University of Tartu


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The University of Tartu, founded in 1632, is one of the oldest and most venerable research universities in the Baltic countries.
Location: Tartu, Estonia
Language of Instruction: EnglishRussianEstonian
Program Type: Semester or Academic Year

  • Study in Russian or English at the University of Tartu, one of the oldest and most respected universities in the Baltic region
  • Students have the option to enroll in regular university courses or a specialized program of courses, including the Russian Studies Program, Baltic Studies Program, and the EU-Russian Studies Program
  • Live in student housing with other international students and participate in the University of Tartu's rich student life (see Life Abroad section for more information)

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 (See You in Tartu! video (YouTube)), 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.

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.

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

Option 2: 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 3: 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 4: ISEP Direct Summer - After the Empire: The Collapse of Communism and Beyond (in English)

After the Empire: The Collapse of Communism and Beyond is a three-week program in cooperation with the University of Latvia. The aim of this program is to introduce the crucial changes in two Baltic societies, brought up by the collapse of communism. The program will introduce the challenges and achievements of social, economic and political reforms and their past, present and future impacts on a local as well as on an international scale. Students will learn of state-of-the-art achievements generated by quick and efficient transformation from a state-controlled economic system into a free market economy. Week one in Riga, Latvia: Society, Politics and Economy. Week two in Tallinn, Estonia: Business Environment . Week three in Tartu, Estonia: EU and Russia Relations

Lectures and seminars in English on a variety of topics concerning social, political and economic issues will be provided by the professors of the participating universities. Special seminars and meetings with top-qualified practitioners and politicians are part of the program, as well as visits to governmental and NGO institutions and enterprises.

NOTE: Graduate-level courses are not available to exchange students.

Option 1: MAUI-Utrecht Exchange Academic Year or Semester Program
Place in a twin room in the dormitory. All dormitories are centrally located. Dormitories mainly consist of twin rooms with shared bathroom and kitchen (usually 2-3 rooms share a bathroom and kitchen). The chance of getting a single room is very limited.

Option 2: 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 3-5 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.

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.

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.

For more information, contact Charlie Ambrose at chambrose@ku.edu or stop by the Study Abroad Info Center in 105 Lippincott. (ISEP)

For more information, contact Jenna Hunter-Skidmore at jmhunter@ku.edu or stop by the Study Abroad Info Center in 105 Lippincott. (MAUI-Utrecht)

For more information regarding costs and deadlines, refer to the program coordinator. 

The ISEP website or the MAUI-Utrecht website for more information about the University of Tartu.