Lauri Kulpsoo

Admission and studies

Admission for English-taught master's programs for 2024/2025 academic year open on 2 January 2024 and the application deadline is 15 March 2025. Learn more and apply for our English-taught Master's program "Estonian and Finno-Ugric Languages" here. 

Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics provides higher education in Estonian, Finno-Ugric languages, general linguistics, and computational linguistics and conducts research on these fields. It's the place where you can study Estonian more thoroughly than anywhere else.

The Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics offers high-quality studies at all degree levels. We offer both Estonian-taught and English-taught programs.

In English, we offer a master's degree program:

In Estonian, we have bachelor's and master's degree programs:

It is also possible to enter doctoral studies, however, some courses on that level are delivered only in Estonian. Thus learning Estonian during studies is compulsory.

The institute also has contracts with many foreign universities. Our students can go studying in Finnish, Hungarian, and other universities and visiting lecturers teach at our institute.

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Why study Estonian and Finno-Ugric Languages in Tartu?
Tartu is the best place in the world to study Estonian — the University of Tartu has excellent language teaching and, what's even more important, the language is alive all around you! You can soak it in and never be at a loss for places to practice with native speakers. In addition, Tartu has long attracted students and scholars from other Finno-Ugric speaking areas. Languages like Finnish, Hungarian, and Komi are taught by experienced native speakers. Other Finno-Ugric languages have communities in Tartu where you can speak the language and experience the culture. Our students can also take advantage of our many Erasmus partnerships for study abroad, and an established network of Finno-Ugric institutes organise yearly winter schools.
What do students say?

"I first visited Tartu in 2018, when I attended IFUSCO (International Finno-Ugric Students’ Conference), organised by the Department of Estonian and General Linguistics. It was a life-changing experience, and after the conference, it was not even a question that I want to continue my studies at the University of Tartu. I like to live and study in Tartu because of the student-friendly environment, the cold Estonian winters, the excellent lectures and the various international opportunities that the University offers."

Orsolya Kiss, MA student of Estonian and Finno-Ugric Linguistics (taught in Estonian) from Hungary

"My time at the University of Tartu has broadened my horizons through world-class courses in Tartu, on the one hand, and on the other hand a wide range of opportunities to spend some time abroad during my studies. This combination has prepared me professionally and personally for working abroad. After completing my MA in Tartu, I was employed as a teacher of Estonian language and culture at the university level in Germany and China.

In addition, Tartu as a university town offers the perfect balance of internationalization, at the same time as being peripheral enough to preserve a clean environment and closeness to nature. It’s the perfect alma mater, and that’s why I’ve decided to return here for my PhD studies."

Agu Bleive, PhD student of Estonian and Finno-Ugric Linguistics from Estonia

Estonian and Finno-Ugric Languages (MA)

Our 2-year master's programme in Estonian and Finno-Ugric Languages (EFUL) is unique in combining in-depth language learning with comprehensive, English-based studies in linguistics. We offer specialisations in either Estonian or Finno-Ugric Languages. Whichever you choose, you will have access to shared modules on theoretical and methodological aspects of synchronic and diachronic linguistics, with an emphasis on active language learning, combining theory and practice. The programme also emphasises the development of digital skills and offers modules on computational linguistics and programming, in collaboration with the University of Tartu’s Centre for Digital Humanities and Information Society.

If you have an interest in Estonian or Finno-Ugric languages like Hungarian, Finnish or Komi, and you’re looking for a master's programme in Language and Linguistics, this is the programme for you! You can begin the studies right away without having to first develop your language skills.

Title: Estonian and Finno-Ugric Languages Language: English
Level of study: Masters Location: Tartu, Estonia
Degree awarded: Master of Arts in Humanities (Estonian languages; Finno-Ugric Languages)    Tuition: €4000 per year   
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities Scholarship: tuition waivers and scholarships available
Duration: 2 years Study places: 12
Credits: 120 ECTS    
Study form: Full-time regular studies    


For more information on how to apply, click here.

Schema of MA programme in English


  1. Estonian. In addition to a foundation in Linguistics, this specialisation includes in-depth studies in Estonian, allowing students to test for placement and begin studies at the appropriate language level. Students will also gain an overview of the structure of Estonian and Estonian history and culture.
  2. Finno-Ugric Languages. In addition to a foundation in Linguistics, this specialisation gives an overview of the history and comparison of Finno-Ugric languages and cultures. Students have the opportunity to learn three or more Finno-Ugric languages.

The programme courses are available on the University of Tartu Study Information System. You can select the "2022/23" version.

Intake 2023

The tuition fee for fee-paying students is 4,000 euros per year. Altogether 12 study places are available for the programme. On the basis of the admission results, the 6 best applicants (regardless of citizenship) will be given tuition waivers. Applicants do not have to apply for the tuition waiver separately, as all applicants will be considered automatically.

NB! Applicants who are not citizens of the member states of the EU, EEA, or Switzerland and do not hold a long-term residence permit in any of these countries are required to pay half of the semester fee after they have been informed of the admission decision (offer) via DreamApply and the University has received the hard copies of their application documents. The official admission letter (necessary for a visa application) will only be issued once the University of Tartu has received this payment. The second half of the semester fee is to be paid after the studies have started the semester, by 20 September.

Information about the rules and conditions for tuition-waiver scholarships as well as tuition fee payments is given here.

Other scholarships and stipends are also available exclusively for students in the EFUL programme. Specifically, merit-based scholarships are available from the Kadri, Nikolai and Gerda Rõuk Memorial Fund as well as from the Kindred Peoples’ Programme (the latter specifically for students on the Finno-Ugric language specialisation track), and are intended to cover tuition costs (4000€/year) and subsidise living costs (200€/mo. for 10 months). All applicants are automatically considered for the full tuition scholarships. A separate (but minimal) application is required for the living cost stipends; applicants will receive more information about this after submitting their EFUL application.

A highlight of the programme is language teaching by native speakers in Estonian, Hungarian, Finnish, and Komi. Other Finno-Ugric languages are also taught by fluent speakers with experience with the communities where the languages are still spoken.

The faculty on the programme brings diverse research profiles and comes from various language backgrounds, revealing the diversity of linguistics and linguistic experience.

Faculty includes:

  • Gerson Klumpp (Finno-Ugric Studies)
  • Liina Lindström (Modern Estonian)
  • Birute Klaas-Lang (Estonian as a Foreign Language)
  • Virve Vihman (Psycholinguistics)
  • Joshua Wilbur (Digital Humanities Language Documentation, Saami)
  • Eva-Liina Asu-Garcia (Phonetics)
  • Pärtel Lippus (Phonetics)
  • Nikolai Kuznetsov (Komi language, Finno-Ugric Studies)
  • Elena Markus (Finnic languages)

We have an active, always evolving programme of seminars, conferences, and guest lectures which bring top international scholars in the field to our institute and our students throughout the semester.

The Uralic Winter School has been held annually since 2013, organised each year by one of the COPIUS network members in Europe.

The TÜling lecture series offers scholarly talks on a wide range of linguistic topics every week for the whole institute.

Students will also have opportunities for fieldwork and language documentation, within Estonia and across the border in other countries where Finno-Ugric languages are spoken.

Graduates of this programme will be highly trained for employment requiring language skills in Estonian or the other Finno-Ugric languages, both in Estonia and abroad. This includes jobs in language teaching, translation, diplomacy, tourism, enterprise, or international cooperation in multilingual environments. Students completing the programme will learn analytical and digital skills and will have practice in communication and teamwork. Graduates are well-placed for employment in cultural heritage fields and museums.

The programme affords opportunities to learn skills in big data processing and data analysis, which are transferrable to many jobs outside of traditional linguistics. Graduates will be qualified for jobs that require multiple language skills or facilities with processing language data, depending on their coursework choices.

The MA programme also gives a solid foundation for continuing studies at the PhD level. Our courses give students a taste of serious linguistics research, helping them decide whether a research career is the path for them.