Lithuania’s laser and medical specialists, architects, and artists have long brought their country international recognition. Lithuanian academics make important contributions to solving global challenges in the areas of health, the environment and the sciences. The knowledge and expertise of these specialists are concentrated in Lithuania’s institutions of higher learning, where respect for academic traditions interweaves seamlessly with the drive for discovery and innovation.
Foreign students discover Lithuania
While some Lithuanian youth choose to pursue their studies at foreign universities, increasing numbers of foreign students are discovering the excellence that our universities and colleges have to offer. During the 2018–19 academic year, 6192 foreign students from 126 countries are enrolled in degree-granting programs in Lithuania. Another several thousand are here as exchange students.
The majority of these foreign students are enrolled at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences in Kaunas. Other popular schools include Vilnius University, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Kaunas University of Technology, Mykolas Romeris University, and the European Humanities University, which caters primarily to students from Belarus. The most popular programs among foreign students are in the health sciences, but significant numbers are also enrolled in engineering, management, and social work degrees.
The system of higher learning in Lithuania
There are two types of programs of higher study in Lithuania – university and college. Degrees are offered at three levels: bachelor’s and professional bachelor’s (first level), master’s (second level), and doctoral (third level). Studies are offered on either a full-time or part-time basis, depending on the program.
Programs of study
College programs are designed to prepare an individual for work in a specific profession. Full-time studies usually take three years, while part-time studies last four years. No less than one third of this kind of program consists of practical learning. Graduating students are granted professional bachelor’s degrees. Students who have acquired practical experience and have completed additional studies, in accordance with each school’s requirements, can continue their studies at the master’s level at a university. College studies are pursued at either a state or private college.
University studies are oriented toward providing universal general education, theoretical preparation and high-level professional training. Degree-granting university programs can be continuous, combining the first and second level of study, as in medical studies. Full-time bachelor’s degrees take four years; part-time degrees generally take five years. Graduating students are granted a bachelor’s degree, with which they have the option of continuing to master’s studies, which take 1.5–2 years. Individuals who intend to devote their lives to academic work can continue their studies in a four-year doctoral program. University studies are offered by universities, academies and seminaries.
Cost of studies
The average cost of studies in a university or college depends on the choice of profession and level of study. Bachelor’s studies cost foreign students from 1300 euros per year; master’s studies cost from 2300 euros; and doctoral study fees are upward of 8400 euros annually.
More than three quarters of foreign students studying in Lithuania say fees for higher studies in this country are very reasonable, all the more so because of the flexible system of stipends.
In Lithuania there are numerous ways to receive financial aid for higher studies; it is offered by the state, colleges and universities, and international programs. Each school of higher learning has its own stipend fund and regulations for administering aid, so it can assist students who meet its requirements.
Financial support for studies can be in the form of stipends and social welfare payments, and can also be granted to Lithuanians living abroad who have been accepted to colleges and universities here. Stipends are granted per semester and are paid on a monthly basis. Social assistance payments are made based on an individual’s social and financial situation.
Most foreign students say that, apart from tuition fees, their monthly expenses are in the range of 350–400 euros per month. Actual expenses will, of course, depend on how much you travel and go to concerts, theatres and nightclubs. Costs for cultural events and entertainment are much lower in Lithuania than in many other European countries. Even in the capital, it is possible to have a good lunch for 3 to 8 euros; a movie theatre ticket costs around 6 euros; and you can get a haircut for as little as 10 euros.
Recognition of foreign qualifications
Individuals with secondary or post-secondary degrees who would like to study in a Lithuanian college or university must first apply for recognition of their foreign qualifications. Academic recognition requires that the value of qualifications be determined: do your qualifications correspond to the requirements for achieving the same qualifications in Lithuania? Recognition of foreign academic qualifications is administered by the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education.