Author: Andero Kalju

Estonian and Finno-Ugric Languages

2 January

Application system opens

15 March

Application deadline

30 April

Admission results

2 September

Academic year starts
Level of study
Study language
Duration and credits
2 years , 120 ECTS
Form of study
Regular study
Student places
Tuition fee
4,000 EUR/year
Tuition waivers
  • Study Estonian in Tartu, the best place in the world to study Estonian. 
  • The programme provides excellent opportunities for studying other Finno-Ugric languages like Finnish, Hungarian, Komi, etc.
  • You can choose between two specialisations Estonian or Finno-Ugric Languages. 
  • The programme emphasises the development of digital skills and offers computational linguistics and programming modules.
  • After graduation, you can work in language teaching, translation, diplomacy, tourism, enterprise, international cooperation in multilingual environments or continue your academic career at the doctoral level.


The 2-year master's programme in Estonian and Finno-Ugric Languages (EFUL) is unique in combining in-depth language learning with comprehensive, English-based studies in linguistics. We offer specialisations in either Estonian or Finno-Ugric Languages. Whichever you choose, you will have access to shared modules on theoretical and methodological aspects of synchronic and diachronic linguistics, with an emphasis on active language learning, combining theory and practice. The programme also emphasises the development of digital skills. It offers modules on computational linguistics and programming in collaboration with the University of Tartu's Centre for Digital Humanities and Information Society.

Suppose you are interested in Estonian or Finno-Ugric languages like Hungarian, Finnish or Komi, and you're looking for a master's programme in Language and Linguistics. In that case, this is the programme for you! You can begin your studies right away without first developing your language skills.

Why study Estonian and Finno-Ugric languages at the University of Tartu?

  • Be in the right place! Tartu is the best place in the world to study Estonian because of the University of Tartu's excellent language teaching and because the language is alive all around you. You can soak it in and never be at a loss for places to practice with native speakers.
  • Great opportunities for studying other Finno-Ugric languages: Tartu has long attracted students and scholars from other Finno-Ugric speaking areas. Languages like Finnish, Hungarian and Komi are taught by experienced native speakers. Other Finno-Ugric languages also have communities in Tartu where you can speak the language and experience the culture.
  • Cutting-edge research: The University of Tartu boasts some of the top researchers in Estonian and Finno-Ugric linguistics and other related disciplines like ethnography, folklore, history and cultural studies.
  • European quality with long university traditions: The University of Tartu is imbued with the sense of its illustrious history, dating to 1632. The Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics is located right beside the famous 19th-century, neoclassical Main Building of the university, the prized Toomemägi Park, and a hop, skip and a jump away from the Town Hall Square. Today's UT is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and convenience in classrooms while keeping student traditions alive, striving to combine the best of old and new.
  • Academic excellence: The EFUL programme is taught in a strong academic unit with expertise in many subfields of linguistics and with connections to related departments and disciplines.
  • International collaboration in research and teaching: Estonian and Finno-Ugric linguists are embedded in global collaboration networks, giving access to leading research in the field and various opportunities for supplementary courses. For instance, students can take advantage of our many Erasmus partnerships for study abroad, and an established network of Finno-Ugric institutes organises yearly winter schools.
  • Special scholarship and stipend opportunities: In addition to six tuition waiver study places, a number of scholarships and living expense stipends are available specifically for EFUL students. Specifically, merit-based scholarships are available from the Kadri, Nikolai and Gerda Rõuk Memorial Fund as well as from the Kindred Peoples’ Programme (the latter specifically for students on the Finno-Ugric language specialisation track) and are intended to cover tuition costs (4000€/year) and subsidise living costs (200€/mo. for 10 months). The Rotalia Foundation in the USA supports one student with a €2000 scholarship for the academic year. All applicants are automatically considered for tuition waiver study places. A separate (but minimal) application is required for the living cost stipends; applicants will receive more information about this after submitting their EFUL application. 

Programme highlights in video

There are two specialisations:

  • Estonian. In addition to a foundation in Linguistics, this specialisation includes in-depth studies in Estonian, allowing students to test for placement and begin studies at the appropriate language level. Students will also gain an overview of Estonian and Estonian history and culture structure.
  • Finno-Ugric Languages. In addition to a foundation in Linguistics, this specialisation gives an overview of the history and comparison of Finno-Ugric languages and cultures. Students have the opportunity to learn three or more Finno-Ugric languages.

Course and module details

This programme structure is the latest one confirmed by the university. Next year's modules will be updated by 15 April. Significant changes to the programme will be announced in advance on this website. Check the Study Information System for the latest updates.

Curriculum version:

This curriculum structure is the latest one confirmed by the university. Next year's version will be entered into the Study Information System by 15 April. Significant changes to the structure will be announced in advance on this website.


A highlight of the programme is language teaching by native speakers in Estonian, Hungarian, Finnish, and Komi. Other Finno-Ugric languages are also taught by fluent speakers with experience with the communities where the languages are still spoken.

The faculty on the programme brings diverse research profiles and comes from various language backgrounds, revealing the diversity of linguistics and linguistic experience.

Faculty includes:

  • Gerson Klumpp (Finno-Ugric Studies)
  • Liina Lindström (Modern Estonian)
  • Birute Klaas-Lang (Estonian as a Foreign Language)
  • Virve Vihman (Psycholinguistics)
  • Joshua Wilbur (Digital Humanities Language Documentation, Saami)
  • Eva-Liina Asu-Garcia (Phonetics)
  • Pärtel Lippus (Phonetics)
  • Nikolai Kuznetsov (Komi language, Finno-Ugric Studies)
  • Elena Markus (Finnic languages)

Guest lectures, conferences and seminars

We have an active, constantly evolving programme of seminars, conferences, and guest lectures that bring top international scholars in the field to our institute and our students throughout the semester.

The Uralic Winter School has been held annually since 2013, organised by one of the REMODUS network members in Europe.

From 2023, the Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics is the head of the international MEDAL consortium. During the next 3 years, numerous summer schools and masters courses will take place with a focus on methodological excellence in linguistics.

The TÜling lecture series offers scholarly talks on a wide range of linguistic topics every week for the whole institute.

Students will also have fieldwork and language documentation opportunities within Estonia and across the border in other countries where Finno-Ugric languages are spoken.

Graduates of this programme will be highly trained for employment requiring language skills in Estonian or the other Finno-Ugric languages, both in Estonia and abroad. This includes jobs in language teaching, translation, diplomacy, tourism, enterprise, or international cooperation in multilingual environments. Students completing the programme will learn analytical and digital skills and practice communication and teamwork. Graduates are well-placed for employment in cultural heritage fields and museums.

The programme affords opportunities to learn big data processing and data analysis skills, which are transferrable to many jobs outside of traditional linguistics. Graduates will be qualified for jobs that require multiple language skills or facilities with processing language data, depending on their coursework choices.

The MA programme also gives a solid foundation for continuing studies at the PhD level. Our courses give students a taste of serious linguistics research, helping them decide whether a research career is their path.

Admission requirements for Estonian and  Finno-Ugric Languages

NB! Citizens of the Russian Federation who, under the legislation of the Republic of Estonia, cannot apply for a long-stay visa or residence permit to study or do not have a valid legal basis to stay in the Republic of Estonia until the end of the curriculum’s standard period of study are not eligible to apply to the University of Tartu in the 2024/2025 academic year.

According to the current legislation, citizens of Belarus can apply for Estonian long-term visa or temporary residence permit for studies and are therefore eligible to apply to the University of Tartu.


Applications are evaluated based on


  • the score of the motivation letter (yields 50% of the final score)
  • the score of the admission interview (yields 50% of the final score)

Each candidate should write a motivation letter (in English, 2000-2500 characters including spaces) describing:
·         Why the candidate wants to study in the EFUL program;
·         The candidate's background relating to Estonian and/or Finno-Ugric languages;
·         The candidate's general interest in linguistics;
·         Which specialty (Estonian or Finno-Ugric languages) the candidate would choose and why.

The following aspects will be considered in assessing the motivation letter:
·         Reasons for entering the programme and previous knowledge about linguistics and Finno-Ugric languages; 60%
·         The candidate's analytical skills, language skills and ability to structure ideas. 40%

Admission interviews take place between 12-19 April 2024. The exact interview date and time for each qualifying applicant will be specified in early April when the motivation letters have been evaluated.

Based on the assessment of the motivation letter, a candidate may then be selected for an online admission interview (15 minutes). The admission interview will be in English. The questions will be partly based on the motivation letter and are intended to find out more about:
·         The candidate's motivation for studying Estonian and/or other Finno-Ugric languages (40 points);
·         The candidate's general orientation concerning linguistics (40 points);
·         The candidate's ability to express themselves effectively in English (20 points).

For each assignment, the maximum score is 100 points and minimum score 51 points to be considered for admission. The applicant needs to receive at least 51 points for the motivation letter, in order to qualify for the admission interview. After the interview, the final admission score is calculated. The total admission score will be the weighted sum of the score of the motivation letter and the interview. The maximum number of final points is 100. Only applications which receive 66 points and above as a combined score from both indicators will qualify for admission.

Further information on assessing candidates´ academic performance and calculating admissions´ score.

How to apply

The following information applies to international students and Estonian students who graduated abroad:

The application system opens on 2 January and closes on 15 March. The following documents must be submitted electronically via DreamApply by 15 March:

  1. online application
  2. motivation letter
  3. official certified copy of the bachelor's diploma or its equivalent and Diploma Supplement (transcript) in the original language (must include a description of the grading scale).
    NB! Applicants graduating in the upcoming spring/summer and having their diploma and final transcript issued later than the application deadline should electronically submit their most recent official transcript by the application deadline. The transcript should be supplemented by an official statement from the issuing institution indicating current enrollment and expected graduation date. Admitted candidates are required to post certified copies of their graduation documents as soon as these have been issued (must reach us no later than by the end of July).
  4. official translation of the bachelor’s diploma and Diploma Supplement (transcript) into English, translation certified
  5. proof of English language proficiency
  6. copy of the passport page stating the applicant’s personal particulars
  7. confirmation/receipt of application fee payment (if applicable). All international applicants are required to pay the application fee EUR 100, unless they have completed the previous study level in Estonia. An application will only be processed after the fee has been received by the UT.

Submitted applications can not be edited. It is only possible to upload new documents (e.g. graduation certificates). Applicants will receive feedback and notifications through the DreamApply system to their e-mail. Incomplete applications or those submitted by e-mail will not be considered for admission.

Guide to submitting an electronic application on DreamApply.

NB: The University of Tartu has no official partnerships with agents or educational representatives. We strongly recommend applying directly to the university without the help of unauthorised third-party entities. Should you use such a service, please ensure that your application's contact information is your personal details (your e-mail, phone number, etc.).

The evaluation of applications will be made based on the electronic copies added to DreamApply. A general ranking list will be formed based on the electronically submitted applications and admission results (including offers) will be announced to all applicants personally via DreamApply by April 30 at the latest. Admitted candidates are expected to accept or decline the offer in DreamApply in 7 days. If the decision is not communicated to UT via DreamApply by the stipulated deadline, UT reserves the right to withdraw the admission offer.

NB! It is not possible to postpone the beginning of studies to the next academic year.

Terms and conditions of the admission offer

Admission offers are conditional. This means that there are conditions in the offer which the applicant needs to fulfil in order to be admitted (e.g. sending application documents by post; obtaining the required level of education). If the conditions are not met, UT has the right to withdraw the offer. Also, UT reserves the right to withdraw or amend any offer or revoke the matriculation of a student, if it becomes evident that the application contains fraudulent information, the qualification does not provide access to the chosen study programme or the student is found to have omitted key information from the application. Should such circumstances occur, UT will not be liable for any material or immaterial loss which the student may suffer as a result.

Once the admission results have been announced, all admitted students are required to send the application documents by post to: Student Admissions, University of Tartu, Ülikooli 18-133, Tartu 50090, ESTONIA.

The documents are expected to be mailed only by those receiving the admission offer (unless instructed otherwise by the admissions staff). The documents must reach the university within 3 weeks from the announcement of the offer. If the application documents do not reach us by the deadline, the university has the right to withdraw the admission offer. Applicants will be informed when their documents have arrived.

Requirements for educational documents

All copies of educational documents (diplomas and Diploma Supplements/transcripts) must be officially certified. By certified we mean that the copies should bear an original signature and seal of the authority certifying that these are true copies of the original document(s). The copies can be certified either 1) by an authorised official of the issuing institution, or 2) by a notary, or 3) with an Apostille attached. NB! Country-specific requirements may also specify the way documents from certain countries must be certified.

Please note that UT does not accept simple copies made on the basis of already certified copies (primary copies are needed).

All admitted students are required to present their original qualification certificates upon arrival (unless these were sent directly from the issuing institution).

Paying the tuition fee (applicable to those receiving a fee-based study place offer)

  • EU/EEA/Swiss citizens are required to pay the fee for the first semester once they arrive in Tartu (by 20 September at the latest after signing the fee contract, please read more here).
  • Admitted students from other countries are required to pre-pay half of the first semester's tuition fee. The invoice along with the pre-payment deadline and payment details will be sent to applicants via DreamApply after they have accepted the admissions offer and the University has received the hard copies of the application documents. Second part of the fee is due on 20 September. NB! The official admission letter (necessary for visa application) will only be issued once the University of Tartu has received the pre-payment.
  • NB! Once you have been offered a fee-based study place, be aware that it will not be changed into a fee waiver study place. By transferring the pre-payment to the university, you confirm that you have informed yourself about the process of the visa and temporary residence permit application and you are able to arrive in Estonia by the start of the academic year. If you have any questions please contact

The official admission letter will be sent to admitted students electronically via DreamApply only after the admissions office has received and reviewed hard copies of the application documents, and received the tuition fee pre-payment (if a pre-payment was required, please see step 3 for more details).

NB! The electronic admission letter is also sufficient for non-EU students for applying for visa/residence permit at an Estonian embassy.

Once the admission letter is issued, accepted students may proceed further with arranging their arrival. All non-EU students should first consult information on the process of visa and temporary residence permit application to be sure, as where and when the relevant documents need to be applied. Note that housing at the UT dormitories can be applied during a limited period of time, unless specified otherwise on the website.

NB! Admitted students who are not citizens of an EU or EEA country or Switzerland need to make sure they obtain the Estonian long-term visa on time in order to be able to participate in the orientation programme for international students held in the last week of August. They are also required to visit the Admissions Office in person to complete their arrival registration by September 2, 2024, at the latest. Failure to do so will result in the revocation of their admission decision and visa.

For housing alternatives please find further information on Tartu Welcome Centre website. Travel information can be found here. Based upon common queries, the most important information has been summarised into a pre-arrival information website UT Getting Started.

Estonian applicants should apply via National Admission Information Systems (SAIS). Further information in Estonian.

Tuition fee and scholarships

Practical info for new students

International Student Ambassadors

Ask about the programme and admission
Gerson Stefan Klumpp
Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
Department of Finno-Ugric Studies
Head of Department, Professor of Finno-Ugric Languages, Programme Director for Estonian and Finno-Ugric Languages
Jakobi 2-415
+372 737 6537

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