In Estonia, only institutions of higher education which have successfully undergone evaluation of the quality of their studies are allowed to provide higher education. As of 2012, studies at the level of higher education may only be conducted if the Government of the Republic has provided a so-called education licence for this purpose – the right to conduct studies in the relevant study programme group and at the relevant level of studies. This includes the right to issue state graduation certificates.
To make the transition from the old accreditation system of study programmes to the new feedback-based supportive assessment, an evaluation of the study programme groups in all educational institutions was conducted from 2009-2011 – transition evaluation. Evaluation of the quality of higher education studies took place one study programme group at a time, with one study programme group containing all of the study programmes in the same field of studies.

There are all together 28 study programme groups: 

Teacher training and educational science Business and administration Architecture and building
Humanities (excluding theology) Social services Engineering, manufacturing and technology
Languages and cultures Personal services Agriculture, forestry and fishery
Arts (fine arts, graphic and audiovisual arts, design, craft skills) National defence Veterinary
Performing arts Public security Medicine (including dental services)
Theology Life sciences Health care
Journalism and information Environmental protection Sports
Psychology Physical sciences Transport services
Social science (excluding psychology) Informatics and information technology  
Law Mathematics and statistics  


The evaluation resulted in institutions of higher education being awarded the indefinite right to conduct studies or the right to do so for a fixed period (up to three years) or a decision being made to withhold the permit to conduct studies. Re-evaluations will take place in study programme groups that were awarded the right to conduct studies for a fixed period until 2017. Fixed-term rights to conduct studies may be awarded a maximum of two times.

Documents regulating re-evaluation

EKKA -> Regulations -> Transitional Evaluation:

  • Requirements and Procedure for Transitional Evaluation and Re-evaluation of Study Programme Groups
  • Conditions and Procedure for Transition to Evaluation of Study Programme Groups of Educational Institutions Providing Higher Education (Ministerial Directive)

EKKA -> Guidelines and Useful Links for Experts:

  • Re-evaluation report template at the first and second cycle of higher education
  • Re-evaluation report template at the level of doctoral studies

Decisions on transitional evaluation

Decisions regarding transition and re-evaluation are adopted by the assessment council of EKKA. The decisions of the council are sent to the Minister of Education and Research as proposals, and the Government of the Republic adopts decisions regarding the granting of the right to conduct studies in study programme groups. Results are confirmed in an annex to the Standard of higher education.
Partial assessments provided on study programme groups by assessment committees, decisions on transition and re-evaluation made by the EKKA assessment council and regulations of the Minister of Education and Research are available in the EKKA database.

See also: Transitional Evaluation: A Special Case of External Evaluation of Higher Education in Estonia 2009-2011