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Higher Education in Latvia for China

General facts and figures


Official name: 

Republic of Latvia 

Capital city:


Local time:

GMT +2

Official language:


Most common foreign languages:

Russian, English, German

Border countries:

Belarus 141 km, Estonia 343 km, Lithuania 588 km, Russia 276 km


498 km (Baltic Sea and Gulf of Riga)

Surface Area: 

total: 64,589 sq km
land: 63,589 sq km
water: 1,000 sq km


2.23 million (December 2010 est.)


Lats (LVL), 1 LVL consists of 100 santimes.

 1 LVL is approximately 1.42 EUR


Higher Education in Latvia


The Latvian educational system comprises pre-school education, 9-year basic education, upper-secondary education and higher education. Upper-secondary education comprises two types of programmes: general secondary and vocational secondary.


In Latvia higher education institutions offer academic and professional higher education. Universities and other higher education institutions run both academic and professional programmes, e.g. lawyer, teacher, translator, marine mechanic etc. Bachelor and master degrees are awarded in both, in academic and professional higher education programmes. A Master's degree is awarded after the second cycle of academic/professional education and requires at least 5 years of university studies. Graduates of both types of the bachelor degree have access to master studies, graduates of the master degree – to doctoral studies.


The objectives of academic higher education are to prepare graduates for an independent research, as well as to provide theoretical background for professional activities. Academic education programmes are implemented according to the state standard of academic education.


Academic programmes, leading to a bachelor degree, comprise 120 – 160 national credit points (160-180 ECTS), including: compulsory part, electives, thesis and  students  free choice. Duration of full-time studies is 6 – 8 semesters (3-4 years).


Academic programmes, leading to a master degree, comprise 80 national credit points (120 ECTS), of including: thesis, compulsory part of the programme includes theoretical aspects of the specific field of scientific discipline and their practical application in solving of actual problems. Duration of full-time studies is 4 semesters (2 years) and requires at least 5 years total length of bachelor and master studies.


The objectives of professional higher education are to provide in-depth knowledge in a particular field, preparing graduates for design or improvement of systems, products and technologies, as well as to prepare them for creative, research and teaching activities in this field.

Professional programmes, leading to a professional bachelor degree, comprise at least 160 national credit points (240 ECTS) including: general courses, theoretical courses of the chosen field, specialization courses, optional courses,  practical placement and state examinations including thesis. Duration of full-time studies is 8 semesters (4 years).


Professional higher education programmes, leading to a professional master degree, comprise no less than 40 (60 ECTS) credits, incuding: up-to-date achievements in the field – in theory and in practice, practical placements, state examinations including thesis, research training, courses of design, management, psychology etc. Duration of full-time studies is 2-4 semesters (1-2 years).


Professional Studies in medicine, dentistry and pharmacy studies (5 and 6 year studies), are equal to the master degree and the graduates can continue their studies in doctoral level programmes.


The degree of master or equivalent is required for admission to doctoral studies. Doctoral degree is awarded after public defence of doctoral thesis and successfully passed exams in the chosen scientific discipline. The doctoral thesis has to include original results of the research and new cognitions in the scientific discipline. Duration of doctoral  studies is 3-4 years


Information about study programmes





Information about quality assurance





There are no separate requirements and selection procedure specifically for foreign students. The admission procedure is not centralised: each higher education institution has its own admission board and criteria. Foreign students who meet the following requirements may be enrolled in institutions of higher education of Latvia if:

·                the student's certificate of secondary education meets Latvian education standards;

·                the student's level of knowledge corresponds to the level required for admission to the respective institution and programme of higher education;

·                the student has a sufficient level of proficiency in the language(s) of instruction.

The registration of applicants and the closing dates for applications may vary in different higher education institutions. Students wishing to study in Latvia have to contact and submit their applications directly to the chosen institution. Higher education establishments may ask all students for specific subject marks obtained in secondary school or exam.


Academic year


The academic year in most higher education institutions starts in September; it comprises 40 weeks and is divided into 2 semesters.

Autumn semester:

lectures: September to December
exams: December / January
holidays: Christmas time

Spring semester:

lectures: February to the end of May
exams: May / June
holidays: July, August



Latvian Scholarship for the Academic Year 2012/2013


State Education Development Agency (VIAA) offers scholarships to students, researchers and teaching staff of several countries for studies and research work in Latvian higher education institutions (HEIs). Citizens from China also can apply for the Latvian government scholarships.

The scholarship is valid only for full-time studies in Latvia. It is not valid for on-the-job studies, part-time studies and correspondence courses. 

Scholarships are granted for the time period up to 10 months.

If a student wants to continue his/her studies in Latvia for one extra year, he/she has to apply for the Latvian scholarship again.


Application deadline for study and research stay is May 1, 2012.


Financial provisions

The amount of the Latvian scholarship is*:

a)      for bachelor and master students – LVL 350 per month;

b)      for PhD students – LVL 470 per month;

c)      for short visits of researchers and lecturers – LVL 20 per day and max. LVL 120 for accommodation per month.


Accommodation costs of bachelor, master and Phd students are to be covered from the scholarship.


In the month in which the foreign student is present in the territory of Latvia for less than 15 calendar days no scholarship is provided.


The Latvian scholarship cannot be awarded concurrently with other scholarships. 

The scholarship is meant to cover the living expenses of one person only.


Travel expenses to the Latvian HEI and back to the country of origin are not covered by the Latvian scholarship.


Scholarship holders are required to make their own arrangements for insurance coverage.


Additional information on the scholarships granted by VIAA can be obtained in:   http://www.viaa.gov.lv/eng/international_cooperation/scholarships_gov/scholarships


Contact persons:

Ms Antra Brunere, Head of the International Cooperation Programme Unit, telephone: 67785469; e-mail: antra.brunere@viaa.gov.lv 

Ms Aija Jakovica, Senior Specialist of the International Cooperation Programme Unit, telephone: 67814331, e-mail: aija.jakovica@viaa.gov.lv




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