Study in Latvia
For a country of just over two million inhabitants, Latvia has a wealth of both public and private higher education opportunities – 59 universities and colleges. Programmes taught in foreign languages (mainly English and Russian with a few German and Scandinavian language programmes) cover a wide range of fields, from architecture to social sciences. In particular, medical studies and qualifications in the aviation industry are the most popular study options in the country. Find the best information about what it’s like to study in Riga, including degree course offers, career opportunities, student life, living costs, and more.
There is academic and professional higher education in Latvia. Most of the institutions of higher education offer both academic and professional higher education qualification.
Academic higher education programmes are focused on preparing graduates for independent research, as well as to provide theoretical background for professional activities. Academic education programmes are implemented according to the national standard of academic education. They usually comprise a thesis at the end of each stage and lead to a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree.
Professional higher education programmes focus on providing in-depth knowledge in a particular field, preparing graduates for design or improvement of systems, products and technologies. Students are prepared to be able conduct creative, research and teaching activities. 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.
General Application Requirements
Admission office of the perspective university will assist you during the application process and will inform you about specific application requirements and necessary documents.
While applying for studies the following documents shall be sent to the admission office of the chosen university:
- Education/ Degree Certificate or Diploma
- Transcripts of records/marks (all education documents shall be translated into English)
- English language proficiency certificates (IELTS, TOEFL or equivalents) or the perspective University exam (if applicable)
- Motivation Letter or/and CV
Although each university has slightly different application and registration procedures, the general steps you take during the application procedure and registration period are as follows:
- Apply by sending your documents for evaluation. Once eligibility is confirmed you receive your Conditional Acceptance Letter followed with the positive AIC approval.
- Once you pay the tuition fees stated on your letter, you can simultaneously apply for Resident Permit and Study Visa.
- Make sure you inform the University about your flight details at least 3 working days before your arrival for the airport pick-up.
- Register the very next day after you arrive in Latvia, get your student ID, start selecting your courses, and register at accommodation halls if you are staying on campus.
Find more information about how to apply to a university in Latvia.
The objectives of academic higher education are to prepare graduates for independent research, as well as to provide theoretical background for professional activities. Academic education programmes are implemented according to the national standard of academic education.
- Academic programmes leading to a bachelor's degree take 3 to 4 years.
- Academic programmes leading to a master’s degree are 4 semesters long (2 years) and requires at least 5 years total length of bachelor and master studies.
The objectives of professional higher education are to provide in-depth knowledge in a particular field, preparing graduates for design or improvement of systems, products and technologies, as well as to prepare them for creative, research and teaching activities in this field.
- Professional programmes leading to a professional bachelor's degree require 4 years of study.
- Professional higher education programmes leading to a professional master's degree require 1-2 years of study.
When choosing to study in Latvia, you can study in capital city Riga or other cities in the country. You will experience one of the safest and greenest countries in the world. Universities in Latvia offer an advanced education system. Institutions of higher education are small enough to operate functionally and effectively, ensuring each individual student approach to each student.
Language of study
Although the official state language is Latvian, international students can easily get around with a command of Russian and English, as a large part of the population of Riga is Russian speaking, and English is used in the bigger cities.
In public universities, the language of instruction is usually Latvian, but also include courses in English for foreign students. There are almost 200 international study programmes (Bachelors, Masters and PhDs) and courses taught entirely in English for those who want to study abroad in Latvia. You can usually find Russian-taught courses in private universities.
There are no unified language requirements aimed at foreign students in Latvia. An advantage of studying abroad in Latvia is that most higher education institutions do not strictly define the need for internationally recognized language tests (although some schools ask for IELTS or TOEFL). Language skills are usually checked during the interview process of prospective student. It is possible that the higher education establishment organises its own formal testing for language skills.
English language preparation for studying in Latvia
Develop your academic English language skills in order to meet the English language requirements at Latvian universities offering degree studies for international students. Choose an English language school anywhere in the world and pick your preferred English exam preparation course from diverse language course options.
Go through the checklist before going to the Embassy of Latvia responsible for your region or Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs:
- Completed application form
- Copy of study agreement with the university
- Copy of Education/ Degree Certificate or Diploma and Transcripts of records/marks
- Copy of academic recognition of foreign qualification (sent by receiving university)
- Proof of study fee payment (provided by receiving university)
- Bank statement that confirms sufficient financial means or living expenses for staying in Latvia during the validity period of the residence permit (it equals to 320 EUR/per month)
- Rental agreement or guarantee letter from university about the perspective place of residence
- Statement on fluorography or x-ray examining results
- Health insurance for the whole validity period of the residence permit
Citizens of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) need only valid travel documents, i.e. passports or identity cards to come to Latvia. Non-EU nationals have to check if they need a visa to enter Latvia.
Ask your local Latvian embassy for detailed information about the visa application process.