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

The goal of the Master’s Programme in Film and Television, major in Documentary Film is to train visionary documentary film directors who create the future of the field.  In Master’s degree studies, the students deepen their vision regarding theory, history and contemporary expression in the genre, and develop their competence in relation to the changing professional field of documentary film.

A broader understanding of development in the field and its future possibilities is built on the foundation of the director’s competence in his/her professional role. Direction of the MA diploma film is an important framework within which students strengthen their specialisation in the professional field of the genre and take part in developing a tradition of expression.

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

  • work as an independent documentary film director, teacher, instructor or be employed in applied professional tasks in the documentary film profession (such as festivals, financing, distribution, production, production of commissioned films)
  • identify his/her style as a director
  • question and develop practices in the field
  • question and reflect on the traditions in his/her field and apply for further film studies.

More about the language of instruction

The language of instruction in the Master’s Programme in Film and Television, major in Documentary Film is Finnish. However, part of the courses are taught in English. The degree can be completed in English.

Career opportunities

The students graduate as independent film directors who have the opportunity to work as players, teachers, critics or event organisers who shape the future of the genre while working in organisations and at 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.

Education content

The  major in Documentary Film allows the student to deepen his/her vision of directing a documentary film. The teaching consists of workshops and lecture modules built around different varying themes, where progressing in the diploma film process is integrated with advanced studies in various approaches to the genre and styles, traditions and history, new forms of the modern documentary and the theory of the genre. Directing the diploma film and the related written diploma work are the essential framework of the master’s programme studies, a process that is supported by the other studies.

Teaching is offered in workshop format and as lecture courses, Master courses held by visiting teachers and independent project work.  The students familiarise themselves with the history of film and especially that of documentaries, and are comprehensively introduced to the new forms of modern documentaries. Film analysis, reflecting on the conditions of one’s own medium, writing and thinking are important forms of teaching that support practical activities. Knowledge of other arts and experimental and fictional film as well as familiarising oneself with documentary expression in the fields of new media, visual arts and other media is vital. 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 through the above-mentioned teaching methods.

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 the academic years 2018-2020.


Students are encouraged to complete part of their studies in international exchange programmes or internships. International visiting teachers and students enrich the teaching and help students network.

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.

Programme-specific Admission Procedure and Evaluation Criteria

What we look for in an applicant?

Applicants, who have already made at least one film that has been publicly presented and thus demonstrated their basic skills as documentary film-makers can be selected for master's degree studies. Gifted students who want to deepen their understanding of different means of expression, theories and histories of documentary film, explore new possibilities in terms of form, content and approach in documentary filmmaking, and are interested in the combination of theory and practice can be selected for the major.

Evaluation criteria

The criteria we use to evaluate the applications (in the first stage) are motivation letter, portfolio and CV.

In the second stage the evaluation criteria consist of the personal interview of the applicant.

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.


One or two documentary films that have been publicly screened or broadcast (at a festival or on television), lasting at least 10 minutes each and submitted as Vimeo link(s).

Please include a description (e.g. a synopsis) of each film, with the one or two descriptions fitting onto a single A4 sheet.

Before sending your application, upload your digital portfolio as a single PDF file into the application system. Include in the portfolio links to the video(s) and ensure that the video file(s) open and play in common Mac or PC programs.


The application materials must include a CV (single PDF file) with your personal details, education, work experience, completed films, festivals, and any other creative work, awards, grants, study trips or positions of trust.

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

Study plan and letter of motivation

A letter of motivation (4000 characters maximum) explaining your reasons for applying to this study option and telling of your particular interest(s) in the field as well as your goals and expectations for the studies to be completed at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Give reasons for why you are interested specifically in documentary film.  

Language of application documents

The application documents must be submitted in Finnish (Swedish) or English.

Second stage

Some of the applicants are invited to the second stage On the basis of the submitted material.

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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