The Amazing Jyväskylä!

The Amazing Jyväskylä!
Me at the harbor of Jyväskylä

09 January, 2015

Is it possible to complete Master's Degree in D&IC in 1 year?

Happy New Year!

I hope all of you who intend to apply to Master’s Degree Programs with University of  Jyväskylä have had your applications ready by now!

I recently received a very interesting question that had never been asked before; so I thought I would write an entry to explain it to those interested in this matter. This question is particularly relevant to Master’s Degree in Development and International Cooperation Program. However, this shall give you some ideas on what kind of information you can look into if you have the similar concern about other Master’s Degree Programs. 

The question is: “Is it possible to finish Master’s Degree in Development and International Cooperation Program (D&IC) in one year?”
The answer is NO, but other possibilities could also be put under consideration.

If you are a student who has extremely good ability to concentrate your brain and energy in studying, you might be able to finish this program in 1,5 years. I’ve seen people who have attempted to do it and almost succeeded. They just sort of fell out at the end because of exhaustion and not everything went according to their plans.

The reason for this is very simple. It’s all about math, but simple math, not complicated math. It’s just multiplying and summing.

For the first 2 semesters, students are expected to complete about 10 compulsory courses for D&IC program and 2 compulsory courses for their majors. However, completing all of these courses might not guarantee the students enough credits to graduate (required credits for Master’s Degree are 120). The students might fall short 5 or 10 credits; so they should take 1 or 2 more elective courses to fill in the credits. But don’t worry, if you cannot complete all of them within the first year, you can do it within the second year (if your goal is not to complete this program in 1,5 year or less!).

So, every compulsory course that rewards 5 credits should be equal to 135 hours of work including attending lectures, of course. (1 credit ~ 27 hours of work). This is the requirement from the university. Go to this link if you want to check it out: “Work” here means it could be assignments, group projects, book exams, lesson journal or essays; it depends on the course. Then, in order to gain at least 70 credits (plus 10 for internship and 40 for thesis, it’ll be 120!), the students should put in 1890 hours of work including attending lectures during the course of  approximately 9-10 months (first 2 semesters) before going on their internship (presumably that they have already been able to find an internship placement that allows them to work during summer). 8 hours to sleep per day, it’s about 2400 hours in 10 months. 2 hours to eat per day (if they eat out and do not have to cook), it’s about 600 hours in 10 months. I’ll give them 600 more hours to go to the bathrooms in 10 months. Say ... 600 more hours to commute from home to school and vice versa. In total, all of those adds up to 6090 hours. So, there are approximately 7200 hours in 10 months. They still have 1110 hours left to relax or to work on their THESIS. That’s about 3 hours/day. Not bad, right? Do not forget about the THESIS! Master’s theses are expected to be roughly 100 pages long, though this is not mandatory. I’ve read thesis which only lasts 70 pages.

For D&IC program, completing internships is compulsory and rewarded with credits. The internships are required to last for minimum 3 months; and students are encouraged to do it during the summer after the first two semesters.   

Okay, say ... this super smart student can immediately determine her thesis topic right from the start of the program and work on it (literature review, methodology, theoretical framework, research questions, arguments and findings) during the 3 hours left every day the entire 10 months. She does her 3 months of internship all summer and completes sometime around the first period of the 3rd semester. She can choose to complete the last thesis seminar (because there’re three of them!) over Skype with her supervisor if she would like to go back to her home country or to find job in another city other than Jyväskylä. She’ll complete the program at the end of the third semester. And that’s 1,5 years – minimum. Also presumably that in case it’s an international student who is not at all affected by somewhat severe weather here in Finland, that is. So, the students can do it for 1 year on campus and half a year off campus.

Technically, it’s completely possible. If you have a mind of steel and do not at all care about having a social life, you can do it! I am not being sarcastic whatsoever, I’ve seen people do it. It’s just that I haven’t seen anyone succeed.

So, my advice? Do prepare yourself (financially and mentally) to finish this program in 2 years. Especially those who do not study their Bachelor’s Degree completely in English but your mother tongue.

Take into consideration that it’ll take some time to get used to reading highly academic materials and being able to understand them as well. My IELTS score was 7.5 (not excellent but not too bad either), I had had 2-year working experiences, ¾ of which was completely in English speaking environment and I still struggled badly to adjust with the reading materials during the first semester.

Deadline for application is coming close, right? My best wishes to all of you who have sent or will send the applications this year. It’s a great program in a great university, I promise you. It’s worth all the effort. 


  1. Dear chi,

    I guess who are also from Vietnam :) I am looking for courses in Education, but my background is not, and I came up with the course of D&IC where you are working as ambassador. Can we talk? I am preparing application with tons of confuse :(

  2. You can contact me on my Facebook page:
    I answer questions about Master's degree programs in general but I can forward questions to other ambassadors accordingly if I don't know the answers.