With beautiful forests, rivers and lakes, dynamic cities and a fascinating and multi-ethnic culture, Latvia has something for everyone, and has been called “Europe’s best-kept secret”. Located at the crossroads of Northern and Eastern Europe, Latvia has been influenced both linguistically and culturally by neighbors such as Lithuania and Estonia, while retaining its own distinct national identity and traditions.
Higher education in Latvia is generally split between academic and professional studies. Academic programs are designed to improve students’ independent research skills and provide a theoretical background to careers, while professional programs are more vocational, preparing students for graduate careers in the design or enhancement of systems, products and technologies, as well as preparing them for creative, research and teaching activities in their chosen field.
Latvian universities follow the Bologna system, offering three levels of study (bachelor’s, master’s and PhD). Most bachelor degrees take three or four years to complete, while master’s degrees are one or two years long. The academic year runs from September to June, with exams taking place in May and June.
Top Latvian Universities ranked in the top 200 of the latest QS University Rankings: EECA – a ranking of the best performing universities in Emerging Europe and Central Asia.
University of Latvia
Ranked 47th in the QS University Rankings: EECA 2016 and 651-700* in the overall QS World University Rankings® 2016/17, the University of Latvia is one of the largest and most prestigious universities in the Baltic States, located in Riga and home to around 15,000 students. Established in 1919, the university has been rated four out of five stars overall in the QS Stars rating system, and achieves five-star ratings in the categories ‘internationalization’, ‘teaching’, ‘facilities’ and ‘innovation’. The university offers a number of international programs taught either partly or completely in English, including medicine and dentistry.
Riga Technical University
Riga Technical University (RTU) is ranked joint 64th in the EECA ranking this year and was the first technical university of the Baltic States to be founded, dating back to 1862, when it was known as Riga Polytechnicum. In 1958, the technical institutes of the University of Latvia were separated to form the renewed Riga Technical University (RTU). Today, RTU is responsible for a great deal of research which is essential to the Latvian economy, and the university achieves three QS stars, including a five-star rating in the ‘employability’ category.
Riga Stradins University
The final Latvian university to feature in the EECA ranking is the public Riga Stradins University (RSU), ranked in the 111-120 range. Riga Stradins has 7,875 students currently enrolled, including 1,775 international students, with 50 countries represented in the student body overall, placing it in the EECA top 10 for proportion of international students. Originally founded as Riga Medical Institute in 1950, RSU has a particularly strong reputation for the health sciences and is the only Latvian university to have traditionally been integrated into the country’s healthcare system.