Russia has thousands of universities, located in 82 regions stretching from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok. The majority of the country’s universities are public institutions, ranging from classical universities to specialised universities focused on technology, medicine, journalism, and other disciplines. Over 700 Russian universities are open to foreign students, and many offer programmes taught in the English language. For more information, refer to the ministry’s website for international students: https://studyinrussia.ru.
Students at Russian universities have the option of full-time attendance, attending evening and weekend classes, or part-time enrolment involving home study. The education system is based on the Bologna principles. Students with a secondary education can enrol in a Bachelor’s Degree (бакалавр), which lasts for four years and requires students to defend their thesis at the end of their degree. Russia also offers so-called Specialist Degrees, which are more focused on practical work in industry, and are also open to students who have completed secondary education. These courses last for five years. Students with a Bachelor’s or Specialist Degree can then enrol in a Master’s Degree (магистр), which lasts for two years and also involves defending a thesis. Full-time PhD courses last for at least three years, while a part-time course lasts for at least four years. A postgraduate diploma is usually divided into two stages. These are Candidate of Science (Кандидат наук), classified by UNESCO as a PhD, followed by Doctor of Sciences (доктор наук), a higher doctoral degree. The higher doctoral degree usually requires about ten years of research activities to achieve, only an estimated one in four candidates reaches this stage. Other specialised postgraduate degrees are available, such as postgraduate military courses and medical residencies.
The Russian government offers a limited number of scholarships to foreign nationals. In 2019, the government provided 15,000 ‘state-funded spots’ to international applicants. These scholarships include tuition, a maintenance allowance and dormitory accommodation, but do not cover travel costs, living expenses or health insurance. Tuition fees are comparatively low, for non-scholarship students, they range from 121,000-770,000 rubles ($1860-$11,846) per year, depending on the region, university, and discipline. The website of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education recommends that students budget between $300 and $400 per month for living expenses and notes that prices are highest in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Information for International Students
International applicants are invited to apply to the university and programme of their choice and also to apply for the appropriate funding. International students are expected to initially provide copies of all educational diplomas, a copy of their ID, a completed application form, and photographs. All documentation must be translated into Russian and certified. After the student’s arrival in Russia, they need to provide the original documents, as well as any additional certificates required by the university. International students are also required to provide a medical certificate, which includes mandatory HIV testing. International students requiring a student visa will receive a visa invitation from the university if they are a fee-paying student or from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if they are a scholarship student. It is important that international students contact their university’s international students department immediately after their arrival in Russia to ensure compliance with various immigration law requirements, such as registration.