Did you know that the global wellness economy is valued at $4.5 trillion and that the worldwide wellness industry represents 5.3 per cent of global economic output? Did you also know that wellness is one of the fastest-growing industries globally? Would you like to learn more about wellness? Do you see yourself working in the wellness industry and contributing to people's health? Join our international master's programme in Wellness and Spa Service Design and Management!
You will know and understand theoretical aspects, best practices and future trends of wellness and spa management and related issues required for the successful management of such businesses and the wellbeing of people and society.
You will develop a service-oriented mentality and acquire those professional skills needed for working within wellness, spa and related organisations and businesses, in particular, to:
The master’s programme presents the main keywords: service design and management in the wellness, spa and hospitality industry. Carefully designed content is divided into five main study modules that are interrelated to one another and linked to the concepts of sustainability, creativity, quality, entrepreneurship and innovation.
Traditional lectures are combined with study visits to companies.
Many courses of the master’s programme provide traditional lectures and seminars in the classroom, but they also offer study visits to spas and wellness centres in Pärnu and Tallinn. Additionally, a day trip will be organised to the island Saaremaa, famous for its various spas. Students meet with spa staff members, participate in discussions, ask questions, write down their thoughts and describe and share their experiences with fellow students and teachers.
In Spa and Wellness industry, all services are carefully designed to create meaningful, long-lasting experiences. During the visits, the students use their senses to observe, listen, smell, feel and taste a real spa environment. The theoretical information becomes clear in reality, and the students gain a deep, profound understanding of the wellness concept and holistic approach to spa and wellness services.
Estonia is a small country, but we are never short of spas. Estonians like spas, our spa culture has a long history, and sauna traditions are popular among all generations. Spas in Pärnu we are cooperating with: Tervis Medical Spa Hotel, Hedon Spa & Hotel, Tervise Paradiis Spa Hotel and Water park, Viiking Spa Hotel and Estonia Resort Spa Hotel.
Saaremaa is the biggest island in Estonia. Many people like to take a spa holiday there. Fresh air and seawater, seaside, beautiful nature, healing herbs and local mud belong to local spa services. Spas in Saaremaa: Pädaste Manor, Grand Rose Spa Hotel, Georg Ots Spa Hotel and Arensburg Boutique Hotel & Spa.
Tallinn is our modern capital, and the spas that our students visit are very different from the spas in Pärnu or Saaremaa. Many belong to international hotel chains. We cooperate with Hilton Tallinn Park Spa, Park Inn by Radisson Meriton Conference & Spa Hotel Tallinn, Tallink Spa & Conference Hotel, Viimsi Tallinn Spa and Swissôtel Tallinn.
The internship is compulsory and an essential part of the whole study process. Every student has to get a practical working experience before the second study year. The most favourable time for this is the summer period from June until September after the second semester. Students have acquired enough theoretical knowledge by then and passed the main study modules necessary to get a deeper understanding of spa and wellness philosophy, services, and industry in general.
The University of Tartu Pärnu College has developed a great network of spas in various resorts and regions that are ready to cooperate and offer internship positions for our students. In the first semester, the students are provided with information about the internship process they have to go through to be ready on time. All arrangements, negotiations and agreements take time and therefore, it is never too early to start with the planning. Some students have a very clear idea of where they want to work, but others may need some help. The college has an internship specialist who helps students with the process.
The students of the University of Tartu have the right to apply for an ERASMUS scholarship that means financial internship support to help cover travel costs and accommodation during the working period. It is very helpful and handy to have your costs under control. With our internship specialist, you will learn about your rights and options. Usually, personal appointments are scheduled for discussion.
What kind of work can a student expect?
Usually, our students find a position as a spa attendant or a spa receptionist in a spa, wellness centre or spa hotel. It is the first step you cannot miss when you build up your spa and wellness industry career. The position requires a complete understanding of spa services offered in the facility and excellent communication skills. Direct contact with customers gives a good lesson and helps understand the industry functioning in daily business. Sometimes our students work as help to spa managers, which means getting involved in spa operations and marketing and product development. That can be challenging but will be rewarding afterwards. The knowledge you gain is worth working hard on. In any case, the responsibilities of each student will be discussed, tasks described and agreed upon with both parties and contracts signed before the start of the internship period. Every student will have a supervisor, the primary support and contact in the enterprise during the internship.
Students have to record their activities and write a report at the end of the internship period. The written report must be submitted and defended at the college during the following semester. It is necessary to reflect on your work experience and share it with your fellow students, get feedback and discuss the details with our specialist when you come back. The internship can be seen as one of the most important milestones for your future career as a spa manager.
Our partners for internship:
Vila Vita Parc Hotel (Portugal), Six Senses Spa (Barcelona, Spain, and also other destinations in Europe and outside Europe), Carisma Spa (Malta), A-Spa (Kirini Spa Hotel in Greece), Artemis Hamam and Spa (Greece), Mandarin Oriental Bodrum (Turkey), Hotel Relais & Chateaux Il Falconiere (Italy), Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic), Iberotel Boltenhagen (Germany), Hotel Jurmala Spa (Latvia) and The Yeatman Luxury Spa Wine Hotel (Portugal).
The following version of the programme courses applies to the current academic year. To view the most updated version, please visit the University of Tartu Study Information System and choose the next academic year (if available).
Internationally respected professors and lecturers from the USA, Hungary, France, UK, Finland and Estonia teach the programme. You can find a list of lecturers below.
Tom Baum, PhD
Visiting Professor, University of Strathclyde (Scotland)
Course: Human Resource Management for Wellness and Hospitality
Laszlo Puczko, PhD
Visiting Professor, Budapest University (Hungary)
Course: Wellness Economy and Innovation
Heli Tooman, PhD
Associate Professor of Tourism and Hotel Management, University of Tartu Pärnu College
Courses: Wellness and Spa Service Quality Management, Wellness History and Philosophy
Melanie Smith, PhD
Visiting Associate Professor, University of Tartu Pärnu College
Courses: Wellness and Health Tourism, Principles of Sustainable Development
Isabelle Véronique Frochot, PhD
Visiting Associate Professor, University of Tartu Pärnu College
Course: Research Methodology
Margus Kõomägi, MA
Lecturer of Business Finance, University of Tartu Pärnu College
Course: Strategic and Financial Management
Monika Übner, PhD
Senior Research Fellow, University of Tartu Pärnu College
Course: Spa Service Development
Ruth-Helene Melioranski, PhD student
Visiting Lecturer, Tallinn University of Technology
Course: Service Design
Anne Roosipõld, PhD
Associate Professor of Tourism Services, University of Tartu Pärnu College
Course: Spa Nutrition and Food Management
Liis Juust, MSc
Lecturer, University of Tartu Pärnu College
Course: Tourism Marketing
Mike Franz Wahl, PhD
Visiting Professor, Tallinn University of Technology
Course: Strategic Management
Jari Luomakoski, MSc
Visiting Lecturer, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences
Courses: Process and Projects Management in Wellness Service Design
Inna Bentsalo, MA
Coordinator of student’s Practical Training, ERASMUS Programme Coordinator, University of Tartu Pärnu College
The studies take place in Pärnu, the Summer Capital of Estonia.
Studying is not only about lectures and sitting in the classroom! It is essential to take advantage of the social aspects and friendships that studying at university offers. Pärnu College offers several opportunities to consider. Some examples of active student life at Pärnu College:
International students of Pärnu College live in a cosy hostel Vesiroos close to the college – only 5-10 minutes walking. Our students form a small friendly community there. At the same time, many students rent a shared apartment for 2-4 people. It offers more privacy but lacks maybe the feel for real student life. Finding a nice place near the centre of the town is not difficult. It would be best to remember that Pärnu is a holiday resort and in summer the prices are much higher. The renting period is very common to stop in May and start again in September. When you are not planning to leave Pärnu for a summer holiday, the accommodation cost will be much higher for a couple of months.
Pärnu is a peaceful resort town with around 50 000 inhabitants. The quiet town is waking up from long winter sleep in April when the days are already warm and sunny. The whole town is then preparing for the new season. Pärnu is considered the summer capital of Estonia – with sandy beaches, numerous recreational facilities, quiet green parks, medical and wellness spas, hotels and restaurants – and tourists. The city is full of life in summer! Art exhibitions, concerts, fairs and performances are held in the town; there is a lot to see and experience. Thanks to its cosy atmosphere, Pärnu is a safe place to study, live, work, rest and play. Walking around late at night or hanging out in pubs is a pure pleasure – there is no need to worry about your safety.
Estonia is a member of the European Union, and the currency here is Euro. Life, in general, is not so expensive but it depends on every person and their choices. Just some examples for you:
A monthly bus ticket for a student ≈ 6.40 EUR
A bus ticket to Tallinn for students ≈ 7 EUR
A litre of milk ≈ 0.6 EUR
A litre of gasoline ≈ 1,5 EUR
Cheap lunch in a pub ≈ 5 EUR
A kg of rice ≈ 1 EUR
A bottle of Estonian beer ≈ 0.90 EUR
Night club ticket ≈ 5-10 EUR
bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification (must be obtained by the end of July) – please see country-specific document requirements here.
English language proficiency – acceptable tests and exempt categories are specified here.
the score of the motivation letter (yields 50% of the final score)
the admission interview (yields 50% of the final score)
The motivation letter must be submitted with your application package. Please write a brief motivation letter (in English, maximum of 4600 characters with spaces) based on the following points:
Only the candidates who receive at least 51 points from the motivation letter, will be invited to the online interview (conducted via Zoom).
During the interview, following aspects are assessed: 1) motivation to study on Master level and to complete the programme successfully on time; 2) motivation, interest and readiness to work in chosen field; 3) communication skills.
NB! Interview dates in 2022: April 11, April 21, April 22, April 25. The exact interview date and time for each qualifying applicant will be specified in early April when the motivation letters have been evaluated.
For both assignments the maximum score is 100 points and the minimum positive score 51 points. Only candidates who receive at least 51 points from the motivation letter will be invited to the online interview. After the interview, the final admission score is calculated. The application will be considered for admission if a total score of 66 points or higher is achieved. For further information on assessing candidates´ academic performance and calculating admissions´ score see here.
The following information applies to international students and Estonian students who graduated abroad:
Application system opens on 2 January and closes on 15 March. The following documents must be submitted electronically via DreamApply by 15 March:
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.
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 May 15 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)
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! Please note that this programme is taught in our campus in Pärnu (~173 km from Tartu).
Based upon common queries, the most important information has been summarised into a pre-arrival information website UT Getting Started.