Study medicine in Latvia

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Latvia is 1 of 3 countries making up the baltic states. It is located at the eastern bank of the baltic sea in northern Europe. After centuries of Swedish, Polish, and Russian/Soviet rule, modern Latvia gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. 

For several years, 2 universities, located in the capital of Riga, have offered medical studies in English to international students.

  1. Riga Stradins University
  2. University of Latvia

Lets take a look at the English courses offered in Latvian medical universities

Medical school in Latvia

Medical school in Latvia is a 6-year undergraduate program that leads to an M.D degree.

Students can apply for enrollment if they have or will have, a high school diploma before enrollment. Students should have good grades in natural sciences (Biology, chemistry, and physics/mathematics).

Students must also be able to document English language proficiency.

Once enrolled, students follow a 6-year program that starts with basic science subjects. This is followed by a gradual transition into pre-clinical and clinical subjects. Upon completing a mandatory final exam, students earn an M.D degree.

The degree is readily recognized across the European Union. It is also recognized in the US after completing an additional examination, the ECFMG exam).

The degree is also recognized in other and across the world, but individual rules apply for each country.

Riga Stradins university

Riga Stradins University is located in the capital of Riga. The university was founded after the second world war in 1950. It bears the name of one of its founding professors Pauls Stradins.

The university primarily offers a wide variety of courses in Latvian. It also offers English courses in medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy.

These courses have been offered to international students for many years. Currently, the most popular courses are medicine and dentistry.

The courses attract students from all over the world, but the majority come from Germany and Scandinavia.

Admission requirements

There are no age restrictions for applying to the university. Nevertheless, applicants should, due to legal reasons, have turned 18.

Applicants must have completed secondary education (secondary/high-school diploma) and be eligible for university studies at a university in their home country.

Applicants are required to have studied several medicine-related subjects in high school. Mandatory subjects include biology and chemistry, physics and mathematics are also preferred.

The duration of these courses should be at least two semesters, and students must have received a passing grade. This includes both exam grades or final semester grades are accepted. 

Applicants who have failed subjects are not eligible for enrollment. In addition, all applicants (except native English speakers) must document English language proficiency.

Application process

About 200 international students are enrolled every semester (September and February). The application period for the September enrollment is between 1st March and 1st of July.

The application period for the February enrollment is between the 1st of September and the 1st of December.

Students must first fill out and submit an online application on the university website. This is only the first step in the process as students are asked to send the rest of the application by mail.

The university only accepts paper applications which must include:

  • High school diploma and grade transcript
  • Document confirming English language proficiency
  • 2 Recommendation letters
  • Motivation letter
  • 2 copies of passport/ID card
  • 4 passport-size photos
  • Proof of payment of 100 EUR application fee
  • For non-EU/EEA citizens: Chest x-ray (written report), police clearance certificate, bank letter.

Students will receive an email after submitting the online application. This e-mail will contain further instructions for the application process. 

Complete applications are reviewed within 2 months. There is no entrance exam, and applicants are selected solely based on their application.

That being said, the grades in relevant subjects (biology, chemistry, physics, English) play a significant role. In fact, the university has introduced minimum grade criteria in these subjects for a number of countries.

Follow this link to the Universities website to read more about the application process and grade criteria. You can also check out the university’s promo video below.

Tuition fee

the annual tuition fee for medical students is currently 12000 EUR/13350 USD. In addition, new students have to pay an additional 1500 EUR registration administration fee. 

University of Latvia

The University of Latvia is also located in the capital, Riga. The university was founded in 1919 and has been a hub for higher education in Latvia ever since. The university currently enrolls over 15000 students who attend courses in a wide variety of subjects.

While the principal language of instruction is Latvian, but the university offers English courses for international students. Most notably, the university offers a complete 6-year undergraduate medical program for international students.

Admission requirements

Applicants should have turned 18 and must-have completed secondary education (secondary/high-school diploma). They have to be eligible for university studies in their home country and they must be able to document English language proficiency.

Application process

The university currently enrolls about 45 students for the program every year. The university opens up for applications from winter/early spring. The deadline for handing in an application depends on your nationality.

  • EU/EEA citizens: July 1st
  • Non-visa country citizens outside the EU/EEA: June 15th
  • All other countries: May 15th

Applicants are asked to hand in a complete application through the university’s online application platform. A complete application must include the following:

  • Copy of passport/national ID
  • Medical report
  • High school diploma and grade transcript
  • Proof of English language proficiency
  • Proof of payment of  140 EUR application fee

Keep in mind that Non-EU applications have to have the documents Apostilled or verified properly to be considered valid.

Applicants are selected on the basis of their application. That being said, the grades in relevant subjects (biology, chemistry, physics, English) play a significant role.

The university does have minimum grade criteria for relevant subjects for a number of countries.

Follow this link to the Universities website to read more about the application process and the grade criteria. You can also check out the university’s promo video below.

Tuition fee

The tuition fee for the 1st year is set at 8500 EUR. The tuition fee for the remaining years will be set in an agreement with the university.

Recognition of degree

The education program at both universities is in line with EU standards and requirements.

Graduates are entitled to continue their professional and academic growth in residency programs in Latvia, as well as in other countries.

Because the degree is in line with European labor market requirements, it is widely accepted and recognized in EU member states. Because of this, graduates have successfully continued their education and professional pursuits in the UK and other EU/EEA member states. 

The degree can also be recognized in the US, but holders might have to pass the ECFMG exam.

Other countries include Australia, Sri Lanka, India, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Jordan, etc. Keep in mind that each country has its own requirements for foreign medical graduates before they can start practicing medicine.

Before applying, make sure to contact the appropriate regulatory body in your country with regards to recognition of the degree upon completion. 

Cost of living in Latvia

The cost of living in Latvia is comfortable. The overall cost of living is substantially lower compared to most western European and North American countries.

The overall cost of accommodation is approximately 150-400 EUR. The price largely depends on the standard and location and whether you choose to live in a dorm or alone.

Other living expenses are also cheap. Depending on what and how much you eat, a food budget can range between 100-250 EUR.

Public transportation with trams and buses is convenient and cheap. A monthly pass for students is available for only 16 EUR.

Numerous restaurants and pubs offer delicious meals and reasonably priced beverages. Depending on the restaurant, eating out will cost between 10-30+ EUR per person. On the cheaper side, A big mac menu costs around 5 EUR. Finally, a regular size (0,5L) beer will cost around 2 EUR.

Closing remarks

Overall, medical studies in Latvia offer a great opportunity to live and study in a historic medieval city in the Baltics.

The opportunity is especially enticing for European students, as the degree is accepted in most (if not all) member states without the need for extra examinations.

If you are interested in the possibility to study medicine in Latvia, make sure to check out the links provided above. Here you can get additional information about the application process.