Study options

Master's Programme in Film and Television - Documentary Film

We aim to train visionary documentary film directors, creative professionals who are creating the future of documentary filmmaking. Here you can deepen your powers of observation and expression while developing your own style as a director. Courses in film analysis, history and modern-form docuementary round out the MA studies.


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

Developers of the field. The goal of the Master’s Programme in Documentary Film is to train visionary documentary film directors and creative professionals who will contribute to the development of the field and its possibilities. In our MA program, students can deepen their powers of observation and expression while developing their own style as documentary film directors. Courses in film analysis, theory, history, ethics and modern-form documentary round out the MA studies.

Theory and Practice. In the Master’s degree, students achieve excellence in professional film practice and a comprehensive understanding of scholarly and artistic research in documentary film. Students will experiment with contemporary expressions in the genre and engage with the history, theory and ethics of documentary film. Direction of the MA diploma film is an important framework within which students develop their professional skills and take part in developing documentary traditions.

    Language of instruction

    The language of instruction in the Master’s Programme in Documentary Film is English. Occasionally, part of the courses might be taught in Finnish. The degree can be completed in English.

    Career opportunities

    The students graduate as independent film directors who have the opportunity to work as filmmakers, teachers, critics and/or event organisers. They will be able to shape the future of the genre while working in film production, film organisations, festivals, and in the broader field of culture. 

    In particular, master’s degree studies are a requirement for working in teaching positions. Students who graduate from the programme with a master’s degree are at the forefront of the field in our country and have an important influence as instructors or when working in other sectors. The works produced by graduates of Documentary Film studies are highly visible at various international festivals.

    A graduate with a major in Documentary Film (Master’s programme) is able to:

    • Work as independent documentary film directors and be employed in applied tasks in the documentary film profession (such as festivals, financing, distribution, production, production of commissioned films, etc.)
    • Achieve major abilities to identify her/his style as a director as well to question and develop practices and traditions in the field.
    • Work on a variety of platforms and environments (theatrical documentary, documentary series, interactive documentary, educational and commissioned films, journalistic, science and institutional documentary, etc.)
    • Work as documentary film teachers and instructors. 
    • Apply for further film studies. 

    Education content

    The teaching in the Master’s Program in Documentary Film consists of workshops and lecture modules built around different varying themes. The Documentary Film major invites numerous visiting lectures and artists, both from Finland and abroad, who offer multiple viewpoints to our students and enrich their learning experiences. The students' ability to observe and interpret reality, their readiness to encounter people, critical thinking, willingness to experiment and ability to work in a team are developed throughout the program. 

    Developing and directing the diploma film and the related written dissertation work are the essential frameworks of the master’s programme studies. Courses and studies support these creative and research processes. Amongst others, students can take advanced courses in different genres, styles and approaches to documentary film, documentary history, theory and ethics, and new forms and formats of contemporary documentary. Film analysis, reflecting on the conditions of one’s own medium and writing and thinking about documentary are the activities that support practical exercises. Knowledge of experimental and fiction film, visual arts, new media and interdisciplinary engagements are also a vital part of our program.

    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.

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


    International faculty, students, and visiting teachers enrich the program and widen students network. Students are encouraged to complete part of their studies in international exchange programmes or internships. Students attend and present their films at international film festivals. Various international film events, seminars and workshops are an essential part of documentary film teaching.

    Post-graduate opportunities

    Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture offers doctoral studies in the fields of architecture, art, design, media, film and scenography. For more information about our research groups visit the following link.

    Programme-specific Admission Procedure and Evaluation Criteria

    Will be updated during autumn 2020.


    Applying to master’s programmes

    The application period has closed

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