Käytännöllisen teologian professori

Kati Tervo-Niemelä (former Niemelä; born 1972 in Seinäjoki) is a professor in practical theology at the University of Eastern Finland. Her contact email is: kati.tervo-niemela@uef.fi
She has previously worked as a senior lecturer in Church and Social Studies/Practical Theology (2012-2018) and as professor in Church and Social Studies (fixed term 4/2015-3/2017 at the University of Helsinki. Tervo-Niemelä holds a title of Docent in Religious Education (2002). Her research covers many areas of practical theology, religious education and church and social studies. Tervo-Niemelä has previously worked as a Senior Researcher at Church Research Institute (2000-2012).
Her main research interests have been (1) the clergy career and ministry formation; the work orientation and well-being; (2) religion and the lifespan; (3) religious affiliation and disaffiliation, (4) the youth and religion, (5) religious rituals and (6) religion and the media.
She has published actively both in international and national settings in the abovementioned areas, including seven monographs (e.g. Does Confirmation Training Really Matter?; Vieraantunut vai pettynyt? Kirkosta eroamisen syyt Suomen evankelis-luterilaisessa kirkossa; Teologiksi? and Uskonko niin kuin opetan? Seurakuntatyöntekijä uskon ja elämän ristipaineessa) and six co-authored monographs (including Questioning Mind and Religion in Finland), six edited or co-edited volumes.

Contact info


Philosophical Faculty, School of Theology




+358 50 325 3876

Societal Activities

Kati Tervo-Niemelä is the Chair of the Society for the Finnish Theological Literature (2016-); member of a steering committee for the Nordic Network for Theology and Praxis; formerly a member of the University of Helsinki Ethical review board in the humanities and social and behavioral sciences (2012–2017); a Council member of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion (ISSR/SISR) (2007–2013)

Research groups and research projects

Kati Tervo-Niemelä is a co-leader in a international research project on religious transmission in families funded by Templeton Foundation (2019-2022; (The transmission of religion across generations: a comparative international study of continuities and discontinuities in family socialization).

Previously she has worked in many other international research projects including two large internation research project on youth and confirmation work in Europe ( Confirmation work in Europe, a comparative study in seven countries, (2007–2010) ja The 2nd International Study on Youth and Confirmation Work (2012–2016); which are the largest research projects ever conducted on protestant youth. In addition, she has worked in a large Nordic project on religious change The role of religion in the public sphere in the Nordic countries (2009–2103) and a European project on religious change Church and Religion in Enlarged Europe (2004–2008).
Tervo-Niemelä has also been a director or a principal researcher of many national research projects including Growing as a Theologian (2009-2013), Confirmation work, Young people and the Future (2006-2009).

Research groups - UEF