Picture from Open day at Riga Stradins University on 12.5.2023

Picture from Open Day at Riga Stradins University on 12.5.2023

As the official agent for Riga Stradins University, I will gladly offer you services in the following areas:
1. checking eligibility and estimating admission chances
2. checking two reference letters
3. checking the motivational letter provided along with application papers
4. paperwork assistance
and others!

Contact me for more information by sending an email to medhead@medhead.eu

If you are from Finland, check also our Finnish website about studying medicine abroad.

You can also read an interview with Anika, a 5th-year student of Riga Stradins University from Finland with useful first-hand experience.

Riga Stradinš University (RSU) is located in Riga, the capital of Latvia. Latvia (population 1,9 million people) is a member country of the European Union, NATO, and other international organizations. Latvia is part of the Schengen zone and eurozone. It is prestigious university offering study programs of General medicine and Dental medicine in 2 intakes (September intake and February intake).

The faculty has a long history as it is running since 1919. The international programs of Medicine and Dentistry run since 2013, and programs of Nursing and Public health since 2018. There are students from 60 different countries currently studying at RSU – also in mixed study groups, which means that international students study together with Latvian students since 2014. There are basic subjects in the 1st and 2nd year, preclinical subjects in the 3rd year, and clinical subjects in the 4th to 6th year. The credit system at University is different from the ECTS credit system, but credits and awarded degrees are recognized abroad. One Latvian credit equals to 1,5 ECTS credits approximately, which means that one complete study year has 40 credits (equals 60 ECTS). The top mark in Latvia is 10, and the lowest to pass the exam is 4 or 5 (marks 1,2, or 3 means failure at the credit test or exam).


Basic Facts about Riga Stradins University

The university in Riga has 1100 employees and 61 offered study programs. The university is public and recognized in the European Union and EEA. There is a 1:10 ratio of teachers per student. The University cooperates with tens of hospitals so the students can take internships: 5 are in Riga, 6 in other cities in Latvia, 9 in Germany, 1 in Italy (Bolzano), and 2 in Israel. Studies are in the English language, but during medical or dentistry studies, students learn also Latin and Latvian (for clinical classes and rotations). Study materials are provided by the RSU library.

Riga Stradins University medicine and dental program for international students

There are programs of General medicine and Dental medicine offered at RSU – Faculty of medicine. Students are organized in small groups with 8-14 students where practical classes are happening. This makes the relationship between teacher and student very close and students may get responses to their questions very fast.

RSU Institute of Anatomy and Anthropology (Anatomy Centre)

RSU Institute of Anatomy and Anthropology (Anatomy Centre)

The program of General medicine at RSU

The program of General medicine has 6 years and ends with a Doctor of Medicine degree. There are 360 seats in the September intake (application deadline for September intake is 1st of July for EU students) and 240 seats in the February intake (numbers from 2023/24 intake) – application deadline for the February intake is the 1st of December for EU students. The total load of 360 ECTS credits needs to be achieved by students in order to be awarded a degree.

Students take theoretical classes in 1st and 2nd year (anatomy, physiology, biochemistry,…), preclinical classes in 3rd year, clinical subjects in 4th and 5th year, and practical classes in 6th (including 6 weeks of rotations at departments for internal diseases, surgery, and one elective course).

All study groups have max. 14 people in them, which means that students are in close touch with their professors. Tuition fees are 12.000€ per academic year (2 semesters). School is offering also tuition fees discounts – for academic excellence (25% of semester fee for the TOP 30 students in the 3rd to 6th year), 10% social discount (5 students with a hard personal situation), and 5% discount for family members. Discounts are possible only for students who are not retaking a semester or subject during their studies. There are 2 intakes for the General medicine program. The program is offered by the Faculty of Medicine of Riga Stradins University.

The program of Dental medicine at RSU

The program of Dental medicine takes 5 years to complete and ends with a degree of Doctor of Dental Medicine. There are 60 seats in the September intake (application deadline 1st of July) and 28 seats in the February intake (application deadline 1st of December). Tuition fees are 14.000€ for 1st and 2nd year and 15.000€ for 3rd, 4th, and 5th year.

There is a load of 300 ECTS credits – theoretical classes are taught in 1st year, preclinical subjects in 2nd year, and clinical subjects in 3rd, 4th and 5th year.

School is offering also tuition fees discounts – for academic excellence (25% of semester fee for the TOP 30 students in 3rd to 6th year), 10% social discount (5 students with a hard personal situation), and 5% discount for family members. The first 20 students from lower to middle-income countries also do not need to pay the application fee. There are 2 intakes for the Dental medicine program. The program is offered by the Insitute of Dentistry of Riga Stradins University. Students spend a lot of time at RSU Dentistry preclinical learning center.

Preclinical dentistry class at RSU

Preclinical dentistry class at RSU

There is a registration fee of 1500€ paid at the beginning of studies of General medicine or Dentistry at RSU. 

International medical students at Riga Stradins University

There are international students studying in Riga from all over the world. Students come from 75 countries and the TOP 6 countries from where

Classroom at RSU - medical faculty

Classroom at RSU – medical faculty

International students come from are Germany (35,2%), Sweden (21%), Finland (12%), Norway, Portugal and Italy. There are a total of 9934 students at RSU, while international students form 25% of this figure – a total of 2674 international students studied at RSU in 2020. The majority of international students come from the EU (86,4%). There were 1367 graduates total in 2020.

How to apply to Riga Stradins University as an international student?

Unlike other universities in central Europe, RSU is not performing a written entrance exam. Students need to submit a given list of documents for admission and the faculty will decide on the admission list. The most important requirements are the following: completed secondary school (diploma and transcript of grades), good or excellent final grades in English, Biology or Chemistry, Mathematics ( these subjects obligatorily with min. mark of 70% and more), and physics.

If students cannot submit any confirmation of English language skills, it is also possible to submit an English certificate, such as IELTS, CAE, or FCE. There is also a requirement for students from the EU to have at least 2 semesters during the last 2 years of secondary school (high school) in order to have their English mark recognized. Otherwise, they need to provide an English certificate or take the RSU English test. RSU English test is free of charge and consists of written and oral parts. It takes 2 days and the result is then applied in the decision of admission committee. Students from non-EU country must present English certificate obligatory and also have an English interview with the faculty.

What are the documents to be submitted for an admission process?

  1. online application from the RSU website – it is necessary to print it out and submit it by post as well
  2. high school academic documents (Diploma and transcript of records) – hard copies to be submitted by post
  3. 2 letters of recommendation
  4. letter of motivation
  5. proof of language proficiency – mandatory for non-EU students (apart from those who studied in a country where English is official language, such as the UK, the US, Australia etc).
  6. 2 copies of the passport
  7. application of application fee payment – 100€
  8. optional certificates or diplomas confirming suitability to study medicine or dentistry

All documents need to be submitted in English or Latvian language. If documents are not in these languages, they need to be translated by a sworn translator to English / Latvian.

If an applicant is coming from outside of the EU/EEA, it is necessary to submit also following documents: Chest x-ray radiograph and radiologist’s report, police clearance certificate and Proof of financial means sufficient to cover tuition and cost of living.

Open university as a way of improving your admission chances to RSU

Open University is a project designed for applicants who do not meet necessary requirements in Biology / Chemistry / Mathematics. Applicants can study these subjects at RSU along with enrolled students and their final mark will then help them to get admitted. It takes one semester and it is paid study.

Admission Rules for Finnish Students

If students from Finland would like to apply, there are the following rules:
1. English, Mathematics, Biology, and/or Chemistry – these subjects are mandatory
2. Physics is optional
3. Minimum grade is Magna cum laude approbatur (5) from your Ylioppilastutkintotodistus and RSU accepts also grades of secondary school leaving certificate (Lukion, grading scale: 0-10) if the applicant has acquired at least 5 courses within the respective subject and has the minimum grade of 7.
4. RSU does not accept students with a failed grade in any subject (below 4)
5. If english mark is below 7, it is needed to submit an additional certificate or take English test

If you are from Norway and wish to apply, RSU requests for applicants to have Biology 1 and/or Chemistry 2 as well as math and English. Both final grade and exam grade taken into account. Grading system is 1-6 and RSU requests a minimum mark of 4.

If you are from Israel, you need to have at least mark 70 (in grading 0-100) in Bagrut.

Procedure in case you wish to apply for both General medicine and Dental medicine

In regard to  your questions

  1. Applicants can submit one application and have the second program as his/hers second priority.
  2. The applicant does not need to have two sets of motivation and recommendation letters.
  3. The application fee also has to be paid once.

Admission Statistics to Riga Stradins University

As Riga Stradins University has 2 intakes (September and February intake), there are plenty of admitted students as well. There were 1169 applicants in 2022 and 617 of them got accepted (52,7% success rate), for the program of Dental medicine number are 200 applicants out of which 91 students were selected (45,5% success rate). You can find the numbers of applicants and admitted students below since 2015

Accommodation for international students at RSU

There are 2 dormitories where international students may get their accommodation during studies at Riga Stradins University – RSU Student Hostel Dzirciems and RSU Student Hostel Āgenskalns. Facilities are modern, as last dormitory was opened just in 2019. They are getting filled fast, so we suggest booking them right after the positive decision of the admission committee.
Student dormitory Dzirciems is located right next to the University and contains not only comfortable accommodation but also study facilities and on-site laundry facilities. There are 3 types of rooms: type A with place for one to two students (240-360€ per month), type B for two to three students (225€ to 370€ per person), and type C which is flat for 5 people. All facilities are modern and up to higher standards.

Canteen for students of Riga Stradins Unviersity

Canteen for students of Riga Stradins Unviersity

Student dormitory Āgenskalns is located only 10 minutes from the campus and has lockable bicycle storage, an on-site laundry facility, and even a place for free-time activities. All rooms were reconstructed and are budget options for students – although the comfort is the same as at Dzirciems. The price of accommodation ranges 120-250€ per room (depending on whether it is a shared room or a single room).

Another alternative is renting flat via numerous Facebook groups for international students. Be careful sending advance money to someone you found on the internet. There were numerous cases, when students got scammed and had to find new accommodation.

Practical aspects of living in Riga

Public transport in Riga, the capital of Latvia is very modern and runs daily from 05:00 to midnight. Students have 70% for public transport – they will get personalized e-Ticket which is needed to be activated and then use for 24-hours, 5 days, monthly tickets, etc.
Taxis are also an alternative, where online applications like Taxify, Bolt, or Uber may be a considerably cheaper option.

Riga Stradins University is also an operating medical center where students may go for medical checkups in case of medical problems. RSU Health Center is located directly at University Campus – Block E and is open every working day. For dental problems, students may use the services of Institute of dentistry or ARS Dental clinic. It is always necessary to visit a medical center to get a sick note otherwise the attendance at the classes on the given day will be not given. It is also recommended to buy medical insurance for a long-term stay abroad (EU Medical Card is valid in Latvia, as it’s part of the European Union, on another hand, it is valid only for urgent cases). There are 4 main insurance companies that are providing long-term insurance for international students: Balta, BAN, BTA, and Seesam. Thanks to insurance, students do not need to pay anything in case of preventive medical checkups at the doctor.

Budget of living in Riga

The recommended budget for international students while staying at RSU is 555€. Here you can check the breakdown: rent will vary from 200-400€ (the cheapest accommodation is at RSU dorms), food will range between 150-300€, monthly public transport ticket is 15€, utilities will be around 40-100€ and various other expenses will be around 100-200€.

Deadlines for application for medical programs at RSU

Students from EU/EEA countries have deadlines for September intake by the 1st of July (all documents need to be submitted by this date) and the 1st of December for February intake. Students from outside of the EU/EEA, need to submit documents by the 1st of May for September intake and by the 15th of October for February admission.

Transfers to Riga Stradinš University – Faculty of Medicine or Dentistry

Update 2023: there have been changes to the transfer policy. Currently, students from any EU or non-EU can apply. Only students with active study status or student status within the last 5 years are eligible.
Transfer applicants are required to submit all documents needed for admission (including academic documents with legalisation / superlegalisation) and then documents needed for recognition (transcript of records, syllabuses). University can recognize ECTS subjects but only those that have been graded (before only marks with over 70% could have been recognized). In other words, subjects with passed/failed status cannot be recognized. There are 2 committees that will decide whether student is eligible – the admission committee and the transfer committee. The final decision will be issued only once both committees have decision and when all documents are properly submitted and application fee paid. It is also important that the syllabuses and curricula of universities are similar or same.

Students who transferred from another university and miss some subject from previous semester, need to enroll pending subject and pass it as well. There is special fee for extra subjects.


What are the next steps?

Are you interested to study at Riga Stradins University and start your preparation of documents for the admission process? Feel free to contact me by sending an email to medhead@medhead.eu or give me a call at +421/910173958