Estonian Academy of Arts



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. In 2013/2014, there are 604 students in the Bachelor’s programme, 361 in Master’s programme, 46 in the Doctoral programme, and 243 students in the Open Academy.

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.


Since the beginning of the 20th century, the Estonian Academy of Arts has been an important centre of Estonian art education. The Estonian Art Society founded the Tallinn Applied Art School in 1914, which offered general education and professional training in art and crafts.

Upon drafting the curricula, the St. Petersburg art school Stieglitz — which concentrated on teaching technical and practical skills — was used as a model. In 1924 the school became the State Applied Art School, providing education in all the traditional disciplines of applied arts, and visual arts disciplines were added to its programme in the 1930s. In 1932 the school moved to a new multi-stage school type, and it became possible to apply for a diploma of a specialist or applied artist.

The school was renamed the State Industrial Art School in 1938. In 1944 the school was renamed Tallinn State Applied Art Institute of the ESSR. As a result of the centralisation of art education system in 1951, all studies were transferred from Tartu to Tallinn, architectural studies were added, and the name was changed to the State Art Institute of the Estonian SSR (SAIE, Estonian abbreviation ERKI). In 1989, ERKI was renamed Tallinn Art University, and since 1995 its name has been the Estonian Academy of Arts.


The aim of the Academy is to be in the midst of life happening. That is why attention is paid to society and the professional world in broad terms.

EAA has close ties and cooperation agreements with more than 100 international universities and many international networks, through which student and faculty exchanges can be negotiated and apprenticeship opportunities can be expanded. EAA is a member of CUMULUS (International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media); EAAE (European Association for Architectural Education); ELIA (The European League of Institutes of the Arts), and through NORDPLUS is a member of many professional networks.

Since 1999 EAA has been a member of The European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme for Higher Education, Erasmus, under which more than 100 bilateral exchange agreements have been signed. In addition to the Erasmus programme, the Estonian Academy of Arts has entered into student and faculty exchange and cooperation contracts with ten internationally recognised art universities outside of the European Union.

Regular and intense contacts are maintained with the world outside academia through exhibitions and publishing work, through organising many events, and in cooperation with businesses and public institutions.

Foreign relations, faculty and student exchanges, advice on foreign apprenticeship opportunities, and grant information are coordinated by the International Relations Office.


The EAA collaborates with universities, cultural institutions, artistic associations, local government bodies, and businesses in Estonia and abroad.

The Estonian Academy of Arts cooperates with many Estonian and international businesses in the field of science and development. The partners vary depending on the area of specialisation, and the Academy is able to offer a range of services from research and analysis to creating prototypes.

The Department of Development is the link between education and business. The services and solutions supporting EAA’s main activities are worked out, giving legal and entrepreneurial advice to staff and businesses for carrying out collaborative projects with the Academy’s departments. The Department of Development interacts actively with businesses in Estonia and abroad and carries out joint projects. Many students complete design tasks for Estonian companies in the public and private sectors and take part in international and local competitions during their studies.

The Department of Development organises training in the fields of entrepreneurship, intellectual property rights, career planning, international apprenticeship, and project management. Students are advised in making business plans, and there are numerous resources available to EAA’s spin-off businesses (companies founded by students during their studies). The department coordinates interdepartmental development projects and, if necessary, carries out science and development projects. The Department of Development manages EAA’s local and international co-sponsored or joint projects.

This school offers programs in:
  • English
  • Estonian

View master programs »


This school also offers:


Master in Animation

Campus Full time 2 years August 2017 Estonia Tallinn

Estonian Academy of Arts is offering a 2-year Master of Animation programme to postgraduate students interested in animation directing and filmmaking. [+]

Master in Animation Estonian Academy of Arts is offering a two-year Master of Animation programme to postgraduate students interested in animation directing and filmmaking. If you are an ambitious and determined artist, with the talent, motivation and desire to create unique work, form new directions and realise your career aspirations as an animation director, this course is ideal. The course combines several disciplines e.g. animation, scriptwriting, history of animation and media theory, making the background of this MA programme trans-disciplinary. The coursework mainly concentrates on classical and experimental techniques i.e. drawing animation, stop motion, cut-outs, sand animation, painting under the camera etc. In the professional sense, students will direct and produce animated films. An important part of the study are collaboration projects with local companies and organisations. The programme has a unique teaching and learning framework where students receive abundant individual attention and mentoring from highly experienced animation professionals. Students of the animation department organise the annual festival Animated Dreams, which is part of POFF, the Dark Nights Film Festival, held in Estonia during the dim evenings of Autumn. Curriculum Structure Lectures, seminars, intensive modules and projects are intertwined in the two-year MA programme. Essay writing, script writing, animating, directing, editing, sound engineering and research are core activities to be learnt and practiced throughout the courses, leading to a final diploma-film project. The courses are taught in English. Courses taught Philosophy Ethics and aesthetics Film theory Film history Animation history Animation technique Creativity Film production Film industry Animation projects 1 and 2 [-]

Master in Urban Studies

Campus Full time 2 years August 2017 Estonia Tallinn

The program is situated at the trans-disciplinary crossroad of critical urban studies, urbanism and urban planning, architecture theory, sociology and urban ethnography. [+]

Master in Urban Studies The two-year Master’s program in Urban Studies combines rigorous academic research with intensive field-work. The program is situated at the trans-disciplinary crossroad of critical urban studies, urbanism and urban planning, architecture theory, sociology and urban ethnography. Our students have previous academic background in architecture and/or humanities. Integrating critical interrogation and experimental practice, the program has a triple focus on social uses, spatial programs and urban forms. The form of assignments includes term-long research studios, intensive workshops, lectures, seminars, and field trips. The distinctive mark of the Master in Urban Studies is its reliance on theoretically informed action in the field. We take students’ effort seriously: the program engages ‘real’ actors and create opportunities for public presentation, discussion and publishing of best works. The Master’s program is fully in English and it has a strong international orientation. We cooperate with a network of partner institutions in Europe and we are connected to regional partners in Finland, Baltic countries and Russia. Curriculum includes number of workshops and lecture courses by international scholars and practitioners. Students also participate in hosting the annual international conference Urban and Landscape Days in Tallinn. The education prepares students to engage with urban issues at the intersection between design practice, political practice and theoretical knowledge. The program prepares graduates for further study at the PhD level. ABOUT PROGRAM As events and transformations of the recent decades have forcefully shown, the urban question permeates all major social, economic, and political developments of today. The interdisciplinary Master’s program in Urban Studies critically engages with the wide-ranging manifestation of contemporary urbanity, integrating knowledge from urban studies, urbanism and urban planning, architecture theory, sociology, urban ethnography and geography. Contemporary urban situation is studied as a multifaceted phenomenon, which cannot be understood from a single disciplinary perspective. In preparing students for understanding and intervening in urban space, the dual character of city as a built form and as a social process is emphasised. The program leads students to have an insight in the dynamics of institutions, actors, and conflicts that shape today’s cities. The mission of the English-speaking Master’s program in Urban Studies is to understand and analyse contemporary urban problems and act upon these problems in terms of design, policy, activism, and research. The education prepares students to engage with urban issues at the intersection between design practice, political practice and theoretical knowledge (urban design, urban and spatial planning, state and municipal policy making, public expertise, community advocacy, social activism, academic and practice-based research). The program prepares graduates for further study at the PhD level. The Master’s program is fully in English and it has a strong international orientation. It offers regular guest lectures and lectures courses by international scholars and practitioners. The element of interactivity is important and students often work in small groups. Intensive urban fieldwork is complemented by regular consultations with teachers. History of the program Combining influences from typomorphological approach of Aldo Rossi and conceptual urbanism of Rem Koolhaas’ OMA, the program was established by professor Jan Verwijnen in early 2000s. From the start, the Urban Studies curriculum linked architecture to philosophy, urban history, critical economic theory, cultural studies and knowledge of new planning tools. The driving idea was to re-ground architecture and urbanism, so that projects – defined as “urban interventions” – would grow from contemporary urban phenomena, not from ossified professional practices or historical models. The program was characterised by an intense interest in everyday life, its spatial context and new conceptualisations of space as a process. The first Urban Studies Days were organised in 2004. The aim was to bring in high-level international experts and to discuss Tallinn’s planning and urban development in the spirit of Berlin’s Stadtforum. Later the event was renamed Urban and Landscape Days, and it is organised annually in April or May. In 2005, Panu Lehtovuori took the responsibility in 2005 to run the program and develop the curriculum. Since autumn 2012, the program has been led by Dr. Maros Krivy. STUDIES The Master’s program in Urban Studies provides the students with: theoretical ground for understanding urban history and contemporary urban development, practical research and methodological skills for analysing urban situations in a rich, comprehensive and interdisciplinary way, design skills engaging the student in work on urban and spatial planning, international and comparative perspective. Pedagogically, the curriculum consists of: lectures courses, in which key debates in contemporary urban studies an architectural theory is presented, reading seminars, where students are engaged in critical discussion of these debates, semester-long research studios, the core element of the program, in which students analyse, engage and propose solutions to ‘real’ urban situations, utilising wide range of planning (scenario planning, interventions) and academic (interviews, observation, archival research) methods, seminaries held by invited lecturers, who provide expert knowledge on multiple fields central to the urban question (geography, history, art history, detailed planning, software tools), annually changing workshops and courses on topical themes, which are shared between first and second year MA students, helping the two groups to integrate. The basic structure of the Master’s program is as follows: 1st year, autumn term: urban and architectural theory, typomorphology studio 1st year, spring term: scenario-planning studio 2nd year, autumn term: urban research studio, urban planning studio (held in collaboration with students of Architecture program) 2nd year, spring term: Master’s thesis. ADMISSIONS Depending on their background discipline, prospective students have an outstanding portfolio of either design or written work (realised or published work is not required, but it is an advantage) in a field relevant to the discipline of Urban Studies (architecture, planning, social sciences, art history, etc.). Students’ strong interest in urban phenomena, manifested in their previous work at the level of design skills and/or research experience is decisive. Crucially, prospective students are able to manifest that they are willing and capable to integrate these two forms of urban knowledge in their Master’s studies. Prospective students are able to formulate original questions, problems and approaches that they would like to pursue during the Master’s studies. Fluent command of English language is required. The process of selecting prospective students has two rounds. In the first round, the applicants are assessed based on the submitted portfolio of written and/or design work and the CV. In the second round, in-depth interviews are conducted with prospective candidates. The requirement for admissions to Master’s studies is a Bachelor’s degree, higher education obtained on the basis of professional higher education curriculum or other relevant qualification that gives access to Master’s studies. Educational certificates issued abroad are recognized by Estonian Academy of Arts on the basis of the assessments and opinions of the Estonian ENIC/NARIC Centre. INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS The admission period for international applicants is March 1st till May 1st, 2016. Application can be filled online. ESTONIAN APPLICANTS The admission period for Estonian applicants is June 20th till July 3rd, 2016. Application can be filled online. [-]

Master of Design and Crafts

Campus Full time 2 years August 2017 Estonia Tallinn

The Estonian Academy of Arts offers a Master's programme in Design and Crafts, delivered in English. The students enter a common programme but also select a discipline: ceramics, glass art and design, jewellery and blacksmithing, textile design, leather art and accessory design, or fashion design. [+]

The Estonian Academy of Arts' two-year Design and Crafts MA programme prepares students for professional practice and helps them identify their own positions as artists — within their communities, society, design field, global economy, natural environment and other contexts. The programme provides students with as many real-world, hands-on situations as possible by giving them access to practising professionals and diverse opportunities. The programme also develops and changes with the students. With each new group, we start with roundtable discussions to find out what you actually want. What experiences do you value? What is the focus of your interests? What are your professional dreams? The students enter a common programme but also select a specialisation. Students who commence studies in the Design and Crafts programme will remain closely connected with their chosen discipline. Regardless of the specialisation, the MA programme focuses on collaboration. This includes group tasks that cross disciplines, where students with different backgrounds and study experience work together. A significant part of the coursework takes the form of workshops (supervised by international lecturers), which aim to break routine and provide inspiration. Design and Crafts specialisations: ceramics glass art and design jewellery and blacksmithing textile design leather art and accessory design fashion design Material-based design and craft disciplines have a unique outlook and philosophy, and the Estonian Academy of Arts is one the few places in the world where it is possible to study in some of these fields at the MA level. Each MA graduate should be the best in the world in something — whether this be in producing an ingenious product, having a unique artistic position or demonstrating in-depth, materials-based research. The Design and Crafts MA programme is also an ideal entry point for international students wishing to continue their studies in the EAA doctoral programme. Tuition per year: 1500 EUR / 1640 USD ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS Application (submitted through Dream Apply by May 1st) 50€ application fee (paid via bank transfer) Bachelor’s degree Official transcript of records (translated into Estonian, English or Russian and notarised) Proof of English proficiency: FCE or CAE, IELTS 5.5+ or TOEFL 70+ Copy of the data page of your passport or ID card CV A relevant portfolio (for your chosen specialisation) Essay about your Master’s thesis project or vision Interview [-]

Master of Interaction Design

Campus Full time 2 years August 2017 Estonia Tallinn

The MA in Interaction Design programme focuses on human-centered design. The ongoing evolution of smart consumer technology has increased the need for well-designed intuitive user interfaces and experiences. [+]

Interaction Design is a rapidly developing creative field. The ongoing evolution of smart consumer technology has increased the need for well-designed intuitive user interfaces and experiences. Be it a mobile app, a digital display on a household machine, the front-end of a web-based service or a complex system involving different digital and physical experiences, interaction design is an essential part of it. Interaction designers aim to make users’ encounters with sophisticated information and machinery as simple and pleasant as possible. Our programme focuses on human-centered design. User research, analysis and testing form the foundation of the curriculum. Theoretical studies are built around practical design projects based on real briefs by companies from Estonia and abroad. User-based, agile design and product/service development methods ensure the sound outcome of the projects. The cooperation of our Master’s programme with the department of Graphic Design lends a solid focus on the skills and tools of graphic user interface design — data visualisation, digital typography, visual design, motion graphics, GUI prototyping, etc. Cooperation with the departments of Product Design, Interior Architecture and the programme of Design & Engineering expands the scope of the curriculum to tangible interaction and interactive spaces. Physical computing, wearable tech and virtual reality are covered by study projects. Graduates of the Interaction Design Master’s programme will be well equipped to run complex product/service development projects and to manage international multi-disciplinary teams. We expect our students to have very different backgrounds. Previous experience in design and software development is helpful, but by no means necessary. During the first semester of the program, a set of introductory courses helps students get acquainted with design, programming and entrepreneurship. We welcome everyone who has a serious interest in designing interactions, interfaces and user experiences. If you want to learn how to work as a specialist or a team leader in the field of interaction design, join our family of international students! The program is taught by a team of experienced mentors: Amid Moradganjeh is passionate about developing human-oriented approaches to advance design innovation. After finishing his Bachelor studies in mechanical engineering in Iran, Amid received an MA in Interaction Design from the Umea Institute of Design in Sweden. He has previously worked at the global design and innovation firm IDEO, as well as for Google and Microsoft. Tanel Kärp's special interest lies in non-profit and community-oriented projects studied graphic design at the Estonian Academy of Arts, and an MA (with honours) in Design and Development of Virtual Environments from the University of Tartu in Estonia. Tanel is one of the creators of Hooandja (an Estonian crowdfunding platform) and the Let’s Do It global garbage cleanup project. Jaak Kaevats is an interaction designer exploring the implications and applications of emerging technologies. He has a BA in Graphic Design from the Estonian Academy of Arts, and completed an MA in Human-Computer Interaction at the Universität für KIG Linz in Austria. In addition, numerous professionals from Estonian and foreign companies are supporting our program by sharing their experience and mentoring the student projects. Employment profiles for graduates:   Interaction designer   Interface designer   User experience designer   Service designer   Design manager   Design team leader Tuition per year: 3000 EUR ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS   Application (submitted through Dream Apply between March 1st and May 1st)   50€ application fee (paid via bank transfer)   Bachelor’s degree   Official transcript of records (translated into Estonian, English or Russian and notarised)   Proof of English proficiency: FCE or CAE, IELTS 5.5+ or TOEFL 70+   Copy of the data page of your passport or ID card   CV   Portfolio   Motivational letter   Interview [-]

Master of Interior Architecture

Campus Full time 2 years August 2017 Estonia Tallinn

We educate future interior architects. The most important practical subjects are the design of space, furniture and architectural details. [+]

Master of Interior Architecture and Furniture Design We educate future interior architects. The most important practical subjects are the design of space, furniture and architectural details. For instance, the students learn to design homes, schools, cafés, both modern and demanding historical interiors. The students also learn about painting and landscaping, photography and philosophy. The Academy of Arts has educated interior architects for more than seventy years. One can honestly say that all of Estonia’s most important interiors have been designed by our graduates and current faculty members. We try to adhere to a principle that stresses the integrity of form and content but also considers the function of the space or the item. We keep our finger on the pulse of our times, while also searching for our own path. In our climate, people unfortunately spend most of their time indoors and not outdoors, and therefore, whether we like it or not, indoor spaces have a great impact on our everyday lives. Therefore, interior architects and furniture designers have a unique opportunity to improve the world – to use their ideas to make people happier. INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE AND FURNITURE DESIGN AS A PROFESSION The field in which we operate – the built-up environment as a whole – forces us to synthesise and perceive architectural problems and environmental issues more generally. At the same time, we deal with all the smallest tangible details and problems that people are personally interested in. And we must know what is happening in the other design fields and fine arts, and to be familiar with a large number of technical disciplines. These include, among others: lighting and acoustics, heating and ventilation, building and finishing materials, building and furniture structures, and various computer programs. If we add good communications skills, necessary for understanding and influencing the client or various interest groups related to the design process, as well as the need to be well-acquainted with the specifics of various design fields, we get quite an awe-inspiring list. WHAT ARE THE STUDIES LIKE? The three-year BA programme places the greatest emphasis on the theoretical and practical learning of general art subjects and technical disciplines, which enables the graduate to continue in the MA programme, or to work as an assistant in an architectural or interior architecture office, in various media fields, as well as in manufacturing, service and business enterprises. The MA programme basically focuses on various specialised creative projects, the in-depth analysis of the elements of the built-up environment, and the completion of the master’s thesis. In accordance with the curriculum, the studies add up to 120 ECTS credits. Graduates of the MA programme can work as independent specialists in both the design and construction fields, in the furniture industry, at media and advertising companies, as well as in service and retail enterprises. INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE AND FURNITURE DESIGN AT THE ACADEMY OF ARTS Interior architects have been educated at the Academy of Arts for more than 70 years. One can honestly say that all of Estonia’s most important interiors have been designed by our graduates and current faculty members. One could mention Leila Pärtelpoeg, who restored the Tallinn Town Hall and numerous manor houses; Väino Tamm, the foremost modernist of the 1960s; and current Professor Emeritus Vello Asi; Pille Lausmäe, famous for her luxurious minimalist interiors; and Tiina Mang, who has gained fame for her neo-functionalist furniture. The department is headed by Professor Toivo Raidmets, who has created sensations with his striking club interiors and interesting furniture. The foundation for the education of interior architects in Estonia was established by a presidential decree on 1 August 1938. To date, 551 interior architects, studying full- and part-time, have received their professional higher education diplomas. The preliminary step for the establishment of the Department of Interior Architecture was the opening of a woodworking workshop at the Tallinn Industrial Art School in 1917, where furniture design was also taught. A more professional education of interior architects was initiated in 1938, when an interior architecture course was introduced at the State Higher Art School, which was created on the basis of the industrial art school. The mission-oriented idea to educate interior architects may have come from the members of the progressive Association of Applied Arts (RaKÜ). Its membership including practicing architects who had no professional education. One of them, Richard Wunderlich, was Estonia’s most prominent designer of luxury furniture, chairman of RaKÜ, the school’s director and one of its first teachers. The RaKÜ members also included a dozen outstanding architects, including Edgar-Johan Kuusik, who became the head of the department after World War II. The studies, which had been interrupted by the war and ensuing political changes, were resumed in 1944 in a reorganised school of higher education with a new name – Tallinn State Applied Art Institute of the Estonian S.S.R. The first interior architects with higher educations graduated in 1949. The department was closed in 1955. More changes occurred – the State Art Institute of the Estonian S.S.R. (ERKI) was created by merging the institutes for art education, and the speciality was consolidated in a department with the new name of Spatial Design. In 1959, students were again admitted and a younger generation of interior architects filled the faculty positions. Bruno Tomberg, Väino Tamm, Leila Pärtelpoeg and Vello Asi were engaged in the teaching. The studies were organised on the basis of a new curriculum, and an up-to-date study profile was developed. The studies focused on a form idiom influenced by Nordic Modernism, which emphasised functionality and constructiveness. The so-called Tamm School, which favours clarity and succinctness, has ensured the recognised level of Estonian spatial and furniture design since the 1960s. STUDIES The graduates can work independently as interior architects and furniture designers – their diplomas correspond to the professional standards approved by the Association of Interior Architects. The Academy of Arts is the only accredited school of higher education in Estonia that offers the relevant BA programme. The studies include numerous international workshops, lectures by visiting professors, seminars and the students introduce their work at both local and foreign fairs (in Stockholm for example). Especially close collaboration exists with the Nordic countries. Students can continue their studies at foreign schools of higher education, or, if they wish, in the PhD programme at the Academy of Arts. In accordance with the curriculum, the studies comprise 180 AP, of which half are related to the specialised theoretical and practical subjects. Of the theoretical subjects, the following deserve special mention: the history of architecture and interiors, architectural typology, the parts of buildings, health protection and fire safety, lighting equipment, architectural acoustics, computer studies, art management and much more. The practical subjects include the design of space, furniture and architectural details. The relevant projects are completed as exercises, and samples of furniture and furnishing elements are produced in the departmental workshops. WHAT JOBS WILL BE AVAILABLE AFTER I GRADUATE? interior architect furniture designer entrepreneur journalist writing about interior architecture artist [-]

Location address
Estonian Academy of Arts,
Estonia pst 7

Tallinn, 10143 EE