Latvia

Study in Latvia

Softamo Education Group

About Latvia

The education system in Latvia, like its culture, is best characterized by its openness to outside influences. It is an active participant in international collaborations such as the establishment of the European Higher Education Area, which advocates an active exchange of staff and students within and outside of Europe.

The education system in Latvia is also heavily involved in multi-national cooperation in the field of education and research, with the aim of further developing student competitiveness in both local and international job markets. The Latvian higher education system adheres to the Bologna process, in which there are three cycles of study, namely Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD degrees. Bachelor’s programs could be completed in 3-4 years, Master’s in 1-2 years, and Doctorates in 3-4 years.

The Education System in Latvia

The education system in Latvia, like its culture, is best characterized by its openness to outside influences. It is an active participant in international collaborations such as the establishment of the European Higher Education Area, which advocates an active exchange of staff and students within and outside of Europe.

The education system in Latvia is also heavily involved in multi-national cooperation in the field of education and research, with the aim of further developing student competitiveness in both local and international job markets.

The Latvian higher education system adheres to the Bologna process, in which there are three cycles of study, namely Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD degrees. Bachelor’s programs could be completed in 3-4 years, Master’s in 1-2 years, and Doctorates in 3-4 years.

Why Study in Latvia?
Latvian education offers a broad-based curriculum and global perspective to equip students with the relevant qualification and skill that will serve as a springboard to a brighter future. Studying in Latvia provides an opportunity for cross-cultural exposure and personal development. Latvia remains a wonderful country for studies abroad in Europe due to:

• Bachelor / Master/ Doctorate level Programs taught in English
• Prestigious Globally Recognized Degrees
• Government approved Universities
• Exchange semester or internship abroad
• Attractive Tuition Fee
• On-campus accommodation provided
• Moderate living costs (400 $/month)
• Numerous opportunities for leisure activities and sports

Latvia is a multi-ethnic country and rich in different cultural and education traditions. The higher education institutions in Latvia are members of international cooperation within many different fields of study. Latvia offers researchers and teaching staff from several countries for studies as well as research work. Universities also offer both English taught academic and professional bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Tuition fees and living costs are generally lower than the costs in most "Western Countries". Universities are well known for producing high quality IT and engineering graduates. EU membership means that a degree from Latvia is equivalent to other EU countries, making it easier to get credentials recognized.

You will have all the benefits of living in a European country with lower costs than many westernized EU Countries.

Types of higher education programs in Latvia

Higher education in Latvia sets a contrast between academic and professional higher education. Majority of the Latvian academic institutions offer both degrees.
Academic – programmes under this category focus on enhancing one’s research skills, while providing a theoretical background for their career. These are built upon a fundamental and/or applied science and generally requires a thesis at the end of each stage, leading to a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Professional – these programs tend to be more vocational, with a focus on providing in-depth knowledge to prepare students in areas such as the improvement of systems and technologies, as well as creative, research and teaching pursuits in their field.
Latvian higher education institutions offer a diverse collection of courses, with the most popular ones being in the fields of Health Care, Engineering, Mathematics, Computer Science, and Business and Administration.
The Latvian Academic Year
In most higher educational institutions, the Latvian academic year consists of 40 weeks, divided into two semesters, with the first semester starting on September.

AUTUMN SEMESTER
• Lectures: September - December
• Exams: December or January
• Holiday break: Christmas time

SPRING SEMESTER
• Lectures: February until the end of May
• Exams: May or June
• Holiday break: July until August
Study Visas for International Students in Latvia
The requirements for a student visa in Latvia will differ based on whether the prospective student is a EU/EEA citizen or not.

Students from the EU/EEA do not need a visa to enter Latvia. Additionally, there are also countries outside of the EU/EEA whose citizens can take advantage of the same privilege.

However, do take note that said individuals can only stay up to 90 days in Latvia within a six-month period. As such, students planning to stay for a longer time are advised to apply for a registration certificate/residence permit before arriving or within their first 90 days of stay in the country.
Citizenship and Migration Affairs in Riga
The following documents must be provided:

• Valid travel documents
• Application form which can be claimed at the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA)
• Confirmation/Invitation of studies
• Health insurance considered valid for the entire period of stay in Latvia (EHIC)
• Proof of sufficient funding (minimum EUR 430) per month: original bank statements, stamped and signed plus a copy of the bank card (considered valid for 3 months from approval date)
Residence permit process for citizens from visa – free countries
On the other hand, students from the visa-free countries have three options to acquire a residence permit:

• Apply personally within 90 days of arrival in Latvia at the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA) in Riga.
• Universities like the University of Latvia can handle the process themselves before the student arrives in Latvia.
• Apply in a Latvian embassy in their home country (if there is one).
Required documents for Residence Permit
Please do note that there may be additional requirements depending on the chosen university so it is highly recommended to also check in with the university’s international coordinator.

• A letter of invitation from the chosen university
• The application form for the residence permit which can be found here
• A copy of the applicant’s passport (bring the original for presentation). Said passport must be still be valid for a minimum of three months after the planned length of stay
• One photo (3x4 cm)
• Proof of sufficient funding (minimum of EUR 430) per month: original statement from the bank, stamped and signed plus a copy of the bank card (considered valid for 3 months from approval date)
• A document certifying the place of accommodation (considered valid for 3 months from approval date)
• Copy of a study agreement with the university
• State processing fee

The entire residence permit process will take more than 40 days.
Upon receiving the permit, students will need to present a health insurance policy (valid in Latvia), and both the original and copied versions of fluorography or x-ray results issued by a reputable institution in Latvia.
Visa and Residence permit process for citizens from countries which require a visa
Visa requirements and processes for a student visa in Latvia will depend on the specific country or region, so it will be best to consult the Latvian university or the nearest Latvian embassy.

The conditions needed to be met to be granted a residence permit in Latvia is relatively the same with those from the visa-free countries.

Applications must be made as soon as possible, as it can take several weeks to acquire a residence permit or a student visa for Latvia.
Living Costs & Student Accommodation in Latvia
Student accommodation in Latvia is normally provided for by the universities through student dormitories or hostels. Universities also have international student advisors who provide housing assistance or advice.

It is recommended that prospective students should work with their chosen institution regarding accommodation as the real estate market in Latvia can be a little bit tricky to navigate.

Living Costs in Latvia

While living costs in Latvia will depend on the city, type of accommodation and one’s lifestyle, everyday expenses in this Baltic state are still generally cheaper compared to many European countries.

It is estimated that around €450 – 700 (USD$ 553 – USD$ 861) is enough to cover necessities such as food, transportation, utilities and accommodation for a month. The following list provides further details on the average monthly expenses per Latvian city.

Cost of Living in Riga:

Accommodation
Student hostel/dormitories: €70 -120
Solo Flat: €250 – 350
Shared Flat: €100 – 200
Food
€120 – 250
Transport
Public transport (with student discount): €16 for each month (buses, trams, trolleybuses)
One-way ticket for public transport: €1.15
Taxi (city center to suburbs): €7 – 15 (only 1 transfer)
Leisure / personal
Cinema ticket: €5 – 10
Opera ticket: €7 – 42
Rock concerts: €7.5 - 30

Cost of Living in Jelgava:

Accommodation
Student hostel/dormitories: €60 -120
Solo Flat: €86 – 341
Shared Flat: €55 – 215
Food
€120 – 250
Transport
Public transport (with student discount): €14 for each month (buses, trams, trolleybuses)
One-way ticket for public transport: €0.70 - 1
Taxi (city center to suburbs): €5 – 15 (only 1 transfer)
Leisure / personal
Bowling: €5 – 7
Ice skating: €4 – 20
Events: €5 - 30
Cost of Living in Ventspils:

Accommodation
Student hostel/dormitories: €47 - 69
Solo Flat: €100 – 20
Shared Flat: €85 – 100
Food
€120 – 230
Transport
Public transport (with student discount): €16.50 for each month (buses, trams, trolleybuses)
One-way ticket for public transport: €0.60 - 0.90
Taxi (city center to suburbs): €3.56 – 6 (only 1 transfer)
Leisure / personal
Cinema ticket: €3 – 5.70
Opera ticket: €4 – 20
Theater ticket: €4 - 37
Tuition Fees in Latvia
Tuition fees for Latvian universities are relatively affordable compared to institutions from other countries in the EU.

While the tuition fees in Latvia will vary depending on the chosen university and program, there is a recognizable difference in tuition rates between the local Latvian students and enrollees from other EU countries and Switzerland.

Non-EU students are generally required to pay at an even higher sum than their domestic and EU counterparts.
Facts about Tuition Fees in Latvia
• The average tuition fee in Latvia for undergraduate programs is between EUR 3000 – EUR 5000 (USD 3,600 – USD 6,100).

• Medicine degrees are at higher rates, with the most being up to EUR 15,000 (USD 18,400) per year.

• On the other hand, master’s degree programs range from EUR 1,700 (USD 2,095) annually for EU/EEA and Swiss students to EUR 3,700 (USD 4,560) for other international enrollees.
Grants and Scholarships
Need help finding scholarships?

This comprehensive Scholarship Guide, brought to you by educations.com, outlines the top scholarships currently available in countries around the world.
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Students from a select group of countries can opt for scholarships should they need financial help with their Latvian-based studies.
Citizens from countries which have a signed agreement on co-operation in education and science with Latvia (such as Belgium, France and Spain among others) and who offer scholarships for Latvian students and researchers (such as USA, Greece and Germany) are eligible for scholarships.

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