Application period and basic information
- Application period: from 9 August to 23 August 2023, 3:00 p.m. (local Finnish time)
- Degree: Master of Fine Arts
- Duration of studies: 2 years
- Language of degree: Finnish, Swedish or English
- Start of studies: January 2024
Applications to the Master’s Programme in Fine Arts at the University of the Arts Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts will be submitted through Studyinfo.fi web portal.
The selection of students to the master’s degree programme is based on the applicant’s suitable educational background and language proficiency as well as their demonstrated ability in fine arts and suitability to undertake the studies leading to the degree of Master of Fine Arts. The applicant must also have sufficient experience of working in the field of fine arts. This experience will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis during the admissions procedure.
The first stage of the admissions procedure focuses on the applicant’s eligibility to apply. The applicant will be deemed eligible if they have a suitable educational background, they have demonstrated their language proficiency according to the Academy’s requirements, and they have submitted all the materials specified in the application instructions.
Based on the applications, some applicants will be invited to take part in an interview, which comprises the second stage of the admissions procedure.
During the admissions, the applicant’s ability in fine arts is assessed according to several criteria. These include, for example, the applicant’s ability to express themselves, their originality, and their ability to improve. The suitability for undertaking the studies leading to the Master of Fine Arts degree will be assessed according to the following criteria, among others: the applicant’s motivation, their ability to learn new things, and their ability to analyse their own artistic practice. The evaluation of the applicant’s prior experience of working in the field of fine arts is based on evidence of, e.g., the applicant’s long-term artistic activities, their participation in public fine art projects, and the organisation of art exhibitions and corresponding events.
According to the Universities Act (558/2009, 37§), a person is eligible to apply for the studies leading to a master’s degree in higher education (Master of Fine Arts) if they have completed a relevant bachelor’s degree awarded by a university or a university of applied sciences or a relevant degree programme outside of Finland, which in that country grants eligibility to undertake studies at the corresponding level in higher education. The Academy can also decide to admitted applicants who have not been awarded a relevant degree if they are deemed to have sufficient knowledge and skills required for the studies. The University can require a person admitted as a student to take supplementary studies to acquire the skills necessary for the MFA studies.
Suitable educational background required for eligibility in the master’s degree admissions in fine arts (one of the following):
- A bachelor’s degree in fine arts, visual arts or arts and design awarded either by a Finnish or a foreign university.
- A bachelor’s degree awarded by a university of applied sciences which provides the necessary background for master’s studies in fine arts: Bachelor of Culture and Arts, degree programmes in fine arts or design.
- Other education: The Academy of Fine Arts will assess the knowledge and competence which the applicants have acquired in different fields on a case-by-case basis.
Language proficiency requirement
All applicants must prove their proficiency in the language in which they plan to complete their degree, that is, either English, Finnish, or Swedish.
The applicant must prove their language proficiency in accordance with the requirements set by the Academy of Fine Arts and during the application period. An applicant cannot be deemed as eligible to apply if they have not provided acceptable proof of their language proficiency.
How to apply
The admissions procedure to the Master’s Degree Programme in Fine Arts consists of two stages. In the first stage, the applicant completes the application and submits the required appendices and other required materials via the national web service www.studyinfo.fi.
The application form for the Master’s Programme in Fine Arts will be accessible from 9–23 August 2023 at 3:00 p.m. (local Finnish time). All required appendices and materials must also be submitted within the application period. If the application or any of the required materials are submitted after the conclusion of the application period, they will not be processed or accepted. Applications sent by e-mail or by other means will not be processed.
Some of the eligible applicants will receive an invitation to take part in an interview, which comprises the next stage of the admissions.
The results of the master’s admissions will be made public on Wednesday, 8 November 2023. The offered study place must be accepted by Wednesday, 22 November 2023, at 3:00 p.m. (local Finnish time) at the latest. Points are not issued for the applications, appendices, portfolios, or interviews.
First phase: electronic application, appendices and required materials
The application period opens on Wednesday, 9 August 2023, and closes on Wednesday, 23 August 2023, at 3:00 p.m. Finnish time.
During the application period, fill in an electronic application form at www.studyinfo.fi. The link to the application form will be made available in the online admission guide by Wednesday, 9 August 2023, at the latest.
The application form must include the following components, which are submitted electronically via Studyinfo:
- Document demonstrating that the applicant has the necessary educational background to undertake studies in the master’s degree programme
- Document demonstrating that the applicant has the required language proficiency
- Required materials (study proposal, résumé/CV, and work portfolio)
Use the form to fill in your personal details, educational background, the language which you are applying with and the subject area you are applying to. Please attach all required attachments as PDF files (language proficiency certificate, school certificate, potential eligibility for a tuition waiver programme (if you are applying to study in English), as well as all the required materials).
Please mark down the subject area which you are applying to in your application (only one subject area can be selected). The subject areas are sculpture, painting, printmaking, and time and space arts.
The admission jury may suggest that the applicant be placed in a subject area different to that of the applicant’s own preference after the required materials have been evaluated during the first stage of the assessment.
1) Demonstrating your educational background
The applicant must append a document to the application which indicates that they have the necessary educational background required for studying in the master’s degree programme: (see: Admission criteria)
- A degree certificate and a transcript of record of a completed university degree (a scanned copy of the original document or an authenticated copy)
- A certificate of student status and a transcript of record of ongoing studies. Applicants who will graduate by 22 November 2023 at the latest, must append a certificate of student status to the application, which shows the estimated graduation date and the language in which the degree has been completed. The certificate of student status must be appropriately stamped and signed by the education institution.
- Another document that shows that the applicant has the necessary educational background and that the Academy can use to assess the applicant’s skills and knowledge.
The degree certificate and the transcript of record must show the structure and contents of the studies completed by the applicant in order for the Academy of Fine Arts to be able to assess whether the applicant’s educational background meets the eligibility criteria for the Master’s Degree Programme in Fine Arts. If the structure and contents of the studies at the education institution which awarded the prior degree are not specified sufficiently clearly in the degree certificate or the transcript of record, the applicant can attach a separate report which explicates them more precisely.
Translation of documents
All certificates and transcripts of records are to be translated by an authorised translator, if they are in a language other than Finnish, Swedish or English.
2) Demonstrating language proficiency
The applicant must append to the application a language proficiency certificate of the language in which they are applying to study. The grade of language proficiency in the certificate must meet the proficiency requirements as determined by the Academy (see Admission criteria).
Applicants who demonstrate their language proficiency by taking a language test accepted by the Academy of Fine Arts must append a certificate of the completed language test to the application prior to the conclusion of the application period. The language test must be completed prior to the conclusion of the first stage of the admissions. Language proficiency can only be demonstrated in the manner determined by the Academy, and other evidence of language skills cannot be taken into consideration in the admissions process.
3) Required materials (study proposal, résumé, and work portfolio)
Required materials consist of three parts:
- study proposal
- résumé/CV, and
- work portfolio
Please read the instructions and check the accepted file sizes and formats below. No additional instructions or examples will be provided for the required materials or any of its parts. If you do not submit the required materials that you have completed in accordance with the instructions by the due date, your application will be rejected.
Allowed file formats and sizes
Please submit the required materials in its entirety as a single PDF file. Maximum file size: 100 MB. Please name the file according to the following template: Lastname-Firstname-materials-MFA
Parts of the required materials
1) Study proposal. Explain clearly why you wish to undertake master’s studies in fine arts at Uniarts Helsinki/ the Academy of Fine Arts. Why are these studies relevant to you just now and what would you like to achieve during your 2-year master’s studies? While we expect that your ideas will change after you arrive, please include an initial proposal for the topics and methods you intend to use in your master’s studies to give us a sense of the concerns you bring with you into your studies.
The study proposal should not be longer than 3,000 characters (including spaces). The study proposal can be written in Finnish, Swedish, or English.
2) Résumé/CV (information about prior education, work experience, exhibitions, publications, awards, grants, and study trips). The résumé/CV can be written in Finnish, Swedish, or English.
3) Work portfolio. Instructions for the portfolio can be found below. Please read them carefully.
The images included in the work portfolio provide the applicant with an opportunity to show samples of their work in the field of fine arts. The content of the work portfolio is not thematically restricted. Please only include recent works that support your application.
The applicant is allowed to present a maximum of eight (8) works in the work portfolio. One work may be represented by a maximum of three (3) images, if appropriate.
Please mark down the relevant details of the works, such as the work’s name, size, technique, and year, next to the image. If there is specific information pertaining to the viewing or presentation of your works, please indicate this clearly.
The admission jury will not open any links included in the application (e.g., a link to the applicant’s homepage).
If the applicant wishes to supplement the image portfolio using time-based documentation, moving image, audio, or media works, they can submit one (1) sample of a work of this kind as a media file in addition to the image portfolio. A separate media file should only be submitted if it plays an important role in the applicant’s work(s). We recognise that contemporary artists work with a plurality of forms, some of which resist conventional modes of still and moving image representation. Please do your best within these guidelines to represent your work.
Duration of the sample
The maximum length of the sample is 5 minutes. Accepted file formats: MP3 (sound) or MP4 (video). Maximum file size: 500 MB. Please name the media file according to the following template: Lastname-Firstname-Movingimage-Sound.
The applicant’s name must be clearly indicated in the media file. Information related to the artwork can be summarised either in the media file (e.g., in the opening or end credits) or in the PDF file.
You can use the free HandBrake transcoder software, for instance, for the conversion and packaging of your media file.
Eligibility to apply
The applicant’s eligibility to apply will be checked in the first stage of the admission procedure. The applicant will be deemed eligible if they have a suitable educational background, they have demonstrated their language proficiency in a way determined by the Academy, and they have submitted all the required materials in its entirety within the schedule set by the Academy.
All applicants will be informed by e-mail of their eligibility to apply on 14 September 2023. The Academy will only evaluate the materials of applicants who have been deemed eligible to apply. If you have not been contacted by the Academy of Fine Arts by 14 September 2023, please be in touch with the admissions services (kuva.admissions(at)uniarts.fi). Be sure to also check your junk e-mail folder.
Second stage: interview
Based on the required materials, some of the applicants will be invited to an interview, which comprises the next stage of the admission procedure.
The second stage of the admissions, i.e., the interviews, will be organised from 23 October 2023 to 31 October 2023. The applicants who are selected to proceed to the second stage of the admission procedure will receive an invitation to the interview by e-mail on 11 October 2023. Applicants who have not been invited to the interview will also be notified of the result by e-mail.
Unless the applicant requests otherwise, the interview will be primarily carried out in the language which the applicant has chosen as the language of study.
If the applicant requires individual arrangements during the interview process because of a sensory or physical disability, illness or other corresponding reason, they must apply for individual arrangements by filling in a separate application (see the link below). NB. The application must be submitted to the admissions office during the application period.
Announcing the results
Uniarts Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts will publish its admissions results on 8 November 2023 on Uniarts Helsinki’s website for those applicants who have given their permission for the publication of their name on the website. After this, applicants can also enquire about the student admissions results via e-mail (kuva.admissions(at)uniarts.fi) or by phone, by calling +358 50 407 0744.
All admitted applicants as well as the applicants on the waiting list will be informed of the results by the Academy of Fine Arts by e-mail. Some e-mail clients may treat our messages as spam, so please check your spam folder as well.
The admission jury will only provide feedback to applicants who took part in the 2nd stage of the admission, that is the interview, but who were not admitted as students. Feedback will only be given by request, and information about how to ask for feedback will be sent to the applicants after the results of the student admissions have been published.
Other applicants will not be given feedback during the admission process or after its conclusion.
Request for rectification
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 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.
A written request for rectification should be submitted within 14 days of the publication of the admission result.
Accepting the study place
You can accept a study place using the Studyinfo service, or with the notification included in the letter of acceptance; the latter must be submitted to the Student Admissions Service of Uniarts Helsinki. The study place must be accepted by 22 November 2023 at 3:00 p.m. (local Finnish time) at the latest.
Notifications that arrive after the deadline will not be considered. The notification regarding accepting a study place is binding and cannot be changed or cancelled. If the applicant wishes to cancel their study place after accepting it, they will be regarded as having accepted a study place offered to them during that term.
If the applicant has been deemed conditionally eligible in the first stage of the admissions process, they must provide a certificate of the completed degree that confirms that they have a suitable educational background when they accept the study place at the latest.
Enrolment for the first year
The enrolment instructions are sent to new students together with the material on being admitted to study.
Tuition fees and scholarships
Uniarts Helsinki will charge an annual tuition fee of 5,000 euros from students outside of EU, EEA and Switzerland studying in a bachelor’s or a master’s degree programme in English. The tuition fee will remain the same as long as the student has a valid right to study.
Uniarts Helsinki has a scholarship programme, which may grant relief from the full tuition fee to students who are liable for payment. The applicant liable for payment must mention in the application form if they wish to apply for a scholarship to cover the annual tuition fee if they are admitted as a student.
New master’s students who are liable to pay tuition fees can also apply for a Finland Scholarship. Finland Scholarships are meant for the first year of master’s studies for students who are not EU/EEA or Swiss citizens and who are liable to pay tuition fees. Finland Scholarships granted by Uniarts Helsinki are part of the national Finland Scholarship programme funded by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.
Degree programmes at the Academy of Fine Arts in 2023
At the Academy of Fine Arts, students can graduate with a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral Degree in Fine Arts. The Academy also provides instruction in the theoretically oriented Bachelor’s Programme in History and Theory of Contemporary Art (“Nykytaiteen historian ja teorian kandidaattiohjelma”, tuition only in Finnish), which leads to a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts, and Praxis – Master’s Programme in Exhibition Studies (tuition in English), which leads to a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts.
Applicants interested in undertaking studies in fine arts can apply either to a 5.5-year degree programme that leads to a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts or to a 2-year programme for a Masters’ Degree in Fine Arts. Applicants who are admitted to study in the 5.5-year programme will select their subject area during the first year of studies. Master’s students will select their subject area in the application stage.
The student admissions to the Academy of Fine Arts are organised each year: the application period for the programmes leading to Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Fine Arts and the Bachelor’s Programme in Arts is in January, while the application period for the 2-year Master’s Degree Programmes in Fine Arts is in August.
In 2023, the Academy of Fine Arts will admit a maximum of 59 new degree students, of whom 25 will be admitted to the 5.5-year programme leading to a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Fine Arts, and 24 to the 2-year programme leading to a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts. A maximum of 10 new students will be admitted to the Degree Programme in History and Theory of Contemporary Art, which leads to a Bachelor of Arts degree.
The studies at the Academy of Fine Arts cannot be completed remotely in their entirety. Depending on the contents of the course and the current situation, teaching can be organised as contact, remote or hybrid teaching. The students are required to have the necessary technical skills and devices that allow them to take part in remote teaching.
Master of Fine Arts (MFA) (120 credits, 2 years)
The goal of the programme leading to a Master of Fine Arts degree is to provide the student with the necessary prerequisites for independent and demanding artistic work on the basis of the student’s personal talents and areas of interest. The education gives the student the skills and knowledge required to carry out independent work in the field of fine arts and to make them understand their own activities within the context of contemporary art and society where an artist may work in various roles.
The Academy offers teaching in four subject areas: sculpture, painting, printmaking and time and space arts. The time and space arts subject area has three specialisations: moving image, photography, or site- and situation-specific art. The subject area of joint studies in fine arts is responsible for organising the courses that all the students of the Academy are required to complete.
Artistic work and related theory comprise the core of the studies. In addition to coursework in fine arts, students complete courses in exhibition studies and art theory. The Degree Programme in Fine Arts offers several courses in English. Approximately 15% of students come from outside Finland, some of them for degree studies and some for exchange studies.
Students are encouraged to take courses from subject areas other than their own, within the limits of their study plan, and to engage in versatile artistic work using different media.
The goal of the programme leading to the Master of Fine Arts degree is:
- to provide the student with the necessary prerequisites for independent and demanding artistic work on the basis of the student’s personal talents and areas of interest. As the studies progress, the student will develop their artistic thinking and personal expression and learn to analyse their artistic practice both orally and in writing.
- to improve the student’s research skills and their knowledge of art theory. This process is based on the student’s personal interests and is connected to their artistic practice.
- to ensure that the student is ready to carry out independent work in the field of fine arts and to make them understand their own activities within the context of contemporary art and society where an artist may work in various roles. To reach this goal, the student needs to acquire a profound understanding of the history, theory and exhibition practices of contemporary art, to know how to work in the operational environments afforded by modern technology and to be able to engage in critical thinking.
- to provide the student with practical and technical knowledge and skills that support their own artistic practice and to offer personal supervision in the different fields of fine arts. Personal supervision and critical discussions support the student’s growth as an artist and lead to a more profound understanding of the contexts and practices of contemporary art.
- to provide the student with good language and communication skills and a readiness to engage in artistic research and doctoral studies, while also supporting lifelong learning. The degree will give the student the necessary qualifications for working as a visual artist, an expert in the field of fine arts and a developer in various demanding tasks and international collaborations.
If the student has completed their primary education in Finland either in Finnish or in Swedish, or if they have completed their education abroad in Finnish but they have not completed the language courses required for the Master of Fine Arts degree (oral and written skills in the second national language; a foreign language, oral and written skills, 8 cr in total), they must complete these courses in addition to the studies included in the master’s degree.
Personal study plan (HOPS = PSP) will be updated every year with the tutoring teacher and planning officer.
FAQ – Frequently asked questions
I will get my BFA degree in late autumn. Can I still participate in the admission of the same autumn?
Yes, you can. If you are admitted to study, you will have to submit a copy of your BFA (or university of applied sciences) certificate to the Academy of Fine Arts no later than when submitting the notification on accepting the study place, i.e., 22 November 2023. Please give us more information on your graduation in your application.
I have a university degree, but not from the field of fine arts, and have taken many art courses and been actively making art for a long time. Can I apply for the 2-year Master’s degree programme at the Academy of Fine Arts?
The Academy of Fine Arts assesses the knowledge and skills acquired in other fields of education on a case-by-case basis. In addition to applicable education, the applicants must have the necessary background in artistic activities. These activities will be assessed individually during the application process for the master’s degree programme. Art education and art courses not included in a university or a university of applied sciences degree do not typically provide sufficient background for studies leading up to a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts. Please note that you can also apply to a 5.5- year study programme for Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Fine Arts, and if you are selected, you may receive credit for some of your earlier studies. The application period for the 5.5-year programme is in January.
I will graduate with my BFA degree later in the autumn. Can I still use my degree certificate as proof of the required language skills (Finnish, Swedish or English) when applying?
Yes, if you receive your degree certificate by 22 November 2023 at the latest. If you should be accepted as a new student, you must send a copy of your degree certificate to the academy’s admissions office when you accept the offered study place at the very latest, that is, by 22 November 2023. Please
, attach additional information about your expected date of graduation and a transcript of records to your electronic application. Applicants who demonstrate their language proficiency (in either Finnish, Swedish or English) by taking a language test accepted by the Academy of Fine Arts, must append a certificate of the completed language test to the application prior to the conclusion of the application period.
Academy of Fine Arts of Uniarts Helsinki admissions office