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.
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.
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, 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 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:
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
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
Interested in scholarships for Latvia? Check out our scholarship search page.
How to Apply to a Master's in Latvia
If you've decided to study a Master's degree at a university in Latvia, you will have to gather the right documents to prove that you fit the university requirements. Provide complete personal information, previous qualifications, financial information, and a personal statement.
What documents do I need to provide to apply in Latvia?
The first step into applying to a university in Latvia is submitting your record transcript, in order to be verified and in order to see how compatible your studies are with the degree you wish to study.
The documents you need to provide are:
- An English proficiency test;
- Education/Degree Certificate or Diploma;
- Your record transcripts;
- Copy of ID or passport;
- Motivation letter;
If everything comes back ok, the university of your choice will set a series of exams you should take, to prove that, if there is a difference between your Bachelor’s and your Master’s, you are familiar enough with the discipline as to not be overwhelmed by the curricula.
After you take these exams, the next set of steps you will need to take are:
- A Skype interview with the university;
- The agreement between yourself and the university;
- Proof you paid the first-year worth of tuition fee;
- The list of documents for the Latvian Residence Permit.
Prove your English skills
As you will probably attend a programme taught in English, you should know that the grades you need to obtain at your proficiency tests are:
- For IELTS: 6.0;
- For TOEFL: 500;
- For IBT: 90.
Application deadlines for Latvia
The application deadlines in Latvia vary from university to university, so be sure to ask beforehand when you should start preparing your documents.
Still, as a general rule, deadlines usually close in May/June.
Also, remember that deadlines can differ between EU and non-EU students.