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Aalto Doctoral Programme in Arts, Design and Architecture

The Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture offers an international doctoral programme for those seeking careers in art, design, film, media or architecture. A special feature of the programme is that the thesis can include art or design productions. The Department of Art and Media, the Department of Architecture, the Department of Design and the Department of Film, Television and Scenography offer doctoral studies for a Doctor of Arts (Art and Design) and a Doctor of Science (Architecture) degrees.

For Application Instructions 2024, please scroll down the page.
Aalto ARTS


Doctor of Arts (Art and Design), Doctor of Science (Architecture)

Application period:

13 Feb 2024 – 7 Mar 2024

Language of instruction:



4 years, full-time


Relevant master’s degree awarded by a Finnish university or a Finnish university of applied sciences, or a corresponding degree completed abroad

Field of study:

Art and Design


Organising school:

School of Arts, Design and Architecture

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Objectives of studies

The main purpose of doctoral education at the Aalto Doctoral Programme in Arts, Design and Architecture is to teach doctoral candidates how to create new knowledge through scientific and artistic methods and theories. During the research and studies, you will learn what it takes to be a professional academic researcher.

Doctoral studies provide skills and tools to apply knowledge and to create new scientific knowledge, including the ability to use research methods. In the field of arts, doctoral candidates should be able to independently create methods, products or performances that meet high artistic standards. They are also expected to publish scientific results in peer-reviewed publications and to disseminate the results on scientific fora.

Doctoral candidates are expected to have gained professional expertise on how to produce such syntheses and critical assessments as are required to solve complex problems in research and innovation and in other areas of society. They will also possess versatile written and oral communication skills. Doctoral candidates should work responsibly with respect to ethical and sustainable considerations. Their work in the scientific community should follow the responsible conduct of research.

Structure of degree

The Doctor of Art and Doctor of Science (Architecture) degrees consist of general research studies, studies in the field of research, and a doctoral thesis which altogether means four years of full-time studies.

The current curriculum of the doctoral programme is available here:

Content of studies

Doctoral education is conducted in close collaboration with your thesis advisor(s) and supervising professor, resembling an apprenticeship. If studying full-time, you will spend three to four years working intensively on your research topic, then complete this with the written part of your final work, i.e. your doctoral thesis. Along the road, you will participate in theory courses, seminars, conferences, group activities, and teaching undergraduates. In addition, you will possibly build your artistic components and supportive tasks to facilitate the work your department and research group do.

Study language

The language of instruction is, in principle, English but the doctoral thesis can also be completed in Finnish or Swedish.

Fees, costs and resources

Assess your resources realistically: how will you fund your studies and how much time do you have for them?

Application instructions 2024

Admission is organised annually in February-March for studies starting in September.

Admission schedule, spring 2024:
Application period opens on 13 February 2024 9 am (UTC+2)  
and closes on 7 March 2024 3 pm (UTC+2)
Applicants should follow the electronic application system for information regarding the processing of their application.
Interviews of applicants selected to Phase II will be held between 22 April - 3 May 2024. 
Results of the admission published by 4 June 2024.

Contact information

If you have a question that you cannot find the answer to in the application instructions, contact the doctoral programme's Doctoral Education Services at [email protected].

In addition, there is a continuous application to full time doctoral studies, only for applicants who have confirmed funding for doctoral studies from Aalto University for at least nine months. Other full-time applicants should apply in the March application round. The same requirements (e.g. eligibility criteria and language requirements) apply to applicants in the continuous application, and they will receive personal instructions for applying after their funding has been confirmed by Aalto University. Funded doctoral positions are advertised on Aalto University webpage

Who can apply?

How to apply?

The application period for studies beginning in the autumn of 2024 runs from 13 February 2024 to 7 March 2024 (at 15.00, UTC+2). The application consists of an electronic application form to which you need to upload a set of required application documents in PDF form.

On the application you will need to specify to which research field of Aalto Doctoral Programme in Arts, Design and Architecture you are applying to and who is your potential supervising professor.

Language requirements

In order to be eligible to apply for the Aalto Doctoral Programme in Arts, Design and Architecture, applicants are required to be proficient in the one of the official languages of the programme, Finnish, Swedish or English, and demonstrate their proficiency by passing a language test, when necessary. The language test scores must meet the minimum requirements set by Aalto University. The applicant chooses the language (Finnish, Swedish or English) in which they demonstrate their proficiency.

Application and the required application documents

The application consists of an electronic application form to which you need to upload a set of required application documents in PDF form.

Carefully scan the original documents and save them in colour PDF format. Scan the documents in the correct orientation so that a horizontal document is displayed horizontally, and a vertical document is displayed vertically. Name the files as instructed (e.g. Transcript-lastname-firstname). Upload each document separately to the correct attachment section on your application form.

Admission results

Departments of School of Arts, Design and Architecture

You can find more information on the research groups and projects on the websites of the departments:

Department of Architecture

We train professionals to design human-centred environments.

Student teamwork at Aalto University. Image: Unto Raunio

Department of Art and Media

The departments of Art and Media at Aalto University School of Arts, Design & Architecture have merged as of 1st January 2022. Professor Harri Laakso has been appointed as Head of the new Department of Art & Media.

Two people discussing about a scetch they are looking on a computer

Department of Film (ELO)

The Department of Film, ELO, is Finland's only university-level film school.

Filming. Image by Unto Rautio.

Department of Design

The Department of Design is a diverse community of competent, creative and responsible individuals. In design, we appreciate technical skill, social significance and artistic expression.

AALTO_b-9344_Original.jpg _OE_4723_Original.jpg

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