Student exchange with partner universities and cooperation networks
The University of Tartu has more than 60 partner universities in about 25 different countries and the bilateral academic cooperation agreements with these universities provide opportunities for the exchange of students and faculty staff. These university-wide cooperation agreements include all of the faculties and institutions at the university. However, not all partner universities participate in student exchanges - to date UT has active student exchange agreements with almost 30 universities in 14 countries.
The University of Tartu also belongs to the Utrecht Network and Coimbra Group and both networks also offer student exchange opportunities. In the framework of the Utrecht Network, students can apply to AEN universities in Australia and MAUI universities in USA. Coimbra Group Student Exchange Network (Coimbra SEN) includes 22 universities (incl. Tartu) from different European countries.
Below you can find general information about how to to apply within the cooperation networks and inter-university cooperation agreements to UT partner universities.
In principle, students from all faculties and levels of study can apply. But it should be taken into account that partner universities can set their own limitations e.g. several universities do not admit exchange students to medical studies. Further information on these limitations can be found in specific competition notices.
Study period at foreign university
Exchange students can study at a partner university for one or two semesters. It is important to bear in mind that while studying abroad under the exchange programme, students must be enrolled at the University of Tartu for the whole period of studies.
Language of instruction at foreign university
In many cases, a command of English is enough to cope at a foreign university: as a rule, universities in non-English speaking countries also offer courses in English, although their range may be quite narrow. When applying to Russian and German universities, students should have a good command in local langauge as the main language of instruction in these universities is Russian/German. As far as Japanese and Chinese universities are concerned, the grant committee may prefer applicants who have already learned some Japanese/Chinese.
Applicants are always required to submit a language certificate. As far as English is concerned, partner universities may request the results of an international language test (e.g. TOEFL or IELTS), particularly universities outside of Europe, and in applying to Master's and Doctoral programmes, but often a test taken at the University of Tartu Language Centre will also suffice. Rules vary significantly between universities and you should check the specific competition notices for more information.
Stipends and expenses
Exchange students from the University of Tartu are always guaranteed free tuition at the partner university (i.e. they do not have to pay any tuition fees). In many cases, universities also offer free accommodation in student residence halls and/or a monthly allowance or free meals (the latter is very common at US universities: students can choose a meal plan which normally includes 19 to 21 free meals per week at university cafeterias). Further information on grant rules at partner universities can be found in specific competition notices. As a rule, students have to cover their travel, visa and health insurance expenses themselves. Information on the cost of living in the host country can be found on foreign universities' websites. When applying to US universities, it should be taken into account that students need to buy the necessary textbooks themselves, and this may cost a couple of hundred euros.
Students should apply to partner universities via the UT International Student Service and submit their applications to the UT International Student Service by the deadline stated in the competition notices. Application deadlines vary and depend on partner universities. Main competitions are held during the spring semester (from January to May) and students can apply for admission for the next academic year (for one or both semesters). If not all student places are filled during the main competitions, an additional competition may be announced in autumn (September or October) for the spring semester of the current academic year. However, the options in autumn are definitely more limited and competition itself may be stronger. Thus students should apply for exchanges in spring semester of the academic year preceding the exchange; if they intend to go for the spring semester only, they may also have the chance to apply in the autumn semester of the same academic year.
The primary decision on selecting students for partner universities is made by the University of Tartu grant committee. Final decision on admitting the students is made by the host institution and for that, student's application documents also need to be sent to the partner university.
Members of UT grant committee:
Ülle Tensing, Senior Specialist for International Studies;
Kristine Truija, Student Exchange Coordinator;
Jaanika Haljasmäe, Erasmus Institutional Coordinator;
Kristi Kerge, Head of International Cooperation;
Kadri Kattai, Student Advisor;
Annika Kask, Research Project Specialist;
Marge Vaikjärv, Representative of Student Council.
The committee has the right to invite other people who are not regular members to its meetings. These people have advisory voting rights.
As a rule, students who obtain grants are contacted by e-mail. Students receiving grants should bear in mind that if they decide to give up their place at a foreign university, they must immediately notify the International Student Service. If they delay in doing so, someone else might miss the opportunity to study abroad. If a student has repeatedly given up his or her grant/free student place and applies again, previous waivers will be taken into account in ranking applicants.