and methods (if you have not yet written a thesis then you need only mention what method you would like to use)
  4. The main (or expected) findings

4. Contents of previous studies: quantitative research methods in the fields of social and behavioural sciences relevant to the INVEST project 0-4 points

  • research methodology courses in quantitative methods (1 point per course, up to 4 points)

The applicant should indicate these individual courses in the application form. Give the title of the course, credits obtained and a brief description of the content for each course listed. The courses should be part of the applicant’s transcript of records.

5. Other relevant work/study related experience included in the applicant’s CV (for example, exchange studies or work experience in other institutions and organisations carrying out similar research) 0-5 points

  • exchange studies in research institutions or other related studies
  • relevant work experience/internships for example in research or policy focused national and international organisations, universities & institutions

The applicant should provide certification of one or more of the most relevant work experience/internship or exchange studies that they wish to include in this section. In the absence of a formal certificate a pdf version of an e-mail from a supervisor addressed to the applicant confirming their participation, the duration of the work experience and the main activity can be submitted.

6. Letter of Motivation 0-15 points (an eligible application must achieve minimum 6 points for the Letter of Motivation to be admitted to the programme)

The Letter of Motivation is included in the application form. NOTE: an applicant is expected to answer all questions indicated. It is highly recommended to draft the letter in advance as a separate document and copy and paste the text to the application form. The Letter of Motivation should address each of the following points clearly and concisely. Applicants will be scored directly based on how well they answer each. Please include subheadings:

  1. Describe your reasons for applying for the programme.
  2. How does the programme relate to your previous studies (e.g. field of specialization, research methodology studied) or work?
  3. What is the topic of your research interest? Why would you investigate it?
  4. How does the topic of the programme contribute to the development of your professional expertise?
  5. Two potential supervisors from the INVEST team you would be interested in working with and the reason why you choose them.

Programme in brief


The first year of studies will mainly consist of methods and substantive courses together with the initial development of the thesis idea and proposal. Second year studies will centre on seminars and the thesis in the first semester and will also include work-life competences, and internship and exchange studies in the second semester. The thesis will be supervised by the research group members and students will write their thesis in the form of a working paper with a view to publication.

Detailed course descriptions are published in the electronic Curriculum.


The master thesis is considered an important area of specialization during the studies in the programme. Successful graduates will be awarded a title of Master of Social Sciences from the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Theses can be done within the frame of research themes like comparative research on social inequalities; child and youth development in context; welfare state services, benefits, and policy processes; population and family demographics; child and adolescent epidemiology; prevention and intervention research; and advanced statistical methods related to these topics.

  • (Note) The contents of formally eligible applicants’ previous degrees do not always correspond to the academic level of the programme. Therefore, admitted students can be required to complete additional, Bachelor level studies while studying for the Master’s Degree as quickly as possible and in any case during the first year of the studies. These studies are not part of the Master’s Degree and may extend the targeted study time. The extent and contents of the additional studies are defined individually for each student when a personal study plan is created in the beginning of the studies. The amount of required additional studies cannot exceed 15 ECTS.

Career prospects


The MPINVEST programme educates research and public administration professionals for analysing social inequalities and welfare state institutions as well as developing new policies and intervention methods to reduce disadvantages and improve wellbeing and skill development of children and youth. Typical areas of employment include:

  • public administration,
  • research focused public and private institutions,
  • academia, and
  • data science.

The Master’s Degree provides eligibility for scientific postgraduate degree studies and it is expected that all chosen student should acquire researcher’s skills that should also make them eligible for social and behavioural science PhD programmes including lNVEST’s own PhD programme.