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Study in Latvia – Europe’s best kept secret

The combination of beautiful natural landscape, lively cities and rich cultures has led to Latvia being named as ‘Europe’s best kept secret’ by the Huffington Post.  From Riga’s architecture and nightlife to the beautiful beaches and national parks, there is something for everyone. Have you considered studying in Latvia?


Why study in Latvia?

1. A degree recognised in all EU countries

The Latvian higher education system is part of the Bologna process, and follows the so-called 3-cycle system, where the 1st cycle includes an academic or professional Bachelor degree, the 2nd cycle includes an academic or professional Master degree and the 3rd cycle includes the Doctoral degree.


2. Safe and welcoming country

One of Europe’s smallest countries, with just over 2 million inhabitants, Latvia is known as the pearl of the Baltic States. It has a reputation for being a safe country to visit and live in, and for having a welcoming local population.


3. International opportunities

Latvian universities offer a range of international opportunities, including ERASMUS+, joint degree programmes, study visits and summer schools.


4. Affordable tuition fees and low costs

Tuition fees and living costs are generally lower than the costs in most western countries. Tuition fees depend on the institution and course, but usually range from 1,500-6,000 Euros a year, although they can go up to 10-15,000 for certain subjects like Medicine. The average cost of living in Riga, is between 400-750 Euros, depending on the accommodation. This should be enough to include food, rent, utilities, transport and other expenses.


The higher education system

There is both academic and professional higher education in Latvia. Most of the institutions of higher education offer both types of qualification.

Academic higher education programmes prepare graduates for independent research, as well as providing theoretical background for professional activities. They usually comprise a thesis at the end of each stage and lead to a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree.

The duration of Bachelor’s programmes may be 3 or 4 years. The total length of fulltime Bachelor and Master studies is not less than 5 years. Doctoral studies last 3-4 full-time years.

Professional higher education programmes provide in-depth knowledge in a particular field, preparing graduates for design or improvement of systems, products and technologies, as well as preparing them for creative, research and teaching activities in this field. In total the duration of professional/vocational study programmes is not less than 4 years after secondary education and not less than 2 years after college education.

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Higher education institutions

In Latvia there are state institutions of higher education and there are also private institutions of higher education. The largest state institutions of higher education are University of Latvia, Riga Technical University, Riga Stradins University (to see the full list of HEIs in Latvia go to


Tuition fees and scholarships 

Tuition fee depends on the chosen institution and the study programme. The range is from 1000 EUR per year to 10 000 per year (e.g. Dental Surgeon’s degree programme).

The State Education Development Agency offers scholarships to foreign students and teaching staff for studies, research work and participation in summer schools in Latvia for citizens who are from countries which have signed an Agreement or offer scholarships for Latvian students. For more information see



The registration of applicants and the closing dates for applications may vary in different higher education institutions. Admission for autumn semester usually starts from May and ends in August, but for spring semester - from mid-December till the end of January. Students wishing to study in Latvia have to contact and submit their applications directly to the chosen institution. If study agreements do not provide otherwise, foreign students who meet the following requirements may be enrolled in institutions of higher education of Latvia:

• Corresponding level of education required for admission to the relevant study programme in the chosen institution of higher education

• The relevant education certificate/degree that meets Latvian education standards

• A sufficient level of proficiency in the language(s) of instruction.


Visas and residence permits

A residence permit is a document providing a foreigner the rights to reside in the Republic of Latvia for a definite period of time (a temporary residence permit) or permanently (a permanent residence permit).

A residence permit is necessary if you are willing to reside in the Republic of Latvia for a period of time exceeding 90 days within half a year counting from the first day of entrance.


Facts and Figures

  • Year of European Union entry: 2004
  • Year of The North Atlantic Treaty Organization entry: 2004
  • Capital city: Riga
  • Total area: 65 000 km²
  • Population: 1.997 million
  • Currency: EUR, since 2014
  • Schengen area: Member of the Schengen area since 2007

Latvia is located at the crossroads of Northern and Eastern Europe, on the east coast of the Baltic Sea. Latvia is bordered by Estonia to the North, Russia and Belarus to the East and Lithuania to the South, and has a maritime border with Sweden to the West. Other neighboring countries include Finland, Poland and Germany.

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