Higher education

Higher education can be acquired at university, professional higher educational institution or a vocational educational institution. Higher education consists of the 3+2 system; i.e. three-year bachelor’s degree and two-year master’s degree studies, following graduation from which the person may enter a doctoral studies program.

Entering a higher educational institution

The admissions system (SAIS) is a service for submitting an application for admission to an Estonian educational institution electronically, via the Internet. After submitting the admissions application, SAIS helps arrange the rest of the process until admission to the school, including conveying notices between the prospective student and the college/university, acceptance or refusal of the offer of admission, and much more.


A university is an academic, research and development institution where studies take place on three higher educational levels: bachelor’s degree study, master’s degree study and doctorate study. Students may be full-time or part-time or external students. Estonia has two types of higher educational institutions: public universities and private universities.

Professional higher education

Professional higher education is the first stage of study in higher education. In this stage, the university student acquires the competences necessary for working in a definite profession or further master’s degree studies. Professional higher education may be acquired in applied higher educational schools, at vocational educational institutions, and in colleges of universities.

General requirements for organization of studies

The general requirements for higher education are set forth in the Higher Educational Standard, which is likewise the basic document governing issuing of education licenses to universities and accreditation of their curricula. When applying to university, it is a good idea to check whether the curriculum you are interested in is accredited. The Estonian Quality Agency for Higher and Vocational Education (EKKA) is responsible for the accreditation of universities and professional higher educational institutions. In the interests of impartiality, the council members may not be members of the management or administration universities or ministry officials.

More about higher education can you read on the home page of Ministry of Education and Research.

Last amended: 28-03-2016 00:00 | Compiled by: Ministry of Education and Research