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Russia occupies Eastern Europe and stretches over northern Asia. It is considered the largest country in the world, spanning a total land area of 17,125,191 square kilometres. Because of its sheer size, the country has 11 time zones and shares its borders with 16 sovereign nations.

  • Capital City: Moscow
  • Largest City: Moscow
  • Official Languages: Russian
  • Currency: Ruble ₽, руб
  • Time Zones: UTC+2 to +12

Russia, with its wealth of natural resources and the eleventh-largest economy in the world, has established itself to become a global superpower. The country also excels in scientific research. It is home to 26 Nobel Prize winners in the fields of chemistry, economy, literature, medicine, peace, and physics.

Why Study in Russia?

Russia is among the few countries that can boast one of the best education systems in the
world. According to UNESCO, the country has an adult literacy rate of 99.73%, exceeding most European
countries and even the United States.
This number can be attributed to the country’s huge spending on education.

Literacy Rate (%) Total Male Female
15-24 years old 99.7 99.6 99.7
15 years old and older 99.7 99.7 99.7
65 years and older 99.6 99.8 99.5

There are roughly 278,000 international students in Russia coming from different countries and ethnic backgrounds. These students choose to get a Russian education for the following reasons:

Comprehensive Academic Excellence

International students in Russia can get more than just the fundamentals of study for each
They can also acquire in-depth knowledge that would help them excel in their field.

Russian universities are known for their robust academic excellence in natural sciences, physics, and mathematics. In fact, the country is recognized as among the world leaders in helping budding scientists, mathematicians, engineers, natural science specialists, and programmers become proficient in their fields.

The country has also positioned well in many educational institution rankings:

  • Russia has 28 universities featured in the QS World University Rankings 2021, 17 of which were
    among the top 500
    , with the Lomonosov Moscow State University
    holding the 74th spot. They have also created a huge presence in the QS EECA University Rankings,
    with 95 universities featured on the list.
  • The Shanghai Ranking Academic Ranking of World Universities included 11 academic institutions in
    its list,
    with Moscow State University leading the pack.
  • The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) stated that 60% of the population
    the Russian Federation aged 25 to 64 has an upper secondary education.
    They also have an
    average score of 492
    in reading literacy, maths,
    and sciences,
    above the 486 OECD average.
  • The country also improved its ranking as an education destination based on the list compiled by
    the 2020 Best Countries for Education by the U.S. News & World Report, moving up one point
    to become the 21st out of 80 countries ranked.
  • Based on the Round Ranking, Russia has 14 top universities out of 829 higher education institutions
    that belong in the top 500,

    with Lomonosov Moscow State University belonging to the Diamond League.

Affordable Tuition Fees

One of the major draws of Russia for international students is the tuition fee, between
US$2,000 and $8,000 per year, exclusive of living expenses.
Those figures are considered cheap relative to the quality of education that students will get.

Bachelor’s and specialist’s degrees would usually have rates of RUB 220,000 to RUB 240,000
(US$3,385 to US$3,690) annually. While a master’s
degree can typically cost between RUB 240,000 and RUB 260,000 (US$3,746 and US$4,058).

Getting a postgraduate course will have students shelling out anywhere between RUB 72,000
RUB 250,000 (US$1,293 to US$4,490), according to Educations.com.

Russia also offers various scholarships to help students cover educational expenses. In 2019, the country offered 15,000 scholarships to international students.

Cultural Diversity in Campuses

Russia also prides itself on being welcoming of many different cultures. The roster of
international students in the country is quite varied, with students coming from China, India, Kazakhstan,
and the rest of Central Asia.

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In addition to the international students it hosts, the country itself has over 200 ethnic
groups that speak different languages and dialects. This multinational structure has allowed many
foreigners, including students, to ease
into the Russian way of life without losing touch with their culture and tradition.

Many of the campuses in Russia also offer acclimatisation training for international
students, providing them with supervisory programmes that help them cope. Russia also has a recognised
network of student communities that are committed to helping
people find their way in Russia.

Teaching and Research Excellence

Russia has invested in training and supporting its teaching staff’s research goals.

  • The country is included in the SCImago Institutions Rankings for 2019, which keeps track of countries
    with the most number of published research.
SCImago Institutions Ranking 2019
  1. China
  2. United States
  3. United Kingdom
  4. India
  5. Germany
  6. Japan
  7. Italy
  8. France
  9. Canada
  10. Russia
  • CWTS Leiden Ranking included seven Russian academic universities in its list of institutions with
    scientific impact. The said universities are:
    • Lomonosov Moscow State University
    • St. Petersburg State University
    • Novosibirsk State University
    • Ural Federation University
    • Kazan Federal University
    • HSE University
    • ITMO University
  • Based on the Times Higher Education World Rankings by Subject, Russia has made notable progress in
    science subjects with more and more universities sitting on the top 100.

Exciting Student Life

Russians are active and outdoorsy people, and it is something visitors pick up when they
stay for extended periods. Who would not want to explore this beautiful country?

Opportunities for recreation for students are not hard to come by. Universities are equipped with student
theatres and stadiums. There are musical concerts, festivals, sporting events, and pubs to visit.

While Moscow and St. Petersburg are popular for tourists, international students will have the time for off
the beaten track explorations. Travel opportunities abound.

Fast Facts

Here are some notable facts about the Russian education system:

Best Ranked Institutions by the QS World Rankings
  1. Lomonosov Moscow University
  2. St. Petersburg University
  3. Novosibirsk State University
  4. Tomsk State University
  5. Moscow Institute of Physics & Technology
  6. Bauman Moscow State Tech University
  7. Higher School of Economics University
  8. National Research Nuclear University MePhI
  9. RUDN University
  10. Ural Federal University
Top Master’s Degrees in Russia
  1. Sport Administration
  2. High Technology Business Management
  3. Political Analysis & Public Policy
  4. Aircraft Engineering
  5. GNSS Receivers, Hardware & Software
  6. Politics, Economics, & Philosophy
  7. Population & Development
  8. Statistical Learning Theory
  9. Strategic Corporate Finance
  10. Supercomputer Simulations in Science & Engineering
Top-Paying Jobs in Russia
  1. Dentist
  2. Obstetrician-Gynaecologist
  3. Drilling Engineer/Foreman
  4. Risk Manager/Financial Risk Assessment Specialist
  5. IOS & Android Developer
  6. Big Data Analyst
  7. SAP Consultant
  8. Java/Ruby Programmer
  9. Civil Aviation Pilot
  10. Ship Captain
In-Demand Jobs in Russia
  1. Aircraft Technicians
  2. Automotive Workers
  3. Nuclear Specialists
  4. Rocket Engineers
  5. Space Technicians
  6. Shipbuilding Crew
  7. Engineers
  8. Robot Technicians
  9. Equipment Repair Technician
  10. Design Technician
Top Recruitment Portals in Russia
  1. Career
  2. Careerist
  3. CareerJet
  4. E-graduate
  5. Head Hunter
  6. Indeed
  7. Job.ru
  8. Rabota
  9. Superjob
  10. Trovit

Unique Student Experience

Russia may not be as popular as a student destination when compared to the United Kingdom,
United States, and Canada. But many students report great satisfaction with their experience in Russia.
Here are some things international students in Russia can expect:

International Student Associations

Universities in Russia offer students different opportunities to strengthen their
interpersonal skills, language proficiency, and leadership competencies. For example, HSE University has the
Student Initiative Support Centre that aims to provide students with the necessary resources
to help them hone their skills beyond the classroom setup.

Students are encouraged to join international organizations, such as the Association des
Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe (AEGEE), an interdisciplinary association in Europe, representing
more than 13,000
European students in Russia and other countries.

Recreational Pursuits

As mentioned, Russians are an active bunch. They enjoy going out and interacting with
their peers and colleagues. Some of the popular
activities that Russians engage in are:

  • Ball Games (volleyball, badminton, handball)
  • Racquet Sports (tennis, table tennis, badminton)
  • Fencing
  • Chess
  • Water Sports
  • Running
  • Boxing
  • Martial Arts

Russia is also home to some of the world’s most beautiful spots. Students are encouraged
to explore Russia to know more about the country’s culture
and traditions. Some of the best places to explore include:

  • Lake Baikal
  • Moscow
  • St. Petersburg
  • Altay
  • Sochia
  • The Russian Tundra
  • Peterhof
  • Olkhon Island
  • Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky
  • Vladivostok
Application Process

Students interested in furthering their education in Russia must apply directly to the
school of their choice and take note of the following:

Application Deadlines

Students who wish to enrol in any Russian academic program must take note of the admission
which typically varies depending on the semester.

First Semester Admissions

Students can send in their application from 1 January until 1 July for acceptance to the
September session. Some universities will allow students to process their application until
September for acceptance into the November session.

Second Semester Admissions

Second semester students can start applying from 1 September to 1 January for classes that
will start on 1 February.

Preparatory Admissions

In Russia, international students can take advantage of the preparatory admissions
offered by the universities to help them assimilate seamlessly into the Russian educational system and
lifestyle. For such cases,
students are open to apply any time of the year.

Postgraduate and PhD Programmes

For students intending to join the postgraduate and clinical programmes, admission
applications run the whole year.
The same is applicable for PhD students.

Scholarship Applications

For students who wish to apply for scholarships and financial assistance,
can look into government scholarship. This covers:

  • Tuition fee for the whole duration of the course
  • Maintenance allowance
  • Dormitory accommodation

Privately funded scholarships are also available:

  • The School of Russian & Asian Studies (SRAS)
  • Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarships
  • BP in Russia Research Scholarships
  • American Councils Scholarships
  • OpenDoors: Russian Scholarship Project
Student Visa Applications

International students planning to study in Russia will need to have a passport and
a student visa. Note, however,
that visas will not be necessary for nationals of the following countries:

  • Abkhazia
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Moldova
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Southern Ossetia
  • Tajikistan
  • Ukraine
  • Uzbekistan
Duration of Student Visa

In Russia, the duration of the student visa is only good for three months. Once it
expires, students should head to the General Administration for Migration Issues under the Interior
Ministry of Russia for a visa extension. The Federal Migration Service (FMS) will award the students
with a one-year multiple entry visa, allowing them to freely travel to and from Russia.

Documentary Requirements for a Student Visa

Students need to present the following documents to obtain a student visa:

  • International Passport with a duplicate copy of the front page (valid for at least six months
    after the expiry date of the visa)
  • Official invitation letter to enter Russia (original)
  • Application form
  • Photograph (3.5 x 4.5 cm)
  • Certificate of HIV-negative status issued in the last three months
  • Parental consent to travel (for students less than 18 years old)
  • Accommodation information
  • Proof of sufficient funds
Working Part-Time

The Russian Federation allows international students to work part-time
provided they are enrolled in a full-time course at a state university.

Under the new law, international students are now allowed to work for 20 hours per
week without securing an additional work permit, provided that the
employment contract duration coincides with the end of their studies.

Before the government required students to secure a work permit from the General
Administration for Migration Issues of the Interior Ministry of Russia. To get a work permit,
students must submit the following:

  • Application Form
  • Passport
  • Migration card
  • Receipt of Payment
  • Employment Contract
  • HIV-Negative Medical Certificate
  • Medical Clearance (infectious diseases and drug test)
  • Confirmation Letter from the University stating the student’s full-time status

Take note, however, that students who will work within their university or affiliated organisations, do
not need to secure a work permit when employed beyond their class time and during vacations.

Important: Students must ensure that their employer has the necessary permit to hire foreign citizens,
and that the work scope will not cause issues with the student’s academics.

Ideally, international students are encouraged to look for work to supplement their living expenses
while in Russia when they are in their third year of study. This way, they are better adjusted to the
Russian lifestyle and can even converse in Russian fluently.