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Study in Estonia

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Study in Estonia

Located in the Baltic states of Northern Europe, Estonia is a small country and is home to around 1.3 million people. Despite its small size, Estonia is a well developed country with an advanced high-income economy. It has made great progress in terms of digital advancement, becoming the first ever country to hold elections over the internet in 2005.

Why Study in Estonia?

Dating back to the 13th Century, the history of formal education in Estonia is long and well established. Estonia’s oldest institution was founded in 1632 by the Swedish king Gustav II Adolf. Estonian adopted the Bologna Process in 2002, and now have three levels of study. These are bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate. In some cases you will find integrated masters, where you study bachelor’s and master’s consecutively without changing programme. There are both public and private higher education institutions in Estonia.

You will find two of Estonia’s institutions in the QS World University rankings. These are the University of Tartu and Tallinn University of Technology. The country provides an excellent and internationally recognized education, with students from over 70 countries studying there each year.



  • 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

Higher education in ESTONIA

  • 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.

Find out more and apply

For the essential information about studying in Estonia and applying for higher education programmes, visit theStudy in Estonia website.

About Estonia

Bordered by Latvia and Russia, and sitting on the Baltic Sea, Estonia is a lowland country. It has beautiful lakes and forests, as well as many rivers and a large coastal area. The country has only been inhabited since around 13,000 years ago, since the ice melted from the last glacial era. Until the 13th Century crusades, Estonia was a highly Pagan country. Early literature mentions sacred tree groves and now unknown gods.

Since becoming independent from the Soviet Union in 1991, Estonia has developed at a fast rate. The country is now a member of the EU and NATO, and is extremely modernised. Even though the bigger cities have experienced major changes, there are obvious elements of the country’s ancient history, with castles and historical architecture in the cities.

The climate in Estonia is mild, you would experience warm summers and cold winters. This means that Estonians spend a lot of the summer outside enjoying the scenery, and a lot of the winter inside. If you prefer to be outside in the winter, cross-country skiing is a very popular sport!

Cost of Studying and Living in Estonia

Estonia uses the Euro (€) as its currency.

Tuition fees at Estonian institutions vary depending on whether you choose a public or private institution. It will also depend on what level you are studying at, as doctoral degrees in Estonia are free of charge to all students. On average, you should expect a bachelor’s or master’s degree to cost between €1,000 and €8,000 per year. If you choose to take a specialised degree, such as a medical degree, you should expect it to cost around €11,000 per year. Scholarships are available for international students, but they are mainly at postgraduate level. For information about scholarships, contact your chosen institution.

Your living costs will depend mainly on where you live. A dormitory room will cost around €80-€100 per month, whereas a private rented apartment will cost around €100-€550 per month. The Estonian government recommends that students budget for around €300-€500 per month to cover your living costs.

If you are from an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you will be able to work in Estonia without any extra permissions. If you are from any other country, you will need to apply for a work permit before you are able to seek employment. This can be done at the Police and Border Guard Board. You should not rely on gaining employment to finance your studying and living in Estonia.

Another living cost that you should consider is health insurance. If you are an EHIC card holder, then you will be able to access the same healthcare as Estonian citizens. If you are from an EU country and do not hold an EHIC card, you should apply for one before you move to Estonia. If you do not, you will have to purchase health insurance. If you are from any other country, you will need to either purchase a health insurance policy for your stay in Estonia, or check that your current health insurance policy is valid whilst you are in Estonia. Only certain health insurance companies are accepted by the Estonian Migration Board, so you should check with your institution or the Migration Board for more details.


If you are from an EU country you will not need to apply for a student visa to study in Estonia. However, you will need to apply for a temporary right of residence permit after you arrive. You will also need to register with the local authorities within three months of your arrival. Within one month of obtaining a temporary residence permit, students from the EU must apply for an Estonian ID card. Your right of residence permit lasts for 5 years, so you should not need to renew it unless your studies are longer than this.

If you are from any other country you will need to apply for a temporary residence permit before your arrival. This will act as a student visa. To obtain this document you will need to go to the Estonian embassy or consulate in your home country. Within one month of your arrival in Estonia, you need to register with the local authorities. Temporary residence permits are valid for one year, so will need to be renewed. The renewal should be done at least two months before the permit expires.


The official language of Estonia is Estonian, but some members of the older generations still speak Russian. This is due to the historic rule Russia had over Estonia before its independence.

Estonian students learn many foreign languages, including English, Russian, German and French, so you are bound to be able to communicate with younger people if you do not know much Estonian. Even though English is widely spoken, you should make an effort to pick up some Estonian, communicating with the locals and other students is a great way of practising. This skill will look superb on your CV/resume, and will be useful if you wish to gain employment in Estonia during or after your studies!

It is common for institutions to offer English taught courses, but if English is not your first language you will have to prove your skills match the teaching requirements. If your language skills do not reach the required level, your university may offer English language courses to help you improve your skills.



The capital and largest city in Estonia, Tallinn is home to just over 450,000 people. Tallinn first received city rights in 1248, but was inhabited for around 5,000 years before that. After being claimed by a Danish crusade in 1219, the city was then under Scandinavian and German rule over the years. Due to its location, Tallinn became a major trading hub with large ports. Tallinn’s Old Town is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe, and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city has been the birthplace of many international companies, including Skype.

The city boasts 10 higher education institutions, including Tallinn University (TU). Tallinn University is a public research university, and the institution in its present form was founded in 2005. Around 8.7% of the degree students are international, and around 11.1% of the faculty at TU are international. You will also find Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) located in the city. Founded in 1918, TalTech is the only technical institution in Estonia, and has been a public institution since 1920.


Tartu is Estonia’s second largest city, and is home to just under 100,000 people. The city is often recognised as the intellectual centre of the country, thanks to the presence of the country’s oldest university. Also located in the city is the Ministry of Education and Research, the Supreme Court of Estonia, and the Estonian National Museum. The University of Tartu is one of the city’s largest employers, leading to a large proportion of highly educated and skilled professionals living in the city.

The University, founded in 1632, is the oldest and most prestigious university in Estonia. It is the national university of Estonia, as well as the only classical university in the country. Almost 14,000 students are enrolled at the institution, with over 1,300 of these being international.

You will also find the Estonian University of Life Sciences (EMÜ) located in Tartu. The University is a centre of research and development in fields such as agriculture, forestry, animal science and many other related areas. EMU is the perfect choice for any international students looking to study biological, natural and geographical sciences.