Levels of study

Estonian higher education has two cycles, following the Anglo-Saxon bachelor–master model, bachelor’s level studies form the first cycle and master’s level studies form the second cycle. In some specialties, the study programmes have been integrated into a single cycle. In addition to the two-cycle general structure, the study programmes of medicine, dentistry, pharmaceutical, veterinarian, architectural and civil engineering training are single long-cycle studies with a nominal length of 5–6 years and with a capacity of 300–360 ECTS credits. Such single long-cycle studies are called integrated bachelor’s-master’s studies and are based on an integrated study programme containing both basic studies and profound specialisation. The completion of this degree will provide a qualification corresponding to a master’s level degree.


Bachelor's Degree

The European higher education system offers academic and professional higher education. Higher education in Europe is provided mainly by universities (also research universities) and professional institutions of higher education. The academic year usually starts at the beginning of September or October and is divided into two semesters. In most cases, international students are admitted in the autumn semester. The nominal length of academic bachelor’s studies is 3 years and studies are worth a total of 180 ECTS credits (ECTS- European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System). Graduates from bachelor’s programmes are awarded a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree is an academic degree which is awarded for an undergraduate course.

The nominal length of first cycle professional higher education studies depends on the subject area and is 3–4 years or 180–240 ECTS credits. After graduating from the first cycle of higher education, whether academic or professional, students can continue in the second cycle leading to a master’s degree.To keep it short and simple – a bachelor’s degree provides you with the basic understanding and knowledge of the study programme that you have chosen. After that, the students usually enter the labour market or continue with their master’s studies.

Master's Degree

The European education system is famous for its unique and high quality master’s degree programmes all over the world. Universities in Europe offer all kind of study programmes for local and foreign students. The nominal length of master’s studies in Estonia is usually 1–2 years and the studies are worth a total of 60–120 ECTS (ECTS – European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits, but together with the bachelor’s studies, the student should not study less than five years and obtain not less than 300 ECTS credits.

In addition to the two-cycle general structure, the Estonian education system also includes study programmes for medicine, dentistry, pharmaceutical studies, veterinarian studies, architecture and civil engineering (these study programmes are only in Estonian) as single long-cycle studies with a nominal length of 5–6 years for 300–360 ECTS credits. Estonian universities teach more than 50 master’s programmes in English.

Doctoral Degree

Doctoral studies in Europe have always been a sign of distinction – a doctoral degree in any kind of European university shows commitment, quality and bright future for all students. Many universities in Europe offer a high quality PhD education. There are many programmes across Europe that students can look into when considering a PhD Europe. If you are looking to complete a PhD degree in Europe, programme cost, time, and structure vary depending on the country and the specific university. The nominal length of doctoral studies in Estonia is 3–4 years, after which a postgraduate research degree (doktorikraad) may be awarded. A master’s qualification is required for entry to doctoral studies. Estonia is an exciting country for a PhD student: our universities have lots of different study programmes and Estonia has PhD students from more than 50 countries in the world.