Why should I study in Latvia?

The country of song festivals and impressive nature and wildlife…

How to Study in Latvia

Latvia is located in north-eastern Europe, helping form the ‘Baltic States’ together with Lithuania and Estonia. Apart from its Baltic neighbours, it is also bordered by Belarus to the southeast, Russia to the east and to the Baltic Sea to the west. Nearly 2 million people live here. The capital, Riga, with about 700,000 residents, is also its largest city. Since 2004, Latvia is part of the European Union (EU) and since 2014 part of the Eurozone.

The official language of Latvia is Latvian and is the native language of about two-thirds of the population. Russian, which was widely spoken during the Soviet period, is still the most widely used minority language, and is spoken by about one third of the population as mother tongue.

Latvia’s Higher Education System 

Latvia has six state universities and a large number of other higher, partly private, education institutions. In total, Latvia has 58 higher education institutions, where you can earn at least a bachelor’s degree. The Latvian higher education system differs between academic and professional degree programmes. The academic programmes tend to be more theoretically oriented, the professional courses train for concrete occupations. In both branches, you can acquire Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

The academic programmes follow the Bologna scheme: The basic academic studies have a duration of three to four years and lead to the acquisition of the Bachelor (Bakalaurs). Based on the first degree, the Master (Magistrs) can be received after a further study period of one to two years. The professional Bachelor generally lasts four years, and the subsequent Master being one to two years. However, there are also integrated courses in the professional field which have a duration of up to six years, for example in medicine or dentistry. These degrees are equal to a master’s.  Regardless of the professional or academic orientation, a doctoral degree may be attached with a duration of three to four years.

Latvia’s Higher Education System in international comparison

In the following, you will see how Latvian higher education institutions are performing on the institutional level. Based on the U-Multirank dimensions the graphic depicts the national average and represents how many of the Latvian institutions perform above the average (receiving an ‘A’ (very good) or ‘B’ (good) score), or below the average (receiving a ‘D’ (below average) or ‘E’ (weak) score). 

Among the five U-Multirank dimensions, the Latvian higher education institutions participating in U-Multirank sample perform strongest in “International Orientation” and “Regional Engagement”.

National performance: Latvia

Percent of all Universities 100% 80% 60% 40% < below Average above > 40% 60% 80% 100% Teaching & Learning 27% 51% Research 59% 31% Knowledge Transfer 67% 26% International Orientation 15% 73% Regional Engagement 25% 67%

 

How much does it cost to study in Latvia?

Most of the programmes at Latvian higher education institutions charge tuition fees. The state subsidises a certain percentage of the places at university, which are allocated by academic achievement. Only about 30 per cent of students study for free. The state-funded share of study places differs by fields of study. For example in engineering, the proportion is high.

The tuition fees vary greatly, depending on the institution and the study programme. In international study programmes, the fees vary from 1,500 and 15,000 euros per academic year. Study fees for international programmes are higher than those taught in the Latvian language, in which fees are between 760 and 5,000 euros per academic year.

Bachelor programmes usually cost less (up to 7,000 Euros) than Master's degree programmes (up to 9,000 Euros). Degrees in a long-term study programme, such as Dentistry, can cost anywhere between 2,800 and 12,000 euros per year. Public universities usually have lower prices than private institutions.

Addition of information on fees and financial support

Source: Eurydice
Reference year(s): 2020/2021

Fees

In this section we highlight the fees for studying in Latvia. The fees are shown in the national currency and address all fee types: tuition, enrolment (part- or full-time, etc.), certification, or other administrative costs. Students that are exempt from fees are also described, as well as information on international student fees if they differ.

  • Students in the first and the second cycle generally pay a small registration fee per cycle, which varies between higher education institutions (HEIs).This is usually EUR 20-35, shown as the minimum fee in the diagram.
  • There are two main financial statuses for students: state-funded and self-financed. Students studying on state-funded places pay only the registration fee. These places are allocated based on academic merit. Currently, more state-funded places are available in some priority areas: natural sciences, computer sciences, engineering and medicine.
  • Study fees for fee-paying students comprise charges for tuition and examinations, and some administration. HEIs set fees and may provide a reduction of up to 100% based on academic excellence, family conditions, etc. Annual fees for first-cycle full-time students range from EUR 700 to 7,770, and for second-cycle full-time students from EUR 1,070 to 9,550.
  • Fees for full-time short-cycle higher education or college programmes generally tend to range from EUR 700 to 5,000). In 2018/19, about 28% of full-time short-cycle students paid fees.
  • Fees for international students (students from outside EU/EEA) are higher, ranging from EUR 1,800 to 15,000, as are fees in programmes provided in English.

Source: Eurydice - National Student Fees and Support Systems in European Higher Education – 2020/21.

Financial Support

In this section we highlight the financial support system implemented in [insert country name]. The types of support covered in this section include: grants, loans, tax benefits for students' parents (or students themselves) and family allowances.  How these terms are defined, are outlined below:

  • Grants are provided in the national currency and are differentiated between merit-based and need-based (or universal, where applicable). All main public financial support that does not need to be paid back is included, with the exception of grants for study abroad (i.e. mobility grants). Information is also presented on the proportion of students (in the short, first and second cycle) who receive grants.
  • Loans: information focuses on the existence of a student publicly-subsidised loan system and the percentage of students that take out a loan. Information on the interest rate and modalities for the repayment of loans may also be provided.
  • Tax benefit is any tax relief that is granted to parents whose child is a higher education student or to students themselves. The information aims to cover the amount of the tax relief, how it can be claimed and who is eligible to apply.
  • Family allowances for students' parents: this part provides information on their amount and the eligible population.
  • Public grants, primarily based on academic merit, are available only to students studying on a full-time basis on state-subsidised study places. Although the main purpose of these grants is to reward academic performance, priority is given to disadvantaged students e.g., students with a disability, orphan status, specific family composition (students from large families) or economic need. The amounts are EUR 99.60/month (for 10 months) for the first and the second cycle. In 2020/21, the amount of public grants for students has been increased to EUR 200.00/month as a response to the COVID-19 crisis. In 2019/20, around 5% of all first-cycle and second-cycle students received this support.
  • Full-time students studying on state-funded places can apply for a special one-time merit-based public grant per semester (maximum amount EUR 199.20) provided by HEIs.
  • Starting from 2020/21, a new system for student loans is in place. Two types of loans, for tuition fees and for living expenses during studies, are available. Unlike the previous system, no second guarantor is necessary and the state as the only guarantor guarantees the loans issued to the students by commercial banks. The state subsidises the interest rates on loans for tuition fees during the period of studies. The repayment of the loan and interest rates starts from the twelfth month after graduation. The loans for studies in Latvia are available to students from all EU countries. After graduation, the state will cover 30% of the outstanding loan for living expenses if the graduate has a child or adopts a child.
  • Tax benefits (maximum EUR 600/year) are awarded to parents for each child under 24 in higher education.

What are the entry requirements for Latvian Universities?

Higher education institutions regulate the access autonomously. Students have to apply directly to the institution of their choice. A general university entrance qualification is a prerequisite for admission to study at all Latvian higher education institutions. In Latvia, this may include a certificate of general secondary education or a certificate of secondary vocational education, both are considered as equivalent to a full secondary education.

Foreign university entrance qualifications have to be accredited as equivalent by the Academic Information Center of Latvia. Access to the master's degree usually requires a bachelor's degree.

Additional documents that need to be submitted are determined by each individual education establishment. Admission procedures may vary according to the level of competition for a particular programme and should be inquired at the respective university beforehand.

There are no unified language requirements for international students in Latvia. Usually study programmes are offered in either Latvian, English or Russian, or a combination of these languages. The higher education institutions do not strictly define the need for internationally recognised language tests (some institutions ask for IELTS or TOEFL tests). In general, international students must have sufficient competence in the language of instruction. These skills are usually assessed in discussions with the student, or formal tests are organised by the educational institutions themselves.

How to get a Stipend/Scholarship in Latvia?

A state-funded study place is also linked with a government-funded scholarship.

Citizens from countries which have signed an agreement on cooperation in education and science as well as citizens from countries that offer scholarships for Latvian students without formal agreements on cooperation can apply for it. If you are looking for information regarding scholarships in Latvia, please click here

Do I need a Student Visa for Latvia?

Citizens of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland do not require a visa to enter Latvia, they only need valid travel documents, i.e. passports or identity cards. Citizens from the US, Canada, Australia, Israel, Japan, Korea, Brazil and other countries can also enter Latvia without a visa.

Citizens from Russia, Belarus, Georgia, China and other countries need a visa to enter Latvia. These people are given a Schengen visa, allowing them to stay in Latvia and other Schengen countries.

However, if they want to stay in Latvia for more than 90 days per semester, they have to apply for a residence permit in a Latvian Embassy abroad.

Information on the visa requirements can be found here.

 

Top Student Cities in Latvia

 

How do Latvian Universities fare in U-Multirank?

  1. In 2021, U-Multirank includes 21 higher education institutions from Latvia.
  2. In a global perspective, Latvian institutions perform well in the dimensions International Orientation and in Regional Engagement.
  3. The Latvian institutions with the highest number of top positions (‘A’ scores) are Riga Technical University (13), Rezekne Academy of Technologies (10) and BA School of Business and Finance (10).
  4. In four indicators, Latvian institutions are among the global ‘Top 25 Performers’: Riga Technical University and Riga Stradins University in Open Access Publications, Latvian Maritime Academy and Rezekne Academy of Technologies in Student Mobility, University of Latvia in Co-Publications with Industrial Partners, and Daugavpils University in our new Collaboration Index.
Latvia's Higher Education Performance in U-Multirank

Consumer Basket

Main course

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2.50 € 

One-way ticket

1.15 €

Cinema ticket

6.70 €

Useful vocabulary

Hello

Sveiki

Bye

Visu labu!

Thanks

Paldies - Pateicos

Please

Lūdzu

Student report: Latvia

Video: Study in Latvia

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