Estonian Academy of Arts
Faculty of Architecture
Tallinn, EE
Estonian Academy of Arts
Faculty of Architecture
Põhja pst 7
10412 Tallinn

N 59° 26' 32.91'', E 59° 26' 32.91''
 Liis Mõttus Assistant

t: +372 642 0071
PhD Sille Pihlak 
Degree programmes
Master of Architecture
Master of Urban studies
PhD Architecture and Urban Planning
Faculty profile

Faculty of Architecture is the focal point of Estonian architectural education since 1951
and the most important centre of competence in all the creative disciplines
related to artificial environments, including interior architecture, architecture, landscape design, and urban planning and design. The nucleus of the tuition is comprised of the Architecture and Urban Design as well as Interior Architecture programmes. The first of these includes contemporary architectural studies, in the best sense of the word, by paying equal attention to actual buildings, spaces between them, and the larger environments where they are located.

When studying architecture, it is also possible to study landscape architecture as a subsidiary subject. The second programme deals, more precisely, with the scale of human body in the design and production of furniture and interiors. Architecture and interior architecture are very closely related, with significant overlapping and joint projects in one’s academic studies, and later, in one’s professional life. An important aspect of the tuition is the long-term association between spatial and material knowledge of all scales.

Since 2004, Urban Studies programme has been offered at the Master’s level. It is an international English-language curriculum, which, unlike the above, is not studio based education, but deals with research concerning the functioning of modern cities, from the perspective of their users, major participants, decision-makers and planners. Strategies for the future are created, and opportunities sought, for their implementation.

Established in 1914, the Estonian Academy of Arts is the only public university in Estonia providing higher education in fine arts, design, architecture, media, visual studies, art culture, and conservation.

The EAA is striving to become a leading international centre of
innovation in the field of visual culture.  Currently there are more
than 1 200 students enrolled in the Academy, with many participating in exchange programmes at international partner universities. In addition to active study and research activities, the Estonian Academy of Arts also offers lifelong learning opportunities through the Open Academy.
The Estonian Academy of Arts collaborates with more than a hundred universities worldwide and belongs to several international higher education networks.

The lecturers and instructors are professionals in their field —
internationally recognised artists, architects, designers, historians,
and scientists. Visiting lecturers from universities in Estonia and
abroad are regular guests.

The Estonian Academy of Arts has a rich academic library that is
constantly expanding its collection, a newly renovated joint dormitory with the Estonian Music and Theatre Academy, and training grounds at Tamse in Muhumaa and Heimtal in Viljandimaa. Departments of the EAA regularly organise student, faculty, and departmental exhibitions in various locations in Tallinn and elsewhere.

The EAA actively publishes different types of publications, including faculty members’ books, textbooks, study materials, collections of articles, and advance reviewed works from the fields of art and science.

While offering a wide selection of specialities, the Academy also
offers unique, individualised study and personal mentorship by members of the faculty. The departments are strong bodies of competence on their own, while at the same time facilitating synergy and interdisciplinary studies. Many faculties have been operating for close to a century. They have lengthy experience and historical continuity, and also pioneer change in their field.

The Academy welcomes motivated people who are visually and socially sensitive and want to develop their thinking abilities, opportunities, and potential as creative people. The goal of the Academy is for graduates to be able to function successfully in society and work as independent creators and thinkers. That is why the curricula are formed in such a way as to develop the analytical ability and critical thinking of students. Every programme includes philosophy, history of art, aesthetics, and foreign languages.

EKA is currently in the building on the corner of Põhja Boulevard and Kotzebue Street.
With the Architecture Department mostly operating on the 4th floor.

132 students (60 Bachelor, 60 Master, 12 PhD), 10% of foreign students.

52 staff members (12 full-time and approx. 40 visiting lecturers and critics).

Student Activities

- Introductory week

- Student Government

- Student Buddy system


3D point measurement
Architectural Model Lab
Audio Visual Lab
CAD - Lab
Computer Room
Exhibition Room
Lecture Room
Painting studio
Photographic Studio
Printing facilities
sculpture studio, painting studio
Study Room


Muusa Majutus Dormitory
+ 372 59 181 442
Kuhlbarsi 1, Tallinn

Admission Requirements

Architecture and Urban Planning:

- Entrance examinations
1. Speciality composition I (exercise of spatial architecture)
2. Speciality composition II (city planning task)
3. Spatial composition
4. High school examination (grade) in mathematics or physics
5. Drawing (still-life and town view)
6. High school examination (grade) in native language
Total result includes 6 grades (in 10-point system): mathematics or physics, grades of drawing, speciality composition I, speciality composition II.

Urban Studies:

1. CV
2. Sample of your previous work
- architecture/urban design portfolio (single PDF document, max 20 pages, max 12 MB)
- or writing sample (single PDF document, max 6000 words)
- or a combined sample of your design and written work
3. Motivation letter (max 500 words) Explain how you understand the terms “city,” “urbanism,” and “urbanization”. How does your education/experience prepare you for the program? How would you benefit from, and contribute to, the program? Discuss

Suitable MSc candidate has a Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent qualification in architecture, landscape architecture, geography, construction, art history, sociology, urban planning, political science, or other arts & humanities fields.

The selection process has two rounds. First, the candidates are evaluated on the basis of their CV, previous study performance, motivation letter, and architectural/urban design portfolio or/and writing sample. An application should demonstrate the applicants intellectual curiosity and an imaginative grasp of the urban question. We require that the candidates have a strong academic record, and a clear idea how their education and experience have prepared them for the urban studies program. They will display that they can think independently and work collaboratively, and pursue studies across urban theory and design. It is necessary to have a good command of the English language.

Shortlisted candidates are then invited for an interview.

In the second round, in-depth interviews are conducted with prospective candidates.

Depending on their previous education/experience, the candidates present an architecture/urban design portfolio, or/and a writing sample (realized/published work is not required, but is an advantage) in a field relevant to urban studies (architecture, urbanism, urban planning, geography, sociology, political sciences, art history, etc.).

Tuition fees

Urban Studies MA

1500 euros per year (for citizens of EU, UK, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein; Turkey, Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Russia and Switzerland);
1650 euros per year (for citizens of non EU countries)

Application Deadline

Urban Studies:
between February 1st and March 1.
Interviews: 14. - 25. March

Doctoral School:
International applicants: February 1st - May 1.
Estonian applicants: 13 - 27. June

Interviews: 30 June – 5 July

Master of Architecture, MA, 5 Years integrated curriculum, Master, 300,

Integrated Master’s Degree programme in Estonian

Master of Urban studies, MA, 2 Years, Master, 120,

International Master’s Programme in English

PhD Architecture and Urban Planning, 4 Years, PhD, 240,

International PhD programme in English

Architecture and Urban Planning
The architectural studies are comprised of an integrated five-year curriculum. In the curriculum of Architecture and Urban Planning, it is possible to acquire in-depth knowledge and specialize in the fields of restoration, landscape architecture or planning.

Architectural studies at EKA are studio-based in form and interdisciplinary in content. Most of the work is done in a studio, which is essentially an environment similar to an architectural office, where your sketches create a real project. The most important subject of the curriculum is architectural and urban design, which deals with processes taking place in society. Each semester, a building of a different size and the surrounding urban space or plan is created according to a theme. In addition to the professional studio, the architecture student participates in general and specialized theory and engineering subjects, as well as in painting, drawing and specialized experimental studios (see our professors). The last, so-called vertical studios are cross-course and related to the laboratories of the Faculty of Architecture (3D Laboratory, VR Laboratory, Material Laboratory) and the research work carried out in them, which explores the fringes of spatial creation. All EKA laboratories and workshops are open to students to realize their ideas and creations.

The Faculty of Architecture organizes the traditional “Open Lecture Series” in which EKA is visited by the world’s top architects and internationally renowned professors. In addition to giving lectures, guest speakers always give feedback on students’ professional projects in critical seminars. Within the Erasmus program, EKA has student exchange agreements with a large number of architecture schools around the world, and thanks to the initiative of students, the list is constantly updated. Our students have easy access to the best universities in the world for exchange studies.

The study of architecture and urban planning ends with the completion of a master’s thesis, to which the entire fifth year of study is dedicated. The Master’s student has a choice between four different studios related to building design or adaptation, urban planning, landscape or the use of digital tools in architecture. The master’s thesis is a professional project with visual material, models and text, which describes the master’s thesis process and its theoretical and practical background.

Urban Studies
The core of the Urban Studies curriculum is our signature urban research studio, in which you will analyze and participate in actual urban situations through a combination of desk research, field work, and multi-sited interventions. It differs from an architecture/urban design studio in that we approach design as a practice that is inextricable from and determined by social, political and economic fields. The research studio allows for different outcome formats, such as essays/written reports, installations and happenings.

Additionally the curriculum consists of lecture courses, seminars, a design studio, thematic workshops and skill-based training sessions. Occassionally we organize a master class, and we do not shy from experimental teaching methods, such as reading retreats.

The curriculum combines individual and group study. You will be studying in a small group of no more than twelve students and will be supported by regular consultations with the faculty.

Architecture and Urban Planning

The curriculum shows in more detail which subjects are studied in the field of architecture and urban planning.

Urban Studies

The program consists of 120 ECTS divided in four semesters.

Semester 1
Studio: Urbanization (8 ECTS)
Contemporary Urban and Architectural Theory (6 ECTS)
Studio: Art and The City (4 ECTS)
Urban History (2 ECTS)
Drawing (2 ECTS)
Urban Geography (1 ECTS)
Model Making (1 ECTS)

Semester 2
Studio: Urban Futures (8 ECTS)
Urban Ethnography (4 ECTS)
Urban Models (4 ECTS)
Housing: Design and Politics (3 ECTS)
Urban Tourism and Consumption (2 ECTS)
Detailed Planning (2 ECTS)

Semester 3
Urban Design Studio (9 ECTS)
Studio: Production of Urban Space (8 ECTS)
Contemporary Urban and Architecture Theory 2 (3 ECTS)
Master’s Thesis Seminar (3 ECTS)
Contesting the City (2 ECTS)
Observation Practice (1 ECTS)
Internship (1 ECTS)

Semester 4
Master’s Thesis (30 ECTS)

Additionally, you will collect 15 ECTS in general subjects.

Doctoral study is the third level of higher education and is opened for candidates who have graduated from Master’s Degree or relevant qualification in the discipline of the doctoral curricula or in the subject, closely related to the one of the doctoral curricula.
The doctoral studies in Estonian Academy of Arts, Faculty of Architecture are divided into two directions: the traditional theoretical text based research and experimental design based research. The last one is also divided into two directions: creative practice research and research by design.

The doctoral studies include the following domains: planning, urban design, architecture, interior architecture and landscape architecture. Doctoral studies are aiming to develop and reflect creation, histories, theories and philosophy of these fields.

Nominal duration of Doctoral study is 4 years and study load specified in the curriculum 240 ECTS . Doctoral study includes general study 15 ECTS, selective study 12 ECTS, speciality study 33 ECTS and practical or theoretical doctoral dissertation project 180 ECTS.
In the beginning of doctoral study the stress is laid on general and selective study, which includes research methodological, philosophical and generally developing subjects, which students can choose according to the individual plan also from outside the Doctoral School of EAA. Speciality study supports knowledge of theory, history and methodology of own speciality. Also the objective of speciality study is to support doctoral dissertation project.

In two first years the student prepares analysis of contemporary problems of the speciality for Doctoral Seminar and Doctoral Conference. In following years speciality study concentrates on practical and theoretical professional activities according to the individual plan. In last two years the student holds speeches and lecture course to MA students, organises one-day seminar or workshop related to their doctoral dissertation project.

Doctoral dissertation project is an independent research presenting a well-founded innovative solution of essential problem of the theory, history, technology or philosophy of the field, or creative project (work of art, series of works of art or product development project), which part is related written analytical thesis. Creative work should take a form appropriate to the discipline e.g. exhibition.

Doctoral study ends with defending of doctoral dissertation project. After a successful defence, the candidate will be awarded a Doctor’s Degree, receive relevant diploma and academic transcript as well as diploma supplement in English.

The more detailed aims of the doctoral studies are:

– Create new professional knowledge, which connect the spatial issues at large with the contemporary problems of society;

– Develop and introduce skills, new knowledge and professional competences to advance the sustainable development of environment;

– Create new professional knowledge and skills to collaborate with other areas of research;

– Develop existing and create new methods and strategies for research activity in spatial matters;

– To participate in the international cooperation of researchers and creative professionals of spatial matters.

In short: The doctoral studies in EKA, Faculty of Architecture aim to be creative, contemporary, sustainable, innovative, interdisciplinary and international.

Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA) and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) have established cooperation within doctoral education through Cotutelle agreement. The partners have good experience of joint supervision through the PRS system (Practice Research Seminars). The candidates enrol in both schools and will qualify for a PhD degree at both institutions. The normal duration of the program is 4 years.


The research work of the Faculty of Architecture is divided into two major areas. The first focuses on the history, theory and philosophy of spatial design relying primarily on the methodology of the history of architecture and philosophy. The second concentrates on the practice of the specialties of spatial design that are studied by the means of the given field. The practice-based research is further divided into two approaches:

1) Creative practice research founded on the new knowledge and original problems that stem from the work of an (architecture) office and thus require a well-functioning practice.

2) Research by design with research forming an integral part of a particular creative process resulting in a creative product with the respective processes, novel research topics and solutions.

The Faculty of Architecture also conducts technology-based applied research based on the links between information technology and spatial environments and their respective sustainability. This includes contemporary production technologies, information interfaces, sensors and geodesign on the urban and regional scale.

Areas of research:

Urban Planning and Urban Studies
Timber in Architecture
Digital Spatial Design Practices
Material Studies