Aalto University

Photography, M.A.

  • Application Deadline
  • 24 months
  • English, Swedish, Finnish
The programme provides a high level education and the studies enable the development of advanced professional competence, expressive skills and theoretical thinking. A strong artistic vision and the ability to think conceptually are the key objectives of the programme. The Master's Programme in Photography is offered by the Aalto University.


Content outcomes:
  • The student strengthens his/her expression skills, artistic vision and vocational competence.
  • The student gains a profound understanding of the field of photography and the ability to relate his/her activities to it.
  • Graduates of the Master’s Programme in Photography understand the many different uses and special characteristics of photography and work with the medium in a professional manner.
Skill outcomes:
  • The student produces technically and conceptually high-quality photographic expression.
  • The student can use different photography publication processes and platforms.
  • The student is able to network nationally and internationally and present his/her competence to other actors in the field of photography and visual art.
Academic skills:
  • The student knows the basics of photography theory.
  • He/she can write academic text and use information sources.
  • He/she knows the trends and methods in photography research and, more broadly, in visual culture research and the related theoretical backgrounds.

After completing a master’s degree the student can apply for doctoral studies in photography.

The Master's Programme in Photography is offered by the Aalto University.

Education content

The studies emphasize photography as a means of independent and multidisciplinary artistic expression, highlighting the development of conceptual thinking and research skills.

The staff and students in the Master’s Programme in Photography form a creative academic community. International artistic activities and the various publication processes and platforms are core areas of the programme. The most visible results of the activities are domestic and international exhibitions, photography publications, Helsinki Photomedia Conference and Helsinki School activities.

The studies include vocational, artistic and theoretical courses. The teaching methods are workshops, study projects, lectures, seminars and personal guidance. Studies in international student exchange programmes are recommended as part of the programme. Based on his/her orientation, the student can supplement intermediate studies with courses in the humanities, business or technology offered by other Aalto University schools and other universities. The student also has the opportunity to learn about current international activities in photography research at the Helsinki Photomedia Conference that is held in even years.

The studies require personal motivation and interest in the working methods of photographic expression as well as the ability to solve problems and complete tasks individually. The studies are full-time and mainly completed independently. The studies enable the development of advanced professional competence, expressive skills and theoretical thinking. A strong artistic vision and the ability to think conceptually are the key objectives of the studies.

Career opportunities

The aim of the Master’s Programme in Photography is to create an individual competence profile for the student, which will allow him/her to succeed in the changing and developing domestic and international field. The Master's degree allows the student to apply for doctoral studies leading to a Doctor of Arts (Ph.D.) degree.


Master’s degree studies provide the skills needed to operate diversely in various positions in the field, e.g. freelance photographer, visual artist, photojournalist, photo manager, photo editor, photography instructor, photography researcher and various organisational and advisory roles. Graduates of the programme often combine several different tasks when working in the field.

Programme Structure

Courses Included:

  • Understanding Media, Art and Design
  • Research Skills
  • Professional Legal Practises for MA Students
  • Academic Writing (in English)*
  • Photography Workshops
  • Projects
  • From Theme to Analysis I
  • Presentation Skills
  • Introduction to Helsinki School
For more information, please visit programme website.

Detailed Programme Facts

English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Book IELTS
  • Minimum required score (Grade C):


    The CAE test – or the Cambridge Advanced English – is an exam for applicants who wish to get a Certificate in Advanced English. To receive the Advanced certificate, test-takers must score between 142 and 210 on the Cambridge English: Advanced test. Read more about CAE.

    Note: degree programmes and applications may require a more specific minimum score for admission.

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL – or Test OF English as a Foreign Language – offers a paper-based test (PBT). The final, overall PBT score ranges between 310 and 677, and is based on an average taken from the three test components (listening, structure, and reading). The writing part of this test is scored separately on a scale of 0-6. Read more about TOEFL (PBT).

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL – or Test Of English as a Foreign Language – offers an internet-based test (iBT). The final, overall iBT score ranges between 0 and 120, and includes a scaled average from the four components (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Read more about TOEFL (iBT).

Academic Requirements

Admission procedure

Applicants for the Master’s Programme in Photography apply in the master’s level admissions in the field of Art and Design. Key selection criteria are artistic talent, motivation and  the applicant's potential for development. The applicant must have at least a BA degree in photography or a BA degree in art.

The admission is based on a two-stage evaluation process, where selection of prospective students is made between each stage. Admission will be determined by an overall assessment based on the application documents, a portfolio, a study plan, CV, an interview and possible entrance exam assignments.

Tuition Fee

  • International Applies to you

    15000 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 15000 EUR per year and a duration of 24 months.
  • EU/EEA Applies to you

    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 0 EUR per year and a duration of 24 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.
Tuition in bachelor's and master's programmes taught in English from August 2017 onwards are subjected to annual fees for non-EU/EEA citizens. 

Living costs for Helsinki

910 - 1400 EUR/month
Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Prospective students subject to tuition fees are eligible to apply for Aalto University Scholarship.

StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS, StudyPortals offers you the chance to receive up to £10000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.