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Research & education

We punch above our weight in science, being an attractive environment for research. Our universities are among the best in the EECA region.

  • TOP 1.2% of the world’s best universities for the University of Tartu
  • #2 for the University of Tartu in EECA University Rankings
  • #1 Estonia’s 15-year-old pupils in reading, science and mathematics in Europe

Education system

#2ranking for the University of Tartu in Emerging Europe and Central Asia

Estonia’s education system has been named the best in Europe by The Times as focus is set on digital skills – and there is resounding success.

Estonia has numerous educational institutions offering higher education. The University of Tartu is the largest university in Estonia and also one of the oldest universities in northern Europe. The University of Tartu ranks 2nd in the QS World University Rankings in Emerging Europe and Central Asia.

Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) is the flagship of Estonian engineering and technology education and has one of the most modern campuses in Europe. The campus is also home to more than 200 high-tech companies (e.g. Skype).

All students with senior secondary education or equal foreign qualifications have the right to apply for a place in a higher education institution. The standard period of study in professional higher education is three to four years. At a university, higher education can be acquired at three levels: Bachelor´s, Master´s, and Doctoral studies. Bachelor´s study is three to four years, Master´s study is one to two years, and Doctoral study is three to four years.

Senior secondary education is based on basic education and is divided into general senior secondary education and vocational secondary education. General senior secondary education is acquired within three school years in a senior secondary school. Vocational secondary education is acquired at a vocational education institution, based on either a basic school or general senior secondary education.

Facts and figures about the Estonian higher and vocational education system can be found via Statistics Estonia.

#TOP4ranking for Estonian students across all of OECD

Basic education is compulsory in Estonia. All children living in Estonia, including children from other countries, are required to attend school from age 7 until grade 9 or age 17. This is the minimum general education that provides the right to acquire senior secondary education or to enter working life. According to the PISA tests, the results of Estonian 15-year-olds are the best in Europe and among the strongest in the entire world.

You can find more information about the education system in Estonia on the Education Estonia website. For a comprehensive overview of higher education, visit Study in Estonia.

Research institutions

The University of Tartu globally amongTOP 1.2%

Estonia punches above its weight in science, being an attractive environment for research. Estonian researchers are highly valued partners in international cooperation projects with nearly half of the publications by Estonian researchers published in cooperation with foreign colleagues. Estonian scientists have successfully participated in Horizon 2020 projects, bringing home twice as much money as the other EU member states on average. The high quality of Estonian research is also visible in bibliometric indicators, i.e a high number of references to articles by Estonian authors.

Most of the research is done in universities, The University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn University, and Estonian University of Life Sciences being the larger ones.

Estonian Research Council finances basic and applied research, supporting researchers’ mobility and external cooperation.

To find out more about the possibilities scientific institutions in Estonia offer, visit the Research in Estonia webpage.

Cooperation with academia

Strengthening university-industry cooperation has been an important focus in Estonia. The universities have shown their eagerness to cooperate with companies towards developing higher education curricula according to companies’ needs, either by modifying current curricula, creating new ones or by finding other ways to cooperate.

Among successful examples of cooperation between academia and the private sector are:

  • Leading European transportation platform Bolt and the University of Tartu cooperating in developing algorithms for improving GPS and map data quality.
  • Estonian IT company, Datel, in cooperation with Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) has been developing space technologies.
  • In September 2018, Estonia’s first self-driving car Iseauto, built in cooperation between TalTech and Silberauto, made its first official ride.
  • Cleveron, the innovation leader in providing click and collect pickup automation solutions for retail and logistics, established the Cleveron Academy in cooperation with Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences. Starting from 2019, the university offers a unique higher education in robotics software. Students will have their tuition paid by Cleveron and will, parallel to the studies, also complete an internship at the company.
  • Several well-known entrepreneurs in Estonia have opened a coding school in Jõhvi, Ida-Viru County in 2021. The school should help satisfy the growing demand for software developers in Estonia. Jõhvi Coding School is based on the internationally acclaimed 01 Edu platform which has been used in France, Finland, and Silicon Valley and comprises two years of intensive study where students set their own pace. The teaching emphasizes working as part of a team and developing problem-solving skills. The school has received government funding to open. Well-known companies and organizations, such as Wise, SEB, LHV, Superangel, Bolt, Astrec Data, Pipedrive, the Estonian Founders’ Society, the Good Deed Education Foundation, and Startup Estonia are partners of the new school.

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Research & education

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