Andres Tennus

Estonia's National University 102

1 December 2021 marked 102 years from the opening of the Estonian-language University of Tartu. Although the traditional events of the anniversary of Estonia's national university were cancelled due to the spread of coronavirus, Rector of the University of Tartu Toomas Asser announced the recipient of the award "Contribution to Estonian National Identity", 102 birthday candles were lit in front of the university's main building, and the Arch Bridge in Tartu turned blue in the honour of the university.

The award “Contribution to Estonian National Identity”

On 1 December, Rector of the University of Tartu Professor Toomas Asser announced the laureate of the Contribution to Estonian National Identity award, composer Erkki-Sven Tüür.

“It is a great honour for the university to hand over the Contribution to Estonian National Identity award to composer Erkki-Sven Tüür, whose influential work touches the hearts of Estonian audiences and has gained wide resonance among the music public of the world. Erkki-Sven Tüür has made Estonia larger than its geographical borders, connecting the Estonian culture with modern world culture,” said Rector of the University of Tartu Toomas Asser when presenting the award. He added that the impact and the idea of Tüür’s activities are well aligned with the function of the national university – to be a link between their home country and the outside world as an Estonian-language international university.

Honorary doctorates

At its session of 29 May 2021, the University of Tartu Senate appointed four honorary doctorates:

  • Professor of the University of Turku Marja-Liisa Helasvuo was granted an honorary doctorate in linguistics for her outstanding contribution to the development of linguistic thought and her long-term cooperation with researchers of the University of Tartu;
  • Professor of the University of Konstanz Astrid Stadler was granted an honorary doctorate in law for her outstanding achievements in law and years of successful cooperation with the University of Tartu School of Law in forming the new generation of legal scholars;
  • Research Director of the University of Helsinki and Director of its Laboratory of Molecular Neuroscience, Academician, Professor Mart Saarma was granted an honorary doctorate in neuroscience for his outstanding achievements in research and long-term supportive and fruitful collaboration with researchers of the University of Tartu;
  • Joint Director of EMBL's European Bioinformatics Institute John Frederick William Birney was granted an honorary doctorate in bioinformatics for his excellent research work, international cooperation, role as an advocate of open science, and long-term research cooperation with Estonia, incl. support to University of Tartu researchers.


Doctoral conferment

From 2 December 2020 to 22 November 2021, 106 doctoral theses were defended at the university. The conferment ceremony will take place in May 2022. See the list of people who defended their doctoral degree during the past year.

Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Faculty of Social Sciences

Faculty of Medicine

Faculty of Science and Technology


Telefoniga helistamine

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quality label “Respecting differences”

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Ülikooli peahoone

Nominations invited for Contribution to Estonian National Identity award