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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Higher education


7.Higher education

Last update: 27 November 2023

The Law on Higher Education and Research states that the mission of higher education and research is to help ensure the country's public, cultural and economic prosperity, provide support and impetus for the full life of every citizen of Lithuania, and satisfy the natural thirst for knowledge.

The studies provided by Lithuanian higher education institutions are conducted on the basis of study programmes conferring degree and non-degree study programmes. There are two types of study programmes: university and college study programmes. Studies can be of continual or extended forms. On completion of either form of studies, graduates obtain the corresponding education.

Since 1 January 2019, higher education studies have been broken down into four cycles:

  1. short cycle - the acquisition of a Lithuania qualification framework Level 5 qualification;
  2. the first cycle - Professional Bachelor and Bachelor level;
  3. the second cycle - Master's level;
  4. the third cycle - Doctoral level.

Colleges together with VET schools can provide short-cycle studies. The first cycle Professional Bachelor study programmes may be delivered by colleges, whereas the first cycle Bachelor programmes are offered by universities. Study programmes conferring a second cycle degree may be conducted by universities. Doctoral studies may be delivered at universities or universities in conjunction with research institutes.

University degree conferring study programmes can be integrated, combining the first and second cycles of studies.

Study programmes aimed at retraining that do not award a degree, may be offered by universities and colleges in the manner prescribed by legal acts.

According to the Lithuanian Classification of Education, short-cycle studies belong to level 5. Bachelor studies (both university and non-university) belong to level 6, Master’s studies to level 7, and Doctoral studies to level 8 (according to ISCED 2011).

The activities of the Lithuanian higher education system are regulated by the Law on Higher Education and Research (consolidated version of 01-03-2022).

A higher education institution may not organize studies in a field in which it has not been accredited. If there are students studying in such a field of studies, the Minister of Education, Science and Sports determines their further study opportunities. The studies of State higher education institutions must be assessed and accredited according to the needs of the State's economic, social and cultural development and the perspective of future development. The description of the procedure for external evaluation and accreditation of studies, the fields of assessment and indicators are approved by the Minister of Education, Science and Sports.