Higher education in Lithuania is regulated by the Law on Higher Education and Research (2009). According to Law, there are two types of higher education institutions in Lithuania: universities (Lith. universitetas) and colleges (Lith. kolegija). The university is an institution that carries out university studies, conducts research, experimental (social, cultural) development and/or develops high-level professional art. The name of a higher education institution of this type must contain a word ‘’university’’ or ‘’academy’’, or ‘’seminary’’. The college carries out college studies, develop applied research and/or professional art. The name of a higher education institution that carries out such activities must contain a word ‘’college’’ or ‘’higher education institution’’. Universities and colleges have autonomy, which covers academic, administrative, economic and financial management activities, and is based on the principle of self-governance and academic freedom.
The degree structure of higher education in Lithuania follows a three-cycle structure: the first cycle – professional bachelor’s, bachelor’s degree studies; the second cycle – master’s degree studies; the third cycle – doctoral studies. Professional bachelor’s study programmes of the first cycle may be carried out by colleges and bachelor’s study programmes of the first cycle by universities. Study programmes awarding a degree of the second cycle may be carried out by universities. Doctoral studies may be carried out by universities or universities together with research institutes. The first cycle of studies (bachelor’s) usually lasts 4 academic years, the second cycle (master’s) 2 years and the third cycle (doctoral) 4 years.
Higher education institutions are financed in Lithuania from the state budget, funds of state investment programmes, income received as payment for studies, as well as income received from economic, research activities and rendered services, funds appropriated by international and foreign foundations and organizations, funds received as charity under the Law on Charity and Sponsorship and other funds received in legal ways.
Studies at universities and colleges are partly funded by the state. The Government establishes the distribution of funds for study areas according to the needs of the national economic, social and cultural development and financial possibilities of the State. State-funded student places are allocated to higher education institutions in accordance with the choice among higher education institutions made by enrolling persons who have completed the secondary education programme with the best results (student’s voucher principle), without exceeding state funding established for each study area. Persons who do not get the state-funded student place have to pay a tuition fee. This fee may be reimbursed if a student has finished with the best results the first two academic years and the remaining academic years.
In 2019, there were in Lithuania 19 universities and 22 colleges. Universities conducted 85 study programmes in arts registered in the open vocational information system AIKOS, and colleges conducted 23.
Table 28: Study programmes in arts at universities in 2019
|Field of studies||Number of programmes||Titles of the first cycle study programmes (Bachelor) 49||Titles of the second cycle study programmes (Master) 36|
|Architecture||7||Architecture (3 programmes)||Architecture (3 programmes), Building architecture|
|Artworks restoration||2||Art works restoration||The restoration of art and interior heritage|
|Dance||3||Dance, Subcultures of Dance||Choreography|
|Design||14||Visual Design and Media, Design, Graphic design, Interior design, Costume design, Fashion Design, Environmental Objects Design, Visual Design||Design, Graphic design, Costume design, Visual design, Visual Communication Design, Visual Plastic Art|
|Film||4||Film Art, Screenwriting, Cinematography||Film Art|
|Fine Art||25||Graphic Art, Ceramics, Metal Art and Jewellery, Monumental arts, Scenography, Sculpture, 4D Objects of Art, Applied graphics, Applied ceramics, Textile Art Media, Painting, Textile Art and Design, Fine Art||Graphic Art, Monumental arts, Scenography, Sculpture, Glass Art and Design, Applied graphics, Applied ceramics, Textile Art Media, Painting, Textile Art and Design, Fine arts, Applied Arts|
|Landscape architecture||1||Landscape architecture|
|Media Art||4||Animation, Photography and media arts, New Media Art||Photography and media arts|
|Music||16||Composition, Music Studies, Musical Folklore, Music Performance, Music technologies, Performance Art, Music Production, Performance Art, Sound Directing||Composition, Music Performance, Electronic composition and performance, Performance Art, Performance Art, Sound Directing Musical Folklore|
|Theatre||9||Theatre Art, History and Criticism of Performing and Film Arts, Acting Puppet and Object Theatre Directing, Directing, Acting (2 programmes)||Theatre Art, Drama directing|
Several universities and colleges also conduct programmes in the field of communication closely related to arts and culture, e.g. Media and Communication, Creative communication, Creative Industries, Creative and Culture Industries, Fashion Industry, Political Communication and Journalism, Entertainment and Tourism Industries, Entertainment industries, Integrated Creative Communication, Communication of Creative Society, and Communication and Creative Technologies.
There are also programmes in management and public administration, related to arts and culture, e.g. Art Management, Cultural and Creative Industries Management, Sports and Tourism Management, Culture and Tourism Management, and Culture Management and Culture Policy.
The main high schools of arts education in Lithuania are the Vilnius Academy of Arts (VDA) and the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (LMTA). VDA has four faculties that are located in different cities of Lithuania – Vilnius, Kaunas, Telšiai and Klaipėda. Each faculty has its own undergraduate and graduate study programmes. According to the data of VDA, in 2019, 1540 students were studying at the Academy in 45 study programmes. The Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre has three faculties; two of them (Faculty of Music and Faculty of Theatre and Film) are located in Vilnius and one in Klaipėda. According to the data of LMTA, its three faculties currently host about 1,000 students in three study cycles – bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral.
The Bologna Declaration, which Lithuania signed in 1999, became an important document for Lithuanian higher education. Until 2019, Lithuanian implemented or created conditions for the implementation of several measures of Bologna Declaration. In 2000, the Minister of Education and Science approved rules of the evaluation of higher education and research institutions. In 2002, the first evaluation of study programmes by international experts was carried out. In 2005, the Law on Higher Education and Research (2009) was amended to provide for joint study programmes. According to it, higher education institutions may implement joint study programmes on completion of which a joint qualification degree is awarded, as well as programmes on completion of which a double qualification degree is awarded. A joint qualification degree is awarded when a study programme is implemented by at least two higher education institutions, usually from different countries. However, till 2019, only one joint study programme in arts was launched, i.e. the joint programme of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre ECMAster (European Chamber Music Master). In 2011, ECTS credits are approved as Lithuanian national learning credits system. From 2012, the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture funds teaching visits of lecturers and professors from foreign universities to Lithuanian higher education institutions. The grant competition is organised, and the payment administered by Education Exchanges Support Foundation. The foundation also administers other international exchange programmes and initiatives in the field of higher education and vocational training.