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Latvian Maritime Academy is the first and only educational institution in Latvia which trains top-level maritime specialists, continuing the long tradition of maritime education in Latvia.
The first maritime-related educational institution in Latvia was founded in Riga in 1789, denominated as Riga Navigation School, which operated until 1820. Latvian Maritime Academy was founded in 1989 at the Riga extramural branch of the Kaliningrad Institute of Fish Industry, where the first LMA students started their studies. On 25 July 1990 Latvian Maritime Academy became a faculty of Riga Technical University. Latvian Maritime Academy opened its doors as an independent educational institution on 8 January 1993. The first graduation ceremony took place on 18 June 1994. On that day, the dean of Riga Cathedral Church J. Liepiņš consecrated the flag of the Latvian Maritime Academy made by textile artist Ārija Vītoliņa. Since the foundation of Latvian maritime Academy, more than 1000 maritime specialists have obtained the highest professional qualification. The LMA graduates have guaranteed job security as the demand for LMA graduates in the international merchant fleet is steadily increasing.
Latvian Maritime Academy study programmes from a time perspective
In 1989, LMA enrolees embarked upon their studies in three programmes:
The full content of these study programmes was developed as of 1992.
In view of the fact that on May 4, 1990 the Republic of Latvia signed the 1978 International Convention for Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (further STCW-78), it was necessary to revise the study programmes to meet the requirements of the Convention. On January 6, 1997 the LMA Senate addresed the issue of implementing the standards of STCW-78 within the LMA study programmes. In compliance with STCW-78, the students, who had begun theur studies up to the year 1998, were entitled to receive a diploma in accordance with the first study programmes, whereas those enrolled after August 1, 1997, according to the certification regulations of Latvian seafarers, were to be trained to comply with the standards of STCW-78. The Academic Senate proposed a principle of stepped qualification to be introduced within the programmes of study to enable the students to raise their qualifications after some period of time or resume their studies having disrupted them for a time being.
According to this, there was a suggestion to form a concept of several stages:
1) The first stage was the Maritime School which included the students after acquiring basic education to go on with their studies for four years. They were to get secondary education, as well as the qualification of an engineer on ships with engine power up to 750kW or to become a watchkeeping officer on ships up to 500 gross tons.
2) The second stage was the college offering a 3-year course for the students who had already got secondary general education.
3) The third stage is the highest stage of education of 3 years after graduating from the Maritime School or the college. This stage guarantees higher education and the maximum qualification to the graduates. On March 20, 2001 national legislation was adopted. The Regulations of the State Standard of the First Stage of Higher Professional Education came into force on 5 April, 2001.
The Regulations of the State Standard of the Second Stage of Higher Professional Education came into force on 28 November, 2001. They set an aim for study programmes, their tasks and contents. As a result of these, two study programmes were adopted, i.e. Navigation and Marine Engineering. The first students were admitted for the academic year 2002/2003. Afterwards, in accordance with the declaration of Bologna LMA set about one of the most significant tasks - introduce the system of three stages: Bachelor, Master and PhD degrees Both the programmes of study were united in one professional BSc study programme Maritime Transport-Navigation and Maritime Transport-Marine Engineering. The duration of studies is 4.3 years. The graduates gain the professional BSc degree in maritime transport as well as the qualification of Navigator or Marine Engineer.
The reduction in the duration of studies caused by the economic crisis in the state resulted in a 60% LMA budget cutback.
LMA still offers two-level study programmes within the marine engineering and navigation branch on a part-time basis as there are still seamen who once interrupted their studies and now are willing to continue them.
The electrical automation study programme has always remained as a 5-year course. However, it has been discontinued because of a lack of interest on the part of students. In 2006 this programme was renamed to Maritime Transport-Marine Electrical Automation and the duration of studies changed to 4.3 years. Upon graduation students are awarded a professional BSc in Maritime Transport and a qualification of Electrical Engineer.
For two years - in 1994 and 1996 - enrolment for the Hydrography study programme took place at LMA, resulting in a small number of graduates in 1998 and 2000.The course was not sustainable due to lack of demand for such specialists in Latvia and the comparatively high costs as the studies included a year to be spent at Plymouth University (Great Britain).
The programmes were gradually improved and in 1997 two new study programmes were offered - Port Technology with three graduates obtaining a qualification in port technology engineering in 2001 and 2002, as well as Port Structures with the enrolled students being forced to change the higher education establishment to Riga Technical University or select other courses available at LMA after the sponsor of the course - stock company "BMGS" refused to provide any further financial backing.
Enrolment for the study programme "Port Management" commenced in 1995. Graduates of this course acquired a qualification in economics of port management. In 2006 the title of the study programme was changed to "Port and Shipping Management". The degree and qualification have been changed too - after 4.3 years of study the graduates obtained the professional BSc degree in management and administration, as well as a qualification in port and shipping management. The course has proved its sustainability and, despite the fluctuating student enrolment, interest in this study programme has considerably increased over time.
The first two Master students graduated from Latvian Maritime Academy in 1998 and 2000 with degrees in Marine Engineering. The admission of Master's degree applicants was resumed on February 24, 2003. The initial title of the study programme was "Maritime Transport and Operation" with two fields of specialization "Maritime Transport Management' and "Operation of Maritime Transport". The study programme was licensed in 2003. Based on the decision of the Senate of Latvian Maritime Academy (November 13, 2006), the title of the study programme was changed to "Maritime Transport". For a few years Latvian maritime Academy offered only part-time implementation of the study programme; however, starting from the academic years 2008/2009 Latvian Maritime Academy also offers full-time MSc studies.
Latvian Maritime Academy is an accredited state institution of professional maritime education and science, where studies are conducted in accordance with internationally regulated study programmes in the maritime sector. Currently, RTU Latvian Maritime Academy is the only higher education institution in Latvia offering professional higher education study programmes at all stages..
Find out more about RTU LMA study programmes here.