Faculty of Medicine (Office)
Tukholmankatu 8 B, 5th and 6th floors
00014 UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI
p. +358 9 1911
f. +358 9 191 26638
med-studentaffairs (at) helsinki.fi
Aiming at research work
Julia Döhla, a student of biomedical sciences, fell in love with Helsinki and found the TRANSMED Master's Degree Programme. Tuomo Hartonen, a student of natural sciences, wanted to combine physics and biology and ended up working towards a master's degree at the Meilahti campus.
Julia Döhla, who had studied biomedical sciences at the University of Marburg in Germany, found her destiny at the Helsinki Summer School.
— I fell in love with Helsinki, she confesses. — When I heard of the TRANSMED Master's Degree Programme, I realised that I had found the perfect city and the perfect study programme, and I decided to apply.
Döhla was particularly interested in the Master's Degree Programme in Translational Medicine for its clinical aspect, which was missing from her own bachelor's degree.
The enthusiasm has not abated during her months of study.
— It has been even better than I expected, Döhla says.
— I can't say that the studies have been easy, but thanks to my background education, they have not been overwhelming either. I like the way theory and practice come together in our studies. A small group makes it easy to get to know one another, and the atmosphere is good.
Döhla is also happy with her student apartment, which she shares with two others, and with her life in general. She has even begun to learn Finnish.
— It can be called difficult, yes, she says, amused. — I am, by the way, surprised at how many Finns can and want to speak German to me. I didn't expect that.
Tuomo Hartonen, who used to study theoretical physics at the University of Helsinki's Faculty of Science, says that he was always interested in biology and physiology as well – but he never wanted to be a doctor. Instead, he always intended to go into research.
— I thought I might specialise in biophysics, but when I heard of the TRANSMED programme, I felt it would meet my expectations even better; it offered a good and rare opportunity to study human physiology and anatomy without having to train as a doctor.
The first autumn at Meilahti has partially met Hartonen's expectations, partially not.
— I expected to have more choice in the courses I would take, but on the other hand, it is understandable that all students must grasp the basics. I suppose I also expected that my background would be more useful than it has been in these early stages, Hartonen admits. Still, he is happy with his choice:
— Physiology has proven just as interesting as I had thought it would be, and I can still continue my studies of mathematical sciences at the Department of Physics.
According to Hartonen, the level of requirements for the TRANSMED programme is not too high for a student with a background in physics; however, the studies require sound motivation.
— The beginning was sometimes hard when many things that were completely new to me were already familiar to students of biosciences. You must be interested in the subjects to do well, because there's plenty to learn.
First a master's degree, then – who knows?
After completing his master's degree, Hartonen aims to get a doctorate, but he is not yet able to say in which field. Döhla also sees a doctorate as a realistic possibility, but she has no definite plans at this stage.
Both have an open mind when considering future job opportunities.
— I have no specific dream job. What matters to me is that the work is challenging and creative, Hartonen says.
— I can't imagine with any detail what I would like to do for a living, but I find diagnostics very interesting. Maybe I will do something related to that, Döhla says.
Text and photos: Päivi Lehtinen
TRANSMED (The Master's Degree Programme in Translational Medicine)