Latvia

Why study a PhD in Latvia

Browse all PhD programmes in Latvia

  • Sep-Jun Academic Year
  • 3 Listed Institutes
  • 3000 Int. Students
  • 130000 Students
  • 1944565 Population

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.

Why study in Latvia?

1. Tuition fees are low

At Latvian public universities, most study programmes cost between 1,550 and 6,000 EUR per academic year, which is much more affordable than fees in other popular study destinations. Medical degrees can reach up to 15,000 EUR, and business courses, like Executive MBAs, have the highest fees — up to 25,600 EUR per year.

2. Latvia is an important research and innovation hub

If you're curious by nature, interested in research, or simply come up with innovative ideas all the time, Latvia is the perfect place for you. The country has a long history of investing in research and making important developments in fields like smart materials, bio-medicine, wind tunnels, cancer treatment, etc.

3. Latvia is a natural paradise

Over half of Latvia's territory is covered by forests, which blend in beautifully with the over 500 km of coastline and clean beaches. We recommend visiting popular sites, such as the Gauja National Park, the Kemeri National Park, the Gutmanala cave, Raznas nacionalais, Lake Razna, the Vermane Garden, etc.

Academic structure

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)
  • Copy of ID or passport
  • 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.

Academic degrees

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

Student experience

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, PTE Academic, 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.

Research & Careers in Latvia

Research

Research in Latvia is advanced in the fields of chemistry, medicine and materials science, with new developments in renewable energy, computer programming, engineering and agriculture. Research activities take place within universities, university hospitals and scientific institutes. Research is a mandatory component of doctoral studies.

Career & Working in Latvia

The Latvian labour market was very hard hit by the global economic crisis, with the unemployment rate almost tripling between 2008 and 2010, arriving at a peak of 17.3% in March of 2010. Since that time the economy has been gradually recovering, however employment rates have increased at a comparatively slower pace, since recovery has been linked to increased productivity.

The Ministry of Economics labour forecast indicates that almost 2/3 of the increased demand for labour in the period up to 2020 will come from three main sectors: the processing industry, sales and commercial services. Since economic growth is expected to rely heavily on ever increasing productivity, transfer of manufacturing technologies, research and innovation, employment prospects for researchers and applied scientists look promising.

Living in Latvia

Let's take a closer look at tuition and living expenses in Latvia:

Tuition fees

In Latvia, tuition fees depend on the type of degree, the length of studies, the type of university (public vs private), and so on. Non-EU/EEA citizens usually pay higher tuition, but this varies from one programme or university to another.

On average, international students can expect to pay between 1,550 and 15,000 EUR per year. Some specialised programmes, like Executive MBAs, can cost as much as 25,600 EUR per year.

At private universities, tuition is often more expensive.

Living costs in Latvia

You need around 450–700 EUR per month to cover your living costs, including housing, food, and transport. Here's a breakdown of average living expenses in Latvia:

  • accommodation (university dormitory): 70–120 EUR/month
  • accommodation (private flat): 100–350 EUR/month
  • monthly utilities: 115–185 EUR/month
  • food and groceries: 120–250 EUR/month
  • public transport pass: 10–16 EUR/month
  • three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant: 35 EUR
  • 1 loaf of bread: 0.87 EUR
  • 1 litre of milk: 0.90 EUR
  • 1 kg of apples: 1.15 EUR
  • 1 kg of bananas: 1.27 EUR
  • 1 cappuccino: 2.30 EUR

About Latvia

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 neighbouring countries include Finland, Poland and Germany.

Latvia is famous for its beautiful coastline and pine forests.

Latvia is located in such a geographical zone, which allows one to enjoy the magic and the differences of the four seasons, which is mostly not possible elsewhere in Europe. Therefore the climate in Latvia is mild and humid, without extreme fluctuations in temperature. Nevertheless, that the weather conditions are changeable, Latvia has four pronounced seasons – winter, spring, summer and autumn.

Latvia is a country of rich history and cultural traditions. For a thousand years this land in the North-East of Europe was inhabited by the Baltic and Finno-Ugric tribes. Latviaš geographical location between East and West has historically made attractive to foreign conquerors. The German, Swedes, Poles and Russians had ruled here, each leaving cultural imprint on the country’s architecture, infrastructure, style and personality.

The consolidation of the modern Latvian nation started in the 19th century. That was a period of national awakening that later served also as a precondition for establishment of an independent national state in the 20th century. Today Latvia is a member country of the European Union.

Latvia is a democratic, parliamentary republic. Parliamentary elections are held every 4 years.

Latvia is a member of the United Nations, European Union, Council of Europe, NATO, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organisation. Latvia is also a member of the Council of the Baltic Sea States and Nordic Investment Bank.

Universities, colleges and schools in Latvia

Find PhDs Degrees in Latvia

Recent international policies promote international university cooperation and student exchange between countries worldwide. High-quality study and PhD degrees are made more available to students in order to create a global educational network, achievable through student and staff mobility. Career and research oriented programmes support international student development.

University cooperation enables students study worldwide, for instance in Australia, Asia, Europe and the United States and provides ways of recognizing previous degrees. Different study options offer appropriate alternatives to students, depending on their preferred mode of study.

Many study programmes in Australia, Asia, Europe and North America are English-taught. The most popular international student destinations include the following countries: Australia, Belgium, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, the United States, and more. However, these are not the only countries offering English-taught education. The rest of the world is full of endless study choices, from highly ranked to smaller, more specialized, universities.

PhD (postgraduate) Degrees

If you want further education beyond the undergraduate level or if you want more personal development or a career in academia, you could obtain a PhD degree. PhD degrees are postgraduate programmes that usually follow a Master's, MPhil or MRes, but there might be additional requirements depending on the university. Students are required to do their own research in a chosen topic. With the help of a supervisor, you develop knowledge and analytical skills in a specific or multidisciplinary field and you carry out independent research. The duration of a PhD degree differs per country and institution. Sometimes your own research is accompanied by work for the department such as giving seminars or small group teaching.

PhD students are required to study on campus under close supervision, but there are universities that accept students enrolled into a part-time distance education PhD degree. Studying on campus can also be full-time as well as part-time, in which case the part-time variant is normally twice as long as the full-time study.

Discover other countries

Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a very popular study destination. Internationals choose this beautiful country because Dutch universities are some of the best in Europe, the living standards are high, foreigners are always welcome, and you get to live in one of the happiest and safest countries in the world. The Netherlands is also renowned for innovative technologies and engineering solutions, which is reflected in the wide range of Engineering degrees offered by universities. English is spoken by around 90% of Dutch citizens, so forget about language barriers. Also, bike lanes and the “cycling culture” will help you to stay fit and healthy, and there are diverse job opportunities and internships for international students.
Czech Republic
Czech Republic
In the Czech Republic, you will enjoy top-quality education and research, especially in subjects like Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The number of English-taught degrees offered by Czech universities is constantly growing. This is a response to the numerous international students attracted by academic opportunities and great living standards at reasonable costs. The Czech Republic is among the safest countries in the world, according to the Global Peace Index, and it allows you to travel around Europe easily. While out of class, you can visit local attractions like the Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, the local spas, and hot water springs, etc.
Finland
Finland
Finland is an excellent choice for all internationals and especially for EU/EEA students who can study at local public universities for free. The beautiful Nordic country has one of the best education systems in the world and ranks among the safest and happiest nations in the world. You can also choose from over 400 English-taught programmes. In your spare time, you can explore the breathtaking Finnish nature and landscapes, as well as the numerous lakes that give the country the nickname ‘The Land of a Thousand Lakes.’ From here, you can easily travel to neighbouring countries like Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, or Estonia.
Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is among the top countries in the world in terms of quality of life, peace, safety, and development. It represents an appealing blend of beautiful landscapes, English-speaking environments, and a strong, welcoming, and rich culture — of which the Irish people are very proud. International students also enjoy the full support of Irish universities, which hire and train staff that are able to help with accommodation, studies, visa details, or any other challenge.
Norway
Norway
Norway is a paradise for anyone who wants to study abroad for free. Public universities don’t charge any tuition fees. This policy applies to all international students, regardless of their nationality. The academic standard is very high, and professors are easy to approach, always willing to go the extra mile for their students. Additionally, classes are organised in small groups, which further improves learning and cooperation. You can choose from a wide range of English-taught programmes, and you don’t need to worry about language barriers outside of classes either, because most Norwegians speak English as a second language. Internationals should find it easy to adapt to Norway’s society, which is based on equality and fair opportunities — reflected both in the legal system and in people’s behaviour.
Poland
Poland
Poland represents a great mix of quality education and affordable costs. International students can choose from over 400 universities where programmes are taught in Polish and English. The main advantage of choosing a Polish-taught degree is that you won’t have to pay any tuition fees. Polish people are known for their hospitality and specific sense of humour, which means you’ll have a lot of fun interacting with locals, making friends, and exploring your surroundings. When you’re not in classes, feel free to travel around, visit the beautiful castles, or go skiing in the Tatra Mountains (during the winter).
Sweden
Sweden
Sweden is a very ambitious, eco-friendly, and visionary country. For example, by 2040, it aims to produce all its energy from renewable sources. Universities play an important role in achieving development goals, thanks to their world-class research facilities. If you’re from the EU/EEA, you can study at public universities for free. As a student, you will discover and easily adopt the three main values of Swedish society: freedom, equality, and sustainability. These values are reflected in every aspect of the local society, and you’ll quickly learn to appreciate them. Language barriers are also almost non-existent since around 80% of Swedes speak English.
Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland has one of the most advanced free-market economies, which is reflected in the high living standards and the satisfaction of people living here. In terms of higher education, Swiss universities are constantly ranked among the best in Europe, and they shine in areas like Business, Tourism, Culinary Arts, and Engineering. When compared to Western universities, tuition fees in Switzerland are affordable, and all studies — especially PhD programmes — are world-class. You’ll have the opportunity to develop in a multilingual environment and try learning international languages like German, French, or Italian. If you settle down here, the unemployment rates are low, and salaries are well above the European average.
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Universities in the UK are some of the most highly regarded in the world, and for good reasons. Some of the world's most highly regarded research takes place in British universities, which are regularly featured in international rankings. While studying in the UK, you will be able to develop in a highly multicultural environment with high chances of pursuing lucrative careers after graduation. The teaching in the UK is designed to encourage new idea generation, encouraging individual research and group cooperation, through class discussions and creative assignments.
Canada
Canada
Canada is one of the most popular study destinations in the world due to its high focus on the quality of its universities and its emphasis on attracting international students who can later immigrate. Canadians are very welcoming to international students and they invest a lot into making sure students are safe, treated fairly, and enjoy their stay in the country. Study in one of the strongest economies in the world while enjoying a high living standard and a flexible study environment. Classes have smaller student groups ensuring everyone gets the attention they need, and encouraging group assignments and debates.
United States
United States
The United States is home to some of the most prestigious universities and colleges in the world. With over 150 universities featured in international rankings, the U.S. has some of the best business schools, medical schools, and engineering schools. Universities and colleges in the U.S. are well known for academic flexibility and ways to customize your study experience with optional studies and extracurricular activities. Depending on where you will be studying, you will be able to visit iconic places like the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Goldengate Bridge, The Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Disney's Magic Kingdom Park, and much more.
Israel
Israel
Israel attracts international students through high standards of education and a wide range of English-taught degrees. Local universities shine in areas like Technology, Sciences, Business, and Entrepreneurship. In fact, Israel is a renowned land of innovation, having earned itself the nickname ‘Start-Up Nation’. While living and studying here, you will discover a wonderful culture developed throughout 4,000 years of history; different cultural influences are noticeable everywhere, especially in Israeli food, art, and history. In major cities, English is widely spoken, so communication shouldn’t be a problem. In your spare time, you can visit one of the over 400 nature reserves and 80 national parks.
Australia
Australia
By studying in Australia you will take advantage of the great student environment both inside and outside classrooms. In addition to some of the best business and engineering schools in the world, you will be able to explore a greatly developed country that still retains its wild side with its warm climate, beautiful beaches, and the Great Outback, with over 500 national parks. Many Australian universities provide internships and work placements, preparing students early on for the job market.

Wishlist

Go to your profile page to get personalised recommendations!