Study options

Master's Programme in Architecture

Architecture is technical and artistic, it is a social art and also an artful science. Architecture is about creating spaces for all types of human activities. To be a successful architect, you should be able to see problems from different perspectives, which forms the basis for the broadness of the degree. At the Aalto Architecture programme your scientific and artistic thinking will be developed, aiding you in designing buildings and cities for a sustainable future while promoting health and well-being and enriching lives aesthetically.
Masters degree in Architecture

Degree:

Master of Science (Architecture)

Application period:

1.12.2020 – 4.1.2021

Language of instruction:

Finnish
English
Swedish

Duration:

2 years, full-time

Eligibility:

Relevant Bachelor's degree

Field of study:

Technology and Engineering

Credits:

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 will open 1.12.2020 09:00 (UTC+2)

Scholarships and Tuition Fees

Goal of education

Architecture is a field at the intersection of technology and art. Architects should be able to approach problems not only from a technical or artistic perspective but they also should understand the social, cultural, environmental and economic implications of their work. This is the reason for the broad-based nature of the education in architecture. Because of this, the Master' Programme aims at developing the student's technical, scientific and artistic thinking with respect to the construction of a socially responsible and sustainable future. After completing the degree programme, students will have:

  • the ability to create architectural designs that satisfy both aesthetic and technical requirements.
  • knowledge of the history and theories of architecture and related fields of art, technology and human sciences.
  • knowledge of urban design and planning and the skills involved in the planning process.
  • understanding of the relationships between people and the built environment as well as between the built environment and the natural one.
  • understanding of the structural, constructional and engineering problems associated with the design of buildings and the ability to provide buildings with internal conditions of comfort and protection against the climate.

The learning outcomes of the programme are in line with the regulations of the EU directive that applies to pursuing the professional activities of an architect (Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the recognition of professional qualifications). Hence, the programme also enables students to:

  • understand the methods of investigation and preparation of a brief for a design project.
  • meet with their designs the building users' requirements within the constraints imposed by cost factors and building regulations.
  • understand the various regulations and procedures of the industries and organisations involved in translating design concepts into buildings and urban planning.

The programme facilitates students to pursue a career in architecture within Finland but also abroad regardless of whether the goal is to work as an employee in the private or public sector or as an entrepreneur. It also strengthen the student's competence in co-ordination tasks related to design, thus enabling graduates to work as a head designer of demanding construction projects.

Language of instruction

The language of instruction in the Master’s Programme in Architecture is English. However, part of the courses in the field of Architectural History and Renovation are taught in Finnish. The degree can be completed in Finnish, Swedish or English.

Education content

The key focus in master's programme education is on developing and deepening of skills and knowledge obtained during the bachelor's phase. The topics include the history and theory of architecture, building design and Finnish building art as well as urban planning and design. Course and design studio teaching is enhanced by means of multidisciplinary collaboration and advanced teaching methods. A number of courses are based on a learning-by-doing approach and the working on 'real' design assignments often in collaboration with the local community. In addition, experimental and design research-oriented courses are offered that allow the in depth exploration of specialized topics and the development of an individual expression and voice as a designer.

For further details on the education content, see the study guide for academic years 2020-2022.

Career opportunities

The majority of architects work as project architects in a company or as entrepreneurs in their own architectural agency, working with new or renovation projects. The public sector is another important employer, with job titles including zoning architect, permit architect, cultural environment manager, museum director and municipal architect. Architects work as academic researchers or teachers, such as professors or lecturers. Architects can also be construction managers, project designers or experts in the property field; senior inspectors or specialists in the environmental field or exhibition architects and curators in the field of art. The duties of an architect are steadily expanding from traditional design tasks to other fields that require comprehensive vision and creative problem-solving ability.

Duties of an architect

  • Project planning
  • Building design in all scales
  • Construction, property development
  • Urban design, urban planning/zoning of regional entities
  • Museum work
  • Building history inventories and surveys
  • Administrative, teaching, management and research duties, expert tasks
  • Furniture design, interior decorating, design, exhibition design
  • Architectural graphics, IT, multimedia

Titles

The majority of architects work as project architects in a company or as entrepreneurs in their own architectural agency, working with new or renovation projects. The public sector is another important employer, with job titles including zoning architect, permit architect, cultural environment manager, museum director and municipal architect. Architects work as academic researchers or teachers, such as professors or lecturers. Architects can also be construction managers, project designers or experts in the property field; senior inspectors or specialists in the environmental field or exhibition architects and curators in the field of art. The duties of an architect are steadily expanding from traditional design tasks to other fields that require comprehensive vision and creative problem-solving ability.

Internationalisation

Studies provide the opportunity for internationalisation through, for example, exchange studies and international student competitions and study trips. The internship that is an optional part of the degree can be completed abroad and students can also do field work outside Finland. Some of the department staff are international and lecturers and guests from international schools of architecture visit the department. The department has international research and teaching projects with different universities.

Department of Architecture has international students, both degree students and exchange students. Teaching is provided partly in English and all students study in the same courses. Students participate in international student events through the EASA umbrella organisation for students and students have exchanges among the guilds.

Admission procedure and evaluation criteria

Study-option-specific evaluation criteria

Applicants meeting Aalto’s general eligibility criteria for master's studies will be evaluated and ranked according to the evaluation criteria that has been decided in advance for each study option. The applications to Master´s Programme in Architecture will be evaluated based on the following criteria.

Phase I

Artistic and/or design practice

Assessed area

Demonstrations of artistic and/or design work or assignments

Admission requirements

 

Applicants should demonstrate

  • their communication skills that is the ability to use visual means of representation of the discipline in order to communicate your design idea and its architectural expression.
  • their technical skills that is the ability to translate your concept into an adequate material system and coherent construction logic.
  • their understanding of context that is the ability to relate the architectural project to its physical, social, cultural and political environment.
  • their understanding of space-making that is the ability to translate the architectural concept into an adequate spatial experience and spatial dynamics.      

 

Method of demonstrating competence

Portfolio (max 20 pages, pdf-format)

Maximum size for the portfolio is 1.0 GB.
Name the file as: Portfolio-surname-firstname.pdf

 

Relevance of previous studies

Assessed area

Content and quantity in relation to the applied study-option-specific requirements

Admission requirements

 

Bachelor in Architecture

Method of demonstrating competence

Degree certificate(s)

 

 

Phase II

Suitability

Assessed area

Motivation for studies

Admission requirements

 

The applicant should clarify the reasons for applying at Aalto University and the expectations and goals for studying in the programme.

Method of demonstrating competence

Motivation letter (max 500 words, pdf-format)

 

Relevance of previous studies

Assessed area

Content and quantity in relation to the applied study-option-specific requirements

Admission requirements

 

Applicant should demonstrate a thorough knowledge comparable to the Bachelor education in architecture at Aalto University

Method of demonstrating competence

Transcript(s) of records

 

 

Other areas of competence

Assessed area

Work experience and other acquired knowledge/achievements e.g. publications, non-formal education, competitions

Admission requirements

 

The applicant should reflect on their education so far and how it has shaped their understanding of the relevance of architecture.

Method of demonstrating competence

Letter of self-reflection (max 800 words, pdf-format) with  curriculum vitae, letter of references, proof of employment, publications or other relevant material attached as appendix.

 

Evaluation process

The applicants will be first evaluated based on Aalto’s general eligibility requirements. Applicants meeting the general eligibility criteria for master's studies will be evaluated and ranked according to the evaluation criteria that has been decided in advance for each study option.

The selection process for applicants who meet the general eligibility criteria comprises of two phases: 

Master’s Programme in Architecture does not include an interview.

Phase I

In Phase I, the applications are evaluated based on the following criteria

  • Artistic and/or design practice
  • Relevance of previous studies/Degree

The applicant´s portfolio is reviewed independently by at least three selection committee members and graded according to communication skills, technical skills, understanding of context and understanding of space-making. The final grade for phase I is achieved by averaging out the grades of the various reviews by the selection committee members. Only the applicants who fulfill the requirements in the preliminary evaluation will be evaluated in phase II in the selection process.

Phase II

In Phase II, the evaluation is based on the following criteria

  • Suitability
  • Relevance of previous studies/Transcript(s) of Records
  • Other areas of competence

The selection committee members will review the motivation letter, transcripts and letter of self-reflection and evaluate it according to the given criteria.

After the evaluation conducted in Phase II, the best applicants will be selected based on the joint evaluation from Phases I and II.

Study-option-specific documents requested

The documents requested from all applicants are listed on the Aalto University website (https://www.aalto.fi/en/study-at-aalto/applying-to-masters-programmes). In addition, applicants to this study option are requested to provide the following study-option-specific documents:

Portfolio

The portfolio should demonstrate the academic excellence of the applicant with respect to the criteria listed in the table above. A coherent layout and consistent quality of drawings and images is expected. The size of the portfolio should not exceed 20 pages (max A3) and in case of team work the contribution of the applicant should be clearly stated. The portfolio should include a CV of the applicant and the motivation letter.

Maximum size for the portfolio is 1.0 GB. Name the file as: Portfolio-surname-firstname.pdf. If your portfolio contains password protected video links, include the password(s) in your portfolio. If a portfolio is not uploaded to the online application form by the deadline, the application will be rejected.

CV

The CV should be maximum 1 page and include at least information on previous studies, work experience, software skills and prizes. The CV should be included in the portfolio.

Motivation letter

The motivation letter should state clearly the reason for studying architecture and the relevance of studying at Aalto University for development of applicant’s career plan. The motivation letter should be a maximum of two pages and included in the portfolio.

Letter of self-reflection

In the letter of self-reflection the applicant should reflect on his/her education and extra-curricular activities up to this point and discuss how it has shaped the own understanding of architecture. The letter should be of a maximum of 800 words and use the curriculum vitae, letter of references, proof of employment, publications or other relevant material as support material.    

Language of application documents

Application documents should be submitted preferably in English but applications in Finnish or Swedish are accepted too.

Complementary studies

The student may be required to take complementary studies (max. 20 ECTS). These studies will be determined individually at the latest in the beginning of the studies while making the personal study plan.

Applying to master’s programmes

The application period will open 1.12.2020 09:00 (UTC+2)

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