The studies at the Art Academy are organised according to the so-called 3+2 system. The standard period for BA studies is three years. During this time, it is possible to acquire basic specialised knowledge. The standard period for MA studies is two years, in the course of which, the chosen subjects are studied in depth, and an MA degree is acquired upon graduation. The exception is architecture and urban planning, which is conducted according to a five-year curriculum. And upon graduation, the student acquires a Master of Arts degree. PhD studies are offered within the framework of the art history,architecture and urban design, cultural heritage and restoration, as well as the art and design curricula. The standard period for the studies is four years.
In most of the specialities, it is possible to study at both the BA and MA levels. In addition to acquiring knowledge, studying at a school of higher education also means, for the student, the passing of subjects necessary for completing the curriculum, and the accumulating of subject points.
The volume of studies is calculated according to the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System, and the units of measurement are credit points. One CP equals 26 hours of work by an average student. During the semester, the students must generally collect 30 CPs. The number of collected credit points forms the basis for establishing the status of the students. In full-time study, a student must pass by the end of each semester at least 75%
of the estimated volume of the curriculum. If a student acquires less than 75% of the required subject points, he or she is demoted to part-time study.
The subjects in the curriculum can be divided into compulsory, elective and optional subjects. The compulsory subjects are those which must be studied into order to fulfil the requirements for the curriculum. Electives can be independently chosen, by the students, from among the subjects assigned to the curriculum. Optional subjects are subjects that the students may independently choose from among those offered by the Academy, or some other university. During the first year, the studies are comprised mainly of general subjects; in subsequent years, the percentage of speciality subjects increases. Electives can be chosen starting the second semester of the first year. The studies are organised as modules; auditory study weeks alternate with periods of independent work. The studies are comprised of lectures, master classes, seminars, joint projects and independent work.
Upon the completion of the curriculum, the student must conform to two conditions: a) the student must have achieved a positive result in all the compulsory subjects; b) the student must have collected the required number of credit points for the corresponding level of education (BA – 180 CPs; MA – 120 CPs; PhD – 240 CPs).
If the student conforms to the conditions for graduation, they must successfully defend a thesis or portfolio. Having fulfilled the curriculum requirements, and having successfully defended a thesis, a diploma and academic report is issued to the student. In order to simplify the completion of the study subjects, subject cards are compiled, which provide information about the goals of the subject, the study outputs, content and grading. The subject cards are available online in the SIS (Study Information System). To complete a subject successfully, it is important to familiarise oneself with the conditions for completing the subject, the grading methods and the criteria that are described on the subject cards.
In addition to daily communications with the faculty members, feedback on the student’s performance is also acquired from exams, grading assessments and the defending of papers and projects, which also encompass specialised professionals from Estonia itself as well as elsewhere.
The subject grades are differentiated (exams, graded assessments) on a scale of one to six, or not differentiated (assessments). Positive results are grades A to E and “passed”. The negative result on exams and graded assessments is the grade of F; and on assessments, a grade of “failed.” To improve these grades, the students have the right to two follow-up exams/assessments, or one graded follow-up assessment. If a student does not participate in an exam, graded assessment or assessment, a negative result will be entered on the grading sheet, except if the student has submitted a doctor’s certificate to the Department of Academic Affairs, within seven workdays.
The studies are conducted according to the academic calendar, and it is important that the students pay attention to the deadlines. Exceptions can be made, regarding the deadlines in the academic calendar, only in justified cases.