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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Second-cycle programmes


7.Higher education

7.3Second-cycle programmes

Last update: 27 November 2023

Branches of Study

Master’s study is the second level (cycle) study of higher education, in the course of which a student deepens his or her specialised knowledge and skills and acquires knowledge and skills necessary for employment, independent work and Doctoral study. The standard period of Master's study is one to two years and the study volume is 60–120 ECTS credits. While the period of Master’s curricula may vary, as a rule, it takes two years to acquire a Master’s degree. One-year Master’s programmes are provided under certain preconditions (such as having work experience or holding a previous qualification of the same level in another field) and considering that some of the learning outcomes have already been achieved by the student. The integrated curricula of Bachelor’s study and Master’s study can also be seen as an exception. The learning outcomes of the Master’s study level correspond to the learning outcomes defined on the seventh level of the Estonian and European qualification framework.

Admission Requirements

The access requirement to Master's study is a Bachelor's degree or a corresponding qualification.


Information on curricula is provided on the page on Bachelor's study.

Teaching Methods

Information on teaching methods is provided on the page on Bachelor's study.

Progression of Students

Information on progression of students is provided on the page on Bachelor's study.


Most higher education institutions involve representatives of employers’ unions and vocational unions in the curriculum development process and final thesis defence committees. The role of higher education institutions in mediation of practical study places is increasingly acknowledged. Students are encouraged to choose issues related to actual problems of enterprises as themes of their course papers and final theses. Surveys on graduates provide institutions of higher education with valuable information in order to monitor the success of engagement of their graduates on the labour market but also to get feedback on the organisation and quality of study. In recent years, entrepreneurial study in non-economic specialisations has become increasingly important in order to ensure that students have wider competences for coping in professional life. An entrepreneurship programme has been called upon with an objective to implement a concept of learning that promotes entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial studies systematically at all levels and types of education, and to create a required methodology and learning materials to provide all learners with an opportunity to complete entrepreneurial studies.The programme for fostering entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial studies promotes entrepreneurship studies both in general, vocational and higher education.

More information on employability is provided on the page on Bachelor's study.

Student Assessment

Information on assessment is provided on the page on Bachelor's study.


Master’s study ends with the taking of a final examination or the defence of a thesis. A person who has completed Master’s study is issued free of charge a Diploma Supplement in English by the educational institution. The issued document certifying education includes the contents of the curriculum and the results of its completion (including form of study, conditions for completing the curriculum, names of subjects and their volumes in credit points, as well as grading systems (grade/assessment)), results of the quality assessment of the curriculum and level of the qualifications framework etc. A diploma supplement issued in Estonia follows the instructions of the European Commission, the Council of Europe and UNESCO/CEPES.

A person who has completed Master’s study may, under the conditions established by the Minister of Education and Research, be awarded a diploma cum laude. A diploma cum laude may be awarded to a graduate who has completed a study programme in full, defended their diploma paper or taken the final examination achieving a grade “A” and whose weighted average grade is 4.6 or higher, whereas all grades included in the diploma supplement shall be taken into consideration.

Legislative References

Higher Education Act

Standard of higher education

Correspondence of qualifications issued in Republic of Estonia and qualifications issued in former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics prior to 20 August 1991