Most common questions regarding University-Wide Art Studies
UWAS Surface of Electricity Photo Anne Kinnunen


How does UWAS differ from other university-wide, multidisciplinary courses?

Each UWAS course is specifically planned for UWAS only, which means that none of them are not part of any existing study program. This is to ensure that our courses are truly transdisciplinary from the beginning.

What’s the difference between UWAS courses and foundational courses in art and design?

UWAS differs from traditional foundational courses by its focus on transdisciplinarity. Rather than offering courses in so-called basic skills, UWAS invites students to bring their disciplinary knowledge and skills to the course.

How is our course portfolio compiled?

UWAS courses are gathered through a course call every second year. For more information about the course call, see “FAQ Teachers” below.


I’ve never studied art or design. Can I still take a UWAS course?

Yes, you can. There are no prerequisites for UWAS courses.

Are UWAS courses for Bachelor or Master degree students?

Both. Our aim is to connect students from various disciplines and degree programs, Bachelor and Master degree students included.

How many UWAS courses am I allowed to take?

As many as you can fit in your schedule.

Are UWAS courses mandatory?

No. Currently all our courses are listed as electives.

WebOodi says the course is full. Can I still register?

Yes. Every course has a waiting list. Once the registration closes, you will get a notification from our study coordinator whether you were accepted to the course or are on the waiting list.

What are the selection criteria for UWAS courses?

Unlike in most of the degree programs, registration order is not the primary selection criterion for UWAS. In order to ensure that students from different programs and schools across Aalto can take our courses, student’s school and major is also taken into consideration.

You will receive an email confirmation of your status after the registration is closed.

Who selects the students to each course?

Our study coordinator Verna Kuusniemi. If you have questions concerning course registration, please contact her directly.

How and when do I know whether I got accepted to the course or not?

You will get an email once the selection has been done within a few days after the registration has closed.

I would like to cancel my registration. Who should I contact?

The teacher of the course and our study coordinator Verna Kuusniemi. Please notify them as soon as possible so that we can inform the students on the waiting list.

I would like to take a UWAS course but half of it conflicts with a mandatory course. Can I still attend?

In many UWAS courses the attendance should be at least 80%. This because most of the teaching and learning is based on discussions and practice, which requires active participation.

I would like to know more about the course content. Who should I contact?

The teacher of the course. You can find their contact information from WebOodi.

Can I do a UWAS minor?

Not currently.


Why should I teach a UWAS course?

UWAS courses offer a chance to connect with students from various disciplines and backgrounds.

Who attends UWAS courses?

Both bachelor and master degree students across Aalto.

Who can teach a UWAS course?

UWAS courses are usually taught by either Aalto faculty or hourly-paid teachers outside Aalto. We require each teacher to have at least Master’s degree and preferably some previous experience in teaching. Doctoral students are also eligible to teach our courses.

How can I propose a UWAS course?

The courses are gathered through a course call, which is organized every second year following Aalto’s two-year curriculum planning schedule. The previous course call (for 2020-2022) was open in the fall 2019. Course proposals are sent through an online form.  A link to the form is distributed when the call opens.

What are the criteria for a successful UWAS course proposal?

As transdisciplinarity is the starting point for all UWAS courses, we prioritize proposals that expand the boundaries of art and design and utilize knowledge and skills from various disciplines. When assessing proposals, we focus on the following four areas:

1) Course content, conceptual framework, and methods should reflect the variety of practices and ways of knowing in art and design. They are topical and based on research and/or professional expertise.

2) Skills taught in the course are based on artistic or design-based thinking but should also enable students to reflect and reassess their own disciplinary knowledge and life experiences.

3) The content and objectives are thematically-orientated, allowing students from multiple fields to contribute to the course.

4) Course may support and develop teacher’s own educational practice

What’s the acceptance rate for UWAS course proposals?

In 2018, we received over 70 proposals and accepted 34.

What happens after my proposal is accepted?

UWAS coordinators Tim Smith and María Villa will work with you to further develop the course content in relation to other UWAS courses.

What are UWAS Varied Content courses (UWAS Currents and UWAS Project) and how can I propose one?

UWAS Currents and UWAS Project are small-scale project courses aimed to offer courses on topical issues. Proposals are gathered every year in late fall.

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