How to applicate to the Doctoral Programme in Fine Arts

The Doctoral Programme in Fine Arts currently accepts new students every other year. The next opportunity to apply will be in autumn 2024. The studies start in autumn 2025.

Apply to the Doctoral Programme in Fine Arts

The application period is 2 September – 16 September 2024.

The Doctoral Programme in Fine Arts at The Academy of Fine Arts of the University of the Arts Helsinki admits students through an open application procedure. A maximum of 6 new doctoral students will be admitted to commence studies in the autumn term of 2025 to complete a Doctor of Fine Arts degree (DFA). The scope of the degree is 240 ECTS credits, corresponding to 4 years of full-time study.

The application period opens on 2 September 2024 and closes on 16 September 2024 at 3:00 p.m. (local Finnish time). The application is submitted in electronic form within the Studyinfo service. A link to the online application form at Studyinfo.fi will be added to the application instructions once the application period starts.

Studies in the doctoral programme offer competence to carry out independent and creative artistic research, and an opportunity to develop research-based artistic activity. The doctoral programme is aimed at artists working within contemporary art. Artist-researchers graduating from the Doctoral Programme in Fine Arts develop and renew fine arts: their creation, research, and teaching. As specialists in their fields, they engage in a dialogue with various actors in the society, create art and produce information, knowledge, and insights based on art-related practices, which can be shared with collaborators and other actors in the field and interwoven in societal discussion. Doctoral training at the University of the Arts Helsinki develops the artist-researchers’ ability to apply their skills as artists, researchers, pedagogues, and specialists in their field.

A dissertation for the Doctor of Fine Arts degree can consist of exhibitions, exhibition curations, individual works of art, artistic processes or experimental projects and their articulation, conceptualisation, and theorisation. A dissertation usually includes one or more artistic elements and a written section. Electronic documentation of the dissertation is also required. The artistic elements are products of artistic research that will be published. The written section, parallel to the artistic elements, motivates the implementation and objectives of the research in relation to other research and practices in the field.

There is no automatic funding available for the doctoral students offered by the Doctoral Programme in Fine Arts at The Academy of Fine Arts. Doctoral students are required to proactively apply to appropriate parties for dissertation funding.

Admission criteria

Eligibility

The applicant will be deemed eligible to apply if they: i) have the required educational background, ii) have provided proof of their language proficiency according to the Academy’s requirements, and iii) have submitted the application with all the required attachments within the application period. The applications of all applicants who have been deemed eligible to apply will be evaluated, and based on this evaluation, some of the applicants will be invited to take part in the next stage of the admissions procedure.

Educational background

Applicants can be admitted to doctoral studies if they have completed:
• an applicable higher university degree
• an applicable higher degree at a polytechnic or university of applied sciences
• an applicable degree outside of Finland permitting one to enrol in similar university studies in the country of the degree.

An applicant who is deemed by the University to have sufficient information and knowledge required for the studies can also be admitted as a doctoral student. The University can oblige the admitted doctoral student to undertake necessary courses to attain the skills required in the doctoral education (Universities Act 24 July 2009, 558/2009, section 37).

Language skill requirements

The education leading to the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts requires that the applicant is sufficiently proficient in either Finnish, Swedish, or English. Proficiency in Finnish, Swedish, or English must be demonstrated during the application period by providing proof of previous education or a successfully completed language certificate.

Admission criteria

Key criteria in the selection of applicants for doctoral studies include:
• the artistic and research-oriented relevance, clarity and feasibility of the applicant’s research plan
• the applicant’s artistic and research merits, and their professional experience in the field of fine arts
• the applicant’s abilities for independent artistic research
• the applicant’s commitment and dedication to the complete the doctoral studies in accordance with the curriculum
• the connection of the research plan to the disciplines and research profile of the Academy of Fine Arts, University of the Arts Helsinki

• the feasibility of the research plan in the context of the Academy of Fine Arts

Applying

The application period opens on 2 September 2024. The online application complying with the application instructions must arrive at the Academy of Fine Arts by the deadline of 16 September 2024 at 3:00 p.m. (local Finnish time). Late applications will not be processed.

The application shall be submitted in an electronic form in the Studyinfo service. Applications or parts of an application that are sent by post, couriered, or submitted in person or sent per email will not be accepted.

Electronic application form

The application can be submitted in Finnish, Swedish, or English.

Download and submit the attachments to the application in good time before the deadline. Take enough time to send in the attachments to ensure that they are received within the given timeframe. Sending a file can take a long time in case the video is a long one, there are several files to send or the internet connection that is available is a slow one.

Give names to your files according to the following instructions before sending them in. The name of the attachments shall follow the format: surname_firstname_filename (an example: smith_john_researchplan). Do not use scandics (ö, ä, å) or special characters in the file names.  

The maximum file size for attached PDF files is 100 MB. See below the instructions for preparing the attachments.

The application must include the following attachments submitted in electronic form:

  • Research plan. The research plan must not exceed 3.000 words. The plan must include a comprehensive description of the research idea, the artistic elements of the doctoral research project and its planned schedule. A preliminary list of references for the research must also be appended, as well as a preliminary study plan and a preliminary funding plan. The research plan of the applicant may be checked for plagiarism on the Turnitin plagiarism-detection service. The attachment must be submitted as a single PDF tile to the Studyinfo portal.
  • Abstract of the research plan. (a maximum length of 400 words). The attachment must be submitted as a single PDF tile to the Studyinfo portal.
  • Curriculum vitae. The CV/résumé (a selection, a maximum of 2 pages A4, submitted as a single file in PDF format) must include personal data, prior education, artistic experience, publications, and other merits that the applicant deems profitable for doctoral study. The attachment must be submitted as a single PDF file to the Studyinfo portal.
  • Scanned copies of diplomas must be attached in electronic form to the application. If the degree is completed outside Finland, a clarification of the educational system in the country in question and the level of completed education in this system is required in Finnish, Swedish, or English as an appendix. The attachment(s) is to be submitted as a single PDF file.
  • Portfolio of artistic research
    • The portfolio shall present the central starting points for the applicant’s research activities in a structured way and include references to all work samples included in the application. The portfolio is submitted in pdf format in the Studyinfo service. Possible video or audio files supplementing the portfolio must also be uploaded to the Studyinfo service. The maximum of five (5) work samples can be presented in the portfolio. The maximum number of pages allowed in the portfolio is fifteen (15). Only the material uploaded on the Studyinfo service will be evaluated. Any links pointing to external websites in the portfolio will not be dealt with.
    • All video and audio files that complement the works presented in the portfolio must also be uploaded to the electronic application form. Accepted file formats: moving image: MP4; audio: MP3. Maximum file size for video and audio files: 500 MB.

Admission procedure

The admissions are the responsibility of the Doctoral education and research division of the Academic Council of the Academy of Fine Arts and the assessment board, which consist of professors and researchers of the Academy of Fine Arts. The assessment board can include members from outside the academy.

The admissions take place in three stages. In the first stage, the assessment board selects the applicants to be interviewed based on their applications. In the second stage, the applicants are interviewed. In the interview, the applicants have the opportunity to expand upon their artistic research and artistic practice. In the third stage, the chosen applicants are asked to elaborate upon, and further develop, their research plans. At the conclusion of the third stage, the assessment board formulates a proposal of the doctoral students to be admitted to the Academy of Fine Arts in autumn 2025 and submits the proposal to the Doctoral Education and Research Division of the Academic Council of the Academy of Fine Arts.

The Doctoral Education and Research Division of the Academic Council of the Academy of Fine Arts makes the final proposal to the Dean of the Academy of Fine Arts, who approves the new students to be admitted to study at the Academy of Fine Arts.

Timeline of the admission procedure:

  • 2 September 2024: The application period opens
  • 16 September 2024 at 3:00 p.m. (Finnish time): The application period closes. The eligibility of the applicants will be assessed after the closing date of the application period. Based on the applications, the assessment board will choose some of the applicants to take part in an interview, which comprises the next stage of the admissions.
  • 19 November 2024: The results of the first stage are announced.
  • 16–17 December 2024: Second stage: interviews
  • 19 December 2024: The results of the second stage are announced. Based on the interviews, the assessment board invites some of the applicants to the third stage of the admissions, i.e., to refine their research plans based on the feedback from the assessment board.
  • 31 January 2025: The applicants who have been accepted to the third stage of the admissions submit their revised research plans
  • February 2025: The assessment board evaluates the revised research plans and makes a proposal of the new doctoral students who will start their studies in autumn 2025 to the Dean of the Academy of Fine Arts. The Dean will then approve the new doctoral students to be admitted to the Academy of Fine Arts.
  • 10 March 2025: The admission results are published

Announcement of the results

The admissions results will be published on the University of the Arts Helsinki’s website on 10 March 2025 for the applicants who have given their consent on the application form for publishing their names. Successful candidates will receive an email from the Academy of Fine Arts after the publication of the results.

Appeal request

Applicants can apply for rectification of the admission decision from Uniarts Helsinki under the Universities Act (558/2009), section 82. The purpose of a written request for rectification is to give the applicant the possibility to appeal and request for rectification if there is a reason to believe that there has been an error in the decision-making process.

The rectification procedure is not intended as a means for receiving feedback or asking for further information about the admissions process.

How request for rectification

Contact

Further information about the doctoral programme can be found on our website: The Doctoral Programme in Fine Arts of The Academy of Fine Arts of the University of the Arts Helsinki

E-mail: kuva.admissions@uniarts.fi

View study programme's details