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The new academic year at Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) has begun and 2,644 freshmen have been welcomed to the university's various study programmes. This includes 417 international students, most of whom are from Sweden and Germany. The number of newly admitted students in both undergraduate, master's and doctoral study programmes has increased compared to last year’s 2,548 students.

This summer, the desire to study at RSU could be seen in the 10% increase in applicants, making the competition for one study place more intense. 819 state-allocated study places were already filled by the middle of summer.

RSU has managed to increase the number of newly admitted students during the pandemic. Compared to last year, a 9% increase could be observed among first-year students of medical and health care study programmes this summer. There is also an upswing in the number of doctoral students at 17% more than the year before. ‘The past year and a half have been a challenging time, but we have once again proved the strength and capability of our university. We have excellent digital platforms, an advanced e-learning environment, responsive and modern lecturers who did not allow the study process to stop for even a second. Some of the factors that have allowed us to increase the number of students year on year are our ability to adapt to new conditions combined with high-quality study programmes that are enriched with the skills necessary to help students enter the labour market. Over the past four years, the number of applicants at RSU has increased by 40%,’ says RSU Rector, Professor Aigars Pētersons.

When evaluating the number of applications per one scholarship place, the largest competition this year was in Nutrition (38 applications), Physiotherapy and Midwifery (21), Dentistry (11) and Medicine (6.5) programmes. Despite the lack of scholarship places allocated by the state, social science study programmes are also in high demand, and this year, programmes such as Psychology, Law, International Marketing and Advertising and Multimedia Communication stood out in terms of popularity. ‘When analysing new students’ performance in undergraduate programmes, it should be noted that they are actually very well prepared. The national average grade in the centralised exams was 35%, while the average grade of the newly admitted student to RSU is 78%,’ emphasises Indra Treija, Director of the RSU Study Department.

The most popular study programme among international students is Medicine, followed by Dentistry, International Governance & Diplomacy, Health Management and International Business and Start-up Entrepreneurship. In total, 1,225 applications were received from international applicants. This semester, 417 students from 38 countries, as well as 47 Erasmus+ students will join RSU international student community.

All RSU students will start the academic year remotely, yet there is an exception for clinical placements in residency and for the acquisition of the practical parts of various study programmes. The on-site study process at RSU will also take place in separate social science study programmes. Starting 10 October, however, RSU will switch to on-site studies and all staff and students will have to present interoperable COVID-19 vaccination or recovery certificates.