Apply to Master’s Programme in Fine Arts

How to apply, admissions criteria and information about studying at the Academy of Fine Arts

Application period and basic information

  • Application period: between August 12, 2020, 8.00am and August 28, 2020, 3.00pm (local Finnish time)
  • Degree: Master of Fine Arts
  • Length of studies: 2 years
  • Language of degree: Finnish, Swedish or English
  • Start of studies: January 2021

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.

Admission criteria

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 talent in fine arts and suitability to undertake the studies leading to the degree of Master of Fine Arts at the Academy 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 phase of the admissions procedure focuses on the applicant’s eligibility to apply. The applicant will be deemed eligible if i) they have a suitable educational background or an educational background which the Academy of Fine Arts considers to be sufficient for undertaking the studies included in the master’s degree programme, ii) they have demonstrated their language proficiency according to the Academy’s requirements on time, and iii) they have submitted all their advance assignments within the schedule set by the Academy.

The second phase consists of an assessment of the applicant’s artistic talent and suitability to undertake the studies leading to the Master of Fine Arts degree based on the advance assignments submitted by the applicant. The applicant’s experience in activities pertaining to fine arts will also be assessed in this phase.

Some of the applicants will be invited to take part in an interview, which comprises the third phase of the admissions procedure. The applicants may also be requested to provide the Academy with additional evidence of their abilities. In the third phase, the applicants will be evaluated based on the advance assignments, the interview, and possible supplementary evidence. The decisions on student admissions are based on the following criteria: i) the applicant has demonstrated sufficient artistic talent, ii) they have been deemed suitable for undertaking the studies leading to a master’s degree at the Academy of Fine Arts, and iii) they have sufficient experience in activities pertaining to fine arts.

During the admissions procedure, the applicant’s talent 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 at the Academy of Fine Arts 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, participation in projects in the field of fine arts and the organisation of art exhibitions and corresponding events.

Applying for transfer from another university

Applicants who are refugees or in a refugee-like situation

Educational background

General eligibility

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 accept 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 accepted as a student to take supplementary studies to acquire the skills necessary for the MFA studies.

Educational background required for eligibility in the master’s degree admissions in fine arts:

  • 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

To pursue degree studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, the student must have sufficient proficiency in either Finnish, Swedish or English.

In the first application phase, all applicants must prove their proficiency in the language in which they have chosen to undertake their studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, i.e., either Finnish, Swedish or English. All applicants need to prove their language proficiency in accordance with the requirements set by the Academy. If the applicant has chosen to undertake their studies in Finnish or Swedish, they do not need to provide proof of their proficiency in English.

Most courses at the Academy of Fine Arts are taught either in Finnish or in English. Students are entitled to use Finnish and Swedish during courses both orally and in written assignments, unless explicitly stated otherwise in the curriculum, or if this is not possible because of the way in which the teaching is organised.

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 (basic education, upper secondary education, matriculation examination, vocational degree)
    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 to the degree to serve as proof of language skills, it must be completed by the time the applicant accepts the study place.


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 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.

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 with the following ways (NB. A certificate of a completed language test must be handed in during the first phase of the application process.):

  • Finnish as a second language test of the Finnish matriculation examination:
    • minimum grade of lubenter (B)
  • Finnish as a second national language test of the Finnish matriculation examination:
    • completed on advanced syllabus level (A-level language) with a minimum grade of eximia cum laude approbatur (E)
    • completed on 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 3 in a Finnish language test on level B
    • minimum grade of 2 in A1 Finnish or minimum grade of 3 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 5 in Finnish as the L2 language
  • Reifeprüfung (RP) or Deutsches Internationales Abitur (DIA) diploma completed at Deutsche Schule Helsinki
    • passing grade in the test Finnish as the mother tongue (minimum grade of 4 in the written test and minimum grade of 8 in the oral test)
    • minimum grade of 5 in Finnish as the second language
  • National Certificate of Language Proficiency in Finnish (YKI) awarded by the Finnish National Agency for Education with all subtests of the test completed on level 3 (reading comprehension, writing, listening comprehension, speaking)
  • Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate demonstrating oral and written skills in Finnish completed on level ‘satisfactory’
  • A passing grade in Finnish studies completed at Kulkuri School of Distance Education corresponding to the basic education syllabus

A certificate of a completed language test must be handed in during the first phase of the application process.

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 (basic education, upper secondary education, matriculation examination, vocational degree)
    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 time the applicant accepts the study place.

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.

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 with the following ways (NB. A certificate of a completed language test must be handed in during the first phase of the application process):

  • Swedish as a second language test of the Finnish matriculation examination:
    • minimum grade of lubenter (B)
  • 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)
    • 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
    • minimum grade of 3 in a Swedish language test on level B
    • minimum grade of 2 in A1 Finnish or minimum grade of 3 in A2 Finnish 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 5 in Swedish as the L2 language
  • National Certificate of Language Proficiency in Swedish awarded by the Finnish National Agency for Education with all sub-tests of the test completed on level 3 (reading comprehension, writing, listening comprehension, speaking)
  • Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate demonstrating oral and written skills in Swedish completed on level ‘satisfactory’
  •  ‘Test i svenska för universitetsstudier’ completed in full in Sweden with a passing grade in all sections of the test

Demonstrating proficiency in English

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

  • Certificate of general education (basic education, upper secondary education, matriculation examination, vocational degree) 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 (English) 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 time the applicant accepts the study place.

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 or university of applied sciences degree as proof of language proficiency. Foreign language studies in English that are included in an incomplete Finnish university or 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 with the following language tests (NB. A certificate of a completed language test must be handed in during the first phase of the application process.):

  • 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 with;
    • passing grade in the English test (literature / language and literature / language 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 (or an equivalent result in Deutsches Internationales Abitur) completed at Deutsche Schule Helsinki:
    • passing grade in the written level A English test; 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: 73
    • IELTS (Academic)
      • Overall Band Score: 5.5
    • 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, C and Level B1.
    • Pearson Test of English (Academic)
      • Total score: 43

IELTS, TOEFL and PTE test results are valid for two years from the test date. Cambridge results are valid indefinitely. A certificate of a completed language test must be handed in during the first phase of the application process.

How to apply

The admission procedure to the Master’s degree programme in Fine Arts consists of three phases. In the first phase, the applicant completes the application and sends it with the required appendices to the Academy of Fine Arts via the national web service Studyinfo.fi.

The application form for the Master’s programme in Fine Arts will be accessible from August 12 8.00am to August 28, 2020, 3.00pm (local Finnish time). All required appendices and advance assignments must also be submitted within the application period.

If the application or any of the advance assignments are submitted after the conclusion of the application period, they will not be processed or accepted. Applications or parts of applications sent by e-mail will not be processed.

Some of the eligible applicants will receive an invitation to take part in an interview, and they may also be asked to present supplementary demonstrations of work. The final results of the Master’s admissions will be made public on November 12, 2020. The offered study place must be accepted latest by November 26, 2020 at 3:00pm (local Finnish time).

Points are not issued for the applications, appendices, portfolios, or interviews.

First phase: electronic application and advance assignments

The application period begins on Wednesday 12 August 2020 and ends on Friday 28 August 2020 at 3:00 pm 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, at the latest, on August 12, 2020, in the online admissions guide.

The application form must include the following components, which are submitted electronically via Studyinfo:

1) Document demonstrating that the applicant has the necessary educational background to undertake studies in the Master’s degree programme

2) Document demonstrating that the applicant has the required language proficiency

3) Advance assignments (motivation letter, 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 documents 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 advance assignments).

Make sure that you choose one 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.

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)

         or

  • A certificate of student status and a transcript of record of ongoing studies. Applicants who will graduate by November 26, 2020, 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.

         or

  •  Another document which shows that the applicant has the necessary educational background which 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.

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 phase 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) Advance assignments (motivation letter, CV and work portfolio)

The applicant must attach the following advance assignments required by the Academy of Fine Arts into the application form:

  • A freely composed motivation letter in which the applicant provides a description of their artistic work and a discussion on why they wish to undertake their Master’s studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in particular. The motivation letter should also include information about the focus areas that are important to the applicant. If the applicant does not have a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, they must explain how their existing skills compensate for the skills and knowledge acquired at the Bachelor’s degree programme in Fine Arts. The motivation letter should not be longer than 5 000 characters (with spaces). The motivation letter must be written in the language with which the applicant is applying to the degree programme and in which they have demonstrated their language proficiency. File format: PDF
  • CV/résumé (including personal information, education, work experience, exhibitions, publications, awards, grants and study trips). The CV can be written in Finnish, Swedish or English. File format: PDF.
  • An electronic work portfolio – if you choose to submit the portfolio in electronic form. You can also submit the portfolio on paper to the Academy of Fine Arts prior to the conclusion of the application period. Please read the specific guidelines concerning the portfolio and the submission process.

All advance assignments must be submitted prior to the conclusion of the application period. The applicant will not be eligible to apply if they have not submitted the advance assignments prior to the conclusion of the application period or if they have only submitted some of the assignments. The Academy of Fine Arts will not accept advance assignments submitted by e-mail or delivered on USB flash drives.

NB. Be sure to upload the materials to the Studyinfo.fi system on time. Large image and especially video files may upload for an hour, if the electronic system is busy or the user’s internet connection is weak. Partially uploaded and/or sent materials will not be evaluated. Make sure that all the materials that you upload and send open and are viewable in the format you wish.

Work portfolio

The applicant may submit the portfolio, which is part of the advance assignments, either electronically or in paper format. The portfolio is intended to allow the applicant to show and provide samples of their artistic activities.

The applicant is allowed to present a maximum of eight (8) works in the portfolio. This restriction also concerns image portfolios as well as moving image works and audio works. An image portfolio can include a maximum of three (3) images of a single work. The maximum length of the portfolio is 20 pages.

The admission jury will not have the opportunity to look at the applicants’ homepages or other links.

The applicant must write their name, contact information and the study area to which they are applying on the cover page of the portfolio. The details of the work must be clearly indicated on the portfolio: name, size, technique and year. If there are technical tricks related to the presentation/screening of your works, indicate this clearly in connection to the works.

In addition to the image portfolio, or in its place, the applicant can submit a moving image or audio file to Studyinfo.fi (see more detailed instructions below).

Electronic portfolio

The applicant may submit the portfolio electronically as an attachment to the application form through Studyinfo.fi prior to the conclusion of the application period. Format of the electronic portfolio: PDF. Maximum file size: 500 MB.

Portfolio in paper format

The applicant can submit the portfolio in paper format to the Academy of Fine Arts prior to the conclusion of the application period.

Do not include original artworks as part of the portfolio. The physical dimensions of the portfolio must not exceed A3 size.

If you submit your portfolio in paper format, it must be received at the Academy of Fine Arts by Friday, August 28, 2020, at latest 3.00pm. A post office stamp from this date is not sufficient. Portfolios that are delivered to the Academy after this date will not be processed. Please note that you can also submit your portfolio before the application period starts, if necessary.

If the portfolio is delivered by mail or a courier service, the applicant must ensure that the portfolio is physically delivered to the address provided by the Academy of Fine Arts (home delivery). The Academy of Fine Arts will not reclaim any submissions with unpaid home delivery. The applicant should write “Master’s Admissions” on the cover of the envelope/package of any work samples delivered by mail or a courier service. The Academy of Fine Arts is not responsible for any delays caused by the postal or courier services or missing deliveries.

Postal address:
Academy of Fine Arts
Admission Services / “Master’s admissions”
P.O. Box 10
00097 UNIARTS, Finland

Visiting address and address for the courier mail: Elimäenkatu 25 A, 00510 Helsinki Finland (tel. +358 50 44 88 540)

Portfolios can also be delivered directly to the Academy of Fine Arts’ information desk (Elimäenkatu 25, Helsinki) during the application period, Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

NB. Portfolios delivered to the Academy of Fine Arts’ information desk on the last date of the application period (28 August 2020) must arrive by 3:00 pm local Helsinki time.

The Academy is not responsible for the portfolios and will not insure them. The Academy is not liable for any possible damage to the works.

If the applicant wishes to get their work portfolios back after the application process has concluded, they must collect them at the Academy of Fine Arts after December 7, 2020, and latest January 15, 2021. Instructions regarding the precise schedule for collecting the portfolios will be sent to those applicants who have informed the Academy of their wish to retrieve their work.

If the applicant wishes the Academy to return the work portfolio by mail, this must be clearly stated in a note attached to the portfolio. The applicant is responsible for all delivery costs, which must be paid in advance to the bank account of the Academy of Fine Arts. Portfolios sent to the Academy by mail must be packaged so that the original packaging can be reused for the return delivery. If the works are not packaged accordingly, the applicant will be charged an additional packaging fee (€5/delivery). The work portfolio can be mailed to the applicant as a letter (in an envelope) if the portfolio is smaller than 25 x 35.3 x 3 cm in size and weighs less than 2 kg. If the portfolio is larger or heavier than this, it will be sent as a parcel.

  • Return delivery to Finland: letter: €5 / parcel €10
  • Return delivery within Europe: letter: €15 / parcel: 20
  • Return delivery outside Europe: letter: €25 / parcel: €35

The return delivery must be paid in advance to the bank account of the University of the Arts Helsinki:
Account holder: University of the Arts Helsinki
IBAN: FI40 5000 0120 2882 37
BIC/SWIFT: OKOYFIHH
Reference number: 15354

A receipt of the bank transfer or other documentation confirming the transfer must be appended to the work portfolio. Other methods of payment will not be accepted. Portfolios will not be stored after this. Any uncollected work portfolios, and portfolios for which postage has not been paid, will be destroyed.

Moving image and audio as part of the work portfolio

In addition to the image portfolio, or in its place, the applicant can submit a moving image or audio file to Studyinfo.fi. The maximum duration of the work is 5 minutes (an edited file representing one or several works; for multimedia or online works an edited demo of these work based on moving image).

The accepted format for moving image/video works is:

  • A digital file, in H264 compression, submitted to the electronic Embark system (maximum file size 500 MB)

The system accepts the following audio and video formats:
– Audio – mp3, m4a, aiff, wma, wav, aac
– Video – mpeg, mpg, mp4, mov, avi, wmv, m4v, vob

The applicant’s name must be clearly stated in the submitted file. Other necessary information concerning the work (the artist’s name, address, completion date, duration, participants, and other relevant information) can be stated in the file (as end credits) or written as part of the portfolio.

Eligibility to apply

The applicant’s eligibility to apply will be checked in the first phase of the admission procedure. The applicant will be deemed eligible if i) they have a suitable educational background or an educational background which the Academy of Fine Arts considers to be sufficient for undertaking the studies included in the Master’s degree programme, ii) they have demonstrated their language proficiency in a way determined by the Academy, and iii) they have submitted all their advance assignments within the schedule set by the Academy.

All applicants will be informed by e-mail of their eligibility to apply on 18 September, 2020. The Academy will only evaluate the advance assignments of applicants who have been deemed eligible to apply. If you have not been contacted by the Academy of Fine Arts by 21 September, 2020, please be in touch with the admissions services (kuva.admissions(at)uniarts.fi). Be sure to also check your junk e-mail folder.

If the applicant is not satisfied with the Academy’s decision, they can submit a written request for rectification within 14 days of the publication of the decision. The request for rectification, together with its justifications, should be submitted as a single PDF file to the registry of the University of the Arts Helsinki (kirjaamo(at)uniarts.fi).

Second phase: evaluation of advance assignments

In the second phase of the Master’s Admissions of the Academy of Fine Arts, the applicant’s talent in fine arts and their suitability to undertake the studies leading up to the Master’s degree in Fine Arts will be evaluated. The applicant’s experience in activities pertaining to fine arts will also be assessed by evaluating the advance assignments submitted by the applicant (see Admission criteria).

Based on the advance assignments, some of the applicants will be invited to take part in an interview, which comprises the third phase of the admission procedure.

Third phase: interview

Interviews will be carried out during 26 October 2020 – 6 November 2020. Information about those invited for an interview will be published on 7 October 2020 at 9.00am on the front door of Academy of Fine Arts (Elimäenkatu 25 A, Helsinki, Finland) and on the student admissions site of the University of the Arts Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts for those applicants who have authorised the publication of their name on the website.

The applicants who are accepted to the third phase of the admission procedure are also sent a separate invitation for the interview by e-mail indicating the exact time and place of the interview. Also, applicants who have not been invited to the interview will receive an email. The applicants who receive an invitation to the interview may be asked to submit supplementary demonstrations of work.

In the third stage, the applicants will be evaluated based on the advance assignments, the interview and supplementary work samples, if such supplementary work has been requested. The successful applicant has shown talent in fine arts as well as suitability to carry out the studies leading up to the Master’s degree in Fine Arts. They also have sufficient experience in working within the field of fine arts (see Admission criteria).

Special arrangements

If the applicant requires special arrangements at the entrance examination because of a sensory or physical disability or other corresponding reason, he or she must get in touch with the Academy of Fine Arts Admissions Office before the end of the application period. To clarify for the need of special arrangements and the nature of the disability or other condition, the applicant must submit a medical certificate by a specialist or other corresponding expert statement to the Academy of Fine Arts Admissions Office.

To verify a case of dyslexia, a statement by a special needs teacher, psychologist, or a speech pathologist is sufficient. A decision by the Matriculation Examination Board about special arrangements is also sufficient to verify the need for special arrangements. Documents verifying dyslexia must have been issued within the last five years. Likewise, documents verifying permanent disability, learning disability or illness must have been issued within the last five years. The validity of other documents is decided based on a case-by-case assessment.

Announcing the results

Academy of Fine Arts of the University of the Arts Helsinki will publish its admissions results on12 November, 2020, on the front door of the Academy (Elimäenkatu 25 A, Helsinki, Finland) and on the University of the Arts Helsinki’s website for those applicants who have authorised 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 44 88 540. 

All accepted 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. Other applicants will not receive an e-mail/letter informing them of the matter.

Appeals

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 to request for rectification

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 the University of the Arts Helsinki. The study place must be accepted no later than 26 November, 2020, by 3.00pm (local Finnish time).

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.

The ‘one study place per term provision’ applies to joint applications, separate applications and applications to programmes leading to a third-cycle (Licentiate, Doctor’s) degree. (please see the ‘one study place per term’ provision)

If the applicant has been defined as conditionally eligible in the first phase of the admissions process, they must provide the certificate of their finished degree proving their education background by very latest when accepting their study place.

Enrolment for the first year

The enrolment instructions are sent to new students together with the material on being accepted to study.

Registering as absent for the first year of studies

Tuition fee

In the academic year 2020-2021, Uniarts Helsinki will charge an annual tuition fee of 5,000 euros from non-EU and non-EEA students studying for a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in a foreign language. The amount of the fee will stay the same for the duration of a particular student’s studies.

In Uniarts Helsinki’s admissions, tuition fees apply to applicants applying to study in English.

The fee cannot be charged to a citizen of a Member State of the European Economic Area (EEA), or to a person who is entitled to the same treatment as EU citizens under a treaty signed by the European Union and its Member States with a third party or to a family member of the above-mentioned individuals. Nor can it be charged to a person with an EU Blue Card, a continuous or permanent residence permit or a long-term resident’s EU residence permit issued to third-country nationals as referred to in the Aliens Act, or to a family member of the above-mentioned individuals. The definition of persons regarded as family members is based on the Aliens Act.

Exemption from tuition fees

Students are exempted from paying tuition fees if they have one of the following documents:

  • Passport or identity card to indicate the citizenship of EU/EEA/Switzerland
  • EU Blue Card in Finland
  • Continuous residence permit card in Finland, Type A permit
  • EU Family Member’s Residence Card in Finland
  • Permanent residence permit card in Finland, Type P permit
  • EU residence permit for third-country citizens with long-term residence permit card in Finland (Type P-EU)

Temporary permit cards and passports must be valid at least until the start of studies. If the applicant is liable for payment due to their nationality, they must use the application form in the Studyinfo portal to notify whether there are above-mentioned grounds that would apply and release them from payment. The applicant must provide the necessary documents that prove release from liability for payment and submit them to the admissions office by the end of the application period.

If the applicant’s liability to pay the fee changes after the application deadline, they must contact the admissions office immediately.

Tuition fee waivers

Uniarts Helsinki has a scholarship programme for students who are liable for payment in the form of tuition fee waivers. Applicants should note that the university does not offer any scholarships for living expenses.

If the applicant is liable for payment, they must state on the application form if they want to apply for a scholarship from Uniarts Helsinki to cover the annual tuition fee if they are admitted as a student. A separate form is used to apply for the scholarship. A link to the application form can be found in the electronic application at Studyinfo.fi. The scholarships are granted for one academic year at a time based on the students’ applications. The amount of the scholarship is 2,500 or 5,000 euros.

If a student is awarded a scholarship, they will be notified of the decision personally at the same time as they receive the admission results. Students who are liable for payment have the right to apply for scholarships during the normative duration of their studies. The scholarships are applied for and the decisions regarding scholarships are made annually.

The annual tuition fee must be paid no later than November 26, 2020, at 3.00pm (local Finnish time). The application process for a residence permit can only begin after the annual tuition fee has been paid. Uniarts Helsinki recommends students to pay the annual tuition fee as soon as possible after they receive the notification of their admissions. Students are required to pay the annual tuition fee in order to register for attendance and complete studies.

Degree programmes at the Academy of Fine Arts in 2020

Applicants interested in undertaking studies in the 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 accepted 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 phase.

Student admissions are organised annually: in January for the 5.5-year bachelor’s and master’s degree programme and in August for the 2-year master’s programme. Admissions to the Praxis Master’s programme in exhibition studies will also be organised in 2020.

In 2020, the Academy of Fine Arts will accept a maximum of 47 new degree students of whom 25 will be accepted to the 2-year programme leading to a Master’s degree in Fine Arts.

Master of Fine Arts (2 years, 120 crs)

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. The education gives the student the skills and knowledge 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.

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 Art is responsible for organising the courses which 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.

About the Academy of Fine Arts

Integral to studies at the Academy of Fine Arts of Uniarts Helsinki are the students’ personal aspirations regarding their curriculum, the relationships that develop between the teachers and the students, and individual guidance. The teachers at the Academy of Fine Arts are distinguished visual artists and experts in various artistic fields.

The history of the education of visual artists at the Academy of Fine Arts dates back to 1848. Graduates of the Academy of Fine Arts work as independent artists. Some of them hold various advisory positions within visual arts and are employed as instructors.

At the Academy of Fine Arts, students graduate with a Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctoral degree in fine arts. The subject areas that lead to Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in fine arts are Sculpture, Painting, Printmaking, and Time and Space Arts. Time and Space Arts allow the student to specialise in moving image, photography, or site- and situation-specific art. The Academy of Fine Arts also runs the Praxis Master’s Programme in Exhibition Studies, which focuses on art theory.

The primary languages of instruction at the Academy of Fine Arts are Finnish and English. Students with different native languages study in the same degree programmes, and teachers and students flexibly change between different languages. All mandatory studies are offered in Finnish and English, and it’s also possible to complete credits in Swedish. English-language students are not required to know Finnish, but they are required to complete a mandatory course of Finnish as a second language as part of their Bachelor’s studies.

Subject areas focus on artistic activities and theoretical studies. In addition to courses in fine arts, students complete courses in exhibition studies, art history, art theory, philosophy and languages.

Students are entitled to attend courses offered by subject areas other than their own in the framework of the personal study plan that is individually prepared for each student. The Academy of Fine Arts encourages artistic work in its many forms and the use of various methods. Facilities for independent artistic work are available to all students.

Besides completing the university’s joint studies, Uniarts Helsinki students can also attend courses at the other academies of the university. Moreover, students have the opportunity to collaborate in multidisciplinary productions as part of their studies. International student exchanges at the partnering schools of the Academy of Fine Arts can be included in the curriculum. Several international lecturers and teachers also visit the Academy of Fine Arts on a regular basis.

At the Academy of Fine Arts, the artistic activities are integrated in the studies and offer the students encounters with the field of arts and the public. Public exhibition of art is a way for the students to get their first experiences of the working life that awaits them after graduation.

The goal of the studies is to encourage students to find their own strengths, expression methods and interests within the field of fine arts. Students acquire skills and knowledge that will enable them to work independently as a visual artist and understand their own work as a part of the context of contemporary art and society, where artists may adopt multi-faceted roles and profiles.

Degrees of the Academy of Fine Arts

The Academy of Fine Arts provides students with the capabilities they need to work as free artists. The instruction is based on an awareness of the constant changes, including both domestic and international factors, affecting the contemporary arts and artists. The Academy has a two-tier degree structure. The students first complete the lower university degree and then continue with the higher university degree and can then apply to postgraduate studies.

One credit (cr) equates the workload of approximately 27 hours. The full-time studies of one academic year correspond to in average 60 credits. The scope of the BFA degree is 3.5 years of full-time studying. The MFA degree can be finished in two years. The DFA degree can be finished in four years.

New students are admitted annually for both the 5.5-year studies composed of a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree, and the two-year Master’s studies.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA): 210 credits, 3.5 years

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree comprises 210 credits. Students are generally expected to complete the degree requirements in 3.5 years.

The goal of the studies leading to a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree:

  • To encourage the student to find their personal areas of interest within the field of fine arts and their individual means of artistic expression. As the studies progress, the student will develop their artistic thinking and expression as well as their ability to analyse their artistic practice both orally and in writing.
  • To provide the student with the necessary skills required for artistic work, to help them acquire the kinds of practical and technical skills in which they are interested and to offer them personal supervision in different fields of fine arts. The student’s growth as an artist is supported by personal supervision and a communal discourse environment.
  • To make the student able to situate their own activities within the contexts of contemporary art and society where an artist may work in various roles. To reach this goal, the student needs to acquire a good knowledge of the history, theory and exhibition practices of art and the operating environments afforded by modern technology. The student also needs to be able to engage in critical thinking.
  • To provide the student with the necessary language and communication skills, to make them ready for postgraduate studies and to support their lifelong learning. After completing the degree, the student has the necessary skills required for working as a visual art

Master of Fine Arts (MFA): 120 credits, 2 years

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree comprises 120 credits. Students are generally expected to complete the degree requirements in two years.

The goal of the studies leading to a Master of Fine Arts degree:

  • 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 which 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 postgraduate studies, while also supporting life-long 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 collaboration.

Subject areas of the Academy of Fine Arts

In the study programme of Fine Arts, tuition is given in the following subject areas: sculpture, painting, printmaking, and time and space arts. The students of time and space arts can specialise in moving image, photography or site and situation specific arts.

Sculpture

The subject area of sculpture investigates the use of three-dimensional space in artistic work. The instruction is based both on hands-on work and on the traditions of sculpture. The studies focus on the command of various approaches in contemporary sculpture, an in-depth understanding of the techniques available, and their utilisation in the student’s own artistic practice.

The studies in sculpture also focus on questions related to gallery and museum spaces as well as art in the public sphere. The main emphasis of the studies is on the student’s independent artistic work, which is supervised and supported through discussions, critique sessions and seminar work. Independent artistic work will promote the student’s self-expression and conceptual thinking and improve their creative problem-solving skills.

Thematic lectures, projects and workshops organised by artists both in Finland and abroad support joint studies in sculpture, where all the students of the Academy become acquainted with the materials, techniques and working practices of sculpture.

Painting

Tuition in the painting study programme is broad and takes account of the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary practice. The instruction aims at extending the students’ views on what painting could be, what it might mean and the ways in which it relates and interacts with other forms. In other words, there is no single idea of what constitutes contemporary painting, it is constantly changing and adapting.  Commonality can be found in aspects such as its site-specificity, social context and its relationship to different scientific disciplines and culture more generally.

Instruction in painting is conceptual at its core but also discursive and practical. The primary focus is on seminars, where student works are discussed in small groups every week, and the importance of the students’ independent artistic work is considered to be the first and foremost priority. Aspects of instruction includes the materiality and extended field of painting; comparing painting with other forms of expression and analysing the language(s) of painting.  In addition, there is highly specialized instruction in Material Studies, which goes hand in hand with more conceptual and discursive aspects of the painting programme.

Teaching methods include seminars, workshops, lectures, reading groups, study trips and guidance of independent artistic work. During the studies, the student gains personal understanding of artistic work and it´s relationships with society and the world. 

Printmaking

The subject area of Printmaking provides the students with comprehensive knowledge of printmaking and its various forms of expression, methods, materials and theoretical foundations. Students of printmaking use modern equipment throughout their studies, and the instruction pays close attention to the developments in the field of printmaking and changes in society.

Students of printmaking learn to contextualise printed art within the artistic tradition, its re-interpretation and relevance as part of contemporary art. The process of making art is conceived both as a stance and a way of thinking which takes into account the duality inherent in printed art: on the one hand, there is the printing process with copying and printing; on the other hand, the visual expression in printmaking can be realised in various ways. Traditionally, marks produced by a matrix have been printed on paper, but in modern printmaking the result can be something completely different: a spatial assemblage, a film, a three-dimensional work or a zine (a publication with a limited circulation). Printmaking is grounded in the possibility of conveying a message, which means that the medium used in the artistic process can equally well be a printing press or a digital file.

Studies in printmaking largely consist of independent artistic work. The student is supported by the teaching staff and the student community in the form of studio visits, seminars and methodological workshops. Collaborative projects are also an important part of the studies. The subject area offers intensive courses on various themes; these courses can include guest lectures by visiting artists, or they can be entirely supervised by a visiting teacher. The goal of teaching is to support the student’s personal vision so that their free expression reigns over the materials and the media, challenging them to search for personal solutions and ways of making art.

Time and Space Arts

The subject area of Time and Space Arts provides instruction in site and situation-specific art, moving image and photography. The teaching focuses on various aspects of artistic work, including the conceptual, pictorial, spatial and bodily dimensions of art.

The teaching in Time and Space Arts is dialogical in nature, and it consists of seminars, courses, lectures and studio visits. The student can either focus on a single field within Time and Space Arts or piece together a personalised study plan by selecting different courses from Time and Space Arts and/or other subject areas. The goal of the studies is to improve the student’s perceptive skills and critical thinking, and to let them develop their independent artistic practice. The students are encouraged to look for a personal approach to art and to experiment with different ways of expression. Artists working within time and space arts use various media in their art: they can use their own bodies, for example, or the work may consist of a performance. Moving image, photographs, sound art and digital technologies are also frequently used in time and space arts.

The teaching is based on the conceptualisation of art as a process or an event. With a focus on research and experimentation, the instruction given in the subject area helps the students contextualise their artistic practice within the tradition of contemporary art.

Joint Studies in Fine Arts

Joint Studies are composed of instruction in joint art studies, writing, art history, art theory and art philosophy, thematic theoretical studies, art exhibition studies, drawing and perception, and the studies in the ‘As an artist in society’ study module. Joint Studies also organise the instruction in the autumn term of the first study year in the Introduction to independent artistic activities and the subject areas study module.

The objective of the instruction is to provide the student with the tools for understanding the various fields and working methods in contemporary art and to critically compare the phenomena related to information, research, and art. A command of the history and theory of contemporary art is a prerequisite for being able to examine not only current art trends but also the contemporary world in a broad, independent and critical manner.

Particular attention will also be paid to written expression and understanding the ways in which the world of art operates, which are both essential skills to professional artists.

Teaching staff

The teaching staff of the Academy of Fine Arts is composed of distinguished artist-teachers who are actively involved in expert and reviewer responsibilities both in Finland and internationally. The instruction at the Academy is complemented by the expertise of its visiting professors, both Finnish and international. The visiting teaching staff hosts thematic workshops and special courses and their instruction offers the students opportunities for expanding their technical skills. Visiting teachers can also take on responsibilities of thesis supervisors, examiners and experts.

Tuition at the Academy of Fine Arts accentuates individual, one-to-one instruction that takes place in the student’s studio and in the common studio and work facilities. In the student’s own subject area, each student is appointed a tutoring teacher, who keeps a close eye on the student. Through their expertise and professional networks, the teaching staff is able to introduce the students to the field of fine arts in Finland and internationally and also offers an excellent professional basis for working as an artist.

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., 26 November 2020. Please, give us more information on your graduation in your application.

Are there any further instructions concerning the portfolio and the motivation letter?

The official instructions concerning the portfolio can be found above. When compiling the portfolio, think about how you can use your works to give the best idea of yourself. In the motivation letter, pay close attention to what kinds of goals you wish to share with the admission committee. It is your personal responsibility to show what is central to your work. The admission committee is also interested to see where you are as an artist now and how you intend to continue, and how the advance assignments you enclose in the application back up these points.

You are not meant to write a list of courses, and it would be impossible to name them because you get the syllabus only at the beginning of the term. Your application should state the things you feel are important and interest you in your studies, as well as the things you want to concentrate on and examine more closely. For example, do you want to continue in the direction you have chosen or conquer new areas?

I have a university degree and I 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 basic 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 Polytechnic degree do not typically provide sufficient background for the 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 will receive your degree certificate latest by November 26, 2020. In order to the degree to serve as proof of language skills, it must be completed by the time the applicant accepts the study place.

If you should be accepted as a new student, you must send a copy of your degree certificate to the academy’s admissions office very latest when you accept the offered study place, that is, by November 26, 2020. 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, by latest August 28, 2020, 3.00 p.m. (ie. first phase of application).