Master of Arts in Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education (NoVA)

Aalto University

Program Description
EFMD Equis Accredited
AACSB Accredited

Master of Arts in Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education (NoVA)

Aalto University

Master’s Programme in Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education (NoVA) will not accept new students for the 2016-2017 academic year.

The Master’s Programme in Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education (NoVA) educates professionals and researchers, to achieve understanding of the best Nordic practices and traditions in art education and visual communication, and give relevant competencies and pedagogical interaction skills for working in cross-cultural and international educational situations and environments. NoVA builds on Nordic expertise, and is open for international students. Nordic perspectives are related to current discussions in the field of international art education.

Studying in another Nordic university/university college for one or two semesters is a requirement of the programme. Students are responsible for the costs of living during their study time. Collaborating universities and departments are: Department of Visual Arts Education at Konstfack, University College of Arts, Craft and Design, Sweden; Department of Art, Design and Drama at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Science, Norway; Department of Art at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Finland; Department of Communication at Aalborg University, Denmark. Each university or university college has significant experience and capacity with art and/or media education at the national level. Competences between and among institutions offer a broad range of areas of study, including critical pedagogy and social and cultural awareness; contemporary art didactics, digital technology, and ICT; project oriented, collaborative, problem-based, and participatory-based work; sustainable development; intercultural and social entrepreneurship; and double perspective - combining theory and practice.

Goal of Education

Content outcomes

  • Students understand a broad range of issues, theories, and practices of Nordic art education and visual studies
  • Students understand practices and traditions of cross-cultural and international education
  • Students understand the interrelationship of social and cultural issues, curriculum content, philosophies of teaching, and the construction of democratic spaces of learning
  • Students understand the geo-political and pedagogical dimensions of space, place, the public sphere, and private realms

Skill outcomes

  • Students are able to analyse, interpret, and respond to images, objects, and sites in everyday life through theories of visual culture
  • Students are able to connect art and visual image making and the interpretation of visual culture to issues of power and representation, for advancing pedagogy
  • Students are able to use digital technology for contemporary art didactics
  • Students are able to produce layered, interactive, and dynamic visual work, in different formats and media
  • Students are able to develop plans, carry out in practice, and document independent practical projects

Academic skills

  • Students can apply pedagogical interaction skills in cross-cultural and international educational situations and environments
  • Students can apply methods of contemporary art didactics
  • Students know a variety of research methodologies and are able to investigate, develop, and implement cutting edge research in art education
  • Students can apply skills of intercultural and social entrepreneurship
  • Students can participate in international discussions and research

More about the language of instruction

The language of instruction in the Master’s Programme in Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education (NoVA) is English.

Education content

NoVA courses are mapped around three concepts: sights, sites, cites. Throughout the NoVA programme, students focus on the significance of “sight” in relation to theories, practices, and networks of visual studies. With the concept of ”site,” students investigate the geo-political and pedagogical dimensions of space, place, the public sphere, and private realms. And, students are provided with opportunities to critically reflect upon and synthesize previous experiences and knowledge as well as generate new knowledge through “citational” practices that draw upon existing social and cultural texts, theories, artworks, and research.

Career opportunities

Students that graduate from NoVA will have strong intercultural understanding and experiences, and knowledge of teaching practices and theories in different Nordic countries. This cross-cultural study offers work opportunities internationally in different art, educational, and visual communicational areas, institutions, organisations, communities, art and culture projects. Students may direct themselves toward teaching, guidance, and consultant tasks on different levels of schooling, or in the fields of art and visual and media culture, social sectors and corporate life. Through NoVA, students are prepared for doctoral studies and for the possibility to continue their research profession. The degree alone does not qualify as teacher competency.

The choice of the exchange university/university college guides the contents of studies. Depending on the combination, students may, for example, choose to emphasize media communication or contemporary artistic studies.


Students graduating from NoVA may work as art educators, culture consultants, media communicators, museum educators, and art teachers (degree alone does not qualify).


NoVA extends Aalto Univerity’s vision by constructing an internationally-networked community of learners, in part through student mobility integrated directly into the program, where students study at two universities in the Nordic countries. The program, which is entirely in English, is designed from beginning to end, with and through international partners, and has a primary focus on expanding Nordic art education in a global context. NoVA students engage in a variety of learning and teaching methods, including in-person, on-line, and whole group pedagogy, at home and host universities, and at retreats and international seminars. NoVA international faculty members cooperate in curricula planning and collaborative teaching, and employ the latest information and communications technology to actualize the curricula in a personalized and systematic manner for each student.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated December 14, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug., 2017
2 years
Full time
Start date Aug., 2017
Finland Espoo
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 2 years