Apply to Doctoral Programme in Fine Arts

NB. Please note that these application instructions are outdated. The next application period for the Doctoral Programme in Fine Arts will be in autumn 2022. We will publish the application instructions in spring 2022.

Admission results: Doctoral Programme in Fine Arts 2021

Application instructions

The application period is 31 August –12 October 2020

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 2021 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 starts on 31 August and ends on 12 October 2020. 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

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

In order to be admitted to the Doctoral Programme in Fine Arts of the Academy of Fine Arts, the applicant must have sufficient language skills in Finnish, Swedish or English. The applicant must demonstrate the language skills with prior studies or a language certificate.

Demonstrating proficiency in Finnish

Applicants may demonstrate their proficiency in Finnish in the following ways:

  • A certificate proving that the applicant has completed their general education in Finnish
    The applicant must have completed their basic education, upper secondary level degree or other degree that gives eligibility for higher education in Finnish (passing grade in Finnish as a mother tongue in the school-leaving certificate) OR have received a minimum grade of approbatur (A) for Finnish as a mother tongue in the Finnish matriculation examination (Finnish).

OR

  • A certificate proving that the applicant has completed a university degree or a university of applied sciences degree in Finnish
    The official language of the degree must be mentioned on the degree certificate or its appendix, in the transcript of study records, or some other official document issued by the institution in question. In order for the degree to serve as proof of language skills, it must be completed by the end of the deadline that is specified for the delivery of certificates in the admissions criteria and that applies to applicants who are admitted under certain conditions.


Applicants may demonstrate their proficiency in Finnish also with a university degree or a university of applied sciences degree, if they have completed, at minimum, a written thesis for a bachelor’s degree or a maturity test in Finnish at a university or a university of applied sciences. Uniarts Helsinki also counts a certificate proving that the applicant has studied the Finnish language as a major subject at a university or a university of applied sciences as proof of language proficiency. The same applies to core and intermediate studies (60 ECTS cr / 30 cr according to the old Finnish credit system) in Finnish completed at a university or a university of applied sciences. Language proficiency test or language studies in Finnish completed as part of a degree at a higher education institution may also be regarded as proof of language proficiency, if the student has received a minimum grade of ‘good’ for oral and written skills in Finnish (as a second national language) .

Applicants who haven’t received their general education in Finnish or haven’t completed a degree at a higher education institution in Finnish may demonstrate their language skills in the following ways:

  • Finnish as a second language test of the Finnish matriculation examination
    • minimum grade of magna cum laude approbatur (M) (B2 skill level)
  • Finnish as the second national language test of the Finnish matriculation examination completed on the advanced syllabus level (A-level language) with a minimum grade of eximia cum laude approbatur (E)
  • Finnish as the second national language test of the Finnish matriculation examination completed on the intermediate syllabus level (B-level language) with a grade of laudatur (L)
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma
    • minimum grade of 2 in a Finnish language test on level A (literature / language and literature / literature and performance)
    • minimum grade of 5 in a Finnish language test on level B (B2 skill level)
    • minimum grade of 2 in A1 Finnish OR minimum grade of 5 (skill level B2) or 3 (skill level B1) in A2 Finnish in the International Baccalaureate programme completed before 2013
  • European Baccalaureate (EB) Diploma
    • passing grade in Finnish as the L1 language (minimum grade of 4)
    • minimum grade of 7 in Finnish as the L2 language (B2 skill level)
  • Reifeprüfung (RP) or Deutsches Internationales Abitur (DIA) diploma completed at Deutsche Schule Helsinki
    • passing grade (minimum grade of 4) in the written test in Finnish as the mother tongue
    • minimum grade of 8 in the oral test in Finnish as the mother tongue
    • minimum grade of 8 in Finnish as the second language (B2 skill level)
  • National Certificate of Language Proficiency in Finnish (YKI) awarded by the Finnish National Agency for Education
    • all subtests of the test completed on level 4 (reading comprehension, writing, listening comprehension, speaking) (B2 skill level)
  • Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate demonstrating oral and written skills in Finnish
    • completed on level ‘good’ (B2 skill level)
  • A passing grade in Finnish studies completed at Kulkuri School of Distance Education, corresponding to the basic education syllabus

Demonstrating proficiency in Swedish

Applicants may demonstrate their proficiency in Swedish in the following ways:

  • A certificate proving that the applicant has completed their general education in Swedish
    The applicant must have completed their basic education, upper secondary level degree or other degree that gives eligibility for higher education in Swedish (passing grade in Swedish as a mother tongue in the school-leaving certificate) OR have received a minimum grade of approbatur (A) for Swedish as a mother tongue in the Finnish matriculation examination.

OR

A certificate proving that the student has completed a university degree or a university of applied sciences degree in Swedish
The official language of the degree must be mentioned on the degree certificate or its appendix, in the transcript of study records, or some other official document issued by the institution in question. In order for the degree to serve as proof of language skills, it must be completed by the end of the deadline that is specified for the delivery of certificates in the admissions criteria and that applies to applicants who are admitted under certain conditions.

Applicants may demonstrate their proficiency in Swedish also with a university degree or a university of applied sciences degree, if they have completed, at minimum, a written thesis for a bachelor’s degree or a maturity test in Swedish at a university or a university of applied sciences. Uniarts Helsinki also counts a certificate proving that the applicant has completed a degree at a higher education institution with Swedish language / Scandinavian languages as the major subject as proof of language proficiency. The same applies to core and intermediate studies (60 ECTS cr / 30 cr according to the old Finnish credit system) in Swedish / Scandinavian languages completed at a higher education institution. Language proficiency test or language studies in Swedish completed as part of a degree at a higher education institution may also be regarded as proof of language proficiency, if the student has received a minimum grade of ‘good’ for oral and written skills in Swedish (as a second national language) .

Applicants who haven’t received their general education in Swedish or haven’t completed a degree at a higher education institution in Swedish may demonstrate their language skills in the following ways:

  • Swedish as a second language test of the Finnish matriculation examination
    • minimum grade of magna cum laude approbatur (M) (B2 skill level)
  • Swedish as the second national language test of the Finnish matriculation examination completed in the advanced syllabus level (A-level language) with a minimum grade of eximia cum laude approbatur (E)
  • Swedish as the second national language test of the Finnish matriculation examination completed in the intermediate syllabus level (B-level language) with a grade of laudatur (L)
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma
    • minimum grade of 2 in a Swedish language test on level A (literature / language and literature / literature and performance)
    • minimum grade of 5 in a Swedish language test on level B (B2 skill level)
    • minimum grade of 2 in A1 Swedish OR minimum grade of 5 (skill level B2) in A2 Swedish in the International Baccalaureate programme completed in 2013
  • European Baccalaureate (EB) Diploma
    • passing grade in Swedish as the L1 language (minimum grade of 4)
    • minimum grade of 7 in Swedish as the L2 language (B2 skill level)
  • National Certificate of Language Proficiency in Swedish awarded by the Finnish National Agency for Education
    • all subtests of the test completed on level 4 (reading comprehension, writing, listening comprehension, speaking) (B2 skill level)
  • Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate demonstrating oral and written skills in Swedish
    • completed on level ‘good’ (B2 skill level)
  • Test named ‘Test i svenska för universitetsstudier’ completed in full in Sweden, with a passing grade in all sections of the test
  • A language proficiency test, organised by the higher education institution independently (or in cooperation), demonstrating that the applicant’s Swedish skills correspond to level B2

Demonstrating proficiency in English

Applicants may demonstrate their proficiency in English in the following ways:

  • Certificate of general education completed in English in an EU or EEA country, the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand

OR

  • Certificate of a university degree or a university of applied sciences degree completed in English in an EU or EEA country, the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand

The official language of the degree must be mentioned on the degree certificate or its appendix, in the transcript of study records, or some other official document issued by the institution in question. In order for the degree to serve as proof of language skills, it must be completed by the end of the deadline that is specified for the delivery of certificates in the admissions criteria and that applies to applicants who are admitted under certain conditions.

OR

  • Certificate of a university or a university of applied sciences degree completed in Finnish or Swedish in Finland, which includes foreign language studies in English in accordance with the decree 794/2004 or 1129/2014

Uniarts Helsinki also counts foreign language studies in English that are completed in Finland in accordance with the above-mentioned decree and included in a university degree/university of applied sciences degree as proof of language proficiency. Foreign language studies in English that are included in an incomplete Finnish university/university of applied sciences degree, as well as studies completed in some other manner, can also be approved, provided that the studies comply with the decree. In this case, the applicant must send a transcript of study records to Uniarts Helsinki along with a copy of the degree requirements of the higher education institution in question or some other document that states which language studies are required for the degree.

Applicants who haven’t received their general education in English or haven’t completed a degree at a higher education institution in English in one of the above-mentioned countries can demonstrate their language skills in the following ways:

  • English test of the Finnish matriculation examination completed in the advanced syllabus level (A-level language) with a minimum grade of magna cum laude approbatur (M)
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma:
    • diploma completed in English;
    • passing grade in the English test (literature / language and literature / literature and performance) on level A; or
    • minimum grade of 5 (good) in the English language test on level B
  • European Baccalaureate (EB) Diploma:
    • passing grade in English as the L1 language; or
    • minimum grade of 7 in English as the L2 or L3 language
  • A Reifeprüfung diploma (Deutsche Schule Helsinki) can be used as proof of sufficient language skills if the applicant has received a passing grade in the written level A English test (or an equivalent result in Deutsches Internationales Abitur) or a minimum grade of 8 in the oral level A English test
  • Certificate of a completed language test approved by Uniarts Helsinki
    • TOEFL (IBT)
      • Total score: 92 (B2 skill level)
    • IELTS (Academic)
      • Overall Band Score: 6.5 (B2 skill level)
    • Cambridge English C2 Proficiency (CPE): accepted grades are A, B, C and Level C1
    • Cambridge English C1 Advanced (CAE): accepted grades are A, B, C and Level B2
    • Cambridge English B2 First (FCE): Accepted grades are A, B, and C.
    • Pearson Test of English (Academic)
      • Total score: 59 (B2 skill level)

IELTS, TOEFL and PTE test results are valid for two years from the test date. Cambridge results are valid indefinitely.

Selection criteria

The key selection criteria in the selection of applicants for doctoral studies are:
• the artistic and research-oriented importance relevance and feasibility of the applicant’s research plan
• artistic and research merits and the professional experience within fine arts
• abilities for independent research
• the applicant’s commitment to persevering in the studies at the doctoral level and dedication to the completion of 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 of the University of the Arts Helsinki

Applying

The application period starts on 31 August 2020. The online application complying with the application instructions must arrive at the Academy of Fine Arts by the deadline of 12 October 2020 at 4.00 p.m. (local time in Finland). The application shall be submitted in an electronic form in the Studyinfo service. The application must include an online application form and appendices in an electronic format filled in within the portal Studyinfo.fi. The application can be submitted in Finnish, Swedish, or English. Note. 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. Fill in the electronic application form at Studyinfo.fi within the application period closing at October 12, 2020 at 4 p.m. (local time in Finland). Also download the attachments as separate files to Studyinfo before the end of the application period closing at October 12, 2020 at 4 p.m. (local time in Finland).

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. The maximum size of the file submitted to the Studyinfo service is 1 GB.

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 application must include the following attachments submitted in electronic form:

  • Abstract of the research plan (a maximum of 400 words). The attachment must be submitted as a single PDF tile to the Studyinfo.fi 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 must be submitted as a PDF file to the Studydinfo portal. 
  • When applicable, a separate language proficiency certificate must be attached in electronic form to the application. The attachment must be submitted as a single PDF tile to the Studydinfo service.
  • 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 voice 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.
    • The accepted formats for video and audio file are:
      • A digital file containing moving image in H264 compression (maximum file size 1 GB)
      • Audio – mp3, m4a, aiff, wma, wav, aac
      • Video – mpeg, mpg, mp4, mov, avi, wmv, m4v, vob

Admission procedure

  • 31 August, 2020: The application period starts
  • 12 October, 2020 at 4.00 p.m. (Finnish time):  The application period closes: application deadline. The eligibility of the applicant will be assessed after the closing date of the application period.
  • November 2020: 1. stage: The assessment board chooses the applicants to be interviewed on the basis of their applications
  • 14–15 December, 2020: 2. stage: Applicants accepted to the second round are interviewed
  • December 2020: The assessment board decides whom to invite to the third round, and the invitations are sent to the applicants
  • 3. stage: The research plans of the applicants invited to the third round are further developed
  • 29 January, 2021: The applicants submit their upgraded research plans
  • February 2021: The assessment board chooses the applicants to be presented for the Doctoral education and research division of the Academic Council of the Academy of Fine Arts
  • February 2021 : Doctoral education and research division of the Academic Council makes the final proposal on the admissions to the Dean
  • March 2021: The Dean approves the decisions on the new doctoral students to be admitted in The Academy of Fine Arts of the University of the Arts Helsinki
  • 1 April, 2021: Admission results are published

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 Academy of Fine Arts professors and researchers. The assessment board can include members from outside the academy.

The admissions procedure has three stages. In the first stage, the assessment board chooses the applicants to be interviewed on the basis of their applications.  

During the interviews (second stage), the selected applicants have a possibility to expand upon their plans for artistic research and their artistic work.
In the third stage, the selected applicants are required to elaborate on, and further develop, their research plans. After the third stage, the assessment board chooses the applicants to be presented 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 on the admissions to the dean of the Academy of Fine Arts, who admits new students to the Academy of Fine Arts.

Announcement of the results

The admissions results will be published on the University of the Arts Helsinki’s website on Thursday, 1 April 2021 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

An applicant who is dissatisfied with the admissions decision by the Dean is entitled to submit a written request to review the application within 14 days of the announcement of the decision. The appeal request must be submitted in writing to the University of the Arts Helsinki’s registry.

How to submit an appeal request

The appeal request must reach the registry office within 14 days after the publication of the admissions decision. Requests for appeals are sent at the sender’s own risk. If you submit the appeal request by email, write the name of the appropriate academy on the subject line. The name and contact details of the appellant and statement, as well as the grounds for the request, must be included.

University of the Arts Helsinki Registry

P.O. Box 38 / Töölönlahdenkatu 16 C

FI-00097 University of the Arts Helsinki
Finland


kirjaamo@uniarts.fi

Further information

Information about the admission process

kuva.admissions@uniarts.fi
tel. +358 50 44 88 540

Other inquiries concerning doctoral education and research at the Academy of Fine Arts

The Doctoral Programme in Fine Arts of The Academy of Fine Arts of the University of the Arts Helsinki (weekdays from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m., local time in Finland)

Read more about the programme