For the essential information about studying in Estonia and applying for higher education programmes, visit the Study in Estonia website.
- Population: 1,318,700 (January 2018)
- Capital: Tallinn
- Geographical size: 45,339 km2
- GDP: €20.945 billion (2017)
- Official EU language(s): Estonian
- Currency: Euro
- Student visas and immigration
- Scholarships and financial support
- Number of higher education institutions: 20
- Number of students in higher education: 46,155 (2016/2017, Estonian Ministry of Education and Research
- Number of international students in higher education: 4,395 (2016/2017, Estonian Ministry of Education and Research)
- Language of instruction: Most higher education courses in Estonia are taught in Estonian language but you will find many courses taught in English too. In fact, 9 higher education institutions offer degree studies fully in English language
- Typical tuition fees: Doctoral/PhD level programmes in Estonian public universities do not require tuition fees. For Bachelor’s and Master’s level programmes, some are free of charge, whereas some charge tuition fees ranging from 2000-11 000 Euros per academic year. Find out more about tuition fees from the Study in Estonia site.
- Average length of a full-time higher education programme in Estonia:
- Bachelor’s degree programme: 3 years
- Master’s degree programme: 2 years
- Doctorate/PhD: 4 years
Situated in northern Europe, Estonia is a country of striking natural beauty and stunning seaside locations, bringing together historical and modern contrasts.
A 2004 European Union entrant, Estonia is a prosperous and forward-thinking country, with a modern market-based economy and one of the most liberal tax regimes in the world.
It is known for its e-solutions, flat-rate tax system, nationwide e-voting, open democracy where residents can tweet the President – and of course its innovative and open approach to new technologies. One of the best examples of how far Estonia's modern technology has come is Skype, developed in Estonia!
Estonia boasts a long tradition of high-quality higher education. The first university was established here in 1632, making it one of the oldest universities in Northern Europe.
Today, Estonian universities offer more than 130 degree programmes in English at Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral/PhD level, with internationally recognised diplomas and scholarship possibilities.
With world-class research facilities and infrastructure, students here get a maximum experience from their studies. Shorter periods of study in Estonia are also available – for example exchange studies and summer schools.
Living costs in Estonia are affordable and are lower than in many other European countries. Based on the Glassdoor Economic Research report, titled Which Countries in Europe Offer The Best Standard of Living?, Tallinn and Tartu are among some of the cheapest cities in Europe. General feedback from students who have spent some time here is that living conditions here are similar to those in Western Europe.
Student life in Estonia is full of activities and events. There are many organisations and events to help students settle into Estonian life and make friends. After class, students can explore the medieval streets of Estonia’s old towns, attend concerts, participate in the lively night-life of modern clubs and bars… or escape into nature - endless forests, picturesque lakes, and white beaches.
According to Student Barometer survey (2015) 89% of international students are satisfied with their overall living and studying standard in Estonia!
As an international student in Estonia you have the right to work during your studies. Students coming from outside of the European Union can also look for full-time employment in Estonia upon graduation, with 6 months to find a role.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Estonia produces more start-up companies per head of population than any other country in Europe! Students and graduates are often encouraged to create their own start-ups/spin-off companies during their studies. Many governmental and non-governmental organisations offer students funding and support for this purpose.
It is not just the tech-savvy attitude, low living costs and fast-developing economy that make Estonia attractive for international students. Estonia is also a country of contrasts, with four different seasons - from the bright, endless summer nights to snowy winters.
If you are looking for a safe and innovative study destination with a personal approach and high quality education, Estonia is the place for you.
A few times per year, the Study in Europe Facebook page hosts a question and answer live session with the people behind the National Information portals.
Here are the question and answers for Estonia, from the Estonian National Agency, Archimedes Foundation:
What is the quality of education like in Estonia? How many universities are in the top 500 worldwide?
Several Estonian universities are ranked across different university rankings. In addition, some universities are also ranked highly with regards to specific subjects. You can see some examples here.
‘Do students usually live in university housing for the first year only? And then live off campus in later years of study?’
Students are not limited to live in university housing for the first year only. They can live in a dormitory as long as there are sufficient places, and their application for the dormitory place has been presented on time and accepted by the student housing organisation.
If a student would like to visit some of your universities, what time of year do you recommend?
There are several options for when is best to visit universities. One is to plan a visit during an official university Open Day, which is a special event organised by some universities to specifically introduce the university and its possibilities for potential students and their families. However, it is always possible to write to the admission office and express your interest to visit their university or to meet up with specific study programme coordinators or consultants. We would recommend not to visit between Christmas and New Year, as most university staff are on holiday then. It would be advisable to agree meeting a couple of weeks in advance with a university representative. For seasons, spring (April, May) and winter (January, February), it might be good to experience the different aspects of the Estonian climate.
Are there any language barriers while living or studying at university?
Institutions which accept students onto degree programmes taught in English, have English speaking staff and lecturers. Therefore, there will not be any problems with language barriers. An average Estonian speaks about 2 languages, and English is widely spoken (especially in Tallinn and Tartu). International students manage very well when living in Estonia and speaking only English.
Can you please provide me with information on what subjects are available, and what the application process involves?
Please see the available programmes by area/field including tuition fee information here. We have prepared a step-by-step guide for you on how to start the admission process to Estonian higher education institutions. Follow these steps in order to start the application process.
For overall information about requirements, please see our website.
As Estonian universities have different admission deadlines, please make sure you have time to prepare all admission documents by marking down the deadlines for the universities you are most interested in. Deadlines can be viewed here.
For frequently asked questions (such as housing, bringing your spouse with you), we have put together a separate section. This will also offer valuable information for the most common questions that students have.
How much is the tuition fee for Masters degrees?
You can find tuition fees for each programme here. Choose a specific study level (bachelor, master, PhD), and you can then see a list of programmes. Behind each programme name there will also be a yearly tuition fee.
When do you recommend students start the application process?
We recommend that you start the process as soon as the admission opens for your chosen study programme. For most institutions, this happens in January. This will allow students to prepare a strong application and provide all needed documents by deadline.
Is it feasible to come with family on a student visa?
You can get a temporary residence permit for study, which will allow your husband or wife to apply for a temporary residence permit for settling with a spouse.