Tbilisi - An International Hub of Higher Education
02 October, 2014
Tbilisi - An International Hub of Higher Education
If some 20 years ago, there was only one university in Tbilisi, which was unanimously acknowledged as the main source of higher education and often referred to as the “temple of knowledge”, nowadays our country does not at all have a deficiency of universities. Together with many changes in social life, a lot of institutes acquired such titles in Tbilisi and Georgian regions. Within the past few years, quite a lot of foreigners have arrived in Tbilisi as well as
other towns, giving them an international aura. It turns out that quite a big number of them, not counting those who work here, are international students.
Despite complications with the new September 1st visa regime where some international students previously enrolled in Georgian Universities were denied residence permits and forced to discontinue their studies in Georgia or to return back to their home country to re-apply, it seems that the number of international students in Tbilisi is still on the rise.
The aim of this article is to make a compilation of the most popular and important higher education institutions where it is possible for foreigners to study, to tell them what they will learn there, as well as figure out the reasons why they come here. There are even some who, working here, think of education as well, if not coming specifically to Georgia to get diplomas that enable them to continue their studies afterwards elsewhere in Europe.


“We participate in six ERASMUS Mundus and over two dozens of TEMPUS projects. We are members of EUA, IAU, BSUN, AUF and signatories of Magna Charta. Apart from numerous student and faculty exchange programs with our partners worldwide, we have experience in running dual and joint degrees and programs. In particular, TSU offers a joint MBA with the University of Jena (Germany) and a joint master’s program with the University of Speyer (Germany) as well as a dual LLM degree with the University of Cologne (Germany). We currently teach 39 foreign languages. In addition, we run a visiting Chair of Georgian Language, Culture and Society at the University of Leiden (the Netherlands), which teaches Georgian language (and/or Culture and History) as a regular course. At the same time, we provide the teaching of Georgian language at the University of Vilnius (Lithuania) and as of April 2015 plan to operate a visiting Chair of Georgian language at the University of Bremen (Germany),” Tea Gergedava, Head of Department of Foreign Relations, told Georgian Journal.
The statistics TSU gives is such: in 2012-2013, they had 160 foreign students. In 2013-2014, the number increased up to 200. Last year the largest number of students was from Iraq - 125, while in second place was Russia – 32; then came Azerbaijan – 10; the list of countries were quite representative and included such well-developed countries as Finland – 2, USA – 2, Germany – 6, Austria – 1, Estonia – 1, Italy – 1. On the list were Lithuania – 9. One student each came from Belarus, Greece, Ukraine, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Israel and 3 from Poland. However, the increasing tendency was not maintained this year and the number of foreign students decreased to 170. The first position is still occupied by Iraq with 137 students, followed by Russia again – 24; two new countries emerged – Turkey with 2 and Iran with 1 student.
Moreover, an increasing number of Armenians will come on the basis of the memorandum signed between the ministries of Education and Science of two countries, including those wishing to obtain masters and PhD diplomas. Those citizens of foreign countries who wish to study at TSU (Tbilisi State University) can learn in Georgian: faculties of precise and natural sciences, the humanities, social and political sciences, economy and business, law and medicine. In Russian the following departments are available: the humanities (Russian philology and Caucasiology); in English – Medicine (one-stage); economy (Masters); Eurasia and Caucasian Research (Masters).

Ilia State University is another very important and popular venue for Georgian students. Irine Sulkhanishvili, Head of External Relations Office, told us: “Nowadays, we have 4 foreign students: one student pending a PhD degree from Poland, another one pending a PhD from Estonia, one pending a Master’s from Romania and one pending the same degree from Finland. The interest of foreign students in our university is mainly stipulated by the chance to learn Caucasus-related issues (in particular Caucasus research and Russian-Georgian Relations), as well as the history of Caucasus.”
Purportedly, Ilia State University grants its graduates with all three level degrees, which are valid for those who wish to continue their studies in Europe afterwards.


Tbilisi State Medical University is another very popular and traditional place of higher education. Nowadays, it is on the first place according to the number of foreign students: it has 1991 students from 39 different countries. These states are: Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, USA, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burundi, United Kingdom, Gaiana, Gambia, Germany, Egypt, Iraq, Spain, Turkey, India, Iran, Israel, Cameroon, Canada, Mauritius, Maldives, Islands, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Greece, France, Singapore, Syria, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago, Fiji, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Sweden, Sri-Lanka, Ukraine.
“Tbilisi State Medical University is included in WHO and IMED International Directories that enable its graduates to get employed in any country having passed the relevant license exam/screening test (USMLE, PLAB, YOK and others)” - says Nino Rukhadze, Head of Rector’s Staff of TSMU. “Tbilisi State Medical University nowadays has over 120 partner universities and clinics from 40 countries. Annually, over 300 students of ours do internship in partner universities, where they are provided with boarding and mainly, with scholarships too (mostly, in Germany); 80 percent of graduates from the faculty of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation get employed immediately after the graduation in Turkish clinics, where their initial salary surpasses $1,500 per month. Germany is quite eager to receive our nurses who are provided with salary of almost 1,000 Euros and with living accommodations too. Germany employs more and more of our doctors as well,“ says Nino Rukhadze. Together with the Georgian diploma, Tbilisi State Medical University gives French diplomas in the faculty of Social Health Care the so-called ‘French Bachelor’s Program”.” For foreigners who wish to study here, two-stage exams must be passed. The final diploma of TSMU gives a chance to its graduates to continue working in the direction of fundamental research as well.

Georgian Technical University has always been the hearth of education for those inclined to the technical field of study. “Last year, we had 298 foreign students. This year, the number has slightly grown. I can tell you that the reasons why they come here are different: for instance, citizens from Iraq come here quite abundantly because there are five state universities in Georgia. As they put it, their government tells them that they will finance them only if they become the students of state universities. We also have many Azeris. Students from Russia are also represented. We have some registered citizens from Turkey, Qatar and Syria. The main teaching language for them is English, however, there are some faculties where they learn in Russian. Quite surprisingly, there emerge some groups of foreigners who wish to learn in Georgian as well. As for degrees, we offer Bachelor’s and Master’s diplomas for foreigners studying in English-language. However, the main reason why they come here from my point of view seems to be the cheap price compared to other countries,” Nino Soselia, Manager of the Registry Group of GTU tells us.

Caucasus University, one of the most prominent private universities in Georgia, nowadays rooms 26 citizens of other countries. “As for why they come to Georgia – some students take part in exchange programs (our students study in foreign universities and therefore, in response, foreigners come to our country). Others are living in Georgia for their professional purposes, working here and at the same time, studying in order not to lose time.” Maka Tsibadze Head of Academic Process Management and Student’s Registration Office from Caucasus University told Georgian Journal.

The University of Georgia is another non-state prestigious university. “Currently, we have 319 foreign students. Our university has offered English-language programs for international young people since 2012. Their number is increasing annually. They are from Nigeria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey. As for the reason why they come here, it is simple – University of Georgia offers them a high-quality education at an approachable/moderate price, which is attractive for a foreigner. Our degree – be it a Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma, is recognized by the Georgian Ministry of Education and Science and is also registered in the network of Enic-Naric,” says Ketevan Boiko, representative from UG. “The faculties attainable for foreigners are: Business Administration – English-language program, Nursing, English program of Dentistry, Bachelor’s English-language program of Engineering and Business Administration – Master’s English-language program.”

Studying at Tbilisi Open University means getting the best higher and vocational education, having the best-handpicked lecturers and studying in a calm, pleasant atmosphere. Everything here is oriented towards providing top-notch education.
Currently the university has up to 2,000 students at various stages of learning - 300 of them are foreign citizens, mostly from Azerbaijan. The university offers its students modern infrastructure, a well-stocked library, uninterrupted internet connection and, of course, a cafeteria. There is also a multitude of presentation, lecture and conference halls as well as computer labs equipped with up-to-date technology.
With the assistance of powerful financial groups, Tbilisi Open University has made a large investment, building a second educational complex, which is scheduled to become active for the 2016/2017 academic year and will represent something completely new and unprecedented for Georgia. Accordingly, the university is going to have two state-of-the-art campuses equipped with everything necessary for education.

International Black Sea University is another prestigious private university that attracts lots of foreigners. Currently it has 179 students from Turkey, 29 from Ajerbaijan, 15 from Nigeria, 12 from Turkmenistan, 7 from Kirgizstan and less than 5 students from Ukraine, Egypt, Syria, Tajikistan, Albania, Iran, Iraq, Sweden, Kazakshtan, Kenia and Greece. In all – 259 students. Reportedly, the growing tendency was present from 2011. However, from 2014, together with the complicated process of getting visas, less foreigners have been registered as students compared to past years. They say that IBSU is chosen because of its high quality teaching and moderate prices. The university gives all three level degrees. Foreigners here can learn: Business Management, Marketing Management, Tourism, International Relations, Economy, Public Administration and State Management, Book-keeping, Americanisatics, Turkish philology, International Relations and Politics, American Foreign Affairs, IT. The teaching is in English and Georgian.

As you can see, the prices are medium, the quality of education is high and our universities are acknowledged worldwide. So, why not come here, add a nice climate, great food and warm human relations? It is up to you, dear foreigners. We wish you success and hope that you will use your knowledge received in Georgia for the benefit of your country and on the other hand, promote Georgia’s international image by telling your fellow citizens positive stories about your host country. Good luck!

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