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Apply to Degree Programme in Fine Arts (Bachelor + Master)

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


NB. The application process for the Academy of Fine Arts’ 5,5-year education in spring 2020 has been renewed. Please see the application phases in the section ”How to apply”.

Length and language of studies

  • Application period: between 8 and 22 January 2020 (at 3pm EET)
  • Length of studies: 3,5 + 2 years
  • Language of degree: Finnish, Swedish or English

Admission criteria

An applicant can be accepted to undertake studies in the degree programmes leading to Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Fine Arts if they:

  • demonstrate talent in the fine arts, are oriented towards the fine arts, and have an aptitude for the studies included in the degree programmes for bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Academy of Fine Arts,
  • have the necessary educational background required for the studies,
  • have demonstrated their language proficiency in the manner specified by the Academy.

The applicant’s eligibility to apply is determined in the first phase of the admissions process. If the applicant has the required educational background and they have provided evidence of sufficient language proficiency, they will be eligible to apply. The applicant can also be deemed conditionally eligible, if the education required for eligibility is assessed to be completed by the time the applicant accepts the study place. This assessment is based on a transcript of study records provided by the applicant.

In the second phase, the applicant’s talent in the fine arts, their orientation towards the fine arts, and their aptitude for studying in the degree programmes leading to bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Academy of Fine Arts are assessed by examining the applicant’s motivation letter and work portfolio.

In the third phase, the applicant’s talent in the fine arts, their orientation towards the fine arts, and their aptitude for studying in the programmes leading to bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Academy of Fine Arts are assessed by examining the applicant’s motivation letter, work portfolio, work samples and, in particular, their work during the admission course.

The applicant’s talent in the fine arts and their orientation towards the fine arts will be assessed by e.g. the following criteria: self-expression, originality, and ability to improve. The applicant’s aptitude for the studies leading to bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Academy of Fine Arts will be assessed by e.g. the following criteria: motivation to undertake the studies, learning capacity, and ability to reflect on one’s own artistic practice.

Applying for transfer from another university

Applicants who are refugees or in a refugee-like situation

Educational background

According to the Universities Act (558/2009, 37§), a person is eligible to apply for studies leading to a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in higher education if they have:

  1. passed the examination referred to in the National Matriculation Examination Act (672/2005) (a matriculation examination, an International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma, a European Baccalaureate (EB) diploma or an international Reifeprüfung-/Deutsche Internationale Abitur examination);
  2. been awarded a vocational upper secondary qualification, a further vocational qualification or a specialist vocational qualification in accordance with the Vocational Education and Training Act (531/2017); or
  3. completed a qualification abroad which in the awarding country gives eligibility for the corresponding level of higher education.

The Academy may also consider an applicant eligible if they have completed a Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE). Applicants can also be considered as eligible if the Academy deems them otherwise to have sufficient knowledge and skills for the studies.

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). Candidates for the Finnish matriculation examination, too, must submit a transcript of study records or a basic education certificate to the office at the application stage.

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 in the following ways:

  • 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

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. Candidates for the Finnish matriculation examination, too, must submit a transcript of study records or a basic education certificate to the office at the application stage.

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 in the following ways:

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

or

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

The official language of the degree must be mentioned on the degree certificate or its appendix, in the transcript of study records, or some other official document issued by the institution in question. In order for the degree to serve as proof of language skills, it must be completed by the 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 in the following ways:

  • English test of the Finnish matriculation examination completed in the advanced syllabus level (A-level language) with a minimum grade of magna cum laude approbatur (M)
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma:
    • diploma completed in English 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 5.5-year degree programme in Fine Arts is part of the January joint application process for higher education (application period 8–22 January 2020). It is possible to apply for a study place in a maximum of 6 degree programmes. These programmes do not need to be listed in any particular order. The applicant can accept only one study place. The Academy of Fine Arts does not have a separate quota for first-time applicants in the admissions. The Academy does not issue points for the applications, appendices, work portfolios, work samples and admission course work for those applying to the 5.5-year programme.

1st phase: Submission of the electronic application, 8 January – 22 January 2020, 3 p.m.

The applicant fills in an electronic application form and submits it via www.studyinfo.fi. The applicant must append all required documents related to their educational background and language proficiency to the application. It is possible to amend the appendices until 29 January 2020, 3 p.m.

2nd phase: Motivation letter and work portfolio, 2 March – 24 March 2020, 3 p.m.

The applicants who have been determined to be eligible to apply will submit a motivation letter electronically and send either an electronic or a physical (paper) work portfolio and/or files to supplement their work portfolio. All applicants will receive an e-mail notification of their eligibility by 2 March 2020.

3rd phase: Admission course and work samples, 11 May – 15 May 2020

All applicants who are accepted to the admission course will receive an invitation on 24 April 2020. The applicants are asked to bring 3 original works included in their work portfolios to the admission course as work samples.

Announcing the results: 3 June 2020

The study place must be accepted by 10 July 2020 at the latest.

1. Submission of the electronic application

The application period opens on 8 January 2020 and closes on 22 January 2020 at 3 p.m. Fill in an electronic application during the application period at www.studyinfo.fi.

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

  • A document demonstrating the required educational background (see Admission criteria, Educational background)
  • A document demonstrating the required language proficiency (see Admission criteria, Language proficiency)

All documents must be in Finnish, Swedish or English. If the copies of diplomas or transcripts of study records are written in another language, the applicant must have them translated by an authorised translator.

All applicants who will complete their previous studies in the spring of 2020 (e.g. high school, matriculation examination, vocational degree) must append to the application a study certificate provided by the school (proving the necessary educational background; see Admission criteria, Educational background) and a certificate of completed basic education (demonstrating the required language proficiency; see Admission Criteria, Language proficiency). It is possible to amend the appendices in Studyinfo until 29 January 2020, 3 p.m.

The applicant’s eligibility to apply will be assessed after the application period and the amendment period for the appendices has concluded. If the applicant has the necessary educational background required for the studies and they have demonstrated their language proficiency in a way and within the schedule specified by the Academy, they will be considered eligible to apply.

All applicants will be informed of their eligibility by 2 March 2020. Only those applicants who are deemed eligible to apply will be asked to submit a motivation letter and a work portfolio to the Academy of Fine Arts. If you have not been contacted by the Academy of Fine Arts by 2 March 2020, please be in touch with the admissions services (kuva.admissions@uniarts.fi). 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.

How to request for rectification

2. Motivation letter and work portfolio

All applicants who have been deemed eligible to apply will be asked to submit the following items to the Academy of Fine Arts: 1) motivation letter, and 2) a work portfolio. The deadline for the submission is Tuesday, 24 March 2020, 3 p.m.

The motivation letter is submitted electronically. The work portfolio can be submitted either electronically or in paper form. In addition to submitting a work portfolio, or in its place, the applicant can submit one file that includes moving image or audio. All eligible applicants will receive extensive instructions about the method of submitting the required files electronically.

Motivation letter

In the motivation letter, you should answer and reflect upon the following points:

  1. What is your personal relationship with the visual arts and your previous experience in making fine art?
  2. Why are you applying to study at the Academy of Fine Arts?
  3. Introduce one of the works included in your work portfolio and provide a description of your working process

The length of the motivation letter should not exceed 2 pages (A4, line spacing 1.5), and the letter must be submitted as a single PDF file.

The applicant must submit the motivation letter electronically by 24 March 2020, 3 o’clock p.m.

Please name the file according to the following model: lastname_firstname_motivationletter

Work portfolio

The applicant can submit a work portfolio (i.e. a collection of pictures) either electronically or in paper form. The pictures included in the portfolio are intended to serve as an introduction to the applicant’s artistic practice.

Please note that if the applicant is invited to the admission course, which comprises the third phase of the application process, they will be asked to bring 3 of the works included in the work portfolio to the admission course (see 3. Admission course and work samples).

The applicant can include a maximum of 8 works in the portfolio. Each work may consist of 1–3 pictures. The maximum size of the portfolio is 20 pages. Please pay close attention to the quality and size of the pictures.

The applicant’s name and contact information must be marked on the cover or title page of the portfolio.

Detailed information of the works must be provided in the portfolio. These include the work’s name, size, technique and production date. If there are specific technical requirements pertaining to the presentation of the works, the applicant must state this clearly in the introduction text.

Please note that the Admission Jury will not be able to consult the applicant’s personal website or open any links included in the application.

In addition to the electronic or physical (paper) portfolio, or in its place, the applicant can submit a file that includes moving image or audio. The maximum combined length of the file is 5 minutes (the edited file can be based on one work or several works; please see detailed instructions below).

All electronic and physical (paper) portfolios, as well as the moving image and audio files that are intended either to supplement the portfolio or to be used in its place, must be submitted by 24 March 2020, 3 p.m. Please see below for more detailed instructions on how to submit the portfolio.

Submitting an electronic work portfolio

If the applicant chooses to submit an electronic portfolio, the submission must be made by 24 March 2020, 3 p.m.

The electronic portfolio must be submitted as a single PDF file. The maximum file size is 1 GB. The electronic work portfolio should not include any moving image or audio; all works that include moving image or audio must be submitted as a separate file.

Please name the file according to the following model: lastname_firstname_workportfolio

Submitting a physical (paper) work portfolio

The applicant can also send their portfolio in paper form to the Academy of Fine Arts. The portfolio must not include original works. The work portfolio should not exceed A3 size.

The portfolio must be received by the Academy of Fine Arts by 24 March 2020, 3 o’clock p.m. Please note that if the portfolio is sent by mail, a postal stamp of this date will not suffice. Portfolios that are received after the deadline will not be considered in the application process.

The applicants can leave their work portfolios to the attendants at the info point of the Academy of Fine Arts (Elimäenkatu 25 A, ground floor) on Monday, 23 March 2020 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or on Tuesday, 24 March 2020 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Please note that if you deliver your portfolio on the final submission date (24 March 2020), it must be received at the info point of the Academy of Fine Arts by 3 o’clock p.m.

Should the work samples be sent by post or using a courier service, the applicant must see to it that the work samples are delivered to the address provided by the Academy of Fine Arts (home delivery). The Academy of Fine Arts will not pay the postage if home delivery has not been paid for.

Please indicate “Bachelor’s admissions of the Academy of Fine Arts” on the envelope/package of the work portfolio sent by post/courier service. The Academy of Fine Arts is not responsible for lost deliveries or delays caused by postal or courier services.

Postal address:
Academy of Fine Arts
Admission Services
P.O. Box 10
00097 UNIARTS
Finland

Visiting address and courier post:
Elimäenkatu 25 A
00510 Helsinki
Tel. +358 50 44 88 540

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 17 June 2020. 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. All works 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.

The Academy will send the work portfolios back to the applicants in August. 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

In addition to submitting a work portfolio of pictures (either electronically or in paper form), or in place of the portfolio, the applicant can submit one file that includes moving image or audio with a maximum combined length of 5 minutes (edited from one or several works). The Admission Jury will not be able to consult the applicant’s personal website or open any links included in the application.

The accepted format for moving image, video and audio works is a digital file saved in H264 compression (max. file size 1 GB).

The following audio and video formats are accepted:

  • Audio: mp3, m4a, aiff, wma, wav, aac
  • Video: mpeg, mpg, mp4, mov, avi, wmv, m4v, vob

Multimedia and online works
The applicant can edit demos based on the moving image works. The maximum length of all moving image works is 5 minutes.

The applicant’s name must be clearly stated in the submitted file. Other information related to the work (artist’s name, address, production date, length of the work, participating artists or any other relevant information) can either be included in the file or presented as part of the work portfolio.

Please name the file according to the following model: lastname_ firstname_movingimage_audio

The file containing moving image or audio must be submitted electronically by 24 March 2020, 3 p.m.

3. Admission course and work samples

If the applicant has authorised the publication of their name on the Academy’s website, it will be included in the list of applicants who are invited to take part in the admission course both on the front door of the Academy of Fine Arts (Elimäenkatu 25 A, Helsinki, Finland) and on the student admissions site of the Academy of Fine Arts on Friday, 24 April 2020.The applicants selected for the admission course will also be sent an invitation to the course by e-mail.

Applicants who are not invited to the admission course will also be notified of the decision by e-mail. If the Academy of Fine Arts has not contacted you by 24 April 2020, please contact the Admissions Services (kuva.admissions@uniarts.fi).

The admission course starts on Monday, 11 May 2020 and ends on Friday, 15 May 2020. The course includes daily work from c. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The course will conclude a little earlier on Friday.

The applicants must bring the equipment they need to the course (drawing and painting equipment at the minimum). Outside assistance is not allowed during the admission course. The course includes assignments whose nature and contents change every year. You can find examples of the assignments from previous years later in this document.

All the works produced during the admission course, as well as the work samples brought by the applicants, will be photographed. Performances will be filmed. The documented materials shall only be used for the purposes of the admission process.

The applicants can collect the works they have produced during the admission course after the final result has been announced (on June 3 and 4, between 9am and 5pm). All uncollected works will be destroyed.

The applicants are not insured by the Academy of Fine Arts, and they take part in the admission course on their own responsibility. The Academy of Fine Arts shall not be accountable for any accidents or loss of personal possessions during the admission course.

An applicant who is under the influence of alcohol, acts in a disturbing, violent or threatening way, or puts another person’s life or health at risk may be removed from the admission course.

Special arrangements during the admission course

Work samples

The applicant must bring 3 original art works that were included as part of their work portfolio to the admission course. If the works are large in size, the applicant can also bring photographs or other materials illustrating the nature of the work. Please note that the applicants must be personally able to bring all the original works to the admission course and to collect them on their own at the conclusion of the course.

The applicants must bring the work samples to the admission course on the first day of the course (Monday, 11 May 2020) and collect them on the final day (Friday, 15 May 2020). The work samples will be photographed during the admission course. The photographed materials shall only be used for the purposes of the admissions process.

Description form for the work samples

All applicants invited to the admission course are sent instructions concerning the work samples and a description form for the samples. Mark your name on every work sample and provide a detailed description of each work in the description form. Take the form with you to the admission course and hand it in on the first day of the course.

Insuring the work samples

The Academy is not responsible for the sample works and will not insure them. The Academy is not liable for any possible damage to the works. If the applicant wants to insure their work, they must do so at their own expense.

Announcing the results

The Academy of Fine Arts of the University of the Arts Helsinki will publish its admission proposal, which includes the names of all accepted applicants who have given permission to publish their name on the website of the University of the Arts Helsinki, on Wednesday, 3 June 2020. The list of successful applicants is posted on the front door of the Academy (Elimäenkatu 25 A, Helsinki, Finland) as well as the website of the University of the Arts Helsinki (www.uniarts.fi). After this date, the applicants can make enquiries concerning the admission results by calling the Academy of Fine Arts Admissions Services (+358 50 44 88 540).

The applicants proposed as new students and those on the stand-by list will be sent an e-mail after the announcement. 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.

All universities must make their admission proposals at the end of June, and the results of the national joint application are published on 28 June 2020. The final results of the joint application can be checked at www.studyinfo.fi (via My Studyinfo) after this date. All applicants will also be sent a letter of the results on this date.

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 10 July 2020 by 3 pm.

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 abovementioned 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 no later than 22 January 2020 at 3 pm (Finnish time). 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 10 July 2020 at 3 pm (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.

Admission course assignments 2010–2019

Please note that only the admission course has a given assignment. The work portfolios an applicant sends to the Academy in the application phase or work samples they provide during the admissions course can be anything; a separate assignment is not given.

2010

1. Surprising combination.
Combine two things normally not associated with each other. They can be things of whatever status: characteristics of form, concrete things or abstract phenomena. To elaborate: “density” refers to form, a “French horn” is a concrete thing and “xenophobia” is an abstract phenomenon. The distinctions are not clear-cut. A “tulip” and a “fare- well” are concrete things but a “tulip” is more concrete than a “farewell”. yet a “farewell” is less abstract than “xenophobia”. Sameness can be formal, concrete or abstract.

You can combine things of the same or different level, for example an “outcast” with “Friday” or “angular” with “moist”.

Here are some examples from poetry. One of Saila Susiluoto’s poems is called “Rooms of water”. Juhana Vähänen poses the question: What is the equivalent of “rocket launcher” in my everyday surroundings? Karri Kokko has come up with new compound words: a rose loan/moose fingers/scream granny/carousel rust/fixed beast/abstinencetrap.

This exercise measures the ability to associate. In the assessment attention will be paid to how unexpected the combination is and on how interesting the results of the comparison are. Creating is about making unexpected comparisons. Show your ability to create something new by juxtaposing old things.

2. Define place/space and your relationship to it.

3. Following theme in a freely chosen method:
blackwhite
black – white
black, white
black-white
black/white
Even the smallest thing can change the meaning of the whole, e.g. punctuation in the above. Visualize something that depicts different relations and proportions.
4. Your take on society as an artwork.

2011

1. Viivana – On line

2. Light

3. Here

Complete works on at least two (of the aforementioned) themes. use at least two techniques that you can choose freely. At least one of the works must be a drawing.

2012

1. Draw.
Freely chosen tool.

2. Recognize the method you use.
Choose one of your work samples and do it some other way (with regard to the method, atmosphere, etc.).

3. Create a connection.
The teachers in the admission jury will provide more detailed instructions for this assignment orally.

2013

During the admission course, carry out 1–3 of the following assignments. Free choice of medium.

1. Look around

2. A change

3. About sensing

2014

During the admission course, carry out series of works about 1–3 of the following topics

1. Look around you

2. Change

3. Draw (Free choice of medium)

4. Surprising combination

2015

Choose two of the following three assignments and make at least two versions of one of them

1. Quote

Use one or more of the attached quotes as a starting point of your working. (If you make more than one version of this assignment use the same quote for the versions)

2. All around me

3. Bring together!

2016

Use today’s newspaper as a starting point for your project(s)during the admission course. It is important to realize that you do not have to think about this too literally. One can think of the information contained within the newspaper for example but also the newspaper as an object, a subject, a support, as a raw material, as something to be transformed, an historical object, today’s newspaper is tomorrows history, or even the processes that lead to the making of the newspaper itself; the interpretation of this assignment is up to you. This is a starting point, use any media and materials you see fit.

2017

The photos and the text (given separately to the attendees) are the starting point for your work in the admission course. You can use them the way you want, one image, two, or even all of them. You can make one or more works during the admission course based on the given images (and text).

2018

These elements: a sound file (available for listening in the studio), a potato, a water bottle (as a concept), the texts and the map (as a place) are the starting points for your work in the admission course. You can use them the way you want, one element, two, or even all of them. You can make one or more works during the admission course based on the given elements.

2019

The following elements comprise the starting point for your work in the admission course: a sound file (available for listening in the studio), a teabag, a text, and a map (as a location). You can use them any way you like; you can use just one element, several elements, or all of them. You can make either one work or several works during the admission course based on the given elements.

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.

In 2020, the Academy of Fine Arts will accept a maximum of 47 new degree students of whom 22 will be accepted to the 5.5-year programme leading to Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Fine Arts. Admissions to the Praxis Master’s programme in exhibition studies as well as doctoral studies in Fine Arts will also be organised in the autumn of 2020.

Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts degrees (3.5 + 2 years)

The degree programme in Fine Arts encourages you to find your strengths and your individual means of expression and interests within art. Your growth as an artist is supported by personal supervision and the communal discussion culture within the Academy, and during your studies you will learn the skills that are necessary for working independently in the field of visual arts. You will also learn to understand your diverse roles in the context of contemporary art and society.

In the 5.5 years of study, you will first complete a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s degree. First-year students begin their studies with a course called An introduction to independent artistic work and the subject areas, after which they choose their subject area. 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.

Artistic work and related theory comprise the core of the studies. In addition to coursework in fine arts, students take courses in exhibition studies, art history, art theory, philosophy, and languages. The degree programme in Fine Arts draws together students with varying linguistic backgrounds, and the instruction at the Academy is organised so that everyone can take part in the same courses. Teaching is regularly offered in English, and approximately 15% of all students, both degree and exchange students, come from outside of Finland.

Students are encouraged to take courses from specialisations 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 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 fulltime studies of one academic year correspond to in average 60 credits. The scope of the BFA degree is 3.5 years of fulltime 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 his/her own strengths, means of expression and areas of interest in the field of the fine arts. As the studies advance, the student will develop his/her artistic thinking and expression with the various artistic methods as well as verbally.
  • To offer students the abilities for carrying out independent artistic activities and understanding their own activities as a part of the contexts of contemporary art and the society in which the role of an artist can take many forms. These abilities include the command of the history, theory and presentation methods of the arts and the ability to think critically.
  • To offer practical and technical skills in line with the student’s areas of interest as well as individual instruction in the various fields of fine arts. Individual instruction and the community’s environment of discussion will support the development of becoming an artist.
  • To provide the students with the qualifications needed in order to participate in studies leading to a higher university degree as well as communication and language skills that are sufficient for continuous learning.

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 students with the abilities needed for independent, demanding artistic work, based on the student’s own strengths and areas of interest. As the studies advance, the student will further deepen his/her artistic thinking and expression with the various fine arts methods as well as verbally. The student’s abilities for conducting research and understanding theory will be expanded from the student’s own interest and will be integrated into his/her artistic activities.
  • To offer students the abilities for working as independent artists in the field of the fine arts and to understand their own activities as a part of the contexts of contemporary art and the society in which the role of an artist can take many forms. These abilities include the in-depth command of the history, theory and presentation methods of contemporary art and the ability to think critically.
  • To offer practical and technical skills in line with the student’s areas of interest as well as individual instruction in the various fields of fine arts. Individual instruction and a critical environment of discussion will support the development of being an artist and will further deepen the student’s understanding of the contexts and practices of contemporary art.
  • To provide students with the abilities for artistic research and additional studies as well as continuous learning, together with good communications and language skills. The degree will, furthermore, provide the qualifications for working in the roles of a professional and developer of fine arts in demanding positions and to participate in international cooperation.

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.