External students

One can study at the University of Tartu as a student or an external student.

External students are not matriculated, i.e., they are not students but are allowed to fulfil the curriculum. During one academic year, they can complete courses in the volume of up to 30 ECTS (excluding credit points received for research and internship) and/or defend the doctoral thesis.

We welcome as external students those who have interrupted their doctoral studies as well as those who start from the beginning.

External studies are suitable for those who aim at acquiring a doctoral degree and receiving a diploma but want to work at their own pace.

Documents to be submitted

To receive the status of an external student, the following documents must be submitted to the institute or dean’s office:

  • External student’s application which also bears the signature of the supervisor(s).
  • Doctoral student’s individual study plan. The individual plan has to be compiled for not more than one academic year. By way of exception, the status of the external student can be applied for one semester (e.g., for the purpose of defence). Then the individual plan has to be submitted for this semester for which the status of the external student is applied. The individual plan is signed by the external student and his/her supervisor(s).
  • Document certifying the level of earlier education.
    • If the studies of the earlier level of education have not been completed at the University of Tartu, the document certifying the earlier level of education must be submitted. It can be downloaded from the education portal which includes data on graduates since 2004. If the data on education are not included there, a copy of the original document must be submitted.

To receive the status of an external student, a new application and an individual study plan for the new academic year must be submitted each academic year.

Tuition fee

External students have to pay a tuition fee. The dean’s office concludes a contract with the external student for covering the tuition expenses, and the external student pays the tuition fee as a semester fee. In the 2020/2021 academic year, the semester fee of doctoral studies is 50 euros, from the 2021/2022 academic year, 100 euros.

The Vice Dean for Academic Affairs can exempt the external student from paying the tuition fee if the external student only has to defend the doctoral thesis. For this, the external student has to submit an application in a free form together with the application for receiving the status of an external student.

Progress review

The progress of external students fulfilling the curriculum of doctoral studies is reviewed when two learned semesters have passed. Only the completion of the individual study plan for the current academic year is assessed at the progress review. The external student gets a positive assessment if s/he has fulfilled at least 50% of the individual plan.

More information here.

External student's possibilities

  • Receive doctoral allowance
  • Receive doctoral students’ additional performance stipend
  • Receive doctoral students’ mobility allowance
  • Receive Dora Plus mobility allowance
  • Receive study loan
  • Receive health insurance
  • Receive needs-based subsistence benefit, etc.