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STUDY IN Latvia - Educational System IN LATVIA


Institution Types and Credentials    |    Structure of Education System

Admissions to Higher Education    |    Grading System


Institution Types and Credentials


Types of higher education institutions:

  • Universitate (University)
  • Neununiversitätes tipa augstskola (non-university higher education institution)

School leaving and higher education credentials:

  • Atestats par arodizglitibu
  • Atestats par Visparejo Videjo Izglitibu
  • Diploms par Videjo profesionalo izglitibu
  • Tehnikum (T) Diploma
  • Diploms par pirma limena augstako profesionalo izglitibu
  • Bakalaurs
  • Ärsta grads
  • Diploms par Augstako profesionalo izglitibu
  • Zobarsta Grads
  • Magistrs
  • Doktors

Structure of Education System


Duration of compulsory education:

  • Age of entry: 7
  • Age of exit: 16

Structure of school system:


Type of school providing this education: Pamatskola (Basic School)
Length of program: 9 years
Ages: 7 to: 16

Basic Vocational

Type of school providing this education: Arodpamatskola (Vocational basic school)
Length of program: 2 years
Ages: 16 to: 18
Certificate/diploma awarded: Aplieciba par profesionalo pamatlzglitibu (Certificate of basic vocational education

General Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Vidusskola (General Secondary School), Gimnazija (Gymnasium)
Length of program: 3 years
Ages: 16 to: 19
Certificate/diploma awarded: Atestats par Visparejo Videjo Izglitibu (Certificate of General Secondary Education)

Vocational Secondary

Type of school providing this education: Arodvidusskola (Vocational Secondary School)/Arodgimnazija (Vocational Gymnasium)
Length of program: 4 years
Ages: 15 to: 19
Certificate/diploma awarded: Diploms par profesionalo videjo izglitibu (Diploma of Secondary Vocational Education)


Type of school providing this education: Arodskola (Vocational School)
Length of program in years: 3
Ages: 15 to: 18
Certificate/diploma awarded: Atestats par Arodizglitibu (Certificate of Vocational Education)

School Education

After nine years of basic education, secondary education is provided in general secondary schools (3 years), vocational schools (2 to 3 years), and vocational secondary schools (4 years). General secondary schools award the Certificate of General Secondary Education (Atestats par Visparejo Videjo Izglitibu). Vocational schools (2-3 years) award Certificates of Vocational Education. Vocational secondary schools award a Diploma of Vocational Secondary Education which is also valid for university entrance.

Higher Education

There are four universities and a number of other higher education institutions in Latvia. The main split between university and non-university higher education is between the programmes rather than between the institutions since the law allows academic and professional programmes to be organised within the same institution. All universities and 17 other institutions are state run. In addition, there are a number of private institutions of which 10 are state-recognized. All the recognized institutions enjoy autonomy. Recognition of higher education institutions and programmes is based upon quality assessment, which is carried out as self-assessment followed by an evaluation visit with the participation of foreign experts. Higher education institutions confer academic degrees and professional higher education qualifications.

Academic Year

Classes from: Sep to Jun

Long vacation from: Jul to Sep





Languages of instruction: Latvian/Lettish, Russian, English

Stages of Studies

Non-university level post-secondary studies (technical/vocational type)

Non-University Level

Since 1999, studies in "college programmes" of two- to three-years' duration leading to a first-stage higher professional education Diploma are available. These lead to Level IV professional qualifications. Holders are eligible to continue their studies towards the Bakalaurs Degree or a (full) Higher Professional Education Diploma.

University Level Studies

University 1st stage: Undergraduate

The first cycle leads to the award of a Bakalaurs (Bachelor' degree), which in most cases includes the preparation of a thesis. The duration of studies varies from three to four years. Holders are eligible for further studies towards a Magistrs degree or higher professional education qualifications.

University 2nd stage: Postgraduate

The second cycle leads to the award of the Magistrs (Master's degree), a terminal qualification of higher education awarded one to two years after the Bakalaurs. This degree also includes the presentation of a thesis. The total duration of the course of study is no less than five years. In Medicine and Dentistry, studies are not divided into two stages but the degrees Arsta grads (degree in Medicine) - six years - and Zobarsta grads (degree in Dentistry) - five years- are considered equivalent to the Magistrs.

University 3rd stage: Doktors (Doctorate)

Doctoral studies are available at both higher education institutions and research institutes. A Doctor's degree is awarded three to four years after completion of the Magistrs and following the public defence of a thesis.

Teacher Education

Training of pre-primary and primary/basic school teachers

Secondary school teachers (skolotajs) follow either a teacher training course parallel to their academic studies towards a Bakalaurs degree or a one- to two-year professional teacher training programme following completion of the Bakalaurs programme.


List of Universities and COLLEGES in LATVIA


National Bodies


Ministry of Education and Science
Izglitibas un Zinatnes Ministrija
Valnu iela 2
LV 1050 Riga
Tel: +371(7) 047-810
Fax: +371(7) 213-992

Role of governing body: Responsible for long-term planning of higher education, as well as for assessment, organization and administration and funds allocation

Higher Education Council
Augstakas Izglitibas Padome
Meistaaru iela 21
LV-1050 Riga
Tel: +371(7) 223-392
Fax: +371(7) 220-423

Latvian Rectors' Council
Latvijas Rektoru Padome
Raina Bulv. 19
LV-1586 Riga
Tel: +371(7) 034-338
Fax: +371(7) 243-091 +371(7) 034-368

Higher Education Quality Evaluation Centre
Augstakas Izglitibas Kvalitates Vertesanas Centrs
Valnu iela 2
LV1098 Riga
Tel: +371(7) 213-870
Fax: +371(7) 212-558

Association of University Professors
Universitates Profesoru Apvieniba
Raina bulvaris 19
LV 1050 Riga
Tel: +371(2) 223-894
Fax: +371(2) 820-113



Admissions to Higher Education


Admission to Non-University Higher Education Studies

Secondary school credential required: Diploms par Videjo profesionalo izglitibu

Secondary school credential required: Atestats par Visparejo Videjo Izglitibu

Other admission requirements: Access is regulated by examinations, by ranking of secondary diplomas or by interview, or a combination of these methods. Institutions can define which of the elective secondary education courses have to be taken by the applicant to enter a particular programme.

Foreign Students Admission

Definition of foreign student: A student who is resident of another country and pursues studies in Latvia.

Admission requirements: Foreign students must present a School-Leaving Certificate (original) with a transcript which can be recognized as being equivalent to the Latvian secondary education certificate .

Entry regulations: Students must hold a residence permit. Latvian diplomatic missions abroad provide all the necessary information to the applicants, make an initial recommendation and issue entry visas to candidates who have been accepted.

Health requirements: A health certificate is required.

Language requirements: Students must prove proficiency in Latvian for programmes offered in Latvian.



Grading System


Full Description:

  • 10: izcili (with distinction);
  • 9: teicami (excellent);
  • 8: loti labi (very good);
  • 7: labi (good);
  • 6: gandriz labi (almost good);
  • 5: viduveji (satisfactory);
  • 4: gandriz viduveji (almost satisfactory);
  • 3-1 :neapmieriniši (unsatisfactory).

Highest on scale: 10
Pass/fail level: 4
Lowest on scale: 1

Main grading system used by higher education institutions:

Full Description: All higher education institutions use a 10-grade scale. Some use it in the same way as in secondary education: 4: pass mark; 8 highest "normal" grade, 9-10 special grades reserved for students who perform with distinction. To obtain grades 9 and 10, students usually have to fulfil additional (and more complicated) tasks in the examination.Some institutions however use grades 9 and 10 as normal highest marks and some use 5 or 6 as the pass mark

Highest on scale: 10
Pass/fail level: 4
Lowest on scale: 1


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