Author: Karl Oliver Tomson

European Languages and Cultures


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
15 for citizens of EU/EEA/Switzerland, 2 for all citizenships
  • The University of Tartu is ranked in the top 250 universities in linguistics and English language and literature (see Rankings and Surveys).
  • Combine elective courses and practical training according to your career interests. Thus, students with different interests can take very different paths, as cultural competence and foreign language proficiency are needed in many jobs.
  • Students of French and Russian language and literature can get a double degree from the University of Lyon. You can take advantage of international mobility across Europe and beyond.
  • After graduation, you can work as a specialist in state institutions, universities, companies, museums and publishing houses.


The European Languages and Cultures master's programme trains students to be cultural mediators (translators, administrators, editors, etc.) by providing knowledge and skills in a modern or classical language and culture. You can choose one of the following specialities:

  • Classical philology
  • English language and literature
  • French language and literature
  • German language and literature
  • Russian and Slavic philology
  • Scandinavian languages and literature
  • Spanish language and literature

Classes in the speciality module are taught in the respective language (except for Classical philology, which is taught in Estonian). If you are specialising in English language and literature, your classes are in English, but if you are specialising in French language and literature, they are in French, etc. At the time of admission to the programme, being proficient in the language of the chosen speciality is expected and written as well as spoken language skills are to be demonstrated in the entrance exams (the essay is written and the interview conducted in the language of the speciality).

Students can combine elective courses and practical training module according to specific future career paths. For example, somebody who wants to work in an international organisation can pick an elective module in international relations and do an internship in an international organisation; somebody who wants to become an editor in a publishing house can pick an elective module in translation studies and do editing training. Graduates will be ready to continue their studies at PhD level in all languages of specialisation.

What will you get from this programme?

After completing the programme, you:

  • are proficient in either English, French, Spanish, Russian, German, or a Scandinavian language, know the culture and literature of the chosen language area and can compare cultures;
  • can choose appropriate registers when communicating in the language of the speciality in speech or writing;
  • have expertise in intercultural communication in its different forms (international relations, business, education, research, development or creative industries or other contexts);
  • are ready for independent research and practical work in the fields requiring foreign language skills and cultural competence;
  • have developed transferable skills like intercultural communication competence, initiative, time planning skills, sense of responsibility, leadership and teamwork skills.

Programme highlights: media and articles

The curriculum consists of 6 modules:

  • speciality module (English language and literature, French language and literature, Spanish language and literature, Russian and Slavic philology, German language and literature, Scandinavian languages and literature, Classical philology) (39 ECTS)
  • graduate school module (students choose between the linguistics and translation studies graduate school and history, literature and cultural research graduate school) (15 ECTS)
  • electives module (12 ECTS)
  • optional courses module (6 ECTS)
  • practical training module (6 ECTS)
  • MA thesis (42 ECTS) or MA project (42 ECTS) module

To graduate, students must complete one speciality module, one graduate school module, one elective module, one optional courses module, and either the MA thesis or MA project module.

Students are recommended to spend one semester (and complete 15 ECTS worth of coursework) in a university where the language of the speciality is spoken as the first language.

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.
More info: Study Information System

Institute of Foreign Languages and Cultures

The Insitute of Foreign Languages and Cultures is a part of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. The institute's scholars engage in multifaceted international research in European languages, European and North American literatures, literary theory, translation studies and applied linguistics. Active cooperation with embassies and various cultural institutions gives students the opportunity to learn with native speakers and professionals in their field.

In addition to its degree programmes, the institute provides a diverse selection of language courses, language tests and the chance to attend an Estonian summer school.

Read more about the institute here.


The teaching staff of the Institute of Foreign Languages and Cultures includes leading Estonian scholars in literary research (American, British, French, Spanish, German, Russian, and Scandinavian literature), classical studies, linguistics, and translation studies. The institute is responsible for several major national and international research grants. Many staff members are also practising translators and active in Estonian cultural life. The institute's staff is international and brings a diversity of viewpoints to the classroom. In addition to academic staff, students meet alumni and other professionals from different fields to get a more hands-on experience with life after university.

Institute of Foreign Languages and Cultures

Visit us virtually

Explore Tartu, the Institute of Foreign Languages and Cultures, and the student dormitories through the university's virtual tour here.

The graduates will be competitive candidates for careers in professions that require excellent proficiency in foreign languages and cultural competence in state institutions, universities and research institutions, IT companies, museums, publishing houses cultural exchange organisations in Estonia and abroad.

Admission requirements for European Languages and Cultures


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 40% of the final score)

  • the score of the essay (yields 40% of the final score)

  • the admission interview (yields 20% of the final score)

The motivation letter is used to evaluate the applicant’s motivation to study on the programme. The motivation letter (2400-3000 characters with spaces, written in English) must be added to your online application by the application deadline (March 15).

In the motivation letter the student candidates describe:

  • Their previous studies and how they prepare them for study on the curriculum
  • Their reasons for choosing the University of Tartu
  • Possible research topics, proceeding from their interests and the offerings of the Institute of Foreign Languages and Cultures
  • Planned studies (including their understanding of the structure and content of the curriculum)
  • Plans after graduation.

Aspects considered in assessing the letter of motivation:

  • Student candidates’ preparation for the study of foreign languages and literatures
  • Their familiarity with the curriculum and possible study options
  • The clarity of their plans.

Maximum score for the motivation letter is 100 points and minimum positive score is 51 points. The applicant needs to receive at least 51 points for the motivation letter, in order to have the essay assessed.

Essay and texts for translations

The essay (required in the specialities of English language and literature, Russian and Slavic philology, French language and literature, Spanish language and literature, German language and literature and Scandinavian languages and literatures) is a 7200-9000-character text in which the student candidates in a structured manner discuss a problem related to the specialty. The essay is written in the language of the specialty (English, Russian, French, Spanish, German, Swedish, Norwegian or Danish).

          Essay topics:

The essay has to be the author’s original work and has to be written within the time given. The deadline for submitting the essay is 15 March (application deadline). The results of the essay can be used on admission to the Foreign language teacher curriculum (see Entrance requirements for the Foreign language teacher curriculum).

In the speciality of classical philology, student candidates prepare an independent translation with their commentary of either a Latin or Ancient Greek text excerpt of an intermediate level of difficulty into Estonian. This means that applicants to the classical philology specialty are expected to be proficient in Estonian. The length of the text is 150-200 words. The deadline for the translation is 15 March (application deadline).

Texts for translation:

 Aspects considered in assessing the translation:

  • the adequacy or independence of the translation;
  • the grammatical, syntactic and lexical correctness of the translation;
  • the candidate’s ability to comment on the names and phenomena in the text from the perspective of daily culture, ancient history, mythology, geography, topography and the author’s biography;
  • in the case of a verse text the competence of determining the meter.
  • Maximum score for the essay/translation is 100 points and minimum positive score is 51 points. 

The oral exam in the chosen specialty is an interview in the language of the speciality. In the case of classical philology, the interview will be conducted only in Estonian. The interview will focus on the
student candidates’ plans and their expected studies at the University of Tartu. In other words, it will give the student candidates the chance to expand on their letter of motivation and essay or translation. The interview also demonstrates the student candidates’ skill of expressing themselves orally in the language of the speciality. 

The oral exam is conducted online. The interviews will take place on April 15 and April 19, 2024. The interviews will be scheduled in cooperation with qualifying candidates in April.

Aspects considered in assessing the oral exam:

  • sufficiency of the student candidate’s prior academic preparation for study at the University of Tartu;
  • ability to orally discuss topics related to the speciality;
  • ability to express themselves in academic foreign language of the speciality.

Maximum score for the motivation letter is 100 points and minimum positive score is 51 points. 


General information regarding the online admission interview

The University of Tartu uses different video communication programs to conduct an online interview (Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype). The admissions committee will notify you, which software program will be used and when does the interview take place.

The applicant needs the following for the online interview:

  • a computer or smart device. The computer or smart device must have a web camera, earphones and microphone (built-in or separate). As the applicant must be visually identified at the interview, the use of the web camera is mandatory, not recommended;
  • The internet connection with a speed of at least 1 Mb/s (upload/download) is recommended for the video call.

At the online interview:

  • the applicant must have an identity document;
  • the applicant has to ensure that the room where they stay is free from other persons or background noise;
  • the applicant must take into account that they are not allowed to save the interview.

It is possible to apply for up to two specialities. Applicant who wishes to apply for more than one speciality will have to write only one motivation letter which has to explain their study motivation for both specialities. They have to write a separate essay (or, in the case of Classical philology, produce a translation with a commentary) and also take a separate oral exam for each speciality they are applying for.

For each evaluation criteria, the maximum score is 100 points and minimum positive score 51 points. The applicant needs to receive at least 51 points for the motivation letter, in order to have the essay assessed. Only the candidates who receive at least 51 points from both written assignments, will be invited to the interview. After the interview, the final admission score is calculated. The maximum final score is 100 points. The application will be considered for admission ranking if a final score of 66 points or higher is achieved. For further information on assessing candidates´ academic performance and calculating admissions´ score see here.

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. essay - note that essay topics will be announced on 15 February
  4. 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 (including also the grades/results for the last autumn semester) 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 (no later than by the end of July).
  5. official certified translation of the bachelor’s diploma and Diploma Supplement (transcript) into English. As certified translations we consider 1) official translations made by the issuing institution (university) bearing their original signature, stamp etc, or 2) translations certified by a sworn translator or notary.
  6. proof of English language proficiency
  7. copy of the passport page stating the applicant’s personal particulars
  8. 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 that 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 is available here.

Tuition fee and scholarships

Practical info for new students

International Student Ambassadors

Mari Kruse
Institute of Foreign Languages and Cultures
Department of Romance Studies
Lecturer in Spanish Language and Linguistics, Programme Director for European Languages and Cultures
Lossi 3-420
+372 737 5319

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