Capital City: Moscow
Largest City: Moscow
Official Languages: Russian
Currency: Ruble ₽, руб
Time Zones: UTC+2 to +12
Why Study in Russia?
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.
Russia is no longer a desolate nation but one of the most sought-after study destinations in the world. International students flock to the country each year since it is one of the most affordable places to study. In addition, Russia’s educational system is widely regarded as one of the world’s best.
The country has a rich history, beautiful natural environment, amazing art and culture, and a low cost of living.
Russia is the world’s largest nation with a rich history and several ethnic groups. There have been invasions, monarchies, and the authoritarian 20th-century Soviet regime in its past. More than what’s on the surface, however, the country takes great pride in its educational system and top-notch institutions. Other gains include a wide range of customs and cultures, stunning natural scenery, a high standard of living, as well as low tuition and living expenses, and more.
It is undeniable that education is highly valued in Russia, as evidenced by the fact that many of its institutions ranked highly in the 2023 QS World University Rankings.
In 2019-2020, there are 315,000 international students in Russia, or about 8% of the total student population, as per the statistics. More than 4 million students enrolled in Russia in 2020-2021, both Russian and foreign, according to the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of Russia. International students in Russia have a wide range of options: 776 universities in 82 regions, more than 400 programs of study, and over 650 subjects in various levels of study.
The number of international students in the country is growing. They have the ability to gain profound expertise in the fields they want to succeed. In spite of this, the country has long been considered a global leader in the fields of mathematics and other sciences.
Russia as a Study Destination
Russia has a great reputation in education providing top-notch programs and universities. In fact, Moscow came in at 25th on the QS Best Student Cities list in 2022.
High-quality education for all Russian residents has been a long-standing legacy in Russia’s schooling system. Education in Russia delivers a literacy rate of 99%, which is higher than that of most European nations. Because of its high educational and skill standards, Russia is a preferred destination for international students.
It takes four years to complete primary (elementary) schooling in Russia, followed by five years of basic general education (lower-secondary) and two to three years of secondary schooling. The completion of a study requires a total of 11 years, broken down as follows: 4+5+2 years. Upper-secondary students can also enroll in vocational-technical programs.
Since 2007, all students must attend school until they complete grade eleven. Schooling in a public school is free, and some private institutions also offer the same opportunity but it is limited.
Russia has produced countless intelligent individuals who significantly contributed to society throughout history. Over 40 of these people are Nobel laureates. Almost 300,000 international students are currently finishing their degrees in Russian universities, most supported by the government.
There are currently 48 Russian educational institutions listed under the QS World University Rankings, with most being universities that welcome international students. Government efforts like the Russian Academic Excellence Project help in ensuring the quality of Russian education remain top-level, and that Russian universities can keep on par with global research and education standards.
Placing first in Russia and 75th in the world, Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU) was recognized by Quacquarelli Symonds in its World University Rankings 2023. The Bauman Moscow State Technical University followed at 230th on the list.
Top Education Providers
Since the Soviet era, Russia has maintained a system of universal, high-quality education for all its citizens. Moscow and St. Petersburg are home to Russia’s most prestigious universities. In order to gain admission to the best universities in Russia, applicants must meet rigorous admissions criteria and sit for a specialized exam each year.
Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU)
This Russian university is one of the most prominent, as well one of the most famous educational institutions in the country. MSU excels in the fields of mathematics, humanities, and natural sciences. International students enter this university for its expansive pool of academic programs and research opportunities in this institution.
Aside from academic excellence, MSU also boasts of its rich campus life, diversity mainly due to thousands of foreign students, and its attractive location as it’s located in the capital of the country.
St. Petersburg University
St. Petersburg University (SPbU) was Russia’s first university, opening its doors in 1724. In today’s world, St. Petersburg University is one of the world’s most important educational, scientific, and cultural institutions. QS ranks it among the top 300 universities worldwide and second in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
According to the QS Graduate Employability Ranking, SPbU is Russia’s second-best university for connecting employers and students. Multidisciplinary education programs are designed by this top-notch institution, which combines theoretical problems with real-world applications.
Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT/PhysTech)
The MIPT is considered one of the leading universities in Russia in the fields of technology and physics. Many graduates of this university went on to become reputable experts and recipients of prestigious awards, with some being Nobel laureates.
Students in MIPT are honed to become knowledgeable and experienced individuals in their fields. As early as their second year in the university, students are involved in research works in first-rate educational and research institutes.
Scholarships and Financial Assistance
Students who are enrolled in a state-funded university or who have been awarded a scholarship do not pay tuition fees. There will be a monthly allowance of 1,484 RUB for undergraduate students and 2,921 RUB for postgraduate students, as of 2020.
The Russian government provided 15,000 scholarships in 2020. These awards are made available by state-funded and public educational institutions, and they cover the following areas:
a full tuition fee with the chosen course of study
student housing at a university (if slots are available)
monthly stipend while they pursue their education
How to apply for a government scholarship
Find information about the selection for international student scholarships through studyinrussia.ru.
Contact the home country’s representative and get necessary details about available scholarships and programs.
Register on the website by filling out an electronic form, then submit the application.
Wait for an invitation for the selection process (exams, tests, interviews).
Based on the results of exams, find the name on the list of candidates for scholarships.
Prepare additional requirements upon being listed.
Wait for a university’s letter of enrolment confirmation along with the next steps to be followed.
Quality of Life
Russia has made significant progress over the past decade in raising the standard of living for its citizens. The United Nations recently ranked the country 52nd in the Human Development Index (HDI) Ranking, with an HDI value of 0.824 out of a possible 1. According to official statistics, Russians can expect an average lifespan of 72.6 years, average education of 12.2 years, and a per capita GDP of $26,157 (PPP $).
Russians are warm and welcoming to visitors. When invited into someone’s home, it has become customary to bring a gift. They have the ability to foster long-term relationships and come in handy in times of need.
Russia is a country known for its rich culture, along with its eventful history. Russia also excels in different fields such as art, literature, classical music, and ballet among others. The colorful culture of Russia is evident in the ethnic costumes and decorated religious objects.
Many notable Russians are known throughout the world, including Piotr Tchaikovsky, Leo Tolstoy, and Yuri Gagarin. The country is often referred to as a ‘melting pot’ as it has accomplished many achievements in different fields, with arts and literature as examples. One can never run out of things to experience and activities to enjoy in Russia- going to concerts, cinemas, ballet performances, and art museums to name a few. Additionally, 26 World UNESCO Heritage Sites including the Kremlin, Red Square, and Lake Baikal can be found in this country.
The country’s official language is Russian with 81% of its citizens using the language as their main language.
All state-accredited educational institutions, with the exception of pre-schools, use Russian as their primary teaching language. Its citizens can receive basic education in their native languages.
There has been an increase in demand from international students for English-language programs, particularly for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia’s two most important international centers, are the most common locations for English-language study programs. As an overseas student in Russia, it will be incredibly beneficial to learn Russian in order to communicate effectively.
In the world of international higher education, Russia is among the countries with the lowest tuition costs. It is less expensive than the tuition fees in other nations, including the United States and Europe. The annual tuition at Russian universities varies between RUB 122 500 to 880,000 (USD 1,750-12,570), depending on the institution, region, and field of study. Listed below are Russian universities’ average, minimum, and maximum tuition fees per degree.
240,000-260,000 RUB/year (average)
122,500 RUB/year (minimum)
880,000 RUB/year (maximum)
240,000-260,000 RUB/year (average)
122,500 RUB/year (minimum)
632,580 RUB/year (maximum)
260,000-280,000 RUB/year (average)
147,000 RUB/year (minimum)
460,000 RUB/year (maximum)
280,000-300,000 RUB/year (average)
79,300 RUB/year (minimum)
413,000 RUB/year (maximum)
Tuition fees at top-ranked universities
Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) – about 501,000 RUB/year
HSE University – ranges between 168,000–456,000 RUB/year
Most affordable universities in Russia
Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) – Master’s start free of charge
Saint Petersburg Electrotechnical University “LETI” – Master’s start at 125,000 RUB/year
Tomsk Polytechnic University – Bachelor’s start at 184,000 RUB/year
Voronezh State University – Master’s start at 210,000 RUB/year
Cost of Living
In Russia, one can afford to live comfortably on a modest budget. Students typically need between 23,000 and 30,000 RUB/month or 230,000 and 300,000 RUB/year to cover their expenses.
The monthly cost of student housing ranges from 500 to 35,000 RUB. This varies depending on the type of lodging, location, and region.
In addition to meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, a basic shopping basket also contains dairy products such as milk, bread, pasta, and sugar, which costs an average of $4,209 RUB per month.
A single trip on the Moscow subway would charge 57 RUB, while a 60-journey travel card would cost 1,970 RUB. When a student discount is used, a monthly Moscow subway card that costs 405 RUB can be bought for less money. Other cities have cheaper fares.
How to Apply
The requirements for studying in Russia vary depending on the target institution including but not limited to the program applied for, past grades, and interview and admission exam results. Below are the steps you can take in applying:
Be prepared. First and foremost, choose a degree program you’re going to apply to and a university where you want to study. It is also a good idea to look into the tuition fees, as well as scholarships you can avail of to help lessen your expenses.
Ready your documents. Universities usually have a list of the necessary documents needed for application, and it helps to have them prepared beforehand.
Go into the admission process. The admission process usually includes exams and interviews, which are crucial for getting into the target university.
Be invited. Once you are accepted into your chosen university, you just have to wait for an invitation. The next step is to apply for a student visa.
Jumpstart your international studies with MSM Unify. We will guide you on your way to success. Follow us to know more about how you can get into studying in Russia.
Here are some notable facts about the Russian education system:
Best Ranked Institutions by the QS World Rankings
- Lomonosov Moscow University
- St. Petersburg University
- Novosibirsk State University
- Tomsk State University
- Moscow Institute of Physics & Technology
- Bauman Moscow State Tech University
- Higher School of Economics University
- National Research Nuclear University MePhI
- RUDN University
- Ural Federal University
Top Master’s Degrees in Russia
- Sport Administration
- High Technology Business Management
- Political Analysis & Public Policy
- Aircraft Engineering
- GNSS Receivers, Hardware & Software
- Politics, Economics, & Philosophy
- Population & Development
- Statistical Learning Theory
- Strategic Corporate Finance
- Supercomputer Simulations in Science & Engineering
Top-Paying Jobs in Russia
- Drilling Engineer/Foreman
- Risk Manager/Financial Risk Assessment Specialist
- IOS & Android Developer
- Big Data Analyst
- SAP Consultant
- Java/Ruby Programmer
- Civil Aviation Pilot
- Ship Captain
In-Demand Jobs in Russia
- Aircraft Technicians
- Automotive Workers
- Nuclear Specialists
- Rocket Engineers
- Space Technicians
- Shipbuilding Crew
- Robot Technicians
- Equipment Repair Technician
- Design Technician
Top Recruitment Portals in Russia
- Head Hunter
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.
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)
- Water Sports
- 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
- St. Petersburg
- The Russian Tundra
- Olkhon Island
Students interested in furthering their education in Russia must apply directly to the school of their choice and take note of the following:
Students who wish to enrol in any Russian academic program must take note of the admission deadlines, 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.
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.
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:
- Southern Ossetia
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
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
- 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.