Master’s Programme in Information Networks encourages the students to construct their personal study plan in a multi-disciplinary way by offering well-structured study entities of the programme’s core substance areas. The in-built trans-disciplinary is strengthened by integrating blended learning methods together with some compulsory studies in philosophy, aesthetics, social media, and research methods. These themes unfold the programme philosophy and provide insights into analyzing and understanding human-centered technology and business development.

What is a Personal Study Plan/Henkilökohtainen OpintoSuunnitelma (HOPS)?

Personal study plan (also known as HOPS) is the student’s plan for completing the degree. It includes the study blocks which make up the degree (major, minor, elective studies, thesis), and:

  • courses included in the study blocks
  • schedule for completing the degree, where the courses are placed in the study year, term and teaching period.

Creating a HOPS is a mandatory part of studies. MSc students create their HOPS in the beginning of their studies.

What is the HOPS needed for?

The study plan is an agreement which binds both the student and the university. You have a right to study according to the approved, official personal study plan, but at the same time, you are obliged to follow it. Any deviation from the study plan must be checked first with the student services of your programme.

The approved HOPS is used in many administrative processes, for example:

  • Credit transfer of studies completed at other universities: Only studies that are included in the approved HOPS can be transferred.
  • Exchange studies: Exchange studies need to be included in the approved HOPS when applying for exchange.
  • Aalto internal mobility and JOO studies: The studies need to be included in the approved HOPS when applying for the study right.
  • Graduation: The diploma will be compiled based on the approved HOPS, so it is important that the HOPS is up-to-date when ordering the diploma.

Even though creating the HOPS is mandatory and it is used in many administrative processes, the HOPS is first and foremost a tool for the students. It helps you understand your studies as a whole. Drafting your personal study plan helps you plan your studies and keep track of their progress. When you have considered your goals, chosen the courses accordingly and drafted a realistic and target-oriented schedule for completing these studies, you have a map for making your plans a reality.

You can always update the personal study plan later on, so do not worry, the first HOPS does not have to be the final plan.

Planning your studies

Planning of studies is an integral and necessary part of university studies. Universities Act and the Degree Regulations of Aalto University School of Science determine the boundary conditions for the content and extent of the degree. Within the limits of these boundaries you have the possibility to make choices that support your own interests, goals, and life situation in different phases of your studies, e.g.:

  • which specialization area or study track to choose
  • which minor(s) to study
  • should I go on exchange
  • should I do an internship
  • which thesis topic to choose.

How to plan your studies?

The personal study plan is drafted in the beginning of your studies, but note that it is beneficial for you to start planning your studies well in advance.

  1. First familiarise yourself with the degree structure, i.e. which study blocks the degree consists of (e.g. is your major long or compact, do you need a minor, would you like to include an optional minor in the Elective Studies). Your most important tool is the page Curriculum.
  2. Next consider what your own interests and goals are, and what do you want to learn and what skills to develop during your studies (in addition to the professional and academic skills, e.g. language studies, communication skills etc.). This helps you to make the right choices regarding your specialisation area, minor studies, elective studies etc.
  3. Consider whether you want to go on exchange, do an internship or complete studies at other Aalto schools or in another Finnish university, and in which phase of your studies they fit best. Familiarise yourself with the instructions concerning these options so that you know what they mean in practice, how they can be included in the degree, when the application periods are etc.
  4. When you know which studies you are going to include in your degree, the next step is to formulate a schedule for completing these studies, i.e. to place the courses in study years and teaching periods. You can find the teaching periods under Key Dates and recommended study years under Curriculum.
  5. It is good to keep in mind that your study time is limited. There are only a certain number of years that can be used for completing the degree, and it is therefore advisable to aim at completing 60 ECTS per year. On the other hand, free time is necessary for keeping your energy level up, so it is also not wise to try to complete courses at too tight a pace.
  6. Draft your personal study plan in the excel template/WebOodi.
  7. It is rather likely that as your studies proceed, your plans may change for one reason or another. The study plan can – and needs to be – always updated according to your own situation and goals.

If you need help in planning your studies

If you want to discuss your plans with someone or if you need guidance e.g. with the OodiHOPS tool, you can always contact the planning officer or study affairs secretary of your programme.

All students will be also assigned a personal teacher tutor. You can contact your tutor if you want to discuss for example your studies, career plans, thesis topic etc.

After your HOPS has been approved, you can always update it if your plans change.

When should the HOPS be sent for approval again?

Update your HOPS and send it for approval when you’re planning to

  • include studies done during exchange in your degree
  • take courses in other Aalto schools
  • take courses in other Finnish universities via JOO study right
  • change your minor
  • include courses done outside Aalto University in your degree.

You do not need to send your HOPS for approval

  • if the changes concern only your study schedule
  • if you’re changing an optional course in your major for another one listed in the Study Guide
  • if you’re changing courses in the Elective studies

Note that it may take up to two weeks for your HOPS to be approved.

Draft your HOPS in the excel template according to the instructions given in the template and send it to Planning officer Susanna Reunanen (susanna.reunanen(a)aalto.fi).

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