Studying in Latvia
The structure of the higher education system in Latvia is similar to that of the UK. Latvia has signed the Bologna Process Declaration and is part of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) which works to standardise HE qualifications across the member countries. This means that Latvia has the three-cycle degree system of first degree, masters and doctorate.
The Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia sets educational standards in the country and has further information on higher education in Latvia.
There are numerous institutions of higher education, which includes colleges and the following six universities:
- Daugavpils University
- Latvia University of Agriculture
- University of Latvia
- Liepaja University
- Riga Stradins University
- Riga Technical University.
For a full list of higher education institutions in Latvia, see Study in Latvia.
What courses can you study?
Academic programmes and professional study programmes are available in Latvia at masters level. While academic programmes focus on theoretical knowledge and skills, the professional programmes prepare students for vocational activities. Both tend to last for one to two years if you've already got a first degree.
It's also possible to complete a doctoral degree in Latvia but you must first have obtained a masters level qualification. As with doctoral degrees in the UK, you must complete a thesis.
Courses are available in English but you'll need to check with individual institutions to find out exactly what's available.
How do you apply for postgraduate study?
International students who want to do a postgraduate course in Latvia must have completed a first degree and will need to show evidence of this in their application.
Applications are made directly to the higher education institution and details can usually be found on the institution' website. Some may use online application forms and an application fee may also have to be paid. Closing dates for applications vary between universities so check directly with the institution. The academic year runs from September to June and is split into two semesters.
Fees and scholarships
Fees vary depending on the institution and the course taken. You should contact the university directly to find out how much you'd have to pay.
Scholarships may be available through programmes such as Erasmus+. If you're completing an Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Degree (JMD) you may be eligible for an Erasmus+ EU grant. Individual universities may also offer sponsorships or grants. Contact them individually to find out more.
The UK has signed an agreement covering cooperation in education and science with Latvia, which allows UK citizens to apply for Latvian government scholarships. These are available to students, researchers and teaching staff and are offered by the State Education Development Agency. More information on scholarships and the cost of living for students can be found at Study in Latvia.
Are there any exchange programmes?
UK students on both under and postgraduate degree programmes may be interested in studying in Latvia through Erasmus+. This programme is open to all subject areas, but check with your institution's study abroad/exchange coordinator to see which countries they have links with and in what subject areas.
Will your qualifications be recognised in the UK?
Following the Bologna Process and the creation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), a postgraduate course from Latvia is directly comparable to the UK equivalent.
Do you need a visa to study in Latvia?
EU citizens don't need a visa to study in Latvia and can stay without any restrictions for up to 90 days. If your period of study will last for longer than this you will need to apply for a residence permit. In most cases the university will apply for this on your behalf as part of the enrolment procedure, but you should check with your individual institution.
If you're from a non-EU country you may need a visa to study in Latvia. See the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA) for more information. The university you're going to be studying at may be able to help with applying for and getting the visa.
AGCAS editors, May 2014