home search login


About Estonia
Country Handbook




logo
University of Tartu

OVERVIEW
ACADEMICS
CAMPUS LIFE
PRINT
photo essays

Program Snapshot

Tartu is the second largest city in Estonia and can be rightfully called a City of Youth – roughly one fifth of its citizens are university students. Tartu has a unique atmosphere of a true European university town and feels like one big campus.

While the main language of instruction is Estonian, the University of Tartu also offers a growing number of English-taught programs on all levels for degree, semester and summer studies.




Location
The northernmost of the three Baltic States, Estonia has historically served as a crossroads between east and west. Situated on the shores of the Baltic Sea, with a population of about 1.3 million, Estonia is slightly larger than Denmark. Across the gulf lies Finland, Estonia's closest neighbor linguistically and ethnically. Estonia offers a great case study of successful transition from Soviet past to democracy and recent accession to EU. It is modern country, with newest high-tech solutions, e.g. free wireless Internet can be found even in the town hall square of Tartu!

Tartu, Estonia's second largest city of 100,000, is situated in southeastern Estonia on the banks of the Emajõgi River, about 2.5 hours drive (186 km) from Tallinn. One of the oldest university towns in Europe, Tartu is home to the University of Tartu, the Estonian University of Life Sciences, the Baltic Defense College and some private universities. With a combined total of more than 20,000 students living in the city, Tartu can rightfully call itself a City of Youth and enjoys a unique atmosphere of a true European university town (YouTube video), young, vibrant, compact, safe. Tartu feels like one big campus and offers an ever increasing number of theatres, night-clubs, galleries and other places of entertainment.

PROGRAM TYPE
ISEP Exchange: undergraduate and graduate programs available for an academic year or semester
ISEP Direct: undergraduate programs available for an academic year, semester, or summer

ISEP-Exchange for International students.
ISEP-Exchange for US students.
ISEP-Direct site for students from all member institutions.
Summer program available.


Chance of Placement
ISEP Exchange chance of placement for US students is generally Limited.
ISEP Exchange chance of placement for I-to-I students is generally Limited.
For the most current chances of placement, see the Sites Open for Applications for US Students or Sites Open for I-to-I Applications.

Chance of placement on ISEP Direct Academic Year, Semester or Summer Programs is Excellent.


Program Dates
Academic year: late August to late June
Semester 1: late August to late January
Semester 2: early February to late June
Summer: late June to mid-July

ISEP-Direct
The University of Tartu offers several exciting ISEP Direct Academic Year or Semester programs options and one ISEP-Direct summer program option! Please see information below.

Information about ISEP Direct fees and dates.

The ISEP-Direct program fee includes the benefit package for: Tuition, Housing and Insurance

ISEP-Direct Program fees:
Summer 2016: $4,250

Russian Studies: Russian Language, Literature and Culture
Full Year 16-17: $11,300
Semester 1 16-17: $6,900
Semester 2 16-17: $6,900

Baltic Sea Region Studies
Full Year 16-17: $11,300
Semester 1 16-17: $6,900
Semester 2 16-17: $6,900

European Union- Russian Studies
Full Year 16-17: $11,300
Semester 1 16-17: $6,900
Semester 2 16-17: $6,900



For priority consideration, applications for the following semester should be received before February 15 and September 1 unless otherwise noted. Rolling admissions are considered for ISEP-Direct before these final application deadlines:
SM1: April 1, 2016
SM2: October 15, 2016


Summer Program
After Empire: The Collapse of Communism and Beyond

Visit Estonia, Latvia, and Ukraine while learning about the crucial changes that occurred in these countries after the collapse of communism. This unique, interactive summer program takes students to three countries and three universities to explore social, economic, and judicial issues through lectures, discussions, and excursions. Cultural activities include visits to renowned historic sites, museums, art galleries, and theater performances

See summer program information

Due to the situation in Ukraine, the week in Ukraine will be held in Tallin, Estonia. The focus will be "European and Russian Relations: Social Dimenison"

Fast Facts
Tartu, Estonia (pop. 97,000)
Student Enrollment: 14,500
Language of instruction: English, Estonian
University Home Page
Courses Taught in English
Virtual Tour of the University of Tartu
Other University of Tartu videos
Student Experience at the University of Tartu

Programs
Option 1: ISEP Exchange: Academic Year or Semester - Regular University Courses
Faculties of Science and Technology; Economics and Business Administration; Exercise and Sport Sciences; Law; Mathematics and Computer Science; Medicine; Philosophy; Social Sciences and Education; Theology. See Courses taught in English below for more course details. ISEP students are free to select courses from different programs and faculties to compile a study plan that best suits their needs.

Courses taught in Russian
For Russian Language majors there is a Russian Studies program, i.e. courses in Russian language, literature, culture and history (good command of the Russian language is required).

Option 2: ISEP Direct: Academic Year or Semester - Russian Studies Program: Russian Language, Literature and Culture
The module includes courses in the Russian language, literature, culture and history and is meant for students with a good level of the Russian language who want to improve their command of the language and broaden their understanding of Russian culture and history. Instruction is in Russian in most courses of the module. The spring semester module has a course instructed in English along with courses instructed in Russian. Students admitted to the program study alongside Estonian and international students.

Option 3: ISEP Direct Academic Year or Semester - Baltic Sea Region Studies Program
The Baltic Sea Region Studies program is a one- or two-semester program. It offers a range of academic courses that concentrate on political, cultural, economical and ecological particularities of the Baltic Sea Region. The aim of the program is to introduce to international students distinctive features of regional history, culture, politics, society, economy and nature. Estonian context of the module is emphasized by language studies, presently offering Estonian and Russian language courses on different levels, and culture courses that focus more narrowly on issues in Estonian cultural space. Students can freely combine the courses and construct their own set of courses. The semester offer of the Baltic Sea Region Studies program is primarily intended for students majoring in the humanities or social sciences, but it is open to students from all academic fields. All the courses in the Baltic Studies program are conducted in English and are designed for graduate level but are also available for undergraduate students whose field of study concerns small nations and the cultures of the Baltic Sea Region.

Option 4: ISEP Direct Academic Year or Semester - European Union-Russia Studies
The EU-Russia Studies program is a unique multidisciplinary program combining different disciplines such as political science (comparative politics, international relations), economics, law, history and cultural studies. The program binds together the study of two main regions, giving an understanding about the political, social and economic developments in the European Union and its member states as well as in Russia and its neighboring countries in Eastern Europe and in the Caucasus (Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan). All the courses in EU-Russia Studies program are conducted in English and are open for all study levels.

Please see the Courses taught in English site for more information about courses, study levels, assessment methods and credits (ECTS).



Courses taught in English
Semester program EU-Russia Studies focuses on political, social and economic developments in the European Union and its member states as well as in Russia and its neighbouring countries in Eastern Europe and in the Caucasus (Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan). Program also offers guided study trips.

Baltic Sea Region Studies program introduces students to distinctive features of the regional history, culture, politics, society and economy.

For Science majors, the university offers a semester module in Applied Measurement Science, with courses in metrology and analytical chemistry.

For IT students, the university has semester module in Software Engineering. The Department of Semiotics is home to Jury Lotman School of Cultural Semiotics and offers a semester program in Semiotics.

For Business students the university offers courses in Business Administration – the courses are designed for undergraduate students but graduate level students are also allowed to enroll. In addition to semester programs, many faculties offer growing number of courses taught in English.



Academic Notes
Option 1: ISEP Exchange
University of Tartu offers several international programs taught in English especially recommended for ISEP students. In addition, many faculties offer a growing number of courses taught in English. The language centre offers courses of Estonian and Russian as foreign languages. ISEP students are free to select courses from different programs and faculties to compile a study plan that best suits their needs.

Options 2-4: ISEP Direct Academic Year or Semester Programs
Students enrolled in ISEP Direct programs are free to select courses from different faculties and study programs to compile a study plan that best suits their needs.

NOTE: All ISEP-direct students must take 24 ECTS credits per semester--this cost is included in the exchange program. However, if a student chooses to take more than 24 ECTS per semester, s/he will be required to pay tuition for the additional credits (above 24 ECTS) directly to the University of Tartu. Please consult with your home university's ISEP Coordinator to verify whether 24 ECTS credits will be sufficient to count for full-time enrollment when transferring credits back from your exchange program.

Students typically enroll in classes worth 24-30 ECTS credits per term which averages to 20 hours in class per week. A term runs for 16 weeks.

TRANSCRIPT DETAILS
Transcript issued for Semester 1: February
Transcript issued for Semester 2: July
Transcript issued r Full Year: July

Transcripts are sent to ISEP and then immediately released to the student’s home institution if there are no outstanding financial obligations.



Language Notes
Language Courses: Students with a command of Estonian may select from the university's available course offerings. Those wishing to pursue studies in Russian language and/or literature should have an excellent command of Russian - ISEP Language Proficiency Report is required.

International exchange students generally study in English choosing English taught courses from different faculties.

REQUIREMENTS FOR NON-NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKERS TAKING COURSES IN ENGLISH:
ISEP Language Proficiency Report may be substituted for official score? Yes
TOEFL: 75 IBT / 537 PBT / 203 CBT
Institutional TOEFL accepted? Yes
IELTS: 5.5 (no part can be below 5.5)
Other Tests Accepted: Exchange students whose primary language is not English must meet level B2 requirements for English proficiency according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. These requirements can be seen here: European Levels Self-Assessment Guide. Documented evidence is needed to demonstrate student’s English language proficiency.

Note: The host institution ultimately determines your proficiency level and course eligibility.



Hints for Researching Courses
The lists of courses taught in English and in Russian are available at: Courses taught in English. If the information about next academic year is not yet available, please check the course list for current academic year – many courses are taught every year. However, please keep in mind that there might be changes! To get further information about the course, its general description or syllabus, please use our Study Information System. To search for courses, you can use the numerical course code (course codes can be found from the list of courses taught in English).

Housing and Meals
Option 1: ISEP Exchange Academic Year or Semester Program
Students are housed in one of the following dormitories: Raatuse 22, Narva mnt 25, Narva mnt 27, Pepleri 14, Purde 27. Dormitories mainly consist of twin rooms with shared bathroom and kitchen (usually 2-3 rooms share a bathroom and kitchen). The rooms include essential furniture and blankets. Students are expected to bring (or rather buy in Tartu) their own pillow and bed linen. Cookware is not provided by the dormitory but quite often necessary cookware from previous tenants is in the kitchen. If not, students are expected to buy their own. A meal stipend is provided.

Options 2-4 ISEP Direct Academic Year or Semester Programs
Students are housed in one of the following dormitories: Raatuse 22, Narva mnt 25, Narva mnt 27, Pepleri 14, Purde 27. Dormitories mainly consist of twin rooms with shared bathroom and kitchen (usually 2-3 rooms share a bathroom and kitchen). The rooms include essential furniture, blanket, pillow and bed linen. Cookware is not provided by the dormitory but quite often necessary cookware from previous tenants is in the kitchen. If not, students are expected to buy their own. Note: Meals are not included in the program fee for ISEP-Direct students.

ESTIMATED PERSONAL EXPENSES
You are responsible for all of your personal expenses including: optional fees (e.g. computer, language, science lab fees), books, local transportation, entertainment, etc. The amount below is provided as a guide; the actual amount needed will vary depending on courses and personal habits. Your personal expenses per month, including books, are estimated at: a minimum of 250-300 EUR per month in order to cover basic expenses.

Student's modest budget per month:
• Housing (if participant in ISEP Direct): approx. 120 EUR (dorm)
• Local public transport: 8.63 EUR with a monthly ticket (with student card), single ticket for a student 0.51 EUR (1 EUR on the bus).
• Theatre ticket: 12 EUR
• Movie ticket: 4.5 EUR before 5 pm on weekdays, 5.5 EUR after 5 pm on weekdays, 6.8 EUR after 5 pm Fri and Sat-Sun
• Beer/cider in a pub: 3 EUR
• Daily specials in pubs and cafes: 3-5 EUR
• University Academic Sports Club: group training fees 75-125 EUR per semester, Fitness Club 35 EUR per month.
• Aura Centre (for swimming): 3,5-5 EUR for swimming pool, 6-7 EUR for water park, 9-13 EUR for Health Club

Estonia joined the Euro area on 1st of January 2011.

For more information, please see: http://www.ut.ee/en/welcome/cost-living.

Orientation
At the beginning of each semester, the International Student Service offers an orientation course (2-3 days) for all new international students. The course is designed to help international students get to know each other, the university and the town.
The course includes:
• meeting the representatives of the university and the International Student Service;
• introduction to the university’s study system;
• tour of the university, the library and the town in general;
• meeting the tutors;
• covering of various  practical issues.

All new international students receive a student helper (tutor) to help them with practical issues. Tutors are senior students who help newly arrived students to adapt into the academic environment at the University of Tartu. They are ready to give additional guidance and information on several matters, varying from studies to living conditions in Tartu. Students will be contacted by their tutor via email about 2-3 weeks before the beginning of the semester.

ARRIVAL DETAILS
Students should arrive before the beginning of the Orientation course. Host will provide arrival directions with acceptance packet. Check also the General information about getting to Estonia and Tartu.


Student Activities
During every semester there are a lot of student events: international food fest, international film nights, sledging and skiing, sauna days, bog walking week-ends, and many more. The definite highlights of each semester are Spring and Autumn Students Days, filled with dozens of entertaining and educating events, competitions and festivals. Tartu offers plenty of opportunities for sports and exercise: newly built university sports hall, several well-equipped gyms and fitness clubs, classes on yoga, step, aerobics, squash and tennis courts, bowling clubs, swimming pools. For those with talent there is Tartu Academic Male Choir, Tartu University Chamber Choir, Alumni of Folk Ensemble of Tartu University, Tartu Student Theatre.

Tartu has numerous student clubs and associations, ranging from professional organizations to informal groups based on common hobbies and interests. ESN-Tartu (Erasmus Student Network) is an organization that aims to support all international students of the University of Tartu. It works in close contacts with the Student Council and with the International Student Service. ESN-Tartu helps organize free time activities, such as sports events, trips and parties, that all bring international students closer to local life.


Profile
The University of Tartu, founded in 1632, is one of the oldest and most venerable research universities in the Baltic countries.The University of Tartu belongs to the top 3% of world’s best universities (2014 QS World University Rankings). Approximately 14,500 students are enrolled, including about 1,000 international students representing about 70 countries. Facilities include a scientific library, a botanical garden, a computing center, five museums, and a modern sports centre.