girl taking a photo of a rainbow

Literature, Visual Culture and Film Studies

Engage in broadly interdisciplinary study 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.

Study level Master's Studies

Duration of study 2 years

Language English

Study form Regular studies

Cost per semester 830

We are looking for students whose interests are not limited to one of the traditional discipline in the humanities, but who are interested in exploring the relationship between words, still and moving images both historically as well as in contemporary culture.

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.

Why study with us?

  • Interdisciplinary programme that is run in collaboration with the Estonian Academy of Art. The faculty is comprised of renowned experts in literature, art, film and visual culture. 
  • Ample opportunities for acquiring practical skills. The programme collaborates with major international literary, art and film festivals in Tallinn. In 2018, our students participated in the composition of the programme of the Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF). Read more here.
  • Seminar-led courses that foster an active debating and discussing environment. 
  • Individual approach to students that provides a supportive learning environment and offers the opportunity to follow personal research interests from an early stage of studies. 
  • International study groups with students from all over the world. The diverse cultural backgrounds of the students contribute to the spirit of comparative study of culture. 
  • Research-centred programme - possibility for further studies at PhD level. 
  • Open to students from all disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. 
  • Students can apply for study fee reduction based on their study results.


Course Outline

Full-time studies

  • During the two-year programme the MA students is expected to actively participate in seminars, to engage in field-related practice and to write a Master’s thesis.
  • Throughout the first two semesters, the student attends numerous courses and seminars with the goal of fine-tuning the theme that will be developed in the MA dissertation.
  • During the second and thirds 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 last semester is reserved for writing the thesis in the framework of the master’s seminar guidelines. 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 main concepts and theories of 20th century literary theory and cultural analysis. The aim of the seminar is to develop a coherent context for the question how to study 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.

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

Interdisciplinary courses that 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.

  • Histories of Postmodernism: Architecture in Theory and Visual Culture

This seminar course will take an in-depth look at the critical discussions in architecture from 1960s-1980s, with a focus on the change in architectural representation during those years.

  • 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.

Study programme 2018/2019

Study Support Facilities

  • The university campus houses a study library, the main university library is situated within an easy reach in the city centre. The National Library of Estonia is also in the city centre. Several electronic databases are available through the libraries. 
  • The Archive of renown semiotician, Juri Lotman is housed in Tallinn University.
  • There are many opportunities for Erasmus exchange.
  • Students will have ample opportunities to participate at various literary and cultural events held in Tallinn and to organize various events.
  • Before applying to the programme, one can learn more about Tallinn University while participating in Tallinn Summer School. It is a 3-week programme running in July, combining a wide range of courses with a rich, diverse cultural programme and attracting participants from all over the world. More information here. 

Department's networks

Academic Staff

Eneken Laanes is the Associate Professor of Comparative Literary Science and Culture Analysis at Tallinn University and Senior Researcher at the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre of the Estonian Academy of Sciences. Her research deals with transnational memory and transcultural memorial forms in post-Soviet memory cultures of Eastern Europe. Laanes studied comparative literature at the University of Tartu, University of Bologna (Spring 2001), the Free University of Berlin (2003–2004), She has been a Juris Padegs Research Fellow at Yale University (2013–2014). She is the author of Unresolved Dialogues: Subjectivity and Memory in Post-Soviet Estonian Novel (in Estonian, Tallinn: UTKK, 2009) and co-editor of Novels, Histories, Novel Nations: Historical Fiction and Cultural Memory in Finland and Estonia (Helsinki: SKS, 2015).

Laanes’s research interests include trauma theory, the historical novel, critical theory and cultural analysis, contemporary literature; theories of subjectivity, autobiography and self-writing; world literature, transnational literature and multilingualism.

Professor at the Institute of Art History and Visual Culture of the Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn, senior researcher at Tallinn University School of Humanities. Her fields of research are history and theory of art and architecture in the Early Modern period, history and theory of art history writing, history of Estonian architecture and design of the Soviet period.

Prof Kodres is author of the books Beautiful House and Room (2001), History of Estonian Art, Vol. 2,  1520-1770 (2005, editor and main author); Presenting Oneself. The Early Modern Tallinn (Reval) citizen and his house (2014). She has contributed a chapter for the book Lutheran Churches in Early Modern Europe (ed. A. Spicer, Ashgate 2012) and for the book Art History and Visual Studies in Europe. Transnational Discourses and National Frameworks (eds. M. Rampley, T. Lenain, H. Locher, et al. Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2012). She is also editor-in-chief of the History of Estonian Art (6 volumes) and board member of the Estonian academic journal of art history and visual culture Studies on Art and Architecture.

Andres Kurg is a Senior Researcher at the Institute of Art History, Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn. His research explores the architecture and design of the Soviet Union in the late 1960s and 1970s in relation to technological transformations and changes in everyday life as well as its intersections with alternative art practices.

He studied art history at the Estonian Academy of Arts and architectural history at University College London. He has published articles in AA FilesArtMarginsJournal of Architecture, Home Cultures and contributed to many collected volumes and exhibition catalogues. In 2008 he co-edited Environment, Projects, Concepts: Architects of the Tallinn School 1972-1985. He recently co-curated Our Metamorphic Futures. Design, Technical Aesthetics and Experimental Architecture in the Soviet Union 1960–1980 in Vilnius National Gallery of Art and Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design (2011–12), a project funded by a grant from the EU Culture programme. In 2015 he was a Guest Scholar at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles; in Spring 2017 he was Visiting Senior Researcher in European Studies at the MacMillan Center, Yale University, New Haven.


Daniele Monticelli is the Professor of Italian Studies and Semiotics. He has studied and researched in Italy, Germany, Estonia, the US and teaches subjects in contemporary Italian history, society and politics, philosophy of language, comparative literature and research seminars. 

His research is characterized by a wide and interdisciplinary range of interests which include the relations between translation and ideology particularly under totalitarian rule and censorship, semiotic theory and poststructuralism, the literary construction of affects, passions and cognition, contemporary critical theory with particular focus on the political thought of Agamben, Badiou and Rancière. He has authored literary and essayistic translations from Estonian into Italian and actively contributes to the cultural and political debate in the Estonian media and society.

Ülar Ploom is a scholar in literary and translation studies.

His main research areas comprise late Medieval and Early Renaissance culture and literature (with an emphasis on the Italian Duecento and Trecento) and 20th century Italian literature, as well as the reception of Italian literature in Estonia. He has prefaced and commented the Estonian translations of Dante’s Inferno and Purgatory and is now completing  (with I. Vene) the translation of Paradise. He has published short prose and three collections of poetry.

Piret Peiker is a postdoc researcher of the School of Humanities, Tallinn University. She recently defended her PhD thesis on the discourses of modernisation in the 19th-21st century Estonian literature at the University of Turku, Finland.

Her research interests include postcolonialism, modernity, nationalism and nationhood, globalisation, and Genre Studies.





Teet Teinemaa is a research fellow and a lecturer at Tallinn University. Teinemaa recently defended his PhD in Film Studies at the University of Warwick. His thesis explores the contemporary American multi-protagonist film (The Big Shot etc), particularly the film form’s focus on the notion of
contingency, via the thinking of Jacques Rancière and Slavoj Žižek. Teinemaa has also studied at Maastricht University, and holds MA in Film Studies and Literature from the University of York andan MA in Cultural Theory from Tallinn University.

Admission Requirements

General requirements

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]
  • Interview 

For the purposes of identity verification at the admission procedure the Admission Committee has the right to take a screenshot during the oral part of the admission exam carried out via video bridge.

Assessment of the candidates

  1. Statement of Research Interest (Letter of Motivation): 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.

Find more information about the deadlines here.

Postgraduate Destinations

Graduate career options

Graduates will be equipped to work in any area that requires excellent skills in critical thinking, visual analysis and writing. The prospected 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 PhD level. We help our students to find relevant internship opportunities, so they can explore their interests and preferences even while studying.

Contact Us

For additional guidelines please contact:
  • Specific questions regarding the programme should be directed to the School of Humanities:
    Maris Peters
  • For additional guidelines regarding admission procedure please contact the international admission specialist.

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