Higher education in Ethiopia is available since the mid-1960s, but only recently relevant advances in quality have been made. Only in the past 10 years, the number of public HEIs has increased from 8 to 36 (out of which 33 are directly taking students from grade 12). In the private sector, there are 98 of such institutions. The Higher Education Relevance and Quality Agency (HERQA) is responsible for regulating the tertiary education in Ethiopia. Undergraduate enrollment rates have risen from 447,693 in 2010/11 to 593,571 in 2013/14. Postgraduate courses, although scarce, have also shown increasing trends: 7,211 in 2007/08 to 27,643 in 2013/14 (Master’s) and 258 in 2007/08 to 3,169 in 2013/14 (PhDs). The current teacher-student ratio is at 1:23, well above the international one (1:19). The main university in the country is the Addis Ababa University. For further information on higher education in the country, you can access the Ethiopian Ministry of Education at

Educational Structure
The education system follows the B-M-P structure in three cycles. Bachelor’s degrees start with a first general year where students are prepared to study in a specific area. It is usual for such programmes to last 4 years, but institutions have recently introduced 3-year courses as well. Subjects like Medicine and Law require between 5 to 6 years to complete. Master’s degrees are awarded after 1 to 2 years of study and the majority are offered at the Addis Ababa University, as well as courses leading to PhDs. The PhD programme lasts for 5 years (if you already posses a Master’s degree) or 7 (if you only have a Bachelor’s degree).   

Admission to undergraduate courses is considered based on a minimal GPA of 2.0 in the Ethiopian School Leaving Certificate and the Ethiopian Higher Education Entrance Examination. There are limited spaces so the competition is high and only those who score the highest marks can get in. A Bachelor’s degree is required for admission to postgraduate studies. The official language used in teaching is English. The academic year runs from September to July.

All education is free in Ethiopia.

Information for International Students
Living in Ethiopia’s city centre is less expensive than in cities like Austin, Texas or Barcelona, Spain and about the same as in Bratislava, Slovakia or Lagos, Nigeria. Living expenses for a single person are estimated at $1,233 per month and rent for an 85 m2 apartment is between $527 to $906 per month, depending on the geographical location. Foreign students should have a visa prior to their entry in the country. There are multiple categories one can apply for, depending on their duration of study. You can visit the government’s website for e-visas here, if you wish to find more relevant information.