Spanning across two continents: Europe and Asia, Russia is by far the world’s biggest country by area, as well as the most sparsely populated one, due to a large portion of the country being forested. It has a population of 150 million, making it the most populous country in Europe, with the vast majority of the population living in the western parts of the country. In this article, we will be looking at how to apply to universities in Russia.
1. Some of the reasons why you should apply to universities in Russia
Russia has a large number of natural resources including oil and natural gas, which tremendously helps the economy, despite people from rural areas still living in relative poverty. Russia also provides free healthcare and higher education for its citizens, and while international students have to pay tuition fees, they are very low compared to other developed nations, which attracts plenty of international students to the country, especially from former Soviet states.
2. Know what you want to study in Russia
Russia has a long history of success and innovation in almost all areas of society, and this is largely thanks to its quality of education in many different areas of study. If you are applying to universities in Russia, you should know the popular courses in Russia. That being said, the most popular degrees currently are pedagogical studies, Informational Technologies, and Medicine. Out of those, medicine, in particular, is something that Russia has been known for throughout the years, and that continues to be the case to this day, thanks to the world-class medical schools in the country.
The reason for the increased interest in pedagogical studies is largely an economical one, as educational reforms brought higher salaries to teachers, increasing the level of interest of young people to pursue that career. IT degrees also have a good reason for being so popular, and that is because they are relatively easy to get accepted into, only requiring you to pass a unified state exam in informatics and math.
3. Fulfill the Russian Language Requirements for Russian Universities
As you can imagine, Russian is the main language in Russian universities, and most of the programs are being taught in that language. However, due to the rising number of international students, the number of English-taught programs has increased as well. As is the case everywhere, there are certain language requirements that you will need to meet if you want to apply to Russian universities, and they depend on whether your program is in Russian or English.
Since most undergraduate programs are taught in Russian, you will be required to eventually learn the language. To prove their proficiency, most students take the Unified State Entrance Exam, however, most universities also offer a one-year preparatory period for you to learn the language even if you have no prior knowledge of it. In those universities, knowing Russian is not a requirement to apply.
4. Fulfill the English Language Requirements for Russian Universities
English is a lot more present with master’s programs, and there is a list of the available English programs at the Tomsk State University. When it comes to proving your knowledge of English, you will need to provide evidence that you passed some of the more widely known English exams, with varying levels of success depending on the institution and program that you’re applying for.
5. Prepare to meet the application requirements for Russian universities
To apply to universities in Russia to enroll in undergraduate programs, university applicants are required to take the Unified State Examination (EGE), which is the Russian equivalent of the SAT. Your score on this exam will have a lot to do in whether you get accepted or not, and top universities require very high EGE scores for candidates to be considered, which makes them quite difficult to get into. Other basic requirements like passport, medical coverage, and previous education are also required, and depending on where you’re from, you also may be required to obtain a student visa.
For graduate programs, you will need to prove that you have the necessary qualifications to pursue a master’s degree in that particular field, which means that your bachelor degree will need to be closely related to the new program, This process is a lot stricter than in the US and Europe. The entire step-by-step process for applying to Moscow State University for both bachelor’s and master’s programs can be viewed here.
6. Shortlist the Russian universities that you want to apply for
Once you have a good grasp of the general requirements, it is now time for you to begin searching for a university in Russia. As we already said, there is something for everybody there, which is why you should carefully research and apply to universities in Russia that have a good reputation in the subject area that you want to study in. As an example If you are interested in learning economics or business, the Higher School of Economics in Moscow is one of the best of its kind not only in Russia but also in the world.
There are also a few universities that are known for their medical schools such as Kazan Federal University and Saint Petersburg State University, while the highest-ranked university in the country is the Moscow State University. Since living in Moscow can be expensive you should also take a look at Novosibirsk State Universities, and Tomsk State Universities, which are two of the highest-ranked in the country.
7. Look for affordable universities in Russia if you want to save money
While Russia can’t compete with most European nations when it comes to tuition fees, as countries like Germany, Sweden, and others only charge a small administrative fee, while Denmark doesn’t charge anything at all, Russia makes up for it with other things. Most programs in Russia start at around $1,750 per year and can go as high as $9,000.
However, living costs can be significantly lower, unless you are studying in Moscow which is one of the world’s most expensive cities. If you can avoid the capital, you should be able to find it fairly cheap to live in Russia. There is also a good amount of affordable universities that are on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to average tuition fees, so if finances are a factor, which they almost always are, you should look to apply to some of these affordable Russian universities.
8. In addition, look for scholarships in Russia
The Russian government provides scholarships for all of its students, both international and domestic, based on their scores in the EGE examination. If you manage to score exceptionally high in that exam, you may qualify for a fully-funded scholarship. Even without taking EGE results into account, the government fully funds around 15,000 spots each year for international students, in an effort to attract talented young people to the country.
Another thing you can do when it comes to finding a scholarship is directly contacting the universities that you are interested in to see if you qualify for some of their scholarships. Most universities have a list of scholarships that cover the full or part of the tuition fee.
I hope that this article on how to apply to universities in Russia was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Europe Scholarships Page!