How to Apply to a University in Russia in 2021

Russia is known for many things — being a world superpower, sending the first man into space, having the coldest city in the world, Yakutsk (-40°C), not recognising drinks with 10% alcohol as alcoholic until 2011 — but Russia is also a popular destination for higher education.

Over 300,000 international students enrol in Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes at Russian universities every year. If you want to join them, then these are the main steps of the university application process in Russia.

1. Pick a subject to study in Russia

Out of the various English-taught degrees available in Russia, the following are the most popular among international students:

2. Find a Russian university to apply to

Here are some of the top-ranked universities in Russia:

Find other universities in Russia.

3. Learn where to submit your university application

There are two options for international students:

Saint-Petersburg, Russia

4. Meet the university entry requirements

Russian universities usually ask for the same documents you’d expect from similar academic institutions:

  • completed application form
  • proof of paying the application fee (if applicable)
  • high school diploma (to apply for a Bachelor’s)
  • Bachelor’s diploma (to apply for a Master’s)
  • transcript of records
  • passport-sized photo(s)
  • copy of valid passport and/or personal ID
  • motivation letter

Specialised degrees — e.g. Medicine, Engineering — might have additional entry requirements.

The application process happens in two stages:

  • initial application: send certified copies of all documents translated into Russian
  • submitting documents at the university: after being admitted, you need to bring the original files as well as other certificates the university might require, like a medical statement confirming your health status and medical history

Notice: International students from certain countries might need to go through an additional procedure to have their diplomas recognised.

5. Find out about the language requirements

To enrol in one of the English-taught programmes, you need to prove a minimum level of English language proficiency. The most widely accepted tests are:

Universities also offer preparatory courses for those brave souls out there who plan to study in Russian or who already have basic skills and want to advance their Russian knowledge.

Find Master's degrees in Russia

6. Apply before the application deadlines

Every year, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation determines the dates for applications and examinations. Based on these dates, universities establish their own application deadlines, which you can find on their websites.

As a general overview, students have 2 options:

  • apply for the autumn intake: applications are accepted between January and July
  • apply for the spring intake: applications are accepted between September and January

At some universities, PhD students can send their application at any time during the academic year.

7. Final steps after receiving your acceptance letter

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