Estonia is found in northeastern Europe by the Baltic Sea and offers beautiful woodland and lake landscapes together with a rapidly evolving innovative economy and industry. In other words, a great setting for modern higher education - welcome to study in Estonia!
Throughout history, the Estonians have been under the rule of for example Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Russia. The country regained its independence on 20 August 1991 and since then rapidly engaged to a program of social and economic reform. Today, Estonia is one of the world's fastest growing economies and known for its quick adoption of new technologies.
Estonia's cultural offerings combine the country's historical heritage with more modern influences. When it comes to Estonian food, the different historical rulers of the region - Danes, Swedes, Germans and Russians - have influenced Estonian traditional cuisine over the centuries. Many higher education institutions have canteens where the price range of dishes is affordable for students. Some pubs, diners and pizzerias have special student dishes or prices.
Language in Estonia
The people of Estonia are a Finnic people closely related to the Finns, and the Estonian language shares many similarities to Finnish.
The history of formal education in Estonia dates back to the 13-14th centuries, and the oldest university is the University of Tartu which was established in 1632. In 1919, university courses were first taught in the Estonian language.
The Bologna System
Academic higher education in Estonia is divided into three levels: bachelor's studies, master's studies, and doctoral studies. In some specialties (basic medical studies, veterinary, pharmacy, dentistry, architect-engineer and a classroom teacher program) the Bachelor's and Master's levels are integrated into one unit.
Universities in Estonia
Estonian public universities have significantly more autonomy than applied higher education institutions. In addition to organizing the academic life of the university, universities can create new curricula, establish admission terms and conditions, approve the budget, approve the development plan, elect the rector and make restricted decisions in matters concerning assets.
Students apply directly to the educational institution where they want to study. Students are advised to contact the International Relations Officer at the specific institution to receive information about application and admission.
There are som general requirements that apply to most higher education options in Estonia as follows:
- Undergraduate level: applicants need to have completed their secondary education or equivalent. Applicants should be eligible for higher education in their own country.
Generally the tuition fees vary from 1023 EUR (16 000 EEK) to 6730 EUR (105 000 EEK) per year (according to Smartestonia.ee), but students are recommended to contact the relevant educational institution for exact information about fees.
The academic year
The academic year at institutions of higher education is divided into two semesters: autumn and spring. The autumn semester usually runs from the last week of August to December, with examinations in January. The spring semester lasts from the end of January or the beginning of February to the end of May, but exams can be taken until the middle of June.
International students are advised to find out about the details concerning the procedure of getting the residence permit well in time before the beginning of the academic year. For applicants coming from outside the EU and EAA area need to get the residence permit for study reasons before entering the country. To apply for a residence permit, contact the Estonian embassy in your home country. You can get information about where to find the closest embassy from the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
EU citizens have the right to reside in Estonia and do not need to apply for a residence permit.
Working in Estonia
Citizens of member states of the European Union and the European Economic Area and the Swiss Confederation do not need permit to work in Estonia. If a third country student has received a residence permit for study in an educational institution in Estonia, he or she has the opportunity to apply for a work permit at the Citizenship and Migration Board.
For more information about Estonia:
Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: http://www.vm.ee/eng/kat_150/
Citizenship and Migration Board: http://www.mig.ee/index.php/mg/eng