Study Abroad
Study Guide to Masters and Bachelors Degree Courses




Estonia



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


INSTITUTION TYPES & CREDENTIALS

Types of higher education institutions:

Ülikool (University)

 Rakenduskörgkool (Applied Higher education Institution)

 

School leaving and higher education credentials:

Gümnaasiumi Lõputunnistus

Diplom

Bakalaureusekraad

Diploma of Specialist

Magistrikraad

Doktorikraad

STRUCTURE OF EDUCATION SYSTEM

Pre-higher education:

Duration of compulsory education:

Age of entry: 7

Age of exit: 16

Structure of school system:

Basic

Type of school providing this education: Basic School/ Põhikool

Length of program in years: 9

Age level from: 7 to: 16

Certificate/diploma awarded: Basic School Leaving Certificate (pöhikooli löputunnistus)

Basic Vocational

Type of school providing this education: Vocational Education Institution (Basic school based)

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 16 to: 19

Certificate/diploma awarded: Certificate on Acquiring Secondary Vocational Education Based on Basic Education (tunnistus pöhihariduse baasil kutsekeskhariduse omandamise kohta)

General Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Secondary General School / Gymnasium

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 16 to: 19

Certificate/diploma awarded: Secondary School Leaving Certificate (Gümnaasiumi Lõputunnistus)

Vocational Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Vocational Education Institution

Length of program in years: 3

Age level from: 19 to: 22

Certificate/diploma awarded: Certificate on Acquiring Secondary Vocational Education Based on Secondary Education (tunnistus keskhariduse baasil kutsekeskhariduse omandamise kohta)

School education:

General education is divided into two parts: basic education (9 years: age 7 to 16) which is compulsory for all children in Estonia and secondary general education.  Since 1993, the Basic School Leaving Certificate, obtained at the end of basic education, provides a student with the right to continue at the next level which offers two streams (in three further years): 1) Secondary general school/gymnasium education and 2) vocational education. Upon graduation of secondary general education, students obtain the Gumnaasiumi Loputunnistus (Secondary School Leaving Certificate) which gives access to higher education. Students who have completed the study programme for secondary vocational education on the basis of basic school education will, upon graduation, obtain a Certificate on Acquiring Secondary Vocational Education Based on Basic Education (tunnistus pöhihariduse baasil kutsekeskhariduse omandamise kohta). Those who have completed the post-secondary vocational programme for secondary vocational education on the basis of secondary school education will, upon graduation, obtain a Certificate on Acquiring Secondary Vocational Education Based on Secondary Education (Tunnistus Keskhariduse Baasil Kutsekeskhariduse Omandamise Kohta). Vocational higher education is a one-stage higher education offered by secondary education based vocational education institutions or by applied higher education institutions (rakenduskõrgkool).

Higher education:

The higher education system is binary and consists of universities (ülikool) and applied higher education institutions (rakenduskörgkool). Since 1999 some post-secondary vocational schools have a right to offer vocational higher education. There are six public universities, nine private universities, eight state institutions of applied higher education, ten private applied higher education institutions, seven state vocational education institutions and one private vocational education institution offering vocational higher education. The usual duration of studies is three to four years. Higher education institutions are regulated by the Law on Universities (January 1995), the Law on Private Schools (June 1998), the Law on the Organization of Research and Development Activity (April 1997), the Law on Applied Higher education Institutions (June 1998), the Law on Vocational Education Institutions (July 1998),  the Law on the University of Tartu (January 1995) and the Law on the Organisation of Research and Developmental Activity (April 1997). The administration of higher education institutions or their study programmes is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education. Private Higher Education Institutions or their study programmes are officially recognized after accreditation.

Main laws/decrees governing higher education:

Decree: Law on Applied Higher Education Institutions Year: 1998

Decree: Law on Private Schools Year: 1993

Concerns: Private institutions

Decree: Law on the University of Tartu Year: 1995

Decree: Law on Universities Year: 1995

Concerns: higher education institutions

Decree: Standard of Higher Education Year: 2000

Concerns: Higher education institutions

Decree: The Education Act Year: 1992

Concerns: The whole system of education

Academic year:

Classes from: Sep to: Jun

Long vacation from: Jul to: Aug

Languages of instruction: Estonian, Russian, English

Stages of studies:

Post-secondary studies (technical/vocational type):

Non-university level:

Non-academic higher education comprises vocational higher education and Diplom studies. Vocational higher education is one-stage and is offered by secondary education based vocational education institutions or rakenduskōrgkool. The length of studies is from three to four years and studies include practical training. The graduates who have completed their studies are awarded a Diploma with mention of their speciality. Diplom study is a one-stage non-academic applied higher education. The length of study is from three to four years and is specialized. It consists of studying and acquiring practical knowledge and skills. Graduates who have completed their studies are awarded a Diplom. Diplom studies can take place at university or in rakenduskōrgkool. The programme at university may have a common element with bakalaureaus studies.

 

University level studies:

University level first stage: Bakalaureus studies:

Bakalaureus level study is the first stage of academic studies. Its main purpose is to increase students' level of general education and develop theoretical knowledge and professional skills for the selected area of employment and further study. The length of bakalaureus level study is three to four years (since 1999). Graduates who have completed their studies receive a diploma certifying the Bakalaureusekraad.

University level second stage: Magister Degree:

Magister level study is the second stage of academic study. Its main purpose is to deepen theoretical and specialist knowledge and develop proficiency in research, professional or other creative work for individual use of knowledge and skills. The length of study is two years (since 1999, 1...2 years, but together with bakalaureus study no less than five years). Graduates who have completed their studies receive a diploma certifying the Magistrikraad.

University level third stage: Doktor:

Doktor study is the third stage of academic study, consisting of comprehensive research, professional or other creative work and interrelated studies. The nominal length of study is four years. Graduates who have completed their studies receive a diploma certifying the Doktorikraad.

 

Teacher education:

Training of pre-primary and primary/basic school teachers

Primary school teachers are trained at applied higher education institutions and universities.

Training of secondary school teachers

Secondary-school teachers are trained at applied higher education institutions and universities.

Training of higher education teachers

Higher education teachers are trained in universities where the main emphasis is on academic and scientific fields. Universities may have different titles as well as requirements for them.

 

Non-traditional studies:

Distance higher education

There are possibilities to study by correspondence (open universities).

Lifelong higher education

In-service training programmes for teachers and school administrators exist.

NATIONAL BODIES

Administration & co-ordination:

Responsible authorities:

Ministry of Education (Vabaiigi Haridusminsteerium)

Minister: Tônis Lukas

Secretary-General: Peep Ratas

Head of International relations: Margus Haidak

Tõnismägi St. 9/11
15192 Tallinn
Estonia

Tel: +372(6) 281-212

Fax: +372(6) 281-300

EMail: hm@hm.ee

WWW: http://www.hm.ee

 

Role of governing body: Education management

 

Council of Rectors of Estonian Universities

President: Olav Aarna

Ehitajate tee 5
19086 Tallinn
Estonia

Tel: +372(6) 202-002

Fax: +372(6) 202-020

EMail: teab@edu.ttu.ee

 

 

Council of Rectors of the Private Universities

President: Mart Susi

3, Kaluri tee, Haabneeme
3006 Harjumaa
Estonia

Tel: +372(60) 920 77

Fax: +37(60) 902 16

EMail: ciue@ciue.edu.ee

ADMISSIONS TO HIGHER EDUCATION

Admission to non university higher education studies

Name of secondary school credential required: Gümnaasiumi Lõputunnistus

For entry to: Vocational education institutions offering vocational higher education. Applied higher education institutions

Alternatives to credentials:

Tunnistus põhihariduse Baasil Kutsekeskhariduse Omandamise Kohta or Tunnistus Keskhariduse Baasil Kutsekeskhariduse Omandamise Kohta which are certificates on acquiring secondary vocational education

Numerus clausus/restrictions:

Numerus clausus is established at level of institutions.

Admission to university-level studies

Name of secondary school credential required: Gümnaasiumi Lõputunnistus

For entry to: Universities

Alternatives to credentials: Tunnistus põhihariduse baasil kutsekeskhariduse omandamise kohta or Tunnistus Keskhariduse Baasil Kutsekeskhariduse Omandamise Kohta which are certificates on acquiring secondary vocational education

Entrance exams required: Since 1997, students must sit for the state entrance examinations (riigiesamid)  to have access to higher education institutions. Depending on the speciality, higher education institutions may require some additional entrance examinations.

Numerus clausus/restrictions: Numerus clausus is established at the level of the institution.

Foreign students admission

Definition of foreign student: A student who is studying at an Estonian university and who is the citizen of a foreign country and does not have a permanent permit of residence of the Estonian Republic.

Quotas: There are quotas established at the institution level.

Admission requirements: Students must hold a Certificate of secondary education and sit for two or three competitive examinations. Undergraduate students must possess university eligibility in their own country.

Entry regulations: Foreign students must hold a visa and a resident permit.

Language requirements: Students must have a good knowledge of Estonian, English, German or Russian.

Application procedures:

Apply to individual institution for entry to: all higher education institutions

Application closing dates:

For non-university level (technical/vocational type) studies: Aug

For university level studies: Aug

For advanced/doctoral studies: Jun

Recognition of studies & qualifications:

Studies pursued in home country (System of recognition/accreditation): The right to award the applicable diploma or degree lies with the higher education institutions recognized by the State. Private higher education institutions are recognized by the State after accreditation.  According to the Law on Universities, higher education courses must be evaluated every seven years by the Higher Education Quality Assurance Council.

Studies pursued in foreign countries (bodies dealing with recognition of foreign credentials):

Estonian ENIC/NARIC - Foundation "Archimedes"

Head: Gunnar Vaht

Kohtu 6
10130 Tallinn
Estonia

Tel: +372(6) 962-415

Fax: +372(6) 962-419

EMail: gunnar@euedu.ee

WWW: http://www.socrates.ee/en/enicnaric.php

 

Deals with credential recognition for entry to: University and Profession

Services provided & students dealt with: Provides information to holders of foreign qualifications on possibilities and gives access  1) to studies in Estonian institutions or 2) to Estonian labour market

 

Other information sources on recognition of foreign studies: Institutions take the final decisions concerning recognition.

Multilateral agreements concerning recognition of foreign studies

Name of agreement: Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Estonian Republic on Recognition and Equivalence of Higher education Qualifications

Year of signature: 1998

Name of agreement: Lisbon Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications Concerning Higher Education in the European Region

References to further information on foreign student admissions and recognition of studies

Title: Higher Education System in Estonia

Publisher: Estonian ENIC/NARIC

Title: Information for international students

Publisher: Estonian Agricultural University

Title: University of Tartu Guide for International Students (in English)

Publisher: University of Tartu

STUDENT LIFE

Health/social provisions

Social security for home students: Yes

Social security for foreign students: Yes

Special student travel fares:

By road: Yes

By rail: Yes

By air: Yes

Available to foreign students: Yes

Student expenses and financial aid

Student costs:

Average living costs: 10000 (Kroon)

Home students tuition fees: Minimum: 0 (Kroon)

Maximum: 30000 (Kroon)

Foreign students tuition fees: Minimum: 15000 (Kroon)

Maximum: 33000 (Kroon)

Type of financial aid available:

Scholarships/grants/fellowships:

Higher vocational/technical studies:

Home: Yes

Foreign: Yes

First Degree studies:

Home: Yes

Foreign: Yes

Advanced/doctoral studies:

Home: Yes

Foreign: Yes

Loans:

Higher vocational/technical studies:

Home: Yes

Foreign: Yes

First degree studies:

Home: Yes

Foreign: No

Advanced/doctoral studies:

Home: Yes

Foreign: No

Bodies providing information on student financial aid:

European Universities Information Centre

Narva mnt. 25
10120 Tallinn
Estonia

Tel: +372(7) 409119

Fax: +372(7) 409118

EMail: euroinfo@tpu.ee

WWW: http://www.tpu.ee/english/Eurocentre.html

 

Deals with: Grants and Loans

Publications on student services and financial aid:

Title: Study Abroad 2000-2001

Publisher: UNESCO/IBE

Year of publication: 1999

Title: University of Tartu Guide for International Students

Year of publication: 1993

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION & EXCHANGES

Principal national bodies responsible for dealing with international cooperation and exchanges in higher education:

Socrates Estonian National Agency/Foundation "Archimedes"

Kohtu 6
EE-0100 Tallinn
Estonia

Tel: +372(6) 962411

Fax: +372(6) 962426

EMail: rait@euedu.ee

WWW: http://www.euedu.ee

 

Participation of country in multilateral or bilateral higher education programmes

Name of exchange programme: ISEP (International Student Exchange Programme)

Name of exchange programme: SOCRATES/ERASMUS

Name of exchange programme: TEMPUS

GRADING SYSTEM

Usual grading system in secondary school

Full Description: A five point-scale is used: 5 (excellent); 4 (good); 3 (satisfactory); 2 (poor); 1 (unsatisfactory).

Highest on scale: 5

Pass/fail level: 3

Lowest on scale: 1

Main grading system used by higher education institutions

Full Description: A six- point scale is used: 5 or A (excellent); 4 or B (very good); 3 or C (good); 2 or D (satisfactory); 1 or E (insufficient); 0 or F (insufficient).

Highest on scale: 5 or A

Pass/fail level: 1 or E

Lowest on scale: 0 or F

Other main grading systems

Some universities use their own grading system but on the final document grades are ajusted to the general system.

NOTES ON HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM

During the last 50 years there were limited possibilities for developing independent educational policy in Estonia. Despite the pressure to adopt the overpoliticized Soviet educational structure and curricula, the Estonian educational system maintained instruction in the Estonian language. A political renaissance started at the end of the 1980s. In universities the majority of courses are conducted in Estonian, but there are academic groups in which the language of instruction is Russian, English or German. Many of the Russian-speaking students continue their studies in the higher education institutions of the former Soviet Union.




Data for academic year: 2000-2001
Source: Eesti ENIC/NARIC, Tallinn, 2000

Copyright International Associations of Universities