Study in Europe: Latvia

Latvia is comparatively small country in North eastern Europe, on the east coast of the Baltic Sea and is bound by Belarus , Estonia , Lithuania and Russia. It is situated on a trade crossroads and has long since served as a bridge between Western Europe and Russia. Nearly one third of the 2.2 million people population live in the capital of the country. Riga is the oldest medieval city still in existence. The landscape of the country is marked by lowland plains and rolling hills and there are thousands of rivers and lakes in Latvia. The official language is Latvian. The most widely used foreign languages in the country are English, Russian and German.

The Higher Education System

The system of higher education is binary. Most universities and other institutions of higher education offer both academic and professional programs. There are three types of programs: academic programmes leading to academic degrees; professional programmes which are based on the standards of the academic degree, and thus make graduates eligible for further academic studies. Academic higher education programmes are based on fundamental and/or applied science; they lead to a Bachelors degree and Masters degree. The duration of the Bachelors programme is 3 to 4 years. The Bachelors degree is considered a complete academic qualification. The Masters degree is awarded after the second stage of academic education, and requires a total of at least 5 years of university studies. Doctoral programmes have length of 3 to 4 years at different institutions.

There are five universities and a number of other higher educational institutions in Latvia . All the universities and 23 other institutions (including 18 colleges) are state-run. In addition, there are 23 private institutions (including eight colleges), all of which are state-recognised. All the recognised institutions enjoy autonomy.


The Latvian higher education system is open to international students. On the website of the Higher Education Quality Evaluation Centre (HEQEC) you will find a list of higher educational institutions and colleges (information is available in English). More information about the education system of the Republic of Latvia , about education-related regulatory acts, higher educational institutions, and recognition of foreign diplomas in Latvia can be found on the webpage of the Latvian Academic Information Centre at

Where can I find more information?

Consulate-General of Latvia

38 Longstaff Street
East Ivanhoe Vic 3079
( PO Box 23
Kew Vic 3101)
Tel : (03) 9499 6920
Fax : (03) 9499 7008

Ministry of Education and Science (Izglitibas un Zinatnes Ministrija):

Latvian Academic Information Centre: - on this website you will find the home pages of the Higher Education Council (Augstakas Izglitibas Padome), the Latvian Rectors Councils (Latvijas Rektoru Padome) and Latvian National Observatory (Latvijas Nacionala Observatorija).