The European Education Directory

University of Latvia


Rector Dr. Ivars Lacis
Address 19 Raina blvd., Riga, Latvia, LV–1586
Tel. No. +371-7229885
Fax No. +371-7225039, +371-7820113
E-mail address
Faculties & Colleges
  • Faculty of Philology
  • Faculty of Pedagogy and Psychology
  • Faculty of Foreign Languages
  • Faculty of History and Philosophy
  • Faculty of Biology
  • Faculty of Physics and Mathematics
  • Faculty of Geography and Earth Sciences
  • Faculty of Chemistry
  • Faculty of Economics
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Theology
  • Faculty of Medicine
  • Type of courses Bachelor's Degree (Bakalaureus)
    Master's degrees
    Doctoral degree
    Date of commencement
    Autumn termFirst Monday in September - December
    Spring termFirst Monday in February - June.
    The timing of the courses may change.


    Accommodation Students who have been accepted at the University of Latvia should notify the International Office by June 30 of their intention to live in the University dormitory, otherwise the University can not guarantee accommodation there because the possibilities are very limited.
    Usually all international students are housed in separate rooms with communal kitchen on each floor.
    Fees The tuition fee for international students (both undergraduate and graduate) is 2000 USD per academic year in humanities and social sciences and 3000 USD per academic year in natural sciences.
    Doctorate Course tuition fee is 2500 USD per academic year in humanities and social sciences and 3000 USD per academic year in natural sciences.
    Admission requirements International undergraduate applicants are required to have completed their secondary education and must possess university eligibility in their own country.
    Students who plan to complete their entire undergraduate education and receive a Bachelor's degree at the University of Latvia must pass the Latvian language test.
    Admission will be based on the results of the passed test and the results of other supplementary tests if needed.
    Contact for application Janis Stonis
    Studies Information Centre
    Fax: +371-7243091; Phone: +371-7229885
    E mail:


    About the University

    Together with the foundation of Latvian State the idea of creating the first national higher educational establishment became real. The University of Latvia named at that time "The Latvia Higher School" was founded on September 28, 1919 on the basis of the former Riga Polytechnic (founded in 1862). The new Higher School inherited from the Polytechnic the building, the teaching staff and other intellectual and material values. In 1923 this school received its now resumed name - the University of Latvia (Universitas Latviensis). The former building of Riga Polytechnic in 19 Raina Boulevard serves as the symbol of the University even nowadays.

    During World War II when Riga was occupied by the German troops the University of Latvia got the name Riga University. When Riga was incorporated in the Soviet Union according to the traditions of that time the University was named Latvian State University, later another title was added: since 1958 it was P.Stucka Latvian State University.

    In the course of time such higher educational establishments as Latvian University of Agriculture, Latvian Academy of Medicine, Riga Technical University separated from the University of Latvia and became well-known centres of education and research.

    With Latvia regaining freedom the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia confirmed the Constitution of the University of Latvia on September 18, 1991. It stated that the Higher School is "the state establishment of academic education, science and culture which serves the needs of Latvia and people". Alongside with the Constitution the flag, the hymn, the University emblem, the Rector's chain and the official garments for the Rector, prorectors and deans were renewed as attributes of the University of Latvia.

    At present about 10,000 students are taking 62 study programmes: 7000 full-time students and 3000 part-time students.


    University of Latvia offers study programmes for achieving of Bakalaurs (Bachelor’s) and Mažistrs (Master’s) degrees as well as programmes of professional higher education which lead to certain professional qualifications. Doctoral studies on top of most Master’s (or equivalent) degrees are available as well.

    According to the bulk branches of sciences there are study programmes in Humanities, Social Sciences and Natural sciences at LU. Study programmes are offered at 12 faculties of the LU with an active involvement of research institutions integrated into the structure of the LU.

    University of Latvia uses a credit point system where one credit point corresponds to a workload of one week of full-time studies.

    32 Bachelor’s degree programmes are offered at LU. Bakalaurs studies require at least 160 credit points that correspond to 4 years of full-time studies. Programmes consist of three parts. Part A (compulsory part) is mandatory to all the students of a give programme. In Part B (elective part) the students can choose courses (or groups of courses) in order to ensure a sub-specialisation within the programme. Part C is the part of options where the students can freely choose from the courses offered at University of Latvia. Elaboration and defence of Bakalaurs’ thesis is a compulsory requirement for award of a Bakalaurs degree.

    University of Latvia offers 32 programmes for Mažistrs degree. Mažistrs degree programmes require up to 80 credit points or 2 years of full-time studies. They are usually designed for in-depth studies in a sub-branch of a science and the research units of the LU play an important role in realisation of Mažistrs programmes. Mažistrs thesis is elaborated and defended at the end of studies.

    Professional programmes at University of Latvia can be one to five years long depending on the way how the studies are structured: a)professional training can take place as a 1-year programme of professional studies on top of a Bakalaurs degree; b) a full professional study programme (5 years) without a strict division between academic and professional courses.

    Design of study programmes usually begins at the departments. After assessment at the Faculty and with accept of the Faculty Board the programme is moved towards the Academic Council of the University. If Academic Council supports the programme, it is moved further to the Academic Commission of the University Senate and is finally submitted for Senate approval.

    A system of credit points was introduced to replace listing of contact hours in order to provide a possibility to measure study workload in the programmes. The concept used at University of Latvia is the following. The average study workload at the university is 40 hours per week, out of which 20 hours can be planned as contact hours while the other 20 hours are foreseen for the independent work of student at laboratories, library etc. One such "study week" corresponds to one credit point. Taken that the duration of the study year (including the examination sessions) lasts 40 weeks, the study workload of 1 year of full time studies is 40 credit points. Introduction of the credit point system brought a number of advantages: it allows to compare the intensity of study work in different programmes, it allows to measure the workload of the independent studies pursued by the students, it makes it easier for the students to use study courses offered at different faculties in the option part of their programmes, it allows to introduce European Credit Transfer system (ECTS) for recognition of study courses acquired in international student exchange programmes. Under PHARE multi-country programme in higher education University of Latvia has already joined an international project aimed at introduction of ECTS.

    Introduction of a system of credit points also allows to harmonise the study workload between the full-time and part-time studies. Each study programme at LU can be carried out either as full-time or as part-time studies.

    University of Latvia offers two types of part-time studies for those students who can not devote whole of their time for studies:

      a) studies with a great share of independent work, using survey lectures and consultations at the university. These are usually regarded to as extramural studies;

      b) studies with a reasonably diminished amount of contact hours and classes in the second half of the day. These are usually regarded to as evening studies.

    In the year 1997/1998 aprox. 6600 students or 33% of the total student number have chosen extramural studies and approx. 1200 or 6% of students have chosen the option of evening studies.


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