In Latvia, tertiary education programmes are provided by:
- university type institutions of augstskola,
- non-university type institutions of augstskola,
- koledža (college).
The Law on Higher Education Institutions makes distinction between university-type and non-university-type institutions. While non-university-type institutions run professional programmes, universities often offer both academic and professional programmes. The law defines four determinant criteria for a university status:
- implementation of bachelor, master and doctor study programmes; assertion of doctoral thesis occurs annually,
- at least half of persons elected in academic posts hold a doctor’s degree,
- institution issues scientific publications and
- establishes scientific institutions or units in the main scientific disciplines corresponding to the implemented study programmes.
Koledža may function under higher educational institution and also as an independent institution. Colleges provide first-level higher professional education considered as the first phase of the second-level professional higher education programmes offered by a higher education institution.
There are public and private (i.e. established by legal persons as defined by the legislation) higher education institutions.