Higher education in Russia

General information 

The modern higher education system in Russia is well comparable with world's best practices:

  • preparatory year for foreigners aiming on studies in Russian language: Russian language studies + basic disciplines, much like Foundation 
  • undergraduate level: Bachelor's degree (4-years 240 ECTS) or 5-years Specialist diploma 
  • postgraduate level: Master or Specialist diploma (2-years 180 ECTS) 
  • aspirantura (Ph.D. degree studies) 
  • credit transfer system based on ECTS 
  • worldwide academic exchange programs with credit transfer 
  • european diploma supplement
Now there are 662 universities in Russia. The majority of them are public (484), the rest are private (178).

University education now comprises 4 years for Bachelor's degree and 2 years for Master's degree (after Russia has entered Bologna process). Earlier the education was 5 years long and that is why many Russian have a degree of Specialist.

Entrance rate depends on the ranking of university. Some public universities also offer free places sponsored by the state and competition for those places is especially high. Whether a student gets the state-financed place or not depends on the number of points they get at the state exam after 11 years.

Language of instruction 

For most programs, especially at bachelor level, the language of instruction is Russian. This requires solid knowledge of Russian proved by a TORFL (test of Russian as a foreign language) certificate for direct admission, or can be acquired during a preparatory year. 

However, during last decades the number of degree programs completely taught in English has increased. Programs in English can be found mostly at master degree level and require advanced English language proficiency proven by an official test certificate.

Tip: tuition fee for the programs in Russian are lower than English ones.

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Bachelor's degree

Russian Universities offer international students a wide range of bachelor degree programs in the Russian and English languages.

The first 2-year study level depending on your major includes modules in natural sciences, mathematics, socio-economics, humanities and a few specialty oriented modules. The study modules of the second level (the next two years of study) include advanced profession-oriented modules, subjects in natural sciences, electives from special socio-economics modules and training in industrial and other companies. A Bachelor's degree holder could be employed as a middle-rank engineer/specialist.

Note! The holder can continue his/her studies to earn the Engineer's/Specialist's (1 year) or Master's Degree (2 years).

Engineer / specialist

Russian universities offer international students a wide range of Engineer/Specialist programs both in Russian and in English.

The professional study courses leading to the Engineer's/Specialist's ensure the training of well-qualified professionals in engineering and technology (Engineer) or in economics, humanities, etc. (Specialist). The engineer's courses include special disciplines and modules in modern technology and technological equipment oriented towards engineering creativity and invention, carrying out the interdisciplinary projects, and industrial training.

Note! The Engineer's/Specialist's and the Master's degree are equal both for recognition and post-graduate education in Russia and overseas.

Master's degree

The professional educational courses leading to the Master's Degree (two years after Bachelor's level) include special disciplines and modules, which explain new achievements in science and technology, in addition to those in the Bachelor's Degree courses. The courses are oriented towards scientific creativity, pedagogical activity, and practical and research work.

Note! Master's Degree holders have the opportunity to continue their research and to earn Ph.D. after 1-2 years.

Doctoral studies

The training of well-qualified specialists in teaching and research lasts for 3 to 4 years and ends with the public defense of a Ph.D. thesis. If you are studying for a Ph.D. as a full-time postgraduate you can expect to finish your research within 3 years. If you take the university's Master's Degree track you will have the opportunity to continue your research and to earn your Ph.D. after 2 years.

The duration of part-time or distance doctoral training is about 4 years. This duration can be altered. As a rule, students carry out real scientific and engineering investigations with the use of modern laboratory equipment, prepare scientific papers for publication and participate in national and international scientific conferences. All this activity is carried out under the guidance and supervision of leading university scientists.

Partner universities

Geneva Business School


Higher School of Economics

St. Petersburg

Lobachevsky University

Nizhniy Novgorod

Peter the Great St.Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU)


Petrozavodsk State University


Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University


St. Petersburg Polytechnic University

St. Petersburg


St. Petersburg

Tomsk Polytechnic University


Tula State Lev Tolstoy University


University of Tyumen


Vologda State University (VSU)




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