Programme-specific Admission Procedure and Evaluation Criteria
What we look for in an applicant?
The VCD programme seeks students with a background in graphic and communication design and neighbouring fields. Applicants with strong professional practice in other backgrounds, eager to redefine their practice towards communication design, are also considered. We expect prospective students to be interested in connecting their practice to wider societal and cultural frameworks. The programme appreciates applicants with an interest in developing and repositioning their practice, setting their skills and knowledge in conceptual and theoretical frameworks via practice-based research. We look for candidates who are self motivated, open to learning with an exploratory approach, committed to deepening and/or broadening their design skills in an international community, and motivated to participate in academic discourse on visual communication.
The criteria we use to evaluate the applications in the first stage are
- Preliminary assignment
- Motivation letter
In addition to these, in the second stage the evaluation criteria also includes
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.
For your portfolio, you are asked to choose a selection of projects and explorations that best reflects your present knowledge, skills and experience. We appreciate careful curation, so do also consider how your portfolio can communicate the direction you would like to take your practice or research. We also appreciate annotated portfolios that show the background of projects and methods used to arrive at solutions/visual outcomes. If the work is done in collaboration, you should clearly describe your role.
We only accept digital work samples/portfolios. A good collection of work might include, for example, some of these:
- 5 projects/20 images or less of visual work.
- 10 minutes or less of video, or interactive time-based work, and hyperlink of online websites, blogs or apps.
- Writing sample no longer than 3 pages.
- Theoretical / research work preferably with visualization outcomes.
Your portfolio must include:
- The preliminary assignment mentioned below.
As a preliminary assignment, create a visualization that tells a narrative about yourself. The assignment must be included in the work samples/portfolio PDF.
The assignment is a chance to show your visual communication and conceptual skills, and to let us know who you are. Narrative can be understood loosely so it can be anything, fact or fiction: for example an autobiography, a journey in the field of communication design, or a collection or collage of anecdotes made for this purpose.
Whether your narrative is expressive or data-based is up to you and a part of your challenge, and this also makes it an opportunity to indicate where you want to take your work next. This assignment can also be a showcase of your design skills, so use professional techniques in the production of the final work.
The format is up to you, but the end result should be digital: a PDF or a link to a URL. No existing work can be used: please complete original work for this assignment.
In your CV, please list your education, work experience, and skills, together with possible exhibitions, publications, awards, grants, and study trips relevant to your practice.
In your letter, please describe your practice and your current position, and your specific interests and aspirations within the field. Let us know where you would want your studies to take you, and why. Your letter should also state how you expect a master’s degree in Aalto ARTS to help you accomplish your goals.
As the central task in the MA programme is the thesis project, we appreciate learning about your tentative topics of interest and exploration that might ultimately lead to thesis work – please note these plans will not bind you in any way.
Language of application documents
The application documents must be submitted in English.
Part of the applicants are invited to the second stage. The invitation to the second stage is sent to the applicants at latest 7 days in advance.
The second stage is an interview, where we want to hear more about your motivations, hopes, and dreams. In addition to your personal plans, we are also interested in what your world of references and inspirations consists of, and what you see yourself bringing to the student community.