Home » Programmes and Fellowships » Academic Careers Observatory » Academic Careers by Country » Estonia

Estonia, Academic Career Structure

 

 

Introduction

Competitiveness: the Estonian academic structure is decentralised. Universities are relatively autonomous on matters related to admission, study programmes and budget but they pay still very low salaries compared to, for example, Western European countries.

Openness to non-nationals: knowing Estonian is often required but several universities provide courses in English as full degree (in business, European and Baltic studies, law, public relations and media) or separate modules.

Postdoc: click here for a list of links to websites advertsing postdoc opportunities in Estonia.

Entry positions: please contact us or post a comment if you can provide relevant information.

Career requirements/progress: career advancement towards professorship positions is increasingly determined by evidence of scientific merit. Click here for more information.

Temporary/permanent positions: please contact us or post a comment if you can provide relevant information.

Salaries: Estonian universities are autonomous and have different salary rules. Click here for figures related to salaries.

Gender: please contact us or post a comment if you can provide relevant information.

Universities and research institutions: click on the following links for a list of universities.

Job postings: click here to be directed to a job posting website.

 

Higher Education in Estonia

The Estonian higher education system consists of academic and professional higher education. Higher education is provided mainly by universities and professional higher education institutions. Recent trends in higher education, carried out in accordance with the objective to create a European higher education area, have lead to the adoption of a higher education system based on two main cycles - undergraduate and graduate studies. Since the academic year 2002/2003 students are admitted only to reformed professional higher education study programmes, bakalaureus-, magister- and doktor-study programmes.

There are two types of higher education institutions in Estonia. One is that of universities (ülikool) providing academic higher education and applied and professional higher education programmes. The other is that of Professional higher education institutions (rakenduskõrgkool) concerning professionally oriented diploma study. In total, there are 12 universities, 6 are public and 6 are private. With respect to the Social Sciences and Humanities, two public universities (the University of Tallinn and the University of Tartu) and three private universities (Tallinn School of Economics and Bussines Administration, the Estonian Business School and the Nord University) have departments of history, economy, law, sociology and political sciences.

The Universities Act, which was consolidated in 2005, determines the procedures for establishment, merging, division and termination a university; the principles of operation, the principles of financing, the limits of autonomy; the principles of management, organisation of studies; the legal status of assets of university; the basic rights and obligations of teaching staff and students, and the state supervision over the legality of activities of universities. The law also defines the main terms related to higher education.

 

Career Curriculum

Teaching positions in the Estonian academe are the following:

1. Teacher

2. Assistant

3. Lecturer

4. Dotsent (Associate Professor)

5. Professor

6. Professor Emeritus

Research positions are the following:

1. Research Fellow

2. Senior Research Fellow

3. Lead Research Fellow

 

Requirements for Positions

A lecturer is a member of the teaching staff who fulfils teaching tasks related to lecturing. An assistant is an auxiliary member of the teaching staff, with qualifications in a specific field whose main task is to conduct seminars and practical training. A teacher fulfils teaching tasks of a practical nature. To become Teacher, Assistant and Lecturer positions one must have a magistrikraad (Master's Degree) or a corresponding qualification.

An associate professor (dotsent) teaches a subject or a group of subjects and participates in applicable research. All professorship positions require a PhD: a person who possesses an Estonian PhD or a corresponding foreign degree may apply for these positions.

Members of the academic staff are increasingly selected on the basis of “their competence in research” and “teaching experience.”

To become Lead or Senior Research Fellow, candidates must hold a Ph.D. conferred in Estonia or another academic degree of an equivalent level. A MA degree is enough for obtaining a Research Fellow position.

 

Research Career

Please contact us if you can provide relevant information.

 

Barriers to Career Advancement

Please contact us if you can provide relevant information.

 

Job Security

Please contact us if you can provide relevant information.

 

Contracts and Duties

Each university has its own regulations concerning employment conditions for researchers and academic staff.

 

Sabbatical Opportunities

Staff may have one sabbatical semester of paid leave for every five years of service. Part-time employees shall be the same as those of full-time employees. A woman is granted 140 days pregnancy and maternity leave, which may be commenced at least 70 days before the estimated birth of the child. The pregnancy and maternity leave should be commenced at least 30 days before the estimated birth of the child, or else deductions will be made to the maternity benefit. A mother or father shall be granted parental leave at her or his request for raising a child of up to 3 years of age.

 

Gross Salaries

Estonian universities are autonomous and have different salary rules. Below we provide the starting salaries for teaching and research positions at the University of Tartu (as of January 2008, in €).

 

Teaching Positions

 StartAverageMax

PhD Candidate

--

--

--

Postdoc

--

--

--

Assistant

610

--

--

Lecturer/Senior Assistant

723

--

--

Associate Professor/ Senior Lecturer

1085

--

--

Full Professor

1446

--

--

Source: University of Tartu

 

Research Positions

 StartAverageMax

Research Fellow

723

--

--

Senion Research Fellow

1085

--

--

Lead Research Fellow

1446

--

--

Source: University of Tartu

The salary level and other conditions of employment are established in an employment contract, based on the rules of the university and on the Employment Contracts Act. The salary rules vary for professors, docents (assistant professors), specialists and other academic positions, and the rules are reviewed on a regular basis. The rules can be found on the web pages of the universities.

The Estonian tax system is considered to be simple and liberal. Income tax has only one general flat rate. Direct taxes, which include income tax, unemployment insurance and the funded pension payment, are withheld from one's salary automatically by the employer. As of January 2007, income tax is 22%, and there is a monthly unemployment insurance tax of 0.6%, which is deducted from the salary by the employer.

According to current legislation, the income tax rate is set to decrease by one percent per year until it reaches 20% in 2009. A funded pension payment is withheld from the salary at a rate of 2%, if one has joined the optional funded pension system. As of January 2007, 2000 kroons of the monthly salary is income tax free for Estonian residents. Social tax is paid by employers at a rate of 33% on all payments made to employees for salaried work performed, as well as 0.3% unemployment insurance. Social tax is not part of the salary number; it is calculated on the basis of the agreed salary.

 

Number of Existing Positions

   All Disciplines

PhD Candidate

--

--

--

Postdoc

--

--

--

Assistant Professor

--

--

--

Associate Professor

--

--

--

Full Professors

--

--

--

According to the Estonian Research Portal, in 2005 there were approximately 700 full-time positions in Social Sciences and Humanities. Average statistics of the Estonian Research Portal state that 59% of staff are men and 41% are women. Although women's participation present a high rate, we do not have data at the moment on the distribution of women/men employed by academic position.

Please contact us or comment below if you can provide relevant information.

 

Internal Recruitment

Please contact us if you can provide relevant information.

 

Accessibility for Non-Nationals

As a rule, academic staff in Estonia must have a knowledge of Estonian, which  creates an entry barrier tfor non-Estonians. However, several universities provide courses in English as full degree or separate modules. Full degrees can be obained in technical fields as well as in business, European and Baltic studies, law, public relations and media.

 

National Universities

 

Research Institutions

 

Academic Unions

Please contact us if you can provide relevant information.

 

Useful Websites

 

Info for History

Please contact us if you can provide relevant information.

 

Info for Economics

Please contact us if you can provide relevant information.

 

Info for Law

Please contact us if you can provide relevant information.

 

Info for Social and Political Science

Please contact us if you can provide relevant information.

 

Postdoctoral Information

Post-doctoral research grants are for 2-3 years. Notices of opening of post-doctoral competition are published on the websites of the Estonian Science Foundation, the Estonian Research Portal, the Information Centre for foreign researchers. Grants are awarded to applicants on the basiss of an open international competition for a specific research project. Grants include the remuneration of the post-doctoral researcher (incl. taxes payable), research costs and a one-time relocation support. Read the guidlines to apply for a post-doc in Estonia

 

Websites for Job Postings

 

Sources

 

Special thanks to:

 

 

Kristin Kraav, ERA-MORE Mobility Centre, Archimedes Foundation

Page last updated on 30 July 2015