Lithuania Education System – All You Need to Know

With the fast increasing interests of the overseas students in pursuing education in Lithuania the need for making available the relevant information has become rather important. Here below is given all information/data one may require on the issue.

Kinds of higher education institutions: Academy, College, Research Institute, Seminary & University

Qualifications: BA (Maturity Certificate), B (Bachelor), M (Master), Dr. (Doctor), PK (Higher education diploma awarded together with a professional qualification), Diplomas (Diploma).

Education System Structure
Pre-higher education:
Duration of compulsory education:
Age of entry: 6
Age of exit: 16

School System Structure

Kind of school providing this education: Primary School
Time period of program (in years): 4
Age level between: 6/7 and 10/11

Basic First Stage
Kind of school offering this education: Basic School
Time period of program (in years): 6
Age level between 10/11 and 16/17
Certificate/diploma Offered: Pagrindinės mokyklos baigimo pažymėjimas

Senior Secondary
Kind of school offering this education: Secondary school, Gymnasium
Time period of program in years: 4
Age level between 14/15 and 18/19
Certificate/diploma offered: Maturity Certificate

Kind of school giving this education: Vocational School (2 to 4 years)
Time period of program in years: 3
Age level between 14 and 17

Secondary Education
General secondary education is pocketed at triple level, twelve (12) year general education schools. One or more levels, namely, primary: forms 1-4 (age between 6/7 and 10/11); lower secondary: forms 5-10 (age between 10/11 and 16/17); and secondary: forms 11-12 (age between 16/17 and 18/19); can form a sovereign establishment.

The nation’s Ministry of Education and Science regulates the time period of the academic year. Other kinds of general education schools include gymnasiums and international baccalaureate schools. Gymnasiums offer a detailed, focused general education and set higher requirements for students. They usually have forms 1-4 consisting of students in their 9-12 school years. Lithuanian gymnasiums focus on the humanities (classical and/or contemporary languages and social sciences), practical arts (natural sciences, technology & economics) and fine arts (art & music).

Gymnasiums with humanitarian and practical specialities have a four-year curriculum giving admission to those who have done the 8 grades at a general education school. Fine arts gymnasiums have a curriculum of 6 to 9 years. Graduates of secondary education — post clearing the maturity examinations — are given the Maturity Certificate, even as it offers access to higher education. Those who successfully complete secondary education — but who don’t sit for the Maturity examinations — are offered a Secondary School Graduation Certificate.

A general secondary education may be also pocketed at the right vocational schools. Adults can pocket a general education at adult general education schools (training centres) and adult departments (classes) at general education schools.

Students undergoing treatment at sanatoriums may get a general education at the sanatorium’s own general education school. Special schools cater to children having special requirements. Child welfare establishments for educating learning – impaired children are covered under such schools.

Youth schools offer initial work skills and a general education for those who face issues adapting to society or not wanting to study at other schools.

Higher Education

It is offered by 35 higher education institutions (HEI), 15 state university level institutions, and 7 state non-university HEI, also as 4 non-state university level HEI, and 9 non-state non-university level HEI.

A higher education is pocketed, post completing undergraduate studies, which continues for four to five years in the HEI. A Professional qualification may be acquired — together with a degree (at university level) or separate (non-university level). After completing a Bachelor’s programme, a specialised professional or Master’s programme continuing for anywhere between 18 and 24 months may be undertaken.

Doctoral studies in the country continue for three-four years, of which between 18 and 24 months are earmarked for making preparations for Doctoral exams. Students should prepare and publicly defend a doctoral dissertation to acquire a Doctoral degree. The nation offers the right for research and HEI to accept candidates and offer Doctoral degrees in a speciality. State research institutes (29) — with a view to integrate research and higher education — are organising joint Doctoral curricula with the centres of higher education.

Chief Laws /Decrees Governing Higher Education
Decree: Law on Higher Education
Concerns: All higher education institutions.
Languages of instruction: Lithuanian, English, German, French, Polish, Russian

Stages of Studies
Non-university level post-secondary studies (technical/vocational type):

Non-university Stage
There are 7 non-university level HEI offering higher education. The time period of studies form is between 3 and 4 years. For admission purposes, a maturity certificate or diploma of junior college should be acquired. Post completion of studies, a Higher Education Diploma is acquired.

University Level Studies

University Level 1st Stage: Basic Studies

It takes one to a Bachelor’s Degree, or a professional qualification, and usually continues for four or five years (160 credits, 1 credit being one week of student work, 40 hours workload every week). They cover general theory, speciality theory, and practical subject modules. This programme may eventually take one to a professional qualification (Diploma) — which is useful for the vocations of engineers, artists, and teachers.

University Level 2nd Stage: Specialized or Master’s studies

After the completion of a basic study programme, graduates may get involved with specialized professional studies or studies taking one to a Master’s Degree, which continues for anywhere between 18 and 24 months. Specialized professional study programmes take one to professional qualifications.

University Level 3rd Stage: Doctoral Studies

The Doctorate may usually be given after the candidate has pocketed a Master’s Degree, a professional qualification or a corresponding Certificate. It does not take more than four years — out of which 18 to 24 months are devoted for doctoral course purposes. Not less than 5 subjects are covered for these courses with final examinations even while for each of the subject over 45 hours are required. In the wake of the completion of the doctoral course, a doctoral thesis must be prepared and openly defended, so that the aspirant may become eligible for the Doctorate. Research institutions — together with higher education — should organize doctoral studies.

University Stage 4th Stage: Habilitation/Habilitacija:

The highest academic research qualification, the Habilituotas Daktaras, is given to those having a Doctorate who have published important scientific results in concerned Lithuanian or international journals besides in monograph or habilitation theses.

Teacher Education

Training of primary/basic schoolteachers
Such teachers are trained at Vilnius Pedagogical University, Klaipėda University, Šiauliai Pedagogical Institute, and pedagogical colleges. Studies continue for three or four years.

Secondary School Teachers Training

Secondary school teachers are trained at Vilnius University, Vilnius Pedagogical University, Šiauliai Pedagogical Institute, Vytautas Magnus University (in Kaunas) and Klaipėda University. Four-year course programmes are offered in some other tertiary institutions. Master’s degrees enable one to teach at gymnasiums and colleges. Admission is given on the ground of a Bachelor’s degree even as not less than 1 year of teaching experience.

Higher Education Teachers Training

While a Doctorate is needed for teaching in higher education institutions, a master’s degree is what one needs to kick-start a career as a lecturer.

Non-traditional Studies

Distance higher education

The postal services are productively employed for the object of sending specially prepared learning materials meant for various courses and programmes to the involved students.

Life-long Higher Education

The Ministry of Education and Science has licensed 90 institutions to provide non-formal studies with nearly 700 institutions being covered under the Register of the Ministry of Economy for adults and others. These include 63 state-owned firms, 288 joint-stock firms, 271 individual firms, and 46 foreign investment firms. Besides, special departments for adult training have been formed across the universities. Training and retraining — more so in the domains of pedagogy, psychology, special or additional education courses — are offered.

National Organizations

Administration & co-ordination:
Responsible authorities:

Department of Research and Higher Education, Ministry of Education and Science

Minister of Education and Science: Algirdas Monkevičius
Volano g. 2/7
LT-2600 Vilnius
Tel: +370 2 62-37-79 +370 2 22-22-51, Fax: +370 2 31-22-95, E-mail: [email protected]

Lithuanian Rectors’ Conference (Lietuvos rektorių konferencija)

President: Juozas Antanavičius
Secretary-General: Vytautas Sereika
Gedimino pr. 3
LT-2600 Vilnius
Tel: +370 2 61-26-91 +370 2 22-49-67, Fax: +370 2 22-69-82, E-Mail: [email protected]
Science Council of Lithuania
Gedimino pr. 3
LT-2600 Vilnius
Tel: +370 2 62-56-26
Fax: +370 2 61-85-35
E-Mail: [email protected]


Admission to non-university higher education studies
Name of secondary school credential required: Brandos Atestatas
For entry to: Non-university level studies.
Admission to university-level studies
Name of secondary school credential required: Brandos Atestatas
For entry to: All university programmes.
Numerus clausus/restrictions: There is a numerus clausus for students entering university level education.

Overseas Students Admission

Who is a foreign student? — An overseas student is someone who does not have permanent residency status of Lithuania, and who is enrolled with a local institution of higher education.
Admission Criteria: Students must hold the Maturity Certificate or an equivalent qualification and appear for an entrance examination.
Entry Rules: A study visa or residence permit, on the basis of the time period of studies, excluding certain nations, and financial guarantees are needed.
Health Criteria: A health certificate.
Language Criteria: It is vital for the students to possess a comprehensive knowledge of Lithuanian. However, those keen in programmes offered in English, German or Russian or individual studies are not covered by this requirement.

Application Process

Apply to individual institution for entry to: Universities, academies.
Apply to national body for entry to: Only when it involves inter-governmental bilateral exchanges and scholarship awards.
Recognition of studies & qualifications:
Studies pursued in foreign nations (organizations dealing with recognition of foreign qualifications):
Lithuanian Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education
Lithuanian ENIC/NARIC
Head: Birutė Mockienė
Suvalkų str. 1
LT-260 Vilnius
Tel: +370 2 23-25-52 +370 2 23-25-55, Fax: +370 2 23-25-53, E-Mail:  [email protected]
Services provided & students dealt with: Recognition of foreign diplomas, courses and period of studies. Information, consultation in the field of educational system of Lithuania. Information, consultation and recommendations on the recognition of foreign qualifications in higher education, evaluation and recognition of foreign qualifications and periods of study.

Special Provisions for Recognition

For the exercise of a profession: Capable organizations (ministries, agencies, associations) deal with professional recognition.
Multilateral deals involving recognition of foreign studies
Name of agreement: Council of Europe/UNESCO Convention on Recognition of Qualifications Concerning Higher Education in the European Region (Lisbon Recognition Convention)
Name of agreement: European Convention on the Equivalence of Diplomas leading to Admission to Universities
Name of agreement: UNESCO Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees Concerning Higher Education in the States Belonging To the Europe Region


Key student services as national level
Association for the exchange of students for technical experience (IAESTE)
Daiva Beisienė, K. Donelaičio 73
LT-3006 Kaunas, Lithuania
Tel: 370 7 20-23-06
Fax: 3707 20-26-40
National student associations and unions
Lithuanian National Union of Students
Universiteto g. 3
LT-2734 Vilnius
Tel: +370 2 61-44-14, Fax:+370 2 61-79-20, E-Mail: [email protected]
Special student travel fares:
By road: Yes
Available to foreign students: Yes

Student Expenses & Financial Assistance

Student expenses:
Standard living expenses: 2300 (US Dollar)
Home student tuition costs: Minimum: 0 (Lithuanian Litas)
Maximum: 12000 (Lithuanian Litas)
Overseas student tuition costs: Minimum: 1300 (US Dollar)
Maximum: 6000 (US Dollar)


Chief grading system employed by higher education institutions
Full Description: 1-10; 10: excellent; 9: very good; 8: good; 7: sufficient; 6: satisfactory; 5: weak; 4-1: bad
Pass/fail level: 5
Lowest on scale: 1

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