ISEP programme

ISEP (International Student Exchange Programs) is a worldwide network of universities and colleges organising student exchanges. ISEP unites more than 320 universities all over the world; about half of them are in the US. The University of Tartu is the only institution of higher education in Estonia affiliated with ISEP.

Target group
- Bachelor's and Master's students, wherein Bachelor's students have a wider range of options;
- Students of all specialties and faculties can apply, although medical students' chances are quite limited (as many universities do not admit exchange students to medical studies programmes).

As an ISEP student, you can study at a foreign university for one or two semesters at a time (but you can always apply again).


 ISEP (International Student Exchange Programs) is a worldwide network of universities and colleges organising student exchanges. ISEP unites more than 320 universities all over the world; about half of them are in the US. The University of Tartu is the only institution of higher education in Estonia affiliated with ISEP.

Not all ISEP members outside USA (international universities) take part in ISEP-exchange programme. You can check the list of participating universities from ISEP webpage. Please note! It is possible to apply only to these universities that participate in ISEP-Exchange.

Scholarship: free tuition at host university, free accommodation in the dormitory and free meals or meal stipend.

Required application documents (in English):

  • Statement of purpose (letter of motivation);
  • Letter of recommendation from a supervisor or professor at UT (in English);
  • Transcript of records (original, in English);
  • Proof of language skills: see the requirements of host universities;
  • List of preferred universities (up to 10, minimum 3).

NB! Proof of language skills can´t be older than 2 years!

Expenses: Costs for travelling, visa and health insurance must be covered by the student. It is compulsory to buy ISEP health insurance (in most countries). The fee is approximately 100 USD per month and students need to buy the insurance for the full study abroad period (after the placement has been confirmed). Insurance is not required in EU countries and in some countries where local insurance is required.

Application fee: $525 - only for students who have been selected by UT grant committee for the programme. Must be paid directly to ISEP in two parts:

  1. When submitting ISEP online application: 100 USD (non-refundable application fee)
  2. To confirm the placement after ISEP has placed student to one of the requested universities: 425 USD (non-refundable placement fee)


Main competition takes place every year in December-January and students need to apply through the UT Study Abroad Centre. It is possible to apply for next academic year (for autumn and/or spring semester). If not all student places are filled during the main competition, an additional competition may be announced in May-June for the spring semester of the next academic year.

During the main competition in January, students can apply for 1-2 semesters. Students need to submit a list of up to 10 preferred universities and ISEP will place students who have been nominated by the UT grant committee to one of the preferred universities.

Choosing the host universities

  1. Check which universities accept applications for the next academic year and what are the chances of getting a placement in these universities. Universities open for applications are listed on ISEP webpage.
  2. You need to find suitable universities by yourself - check the application requirements and restrictions and the language requirements of potential host universities. Keep in mind that you cannot choose universities whose application requirements you don't meet.
  3. Make a list of up to 10 preferred universities. If possible, ISEP will try to place student to top 4 universities (but this cannot be guaranteed). Make sure you follow ISEP instructions on how to choose universities.

Language of instruction and language certificates

  1. Check the language of instruction of potential host universities and also the requirements for language certificates. Several universities (especially outside Europe) require international language test (i.e. TOEFL or IELTS). If international test is not required, students need to submit some other official languange test result or ISEP Language Proficiency Report (LPR).
  2. Please note! If international language test is required, you should take the test as early as possible (preferrably couple of months before the application deadline). Otherwise your test results might not arrive on time. When registering for TOEFL test, you need to order the results to be sent to ISEP and to the University of Tartu.

Application process

  1. First you need to participate in UT competition and submit your application through SoleMove system. The primary decision on selecting students is made by the University of Tartu grant committee.
  2. Students whose applications are approved by UT, need to submit their application to ISEP through ISEP online application system and pay the application fee 100 USD (directly to ISEP).
  3. ISEP will place students to suitable host universities during couple of months after the deadline. After getting the placement, 425 USD needs to be paid to accept the study place. The host university will make the final decision on admitting the students. This process usually takes about 2-3 months.



 ISEP-Direct provides the opportunity to enrol directly in a host institution abroad on a fee paying basis. Students need to pay the semester fee of the host university, the fee includes the tuition and accommodation and quite often also the cost of meals. Detailed information about participating universities and semester fees can be found from ISEP webpage.

Application fee: students need to pay upon application the deposit (directly to ISEP). The deposit money will be later deducted from the host university's programme fee.

Application process: students can apply to those ISEP universities that participate in the Direct programme. Applying for the programme is done through the UT Study Abroad Centre. There is no fixed application deadline - check the deadline of potential host university from ISEP webpage.

More information about the programme and fees can be found at  ISEP webpage or ask from ISEP coordinator at UT Study Abroad Centre.

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