The first students were accepted in the PhD programme at the Estonian Academy of Arts in 1995. The first doctoral theses were defended at the Academy in the same year. In 2002, the curricula for architecture, art history, as well as cultural heritage and restoration were accredited.
In 2005, the Doctoral School was established at the Estonian Academy of Arts and a new media and design curriculum was added (since 2007 renamed as the Art and Design programme).
Since 2011, PhD studies are offered at the Academy in the following specialities:
Curricula in the form of tables:
The Academy’s Doctoral School is headed by dr Epp Lankots. It is comprised of the members of the Academy’s Research Council: dr Epp Lankots (head of the Doctoral School and Vice Rector for Research); prof dr Krista Kodres (head of Art History and Visual Culture curriculum); dr Liina Unt (head of Art and Design curriculum); associate prof dr Anneli Randla (head of Cultural Heritage and Conservation curriculum), dr Jüri Soolep (head of Architecture and Urban Planning curriculum), as well as Liisa-Helena Lumberg, who represents PhD students.
The PhD studies comprise the third stage of higher education and applicants must have a Master’s degree or corresponding qualification in the same or a closely related speciality. The standard period of study is four years and the curriculum calls for the completion of 240 ECTS (including PhD thesis 180 ECTS).
At the start of the PhD studies, the emphasis is placed on general and elective subjects, including scientific-methodological, philosophical and general
instruction subjects. The PhD students can also choose subjects from outside the Academy’s Doctoral School. The specialised studies intensify the student’s knowledge in the theory, history and methods of the speciality. The specialised studies are also intended to support the doctoral thesis. During the first two years, the PhD students prepare analyses related to the current problems of the speciality for the PhD seminar and the annual conference of the EAA Doctoral School. In the subsequent years, the focus shifts to specialised practical and theoretical activities, based on the student’s individual plan. During the last two years, the PhD students conduct presentations and lectures for students in the MA programme and organise one-day seminars or workshops related to their PhD theses.
The doctoral thesis is a research or artistic project which presents an original approach to an important problem in the specific scholarly or creative field. The Academy acknowledges two kinds of doctoral theses.
A standard humanities doctoral thesis can be:
1) an independent work that is published as a dissertation;
2) a series of published scholarly articles, including a summarising survey article;
3) a monograph that has previously appeared in print.
An artistic (practice-based) doctoral thesis comprises an internationally recognised creative work along with a scientific analysis or research paper. The creative project must be executed in a form appropriate to the speciality (exhibition, design project etc.).
The defense of the PhD thesis completes the doctoral studies. Those who have completed the PhD curriculum and defended their doctoral thesis acquire doctorates, are issued diplomas and academic records, along with English-language supplements to their diplomas.