Literature, Visual Culture and Film Studies

Study mode:Blended Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 2.14 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 2.14 k / Year(s) Deadline: Mar 15, 2024
StudyQA ranking:464 Duration:2 years You need IELTS certificate

Photos of university / #eka_estonian_academy_of_arts

Literature, Visual Culture and Film Studies is a joint programme between Estonian Academy of Arts (Institute of Art History and Visual Culture) and Tallinn University. 

During the studies the students will:

  • Engage in broadly interdisciplinary MA study programme of the relationship between literature, visual culture and film in contemporary and historical contexts.
  • Gain cutting-edge theoretical insights into intermedial aesthetics and into philosophy of literature, art and film.
  • Equip yourself with critical tools for cultural analysis of contemporary image and text-based media.

Students also acquire various practical skills such as analytical and problem solving skills, writing and presentation skills that enhance their employment opportunities and prepare them for different career pathways.

Who are we looking for?

We welcome applicants who wish to explore the possibilities of extending the boundaries of the traditional disciplines in the humanities by focusing their research on the relations between words, still and moving images both historically and in contemporary culture.


Why study with us?

  • An interdisciplinary programme that is run in collaboration with the Estonian Academy of Arts – the faculty is comprised of renowned experts in literature, art, film and visual culture.
  • Ample opportunities for practical experience through collaborations with major international literary, art and film festivals in Tallinn – since 2018, our students have been participating in the composition of the programme of the Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF). Read more here.
  • Seminar-led courses, with an excellent student to lecturer ratio, foster an active debating and discussing environment.
  • Individual approach – the supportive learning environment encourages students to follow personal research interests from an early stage of studies.
  • International study groups – the diverse cultural backgrounds of our students contribute to the spirit of the comparative study of culture.
  • A research-centred programme creates an ample possibility for further studies at the PhD level.
  • Open to applicants from all disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.
  • Students can apply for a study fee reduction based on their study results.

Full-time studies

  • During the two-year programme the MA student is expected to actively participate in seminars, to engage in field-related practice and to write a Master’s thesis.
  • During the second and third semester the student engages in practical work organised by the school in collaboration with international literary, art, and film festivals in Tallinn.
  • At the beginning of the third semester, MA researchers are required to submit a research proposal and choose a supervisor.
  • The fourth semester, concluding the studies, is reserved for writing the thesis in the framework of the master’s seminar guidelines. The research semester provides an ample opportunity for the student to focus on their area of interest. The thesis is publicly defended at the end of the last semester.

Core course components

  • Key Concepts in Literary and Cultural Analysis

The seminar explores the main concepts and arguments of the 20th century literary theory and cultural analysis. Its aim is to provide a coherent context for researching literature, films and visual culture in their intermedial relationship.

  • Key Concepts in Critical Theory and Visual Culture

This seminar course will focus on key thinkers in critical theory and the social analysis of the image, building a trajectory from G.W.F. Hegel’s philosophy of history to contemporary visual and cultural studies. Rather than concentrating on discrete ideas, the course will explore the connections and ongoing discussions between authors in the critical tradition. 

  • Seminars in Literature, Visual Culture and Film I, II, III

The interdisciplinary courses approach various literary texts, films and objects of visual culture from the perspective of a thematic focus. Depending on the year the topics include: Dystopia in Philosophy, Literature and Film; Affect and Emotion in Literature, Visual Culture and Film; Memory in Literature and Visual Culture; War in Literature and Film; Postcolonial Studies; Genre; Space in Literature and Visual Culture.

  • Word and Image in the Middle Ages/Renaissance

This lecture and seminar course studies some key questions concerning the relationship of verbal and pictorial art from the late Middle Ages to the late Renaissance.  Apart from the rivalry and emulation between poets and artists, the interaction of verbal and pictorial rhetoric will be discussed on the example of a number of well-known and less well-known authors and theorists (mainly) in the European tradition.

  • Estonian Art in Context

This course will provide an overview of modern and contemporary art in Estonia, discussing its developments through historical precedents and social context. The classes include field trips and visits to art events and exhibitions, allowing participants to develop their understanding of the local art scene. Students are encouraged to participate actively in seminars, artist talks and presentations.

  • Narratology

The purpose of the course is to acquaint the students with the basic concepts and methods of narratology, i.e. the study of narratives, and to practice their application to particular texts. Besides literary fiction, non-fictional and cinematographic narratives are discussed.

  • Adaptation

Through the analysis of various literary texts and their film adaptations the seminar deals with central critical and cultural debates about film adaptation. Film adaption will be studied from the different perspectives of historical and cultural context, authorship, genre etc.

  • Word and Image

The course provides a thorough introduction to the various 20th and 21st century cultural phenomena that connect words and images, the verbal and the visual, and the relevant theoretical approaches.

General requirements

  • Completed Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent
  • Proof of English Proficiency

Entrance exams

  • Statement of research interests (1-2 pages) [to be submitted to DreamApply]
  • Writing sample (an excerpt from either the BA thesis or a paper, 10 pages) [to be submitted to DreamApply]
    If your BA studies did not end with a BA thesis, academic referenced essays written during your BA studies in total capacity of 10 pages are accepted. Your published scholarly articles may also be accepted as writing samples.
    If your BA thesis (or equivalent writing sample) was not written in English, German, Russian, Italian or Finnish, please provide a translation into English with the original writing sample. You may do your own translation, no notarized translation required.

  • Interview 

Assessment of the candidates

  1. Statement of Research Interest: 30 points (min. required 21 points)
  2. Writing Sample and Previous Study Results: 30 points (min required 21 points)
  3. Interview: 40 points (min. requirement 28 points)

Important! Only applicants receiving the minimum required points for the first two components will be invited for the interview.

What we assess
Statement of research interest: Ability to justify the choice of the programme; the match between the research interests and the programme; ability to comprehend future prospects.
Writing sample and previous study results: Suitability of the previous studies and quality of study results; structure, argumentation and use of secondary sources in the writing sample; academic writing skills in English (if the writing sample is not in English the general Academic Writing Skills will be assessed).
Interview: Student motivation; match between the research interests and the programme; general erudition; ability to comprehend future prospects.

Graduate career options

Graduates will be equipped to work in any area that requires excellent skills in critical thinking, visual analysis and writing. The prospective career options include research, education, cultural journalism, arts administration, cultural management, museum industry, publishing, cultural diplomacy.

Further study opportunities

The graduates will be prepared to continue their studies at the PhD level. We help our students to find relevant internship opportunities in order for them to explore their interests and preferences already while studying.

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