There are two types of higher education institutions in Estonia: ülikool (university) and rakenduskõrgkool (professional higher education institution).
A university is an institution of higher education and research which grants academic degrees at the bachelor’s (bakalaureus), master’s (magister) and doctoral (doktor) levels in several fields of study. At universities it is also possible to obtain professional higher education.
Professional higher education institutions (rakenduskõrgkoolid) generally provide first cycle professional higher education, but may also offer master’s level (magister) degree programmes and post-secondary vocational education programmes in the study fields of their specialization. Master’s programmes are provided by professional higher education institutions since 2004. Until 2011, master’s programmes were provided in co-operation with a university (except in the fields of theology, national defence and public security).