Master's Programme in Photography


Master of Arts.
More information.


120 ECTS

Field of Study:

Art and Design


2 years, full-time


An appropriate Bachelor´s degree or an equivalent qualification.
More information.

Tuition fees & scholarships:

Yes, for non-EU citizens.
More information

Language of Instruction:

Finnish (Swedish) or English
More information.

Organising school/s:

School of Arts, Design and Architecture

Organising department/s:

Department of Media

Application period:

2017-12-15 - 2018-01-24

Welcome to the Master's Programme in Photography at Aalto University! In The School of Arts, Design and Architecture, theory meets practice. Our programme provides a high-level education, and the studies enable the development of advanced professional competence, expressive skills and theoretical thinking. A strong artistic vision and the ability to think conceptually are the key objectives of the programme. Students develop their artistic and professional skills throughout their own projects and practice. The University is located in the Helsinki metropolitan area. Our unit is the home of the Helsinki School and the Helsinki Photomedia international research conference.

Goal of education

Content outcomes:

  • The student strengthens his/her expression skills, artistic vision and vocational competence.
  • The student gains a profound understanding of the field of photography and the ability to relate his/her activities to it.
  • Graduates of the Master’s Programme in Photography understand the many different uses and special characteristics of photography and work with the medium in a professional manner.

Skill outcomes:

  • The student produces technically and conceptually high-quality photographic expression.
  • The student can use different photography publication processes and platforms.
  • The student is able to network nationally and internationally and present his/her competence to other actors in the field of photography and visual art.

Academic skills:

  • The student knows the basics of photography theory.
  • He/she can write academic text and use information sources.
  • He/she knows the trends and methods in photography research and, more broadly, in visual culture research and the related theoretical backgrounds.

After completing a master’s degree the student can apply for doctoral studies in photography.

More about the language of instruction

The language of instruction in the Master’s Programme are Finnish and English and a large part of the courses are taught in English only. Students may write their Master's thesis in Finnish, Swedish or English. The degree can be fully completed in English.

More information about the languages of instruction at Aalto University.

Education content

The studies emphasize photography as a means of independent and multidisciplinary artistic expression, highlighting the development of conceptual thinking and research skills.

The staff and students in the Master’s Programme in Photography form a creative academic community. International artistic activities and the various publication processes and platforms are core areas of the programme. The most visible results of the activities are domestic and international exhibitions, photography publications, Helsinki Photomedia Conference and Helsinki School activities.

The studies include vocational, artistic and theoretical courses. The teaching methods are workshops, study projects, lectures, seminars and personal guidance. Studies in international student exchange programmes are recommended as part of the programme. Based on his/her orientation, the student can supplement intermediate studies with courses in the humanities, business or technology offered by other Aalto University schools and other universities. The student also has the opportunity to learn about current international activities in photography research at the Helsinki Photomedia Conference that is held in even years.

The studies require personal motivation and interest in the working methods of photographic expression as well as the ability to solve problems and complete tasks individually. The studies are full-time and mainly completed independently. The studies enable the development of advanced professional competence, expressive skills and theoretical thinking. A strong artistic vision and the ability to think conceptually are the key objectives of the studies.

For further details on the education content, see the study guide for the academic year of 2017-2018.

For more information on the programme, see

Career opportunities

The aim of the Master’s Programme in Photography is to create an individual competence profile for the student, which will allow him/her to succeed in the changing and developing domestic and international field. The Master's degree allows the student to apply for doctoral studies leading to a Doctor of Arts (Ph.D.) degree.


Master’s degree studies provide the skills needed to operate diversely in various positions in the field, e.g. freelance photographer, visual artist, photojournalist, photo manager, photo editor, photography instructor, photography researcher and various organisational and advisory roles. Graduates of the programme often combine several different tasks when working in the field.


The aim is to give students the knowledge and skills needed to work competently in the international field of photography and visual arts. The studies are international as such; the group comprises students from various countries and some studies are completed in English only. To study abroad, participating the Students Exchange Programme is highly recommended. During the study, students also have a possibility to apply for participation in workshops and residency programmes abroad, to present their portfolios to a wide array of professionals in the field, and seek participation in the internationally curated Helsinki School activities.

Admission procedure

Applicants for the Master’s Programme in Photography apply in the master’s level admissions in the field of Art and Design. Key selection criteria are artistic talent, motivation and  the applicant's potential for development. The applicant must have at least a BA degree in photography or a BA degree in art.

The admission is based on a two-stage evaluation process, where selection of prospective students is made between each stage. Admission will be determined by an overall assessment based on the application documents, a portfolio, a study plan, CV, an interview and possible entrance exam assignments.

Page content by: | Last updated: 20.12.2017.