Master's Programme in Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering - Chemistry

From breakthroughs in medicine to creating sustainable alternatives to plastics, chemistry plays a pivotal role in advancing the world that we live in. The students in the Master’s Programme in Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering – Chemistry will find themselves at the exciting frontiers of research and emergence of new technologies.




1.12.2021 – 3.1.2022




2 vuotta, täysipäiväinen


Soveltuva alempi korkeakoulututkinto




120 opintopistettä


Kemian tekniikan korkeakoulu


EU/ETA-alueen ulkopuoliset kansalaiset, €15000/v (maisteriopinnot)

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Study objectives

Chemistry in the 21st century offers a world of possibilities. From breakthroughs in medicine to creating sustainable alternatives to plastics, chemistry plays a pivotal role in advancing the world that we live in. Education in the Chemistry major at Aalto University offers a strong scientific foundation in chemistry, both in theory and practical applications. The Department of Chemistry and Materials Science is home to internationally-renowned research groups and laboratories, and students will find themselves at the exciting frontiers of research and emergence of new technologies.   

Upon graduating from the Master’s Programme in Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering – Chemistry, graduates will have:

Knowledge of organic and inorganic materials and chemical reaction mechanisms to synthesise these materials. Graduates have a broad expertise in materials and material synthesis processes. 

Knowledge of chemical equilibria and kinetics in various chemical reactions. Graduates also possess knowledge of quantum mechanics related to the chemical bond and spectroscopy.

Both broad knowledge of different areas of chemistry and in-depth skills in a specialisation area of their choice. Graduates have the benefits of both breadth of knowledge and specialisation. Possible specialisation areas include organic chemistry, inorganic and analytical chemistry as well as physical chemistry. 

An inquiring mind to explore new frontiers in research. Graduates have the curiosity to explore and discover new grounds in research as well as courage to defend their findings.

Ability to act as chemistry experts in a vast range of industries.Graduates are prepared for a successful career in the industry, capable of working in multidisciplinary groups of experts and solving chemistry-related problems, such as planning reaction procedures and analysing materials in detail.

User-centric, societal, and environmental perspective to chemical and related fields. Graduates have the knowledge and skills to understand the challenges of the field from the point of view of users and technical and social systems, as well as from that of the environment. 

Chemstry laboratory

Language of instruction

In all majors in the Master’s Programme in Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering the language of instruction is English. It is also possible to complete some courses in Finnish or Swedish.

Study contents

The core compulsory courses in the first year lay a strong foundation in the most important chemical phenomena: students get familiar with molecular and quantum mechanical level description of matter and chemical reactions. Students then choose from a wide range of specialisation courses, depending on their own interests and aspirations. 

Depending on the study path the major will offer comprehensive knowledge in:

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Physical and Computational Chemistry

The organic and inorganic study paths provide good knowledge on synthesizing and analysing organic or inorganic materials. The physical chemistry study path focuses on electrochemistry and computational chemistry. In addition to the natural science basis, the major provides good knowledge in chemical engineering practices, especially when complementing the major's courses with chemical engineering courses.

In the academic year 2020-2021 as specialisation courses students can also choose courses offered by the University of Helsinki in subjects such as molecular science and physical chemistry. More information about the studies can be found on the Aalto University Wiki page.


The structure of the studies is planned so that the students have the freedom and flexibility to tailor their studies according to their needs and interests. Students may want to have a heavy emphasis on scientific research or they may want to orient themselves outside the traditional chemical industry. For example, the recent surge in technology has produced new cross-disciplinary functions for chemical experts to work at the intersection of chemistry and technology in areas such as Li-ion battery development.  

Students are encouraged to complement their studies with chemical engineering, functional materials or physics courses. For example, combining organic chemistry and polymer engineering will be very useful when working with polymer-based industrial problems. Additional studies in chemical engineering will broaden the understanding in industrial processes. Combining inorganic chemistry and materials science provides a good background of materials development projects in the industry. Physics studies will help to better understand physical chemistry problems.

To give concrete examples of some of the topics covered in the programme, below is a selection of five courses from the programme’s extensive curriculum: 

  • Modern Methods in Biocatalysis (5 ECTS)
  • Functional Inorganic Materials (5 ECTS)
  • Computational Chemistry (5 ECTS)
  • Laboratory Work in Organic Chemistry (5 ECTS)
  • Laboratory Work in Inorganic Chemistry (5 ECTS)


Students benefit from a highly innovative learning environment where state-of-the-art research is conducted in the Department of Chemistry and Materials Science. The inorganic chemistry group is one of the leading laboratories in layered materials synthesis in Europe, whereas the organic chemistry group is internationally acclaimed in the field of asymmetric synthesis of natural products. The physical chemistry group exhibits a unique combination of electrochemistry and molecular modelling with applications to next generation batteries and hydrogen fuel economy, and thermodynamics and transport phenomena are also areas of expertise. Finally, the analytical chemistry group is developing methods for diagnostic microbiology.

Laboratory works, either in groups or independently, form a major part of the learning. Teaching methods also include lectures by professors and visiting experts, small group teaching, essay writing, as well as field trips and excursions to companies and research institutes. One of the strengths of the Master’s Programme in Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering is close cooperation with the industry. Many projects and assignments in the courses are given directly by industry representatives, preparing students for their future careers. 

Personal Study Plan (PSP)

The Personal Study Plan (PSP) is a practical tool to define a student’s own study path, compiling an optimal selection of courses that are aligned with the student's interests and programme requirements. PSP is also a useful tool for students to keep track of their studies. At best, it shows where students are with their studies and sets concrete milestones for them to follow.

Tuition fees

The tuition fee is €15 000 for non-EU/EEA students. Further information on the tuition fees and the scholarship system: Tuition fees and scholarships

Structure of studies

Overall, the Master’s Programme in Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering - Chemistry comprises a total of 120 ECTS credits. The two-year programme consists of:

  • Major dependent studies (63-65 ECTS)
  • Elective studies (25-27 ECTS)
  • Master’s thesis (30 ECTS)

Career opportunities

There are so many areas indispensable for well-being – developing medicines, cutting air pollution, mitigating plastic problems – in which chemistry plays a vital role, prolonging and improving life. Experts and scientists with extensive chemical knowledge are urgently needed in various branches of chemical and related industries. Possible career options may include: 

  • designing organic synthesis for future technological solutions and analysing the synthesis products in industries such as pharmaceutical (e.g. Orion, Fermion), organic materials, (e.g. UPM, Stora Enso) and polymer industry (e.g. Neste, Borealis).
  • designing materials synthesis procedures (especially ALD companies, Picosun and BENEQ) and analysing synthesis products 
  • Electrochemical applications, batteries (BASF), electroplating (Norilsk Nickel). Finland is building a supply chain from raw materials to battery chemical and batteries. Many steps here require good knowledge of electrochemistry.  

The chemistry major also offers an excellent starting point for doctoral studies, if you wish to pursue deeper learning. The professors are internationally acknowledged and have an extensive network that benefits the students’ education. The major has excellent links to industry.

Aalto University has well-established career services to support students’ employment in Finland and abroad. Thanks to the flexible curriculum, many Aalto students work already during their studies and guarantee themselves entry positions before graduation. There is also a very active entrepreneurship community at Aalto, working as a springboard for founding a company.

Chemistry major, ALD 2


The study environment in the programme is strongly international and studies are conducted in multicultural groups. The international atmosphere can be seen in everyday life at the School of Chemical Engineering, where approximately 35 percent of academic personnel and 20 percent of master’s students are from abroad. Our teaching methods support networking with people from diverse backgrounds.

Aalto University offers many possibilities for students to develop their global competencies. Students can, for example:

  • complete part of the degree, e.g. a minor, abroad in one of the international partner universities as an exchange student
  • choose courses with intercultural approach, learn foreign languages and/or become a student tutor for international students
  • conduct practical training or Master’s thesis outside Finland
  • take summer courses abroad
  • benefit from several funding options available for internationalisation

Aalto University is international by nature, welcoming thousands of degree and exchange students from abroad every year. These students join the diverse Aalto community not only through their studies, but also through multiple free time events, celebrations and extracurricular activities around the campus. Active tutoring programs and support services work hard to help international students integrate to the Nordic culture and feel at home in Finland.

Co-operation with other parties

Merging science, technology, arts and business is one of the defining strengths of Aalto University and the Master’s Programme in Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering is no exception. Students may choose their minors or elective study modules from other Aalto Schools so that their degree is a combination of technology, business, and art. They also have the opportunity to take courses from other Finnish universities via The Flexible Study Right Agreement (JOO).

One fascinating example of the interdisciplinary collaboration taking place at Aalto University is the CHEMARTS initiative, where The School of Chemical Engineering (CHEM) and The School of Arts, Design and Architecture (ARTS) merge. CHEMARTS aims to inspire students and researchers to create new concepts for bioeconomy by combining design, business thinking and natural materials science. The initiative organises various activities and learning opportunities, such as externally funded research projects, study courses and an interdisciplinary summer school. This spontaneous and vivid multidisciplinary environment sparks new ideas, gathers enthusiasts around them and gives birth to friendships, networks, and every so often, startups.

Postgraduate study opportunities

The Master’s programme in Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering – Chemistry at Aalto is considered a great foundation for doctoral studies.

School of Chemical Engineering

Major Chemistry is a part of the Master's Programme in Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering at the School of Chemical Engineering. The School of Chemical Engineering combines natural sciences and engineering in a unique way. This allows the results of our research to be refined a long way and put into practice as ready products and processes. Each innovation secures both our renewable and non-renewable natural resources for the future.

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Aalto students walking at campus during summer



Programme-specific admission requirements

Applicants are first evaluated based on Aalto’s general eligibility requirements (found on https://www.aalto.fi/en/study-at-aalto/applying-to-masters-programmes). Applicants meeting the general eligibility criteria for master's studies are then evaluated according to the evaluation criteria below. 

Applications are first evaluated based on the following (critical) criteria. 

  • Academic performance 
  • Relevance of previous studies 

Only the applications who fulfill the requirements for these criteria will be evaluated against the full set of evaluation criteria. After the evaluation of the remaining criteria below, the best applicants will be selected based on the joint evaluation of all criteria.

  • Recognition and quality of institution
  • Suitability
  • Other areas of competence

The programme does not have a minimum quota to be filled, and not all eligible applicants will necessarily be admitted.

Experiences from our former and current students

Jarkko Smiling

Alumnus Jarkko Larkio: 'My studies involved getting out of my comfort zone and learning a lot about the different areas of chemistry.'

Jarkko Larkio graduated from the Master’s programme in Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering in 2020.

Kemian tekniikan korkeakoulu
Chemistry major student Erkka Vähä-Pietilä

Experiences from a Chemistry major student, Erkka Vähä-Pietilä

Interview with 2nd year master’s student Erkka Vähä-Pietilä about his studies in Chemistry major

Kemian tekniikan korkeakoulu

Experiences from a Chemistry major student, Mikko Stenholm

Interview with M.Sc. Mikko Stenholm about his studies in Chemistry major

Kemian tekniikan korkeakoulu

Evaluation criteria for Chemistry

Study option-specific documents

The documents required from all applicants are listed on https://www.aalto.fi/en/study-at-aalto/applying-to-masters-programmes. In addition, applicants to this programme are requested to provide the following study option-specific documents (if applicable):

Complementary studies

Students admitted to the Master's Programme in Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering may be required to take complementary studies, max 20 credits. Complementary studies may not be included in the degree of Master of Science (Tech).

The content and number of the complementary courses depend on your previous studies. The complementary studies will be set latest in September.

Contact information

For enquiries regarding the application process, application documents and language tests, please contact [email protected]

For enquiries regarding the content of programme and studies at the School of Chemical Engineering, please contact Learning Services of Aalto University School of Chemical Engineering, [email protected]

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