Study Abroad
Study Guide to Masters and Bachelors Degree Courses


Structure of Educational System
Admissions to Higher Education and Recognition  of Foreign Credentials 
Student Life 
International Cooperation and Exchanges   

Pre-higher Education System

     Duration of compulsory education
     Age of entry: 6
     Age of exit:  15

     Structure of school system

     Type/level of education:      Elementary
     Type of school:                     SAKUMSKOLA (ELEMENTARY SCHOOL)
     Length of program (years): 4
     Age level:                              from 6 to 10

     Type/level of education:      Basic or General Basic
     Type of school:                     PAMATSKOLA (BASIC SCHOOL)
     Length of program (years): 5
     Age level:                               from 10 to 15

     Type/level of education:     Comprehensive
     Type of school:                    ARODPAMATSKOLA (VOCATIONAL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL)
     Length of program (years): 2
     Age level:                              from 15 to 17
     Certificate awarded:             DIPLOMS PAR ARODPAMATIZGLiTiBU

     Type/level of education:     Comprehensive
     Type of school:                    ARODVIDUSSKOLA (VOCATIONAL SECONDARY SCHOOL)
     Length of program (years): 3
     Age level:                              from 15 to 18
     Certificate awarded:             DIPLOMS PAR VIDEJO ARODIZGLiTiBU

     Type/level of education:     Vocational
     Type of school:                    ARODGIMNAZIJA (VOCATIONAL GYMNASIUM)
     Length of program (years): 4
     Age level:                              from 15 to 19

     Type/level of education:      Specialized Secondary
     Type of school:                     TEHNIKUMS
     Length of program (years): 4
     Age level:                              from 15 to 19
     Certificate awarded:             TEHNIKUM (T) DIPLOMA

     Type/level of education:     General Secondary
     Length of program (years): 3
     Age level:                             from 15 to 18

     Type/level of education:     Vocational
     Type of school:                    ARODSKOLA (VOCATIONAL SCHOOL)
     Length of program (years): 1
     Age level:                              from 18 to 19
     Certificate awarded:             DIPLOMS PAR AUGUSTAKO ARODIZGLiTiBU (DIPLOMA OF HIGHER

     Description of secondary school system
After five years of elementary and basic education, secondary school education is provided in general secondary schools (3 years), vocational secondary schools (2, 3, or 4 years), technical secondary institutions (4 years) and in different types of art and music-oriented secondary schools (not less than 3 years). All general secondary schools, technical secondary institutions and 4-year vocational schools, and most of the art and music-oriented secondary schools award the Certificate of general secondary education.

Higher Education System

     Structure of system
There are several state recognized higher education institutions which enjoy autonomy in the preparation of study programmes. However, a quality assessment process resulting in state accreditation of all study programmes is currently under development. Private institutions, which are allowed to operate under the 1991 Education Act, have a licence for beginning higher education activities, but in most cases their diplomas are not yet accredited (most were only granted licences in 1993). Institutions of higher education provide academic and professional higher education.

     Main types of higher education institutions in country

     Type of institution:  UNIVERSITATE
     Translation:               UNIVERSITY

     Type of institution:  AKADEMIJA
     Translation:               ACADEMY

     Type of institution:  AUGUSTAKA MACiBU IESTADE
     Translation:               HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTION

     Type of institution:  AUGUSTSKOLA
     Translation:               HIGHER SCHOOL

     Type of institution:  INSTITUTS
     Translation:               INSTITUTE

     Main laws/decrees governing higher education

     Name of law/decree:        Law on Education
     Date:                      1992

     Name of law/decree:        Education Act
     Date:                      1991

     Name of law/decree:        Education Act
     Date:                      1991
     Institution type:  private higher education institutions

 Administrative structure of higher education

     Name of body:      Ministry of Education and Science
     Role:              Responsible for long-term planning of higher education, as well as for assessment,
     organization, and general administration.

          Street: Valnu iela 2
          City: Riga
          Postal code: 1098
          Telephone: 371-7-222415
          Telex: 161172 tema su
          Fax: 371-7-213992

     Name of body:      Higher Education Quality Evaluation Center

          Street: Valnu iela 2
          City: Riga
          Postal code: 1098
          Telephone: 371-7-213870
          Fax: 371-7-243126

     Name of body:      Rectors Council of Latvia

          Street: Raina bulvaris 19
          City: Riga
          Postal code: 1050
          Telephone: 371-7-7228928
          Fax: 371-7-7820113

     Academic year
     Classes start:     September
     Classes end:       July

     Languages of instruction
     Latvian/Lettish, Russian

Stages and Organization of Higher Education Studies

     Higher vocational/technical studies

Professional study programmes can take place independently of academic studies. Non-university higher education institutions offer four-year programmes leading to professional qualifications.

     University level studies

     Stage 1:     Undergraduate

Description: The first cycle leads to the award of a Bakalaurs (Bachelor' degree), which includes the preparation of a thesis. The duration of studies varies from three to four-and-a-half years. This is considered as an intermediate qualification but is treated as completed higher education if the student studies for four or more years.

     Stage 2:     Postgraduate

Description: The second cycle leads to the award of the Magistrs (Master's degree), a terminal qualification of higher education awarded two years after the Bakalaurs. This degree also involves the presentation of a thesis. The total duration of the course of study is five to seven years. In medicine, studies are not divided into two stages but the degrees awarded after 5 to 6 years (Doctor of dental surgery and Doctor of medicine) are considered equivalent to the Magistrs.

     Stage 3:     Doktors (Doctorate)

Description: Doctoral studies are available at both higher education institutions and research institutes. A doctor's degree is awarded three to four years after completion of the Magistrs and following the public defence of a thesis.

     Stage 4:     Habilitets doktors (Post doctorate)

Description: The habilitets doktors is awarded after the defence of a thesis which is usually a short summary of several scientific publications.

     Teacher education

     Training of secondary school teachers

Secondary school teachers (skolotajs) follow either a teacher training course parallel to their academic studies (bakalaurs and magistrs) or a professional teacher training programme. Some school teachers follow a postgraduate teacher training course.

Grading system

     Usual grading system in (upper) secondary school
10:izcili (with distinction); 9:teicami (excellent); 8:loti labi (very good); 7:labi (good); 6:gandriz labi (almost good); 5:viduveji (satisfactory); 4:gandriz viduveji (almost satisfactory); 3-1:neapmierinisi (unsatisfactory).

     Highest on scale:  10
     Pass/fail level:           4/3
     Lowest on scale:   1

     Main grading system generally used by higher education institutions
Traditionally, a 5-grade marking system has been used in Latvia. 5: teicami (excellent); 4: labi (good); 3: apmierinosi (satisfactory, fair); 2: neapmierinosi (unsatisfactory); 1:loti vaji (totally unsatisfactory).

     Highest on scale:  5
     Pass/fail level:           3/2
     Lowest on scale:   1

Admissions to Higher Education

     Admissions to university level

     Secondary school credential/certificate/diploma(s) required for entry

     Name of sec. school credential: ATESTATS PAR VISPAREJO VIDEJO IZGLiTiBU
     Total number of years of primary and secondary school study: 13

     Other admission requirements established at national level:
Access is regulated by examinations, by ranking of secondary diplomas or by interview, or a combination of these methods. Knowledge of the Latvian language is assessed when the language of instruction in secondary education was not Latvian.

     Numerus clausus established in the country for students entering university level education
     At level of institutions: Y          At country/state level: N

     Admission for foreign students

     Quotas established for foreign students:
     At institution level: N
     At country/state level: N

     Special entry regulations for foreign students in country/state:
Foreign students must present a school-leaving certificate (original and certified translated copy) and a residence permit. Latvian diplomatic missions abroad provide all the necessary information to the applicants, make an initial recommendation and issue entry visas to candidates who have been accepted.

     Health requirements:
     visa health required.

     Language proficiency requirements for foreign applicants whose first language is not the language of instruction
     Are there examinations at institution level? Y

     Requirements at national level

     Name of exam or requirement:       Knowledge of Latvian.

     Authority to whom foreign student applications should be addressed:
     Application to individual institutions: N

     Application to national/central body: Y
     For entry to: all programmes.

     Name of national/central body: Ministry of Education and Science

     Address of body:
                 Street: Valnu iela 2
                 City: Riga
                 Postal code: 1098
                 Telephone: 371-2-222415
                 Fax: 371-7-213992

     Reference to further information materials on foreign students admissions

     Title:                           The World Guide to Higher Education
     Author:                      UNESCO
     Publisher:                  UNESCO Publishing House
     Year of publication: 1996

     Title:                           Higher Education Establishments of Latvia
     Author:                      Latvian ENIC

Recognition of studies and qualifications

     System of "recognition" or "accreditation" of studies completed and credentials awarded within the country:


     Studies completed and credentials awarded within the country are recognized by the State.

     Recognition of studies completed and credentials awarded in foreign countries

     Bodies primarily addressing questions relating to the recognition of foreign credentials and studies in higher education

     Name of body: Akademiskas Informacijas Centrs
          Street: Valnu iela 2
          City: Riga
          Postal code: 1098
          Telephone: 371-2-225155
          Fax: 371-7-820171

     Description of services provided and types of students dealt with:
Recognition of foreign diplomas of higher education; consultations of Latvian higher education institutions on foreign educational systems.

     For access to university level studies:
Bilateral agreements on the equivalence of educational levels and certificates are in effect.

     For access to advanced studies and research:
The Science Council of Latvia recognizes scientific research degrees obtained abroad in all fields of science, technology and culture.

Student services

     Principal national student associations and unions

     Name: Students' Association of Latvia

          Street: Kramu iela 2
          City: Riga
          Postal code: LV-1658
          Telephone: 371-7-214135
          Fax: 371-2-610493

Student expenses and financial aid

 Tuition and fees for national students  Tuition and fees for foreign students 
 Minimum:  Latvian Lats 0  Minimum: 
 Maximum:  Latvian Lats 1100  Maximum: US Dollar 3500
       Publication(s) listing scholarships/grants/loans available

     Title:                           Study Abroad, 1996-1997
     Publisher:                  UNESCO
     Year of publication: 1995

International Cooperation

Principal national bodies responsible for facilitating international cooperation and exchanges in higher education

     Name: Ministry of Education and Science
          Street: Valnu iela 2
          City: Riga
          Postal code: 1098
          Telephone: 371-7-222415
          Fax: 371-7-213992
          Cable: 161172 tema su

Participation of country in multilateral or major bilateral higher education exchange programmes

     Name of programme: TEMPUS
     Name of programme: BALTIC SEA PROJECT
     Name of programme: BALTIC PILOT PROJECT


     Date:         1995/1996
     Source:     International Association of Universities (IAU)