LATVIA

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OVERVIEW

Latvia is comparatively small country in North-eastern Europe, on the east coast of the Baltic Sea and is bound by Belarus, Estonia, Lithuania and Russia. It is situated on a trade crossroads and has long since served as a bridge between Western Europe and Russia. Nearly one third of the 2.3 million people population live in Riga, the capital of the country. The landscape of the country is marked by lowland plains and rolling hills. It has an extensive network of rivers, thousands of lakes and hundreds of kilometers of undeveloped seashore lined by pine forests, dunes, and continuous white sand beaches. The official language is Latvian. The most widely used foreign languages in the country are English, Russian and German.

In Latvia, there is both state-financed and fee-paying higher education. In order to single out the most able students, whose studies are publicly financed, higher education institutions carry out a procedure of student selection. Latvia successfully participates in the establishment of the European higher education area, that promotes mobility, attracts students and staff from Europe and as well as from other parts of world and is internationally competitive. Higher education institutions of Latvia are active members of international cooperation in the field of education and research. Institutions of higher education promote the development of student competitiveness in the dynamically changing socioeconomic environment in the local and international labor markets.

The Latvian higher education system is part of the Bologna process, and, correspondingly, follows the so-called 3-cycle system, where the 1st cycle includes an academic or professional Bachelor degree, the 2nd cycle includes an academic or professional Master degree and the 3rd cycle includes the Doctoral degree. Academic credits in academic and professional programmes may be transferred in order to adjust one's education path to one's specific needs. Only graduates holding a master's degree or equivalent higher education diploma may take up doctoral studies. These last three to four years, involving advanced studies, examinations and the preparation and defense of a doctoral thesis.

The system of higher education of Latvia sets a difference between academic and professional higher education. Most of the institutions of higher education offer both academic and professional higher education degree.

Academic higher education programmes

are based upon fundamental and/or applied science; they usually comprise a thesis at the end of each stage and lead to a Bachelor's degree and Master's degree Duration of Bachelor's programmes may be 3 or 4 years.

Professional higher education programmes: are based upon fundamental and applied science that ensures opportunities to prepare for professional activities. In total the duration of professional study programmes is not less than 4 years after secondary education and not less than 2 years after college education. The length of the first level of professional higher education or college education (2-3 years); second level of professional higher education or bachelor degree lasts 4 years but professional Master's studies 1-2 years. Doctoral studies last 3-4 full-time years.

The cost of studies depends on the institution and the programme being followed. The range is from 1000 EUR per year in Teacher training programme (4 years of studies) to 10,000 EUR per year for a Den.

Latvia has two sorts of higher education programmes – academic and professional.Such a division of higher education allows the student to choose either research or professional activity in the future. Professional higher education is divided into two levels.First level professional higher education programmes lasting 2-3 years after upper secondary education are provided by Colleges.Second level professional higher education programmes last at least four years after upper secondary education or two years after acquiring Bachelor degree (3-year studies).These programmes,as well as higher academic education programmes are offered at universities or non-university-type higher education institutions.

Academic programmes leading to a bachelor degree comprise 120 - 160 national credit points (160-180 ECTS), including:

Compulsory subjects - not less than 50 national credit points (75 ECTS);

Electives not less than 20 national credit points (30 ECTS);

Thesis not less than 10 national credit points (15 ECTS);

The remainder is left for students as free electives.

The duration of full-time studies is 6 - 8 semesters (3-4 years).

The duration of full-time studies is 4 semesters (2 years) and requires at least 5 years total length of bachelor and master studies in Latvia.The objectives of academic higher education are to prepare graduates for independent research,as well as to provide theoretical background for professional activities.Academic education programmes are implemented according to the national standard of academic education.

Professional programmes leading to a professional bachelor degree comprise at least 160 national credit points (240 ECTS) of which:

General courses – not less than 20 national credit points (30 ECTS).

Theoretical courses of the chosen field – not less than 36 national credit points (54 ECTS).

Specialized courses – not less than 60 national credit points (90 ECTS).

Optional courses – not less 6 national credit points (9 ECTS),

Practical placement – not less than 26 national credit points (39 ECTS).

And state examinations including thesis – not less than 12 national credit points (18 ECTS).

Latvia has two sorts of higher education programmes – academic and professional.Such a division of higher education allows the student to choose either research or professional activity in the future. Professional higher education is divided into two levels.First level professional higher education programmes lasting 2-3 years after upper secondary education are provided by Colleges.Second level professional higher education programmes last at least four years after upper secondary education or two years after acquiring Bachelor degree (3-year studies).These programmes,as well as higher academic education programmes are offered at universities or non-university-type higher education institutions.

Academic programmes leading to a bachelor degree comprise 120 - 160 national credit points (160-180 ECTS), including:

Compulsory subjects - not less than 50 national credit points (75 ECTS);

Electives not less than 20 national credit points (30 ECTS);

Thesis not less than 10 national credit points (15 ECTS);

The remainder is left for students as free electives.

The duration of full-time studies is 6 - 8 semesters (3-4 years).

The duration of full-time studies is 4 semesters (2 years) and requires at least 5 years total length of bachelor and master studies in Latvia.The objectives of academic higher education are to prepare graduates for independent research,as well as to provide theoretical background for professional activities.Academic education programmes are implemented according to the national standard of academic education.

Professional programmes leading to a professional bachelor degree comprise at least 160 national credit points (240 ECTS) of which:

General courses – not less than 20 national credit points (30 ECTS).

Theoretical courses of the chosen field – not less than 36 national credit points (54 ECTS).

Specialized courses – not less than 60 national credit points (90 ECTS).

Optional courses – not less 6 national credit points (9 ECTS),

Practical placement – not less than 26 national credit points (39 ECTS).

And state examinations including thesis – not less than 12 national credit points (18 ECTS).

The duration of full-time studies is 8 semesters (4 years).

Higher education institutions mostly run both academic and professional programs. Academic higher education programs are based upon fundamental and/or applied science; they usually comprise a thesis at the end of each stage and lead to a Bachelor or master degree. Professional higher education – the first level professional higher education or college education leading to professional qualification Level 4, and second level of professional higher education leading to qualification Level 5.Having mastered a program of second level of professional higher education, students are awarded a professional qualification or professional Bachelor degree that can be followed by a further professional master studies

Post Graduate Degree (ISCED level 6)

Master degree or the equivalent (graduates of 5-6 year professional higher education programmes in Law and Medicine can continue education at postgraduate level directly) is required for admission to doctoral studies (Ph.D.).Doctoral studies last 3-4 full-time years. They include advanced studies of the subject in a relevant study programme (or an equivalent amount of independent research while working at a university, research institution, etc.) and a scientific research towards doctoral thesis. Publications in internationally quoted scientific journals are required before public defense of the doctoral thesis as an integral part of a study programme.The Council of Science appoints Promotion Council and sets the procedures for award of Doctor Degrees.

Types of Postgraduate Degrees Available in Latvia

Engineering and Technology

MBA and management

Science

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