Social Sciences


To claim success in Estonia, a social scientist must juggle international research and public expectations that one’s work also be visibly applied to everyday life. As a result, a satisfying trend has emerged: Estonian social scientists are active in international projects while remaining fully plugged in to the socioeconomic quirks of a small nation.

Featuring field: Psychology



Research institutions

Estonian social-science research is spread among five universities: the University of Tartu, Tallinn University, the Tallinn University of Technology, the Estonian University of Life Sciences, and the Estonian Business School.


These names may sound similar, but a discerning eye will find an institution that serves its owner just right. Choose from the University of Tartu Institute of Psychology, the Department of Industrial Psychology at the Tallinn University of Technology, and the Tallinn University School of Natural Sciences and Health with study area of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences.

Journalism and communication

Mass media and communication walk hand in hand at the University of Tartu Institute of Journalism, Communication and Information Studies and the Chair of Communication and Culture at the Department of International Relations of the Tallinn School of Economics and Business Administration. Tallinn University rounds up the trio with its rather more simply named Baltic Film, Media, Arts and Communication School with study area in Media and Communication.

Government and politics

The country’s sharpest political scientists can be found at three locations. The University of Tartu is home to the Johan Skytte Institute of Politival Studies. In the capital, the Tallinn University School of Governance, Law and Society with study areas in Political Science and Governance, sociology, law,  International Relations and Future Studies and Social  is the largest academic teaching unit on the Estonian political science and public administration scene. The other Tallinn-based knowledge hive is the Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation and Governance. The school is named after a widely-celebrated pioneer of development economics.

Educational sciences

The University of Tartu Faculty of Social Sciences and Education hosts the Institute of Educational Science. The Institute aims to be the central stage for Estonian educational life — hardly a modest ambition, even in a small country. The Tallinn University School of Educational Sciences adds three study areas to the country’s academic arsenal: Teacher Education and Educational Sciences, Lifelong and Non-Formal Education, Career and Counselling Services for Special Educational Needs.

Sociology and social work

Institute of Social Studies is the sociology centre at the University of Tartu. Tallinn University takes School of Governance, Law and Society with study areas in sociology, Social Protection and Institute for International Social Studies adding their research and expertise to social studies, social work, social policy and social pedagogy.

Population sciences

Estonia’s leading demography unit is the Estonian Institute for Population Studies. Part of Tallinn University, the Institute combines research and training in core demography. It monitors and analyses trends that shape the demographic foundation of a society. The Institute also contributes to the development of a national system of population and social statistics.

An increasingly major issue tied to population trends is public health. The National Institute for Health Development is a government R&D body that engages in public-health research and health promotion. It also develops and implements disease-prevention programmes and activities.


There are two main centres of thought: The Faculty of Economics and Business Administration (FEBA) at the University of Tartu and the Department of Finance and Economics at the Tallinn University of Technology.

Business administration

Running a business can be a science, too. Those unsatisfied with gut instinct have an ally in the Institute of Business Administration at the University of Tartu. The Estonian University of Life Sciences looks at socioeconomic changes from a rural economic point of view. The key unit in this work is the Institute of Economics and Social Sciences. On the North coast, sharp business thinkers convene at the Department of Business Administration and the Department of Accounting at the Tallinn University of Technology and at the Estonian Business School.


The venerable Faculty of Law is one of the four oldest faculties of the University of Tartu. Lawyers have been educated there since the university’s founding by the Swedish king in 1632. Tallinn Law School at the Tallinn University of Technology has 800 students, about a quarter of them study in English. As technology and innovation are priorities for Estonia, TLS is helping to develop a legal framework that supports them, in addition to training specialist lawyers. There’s also study area of law in Tallinn University School of  Governance, Law and Society.