Study options

Master's Programme in Film and Television - Film Editing

The aim of the MA degree is to develop the student into an expert of viewing and seeing, a storyteller and an artist.
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Master of Arts (Art and Design)

Application period:

2.12.2019 – 3.1.2020

Language of instruction:



2 years, full-time


Relevant Bachelor's degree

Field of study:

Art and Design


120 ECTS

Organising school:

School of Arts, Design and Architecture

Tuition fees:

For non-EU/EEA citizens, €15000/y (Master’s studies)

The application period has closed

Scholarships and Tuition Fees

Study objective

The Major in Film Editing, part of the Master’s Programme in Film and Television, is a continuation of the bachelor’s studies in film editing. Bachelor’s studies in this major provide an outstanding foundation for master’s studies.

The technical, expressive and vocational foundation for film editing has been laid in the BA studies. The aim of the MA degree is to develop the student into an expert of viewing and seeing, a storyteller and an artist. Mastering the structure and expression of a feature-length documentary and a feature fiction film are at the core of the teaching. The MA degree also provides the opportunity to specialise in digital post-production, animation and experimental film. The goal of the education is to impart a capacity for pursuing further studies.

The aim of master’s studies is that the student discovers his/her own way of working and is able to plan time use appropriately during the editing process in a large production. In film editing studies, the student learns to master the artistic, production-related and technical entity of his/her professional field through course teaching and exercises that gradually become more demanding. The goal of teaching is to strengthen the student’s skills and development and critical thinking in accordance with artistic vision.

Graduates with a major in Film Editing can process the structure of a full-length film and manage large amounts of material, schedule their own work in relation to the demands of production. He/she understands the requirements for making visual effects and can proportion digital post-production to his/her work. On the other hand, he/she has the possibility to specialise in digital post-production and as a visual effects designer, technician and expert. Film Editing studies provide the student with a good foundation for becoming an independent artist who has the skills to renew film expression and specialise in film expression research or use his/her visual dramaturgy skills in other areas of narration and communications.


Language of instruction

The primary language of instruction for the Major in Film Editing is Finnish (Swedish)/ English.

Career opportunities

The Major in Film Editing, part of the MA in Film and Television, equips the student with the ability to master the creative editing process of a long film in the areas of both fictional and documentary film. A precondition for original and independent thinking is understanding how the viewer’s experiences are produced. Self-knowledge and awareness of one’s own artistic quality and working process are a precondition for working together with various directors.

Graduates can work as head editors in fictional, documentary and animation films. Graduates have been employed is those very positions in different production or TV companies or work as independent professionals or entrepreneurs. They are able to edit demanding material anywhere in the world, depending on their language skills and connections. Graduates can also apply for further studies and become researchers or teachers. The majority of Finnish full-length cinema film editors have graduated from the Department of Film, Television and Scenography / Film Editing. Film editors with an MA can also be employed in digital post-production positions.

The School of Business at Aalto can recommend entrepreneurship studies. Recommended minor studies include dramaturgy courses at the Theatre Academy in the University of the Arts and courses in the Space and Time programme at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. Recommended studies for those with a special interest in the topic are programming courses at Aalto University School of Science, which can provide qualification for working in the game industry. The personal study plan provides the student with support in reaching his/her goals.

Film editor with main artistic responsibility for short or feature-length fictional, documentary and animation films; film dramaturg; editing consultant; visual effects designer and technician; film industry entrepreneur.

Education content

A student studying the Major in Film Editing at the master’s level deepens his/her skills and vision in dramaturgy and film editing. The teaching consists of workshops and lecture modules built around various changing themes, and advanced studies in the theory of this work.

The major provides deeper knowledge of film structures and film editing theories. The student has the possibility to expand his/her cinematic knowledge in the direction of filming and sound design and select studies to support their own area of specialisation from the cooperation platform of Aalto University and the University of the Arts. Practice productions focus on the editor’s vocational practices in the areas of fiction, documentary and animation film.

The education is mainly based on practical learning by doing, individual work and direction and dialogue-based interaction. The student deepens his/her knowledge of traditions and modern trends in the field.

The task of a film editor is to assess the functioning of the screenplay, find the final form of the film in the recorded material and produce the intended emotional impact in the viewer. A film editor needs the ability to be empathic as well as to understand interpersonal interactive relations and the wider and deeper meanings of the narration. A film editor needs to have a good idea of film history and the expressive devices of various genres. A good image reading ability, a sense of rhythm and the ability to perceive structures provide the boldness needed to produce new solutions during the editing process. Communication skills and the ability to cooperate are the basic requirements for progressing in the profession. The main focus of master’ studies is on managing large entities and the long format.

A personal study plan (HOPS) is drawn up separately for each student according to his/her interests. Tailored minor modules support the student’s development. For example, he/she can specialise in actual film editing, post-production, digital effects or move in the research direction.

Studies in the master's programme include departments joint courses (30 ECTS) which are obligatory. These courses deal with entrepreneurial and working life skills, analytical skills, and provide research skills.

Further information about the contents of the programme can be found in the study guide for 2018-2020.


Internationalisation is seen and realised in the education by encouraging the student to complete part of his/her studies in international exchange programmes or internships. International visiting teachers and students enrich the teaching and help students network. The students attend international film festivals and represent the films they have edited. Various international film events, seminars and workshops are an essential part of teaching the major. Master’s students take part in the School of Sound symposium in London.

Programme-specific Admission Procedure and Evaluation Criteria

What we look for in an applicant?

We seek for applicants with a previous university degree or equivalent suitability for the field and basic studies completed in an acceptable manner. Continuing on to master’s studies after completing a bachelor’s degree is a natural way to enter the programme. Necessary capabilities for the profession of a film editor include the following: ability to construct an unfolding and expressive storyline via images, ability to express the essential in a compact form, ability to find a point of view within the material, ability to understand and construct the role and meaning of sound elements, a sense of rhythm, communication skills, ability to discover psychological tensions and their relationship to image construction, ability to empathise, ability to make interesting observations and analyze the cinematic means of expression,  ability to express your personal view clearly and ability to work under pressure.

Evaluation criteria

The criteria we use to evaluate the applications (in the first stage) are portfolio, motivation letter as well as previous studies and/or professional activities.

In the second stage, the evaluation criteria consists of aptotude for the field.

First stage and required application documents

In the first stage of the evaluation the selection committee evaluates the applications based on the application documents. Study Option’s requirements for the application documents are listed below. Please also note requirements for the application documents presented in the general application instructions. Attach each application document to the electronic application form in PDF form.


Your portfolio must include at least three samples of your work as a principal editor. The works must be complete and at least two need to have been screened publicly. A simple showreel with only examples or scene excerpts from your work is insufficient. The samples must be as links on Vimeo.

Include a brief account of how the productions were carried out. This must include the names of the production companies, the production dates, the main artistic contributors and where the works have been publicly screened. Provide a brief description of how the production was executed, what was your contribution in it and an assessment of your own work.

Before sending your application, upload your digital portfolio as a single PDF file to the application system. The file should contain links to your samples.

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Your application must include a CV containing your personal details and information about your education, work experience, released films and TV programmes and your work in them, awards, grants, study trips and positions of trust.

Before sending the application, upload your CV as a single PDF file into the application system.

Motivation letter

Write a letter of motivation of maximum 4000 characters in length explaining your reasons for applying to the Master’s programme with a major in film editing and telling of your particular interest(s) in the field as well as your goals and expectations for film editing studies at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Describe your strengths, your areas of interest, your views of cinematographic art, filmmaking and television, your artistic goals and other aspects relating to your work.

Language of the application documents

Finnish, Swedish or English in written documents. If the language of your work samples is some other language, they must have Finnish, Swedish or English subtitling.

Second Stage

Second stage is an interview to which applicants will be selected on the basis of their application documents.

The invitation to the second stage is sent to the applicants at latest 7 days in advance.

Applying to master’s programmes

The application period has closed

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