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Hooray! We are celebrating our 10-year anniversary in 2023! The celebrations will be themed around the future of arts.

Doctoral Programme in Fine Arts

The Academy of Fine Arts offers doctoral education that emphasises high-quality artistic work and related research in the field of fine arts.

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Why study here?

Come and conduct research at the Academy of Fine Arts, where art and the artist are the focal points. Research subjects – whether embodied in the research question or the method, material or objective of research – cover the meaning, practices, techniques and methods of art, as well as the principles and institutional arrangements that determine the production, reception, training and application of art.

About the studies

Doctoral studies provide students with the abilities and the opportunity to conduct independent and creative artistic research. Artistic research is a field of multidisciplinary research that focuses on the artist and art. Graduates of our programme are artist-researchers who develop and renew arts, as well as the making, research and teaching of arts.

They engage in a diverse and critical dialogue with the different actors in society. As experts in their field, they create art and produce information, knowledge, and insights based on art-related practices that can be applied in the arts and also in other sectors of society.

Our doctoral programme develops the artist-researchers’ ability to apply their skills as artists, researchers, teachers, and experts.

Structure of the degree

The Doctor of Fine Arts degree extends to 240 ECTS credits, which corresponds to four years of full-time studies.

The degree consists of the doctoral thesis project (170 cr) and doctoral studies in fine arts (70 cr), which includes 60 cr of mandatory studies and 10 cr of elective studies.

Teaching during the academic year takes place over 7 intensive seminar weeks and is arranged together with the Theatre Academy’s Performing Arts Research Centre (Tutke). The more detailed course information can be found in the study guide.

Thesis project

The doctoral thesis project in fine arts can include art exhibitions, exhibition curating, individual artworks, artistic processes or experimental arrangements and their articulation, conceptualisation and theorisation. Typically, a doctoral thesis project consists of one or several visual art components (a maximum total of 140 cr) as well as a written component (30-170 cr). In addition, the thesis project must be available as an electronically archivable documentation. The artistic components are public artistic research findings. The written component runs parallel to the visual art components and justifies the research approach and goals in relation to other research and practices within the field. On a discretionary basis, the doctoral thesis project can also consist exclusively of research in written form.


    • Mika Elo

    • Professor, Academy of Fine Arts, Academy of Fine Arts
    • +358503473969
    • Lea Kantonen

    • Professor, Emerita, Artistic research Academy of Fine Arts, Research and doctoral education
    • Maiju Loukola

    • University Lecturer, Artistic research Academy of Fine Arts, Research and doctoral education
    • +358504720344

Applying to the programme

The programme admits new students every other year.

Next possible time to apply will be in September 2022. Studies begin in autumn 2023.

Next application period: 7 September – 28 September 2022

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.

Non-EU/EEA doctoral applicants can apply for Finland Fellowship funding (available from 2022 to 2024).

Contact information for the doctoral programme

Further information about the admission process
tel. +358 50 407 0744

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

Elina Raitasalo
Planning officer (doctoral education)
tel. +358 40 07 92 045

Michaela Bränn
Specialist (research)
tel. +358 40 63 13 553

More about the research and study activities

You can apply to

Doctoral Programme in Fine Arts

Target degree and length of study

Doctor of Fine Arts (DFA)


Academy of Fine Arts

Application languages

English, Finnish, Swedish

Tuition fee

There is no tuition fee in the doctoral programme.

Application period

Next application period: 7 September – 28 September 2022. Studies begin in autumn 2023.

Supervising teacher

Mika Elo Professor