Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture
Department of Architecture
Espoo, FI
Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture
Department of Architecture
Otakaari 1 X, Espoo

N 60° 11' 13.82'', E 60° 11' 13.82''

 Pirjo Sanaksenaho 
Head of Department of Architecture
e: pirjo.sanaksenaho@aalto.fi
t: +358 50 5714900
 Pirjo Sanaksenaho 
Head of Department of Architecture
Degree programmes
Bachelor of Science
Master of Science
Faculty profile

The Department of Architecture is the oldest and largest of the three schools of architecture in Finland, with degree programmes in architecture and landscape architecture.

The school is organised in main theme subjects, consisting of History and Theory of Architecture, Building Design and Urban Planning and Design, Landscape Planning and Management and Landscape Design and Construction. The department is known for design studios and 1:1 scale projects, many related to Wood Architecture.

Established in 2010, the Aalto University is a new university, created from the merger of three Finnish universities: The Helsinki School of Economics, Helsinki University of Technology and the University of Art and Design. Aalto University School of Art and Design and the Department of Architecture at the School of Engineering will form a new School on 1 January 2012.


The Department of Architecture is situated in Otaniemi, on the Aalto University campus, in the Main Building designed by Alvar Aalto. Wood- and metal- workshops are located in the vicinity.


Student Activities

Students are members of the Architects' Guild. The members of the Guild look after the students' welfare. The Guild arranges annual student days, sauna evenings, parties, and excursions. Landscape Architecture students have their organization Vista.


Helsinki Student Housing Foundation HOAS

Admission Requirements

Exchange, GSP, WP: Students with a Bachelor of Architecture degree or at least three years of studies at a recognized school of architecture can apply. Others: see the webpage

Tuition fees

No tuition fees for exchange and bilateral students, compulsory student union membership fee, GSP, WP 6000 Euros / year

Application Deadline

March 31 for exchange and GSP, WP students
BSc degree by 30 April. Entrance exams, May, June.
MSc degree applications on line, end of February.

Bachelor of Science, Bachelor programme, 3-year programme, Bachelor, 180,

Bachelor of Architecture degree,
BSc (Architecture), Yearly intake c. 35
Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree
BSc (Landscape Architecture) Yearly intake c. 15

Master of Science, Master programme, 2-year programme, Master, 120,

Master of Science in Architecture degree
Master of Landscape Architecture degree

The study programme is versatile: in addition to architecture, the curriculum comprises urban design and planning and landscape architecture. Teaching covers the whole cultural environment, the built environment as well as designing the natural landscape.

The two-phase degree structure is divided into a three year Bachelor’s course (180 ECTS) and a two year Master’s course (120 ECTS). The BSc studies consist of a general studies module, programme studies, three basic modules, elective studies and bachelor’s thesis and seminar. The MSc degree structure is composed of studies in methodological principles, three study modules with one  advanced module in the proposed main subject, elective studies and the Master’s Thesis.
The degree programmes provides students with basic designing, planning and technical skills, with a wide outlook on an architect’s field of work. Students are encouraged to develop their artistic mind, senses and creativity, environmentally and socially responsible thinking and communicative abilities.

Degree programmes in Architecture and Landscape Architecture consist of three basic modules:

Architecture: History and Theory of Architecture, Building Design and Urban Planning and Design,

Landscape architecture: Landscape Planning and Management, Landscape Design and Construction and Urban Planning and Design; thus no distinction is being made between major and minor subjects in the degree.

In both degree programmes, studies during the first year are almost the same and cover subjects from both fields; providing understanding of the other discipline.

Lectures, design and planning studies form the framework of the teaching. Lectures are the theoretical and technical base of the studies.  Basics of Architecture, Building Technology, History and Theory and Urban Planning and Design are taught through small project assignments. To fulfil the Bachelor degree, design and planning courses in the same subjects should be approved. Visual Arts is an essential part of all Bachelor studies.

The Bachelor thesis and the seminar is a study unity that includes scientific perception, information retrieval, the ability to structure and handle given information, language and communication skills. The compulsory training is part of the basic studies and the optional training in elective studies.

The MSc education is based on scientific research or artistic working and understanding of the prevailing practice.

The Master Degree Programme in Architecture has three majors: Building Design, History and Theory of Architecture, and Urban Planning and Design. The Building Design major in the Department of Architecture consists of five scopes of responsibility: Housing Design, Public Buildings, Building Technology, Building Structures and Wood Architecture.

The degree Programme in Landscape Architecture was established in 1989. The master level majors in Landscape Architecture are: Landscape Planning and Management and Landscape Design and Construction.

Working in studios and workshops is an important part of master level education. Many studios deal with actual and current professional topics and are executed in cooperation with municipalities, governmental bodies and representatives of the building industry. Several student competitions are arranged related to the studio work, resulting in small projects and exhibition works.
Part of the studios and lecture courses are taught in English. These courses form the International Architecture Program (IAP). The IAP programme offers international students a possibility to study architecture on a master level. The IAP consists of exchange studies and two tuition fee based programmes: the General Studies Program (GSP) and the Wood Program (WP). The IAP studies do not lead to a degree.

Postgraduate degree studies are: Licentiate in Science (Technology), Doctor in Science (Technology) and Doctor of Philosophy.
All the postgraduate students belong to the doctoral programme of the School. In architecture various supplementary courses and seminars are available, mostly in Finnish. The postgraduate studies consist of individual research, participation in selected supplementary courses and tutorial guidance by the supervising professor. Regular meetings are arranged with doctoral candidates to enhance discussions on current research themes.

Research covers different architectural fields, done within the chairs. The Research Institute for Health Care Facilities (SOTERA) is an independent institute, in the field of health, social care and housing.

In Urban Planning, the research focuses, among other things, on planning theories, questions regarding power and interaction, living and the environment.