The core objectives of our two-year Masters of Arts programme (120 ECTS) are to strengthen the student’s artistic vision, expressive skills and specialization in their chosen field of photography. The programme is designed for students who wish to deepen their knowledge in photography by developing their conceptual and research-related thinking.

The degree can be completed in Finnish or English.

The applicants are expected to have a BA degree in photography, fine art or other relevant field. Student selection is based on the applicant’s portfolio, motivation letter, and interview.

The maximum annual intake of new students is 15. In the Master’s Programme, there are 60 students working towards their degrees and a sizeable group of students enrolled in secondary subjects and international exchange programmes.


MA Study Programme

Education content

The studies approach photography both from the academic perspective and through practice by providing courses on theory and research, practical skills and artistic expression.

The student develops an advanced professional competence, expressive skills and theoretical thinking for photography. Fashion photography, portrait photography, theatre photography, photojournalism, documentary photography, photo books, multimedia storytelling, etc. are taught in different theoretical and practical courses, seminars, projects, workshops and individual tutoring.

Studies in international student exchange programmes are recommended.  We encourage students also to supplement their studies and broaden their horizons by attending courses in the humanities, business, or technology offered by other Aalto University schools.

Studying in the Master’s Programme is full-time. Detailed descriptions of the required courses are in the study guide for the academic year of 2017-2018.

Practical information, pedagogy of courses, course works and student feedback can be found in our course blog.

Our staff of established artists, researchers and photographers together with the students and alumni form an active creative community. Photography exhibitions in Finland and abroad, photography books and academic publications, the Helsinki Photomedia conference and the Helsinki School activities add to the experience of studying in our Master’s Programme.


Career opportunities

Our graduates work diversely in the field as freelance photographers, independent artists, photojournalists, photo editors, photography instructors, photography researchers, and special advisors in different organizations. They are versatile professionals equipped with in-depth knowledge on professional photography.

Graduates of the Master’s Programme can also apply for doctoral studies in photography leading to a Doctor of Arts (Ph.D.) degree.

Given the global nature of today’s world, the Master’s Programme invests in giving students the competency to work in international positions.

Students are given a chance to present their portfolios to international photography professionals, apply for international artists’ residence programs and workshops as well as participate in exhibition activities at the internationally curated Helsinki School.


Admission procedure

The selection process has two phases. The initial selection is based on applicants’ portfolios including artist’s statements, cv’s and letters of motivation. The applicants chosen for the second phase are invited to an interview.

The application procedure is explained step by step here.