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Study in Russia

Graduate programs in Russia

Russia is historically one of the world’s great countries, with a huge tradition of educational excellence and a political past to rival any other nation.Study in Russia

Modern day Russia, however, is still evolving from its communist past. Educational reform is bringing the country closer to its European counterparts and its universities are once again beginning to be recognised for their excellence.

Beyond education, Russia offers stunning scenery, awe-inspiring cities and plenty of culture. Although most cities offer graduate programs in Russia, you’ll generally find yourself in one of the big two – Moscow or St Petersburg.

Population: 143,500,000

Education overview

International study in Russia can seem overwhelming and confusing. There are more than 600 state universities and nearly 200 private institutions offering graduate programs in Russia, all with programs of varying quality and effect.

However, the Russian government is investing heavily in developing its education provision by pumping 390 billion roubles (US$13.5 billion) into improving university facilities and lecturer research. Consequently, Russia is looking to attract many more international graduate students onto its courses and into research at its universities.

There are two types of graduate program in Russia:

  • Aspirantura (postgraduate study leading to Masters qualification)
  • Doctorantura (doctoral studies leading to PhD level qualification)

The vast majority of courses in Russia will be taught in Russian, so you’ll need to make sure that your languages skills are up to scratch before applying.

Immigration and visas in Russia

Russian visa requirements are notoriously tricky, so make sure you get as much information as you can before applying. All students will need a student visa to study a graduate program in Russia, regardless of nationality.

Your university can issue visa documents for you providing you fulfil the following:

  • You have a confirmed place accepted at the university
  • You have a certificate showing a negative HIV test
  • Proof of finances to cover the duration of your studies
  • You are no older than 35 for doctoral studies

Life in Russia

Russians are fiercely patriotic people who are happy to continue the traditions and customs of Russia, especially as personal freedoms are growing as the country continues to move away from its Communist past.

The Russian lifestyle varies a lot depending on where you choose to live – you wouldn’t expect life in Siberia to mirror that of metropolitan Moscow. Partly as a hangover from the Communist era, Russians are extremely civic minded and often prefer to do things as part of a group or through contacts. It’s important to have influence and contacts in Russia if you want to get ahead and get things done.

Russia’s three main university cities are capital Moscow, St Petersburg and Tomsk in Siberia. As with most student friendly cities, there are many things to do and see, from opera, ballet and art galleries to restaurants and vodka bars. Bear in mind that Russia isn’t a cheap country – accommodation costs in Moscow are as high as anywhere in the world.

Public holidays are opportunities to see Russian patriotism up close. Most are accompanied by traditional foods, dress and music.

Working in Russia

Russia is a vast country with a huge amount of natural resources in oil and gas, which employ many thousands of people. Russia has the world’s eighth largest economy and is part of the BRIC group of countries along with Brazil, China and India – countries deemed to be on the verge of enormous economic development.

The country has always been at the forefront of scientific and technological exploration, from nuclear energy to space travel. Although developments in these areas dipped during the 1990s, Russia is fast re-establishing itself as an innovative and creative country teeming with ideas.

International students are not permitted to work in Russia while taking part in their studies as part of the terms of their student visas.


Accommodation costs in Russia vary greatly depending on where you are studying. You will pay a lot more for a flat in Moscow than Tomsk, for example.

Most students on a graduate program in Russia will opt to stay in university halls at the beginning of their studies. This will allow them to get to know fellow students, settle into Russian life and practice their language skills more easily.

However, as a graduate student you may want a little more privacy later in your studies. The rental market in Russia can be confusing, so it’s worth asking your university to help you with the process.

Climate in Russia

Russia’s enormous size means its climate changes and varies depending on where you are studying. Its northerly location means Russia can experience extremes of both heat and cold. St Petersburg can seem highs of 35C during the summer months of June and July, but temperatures can dip to -20C during winter, particularly between December and February.


Russia has one of the world’s most extensive transport networks, with road, railways and airways stretching nearly 4,800 miles between Kaliningrad in the west and the Kamchatka Peninsula in the east. You’ll never struggle to make it between cities in Russia, particularly with the efficient Russian Railways network.

You can also find metro systems in Moscow, St Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Kazan among other cities.


The currency of Russia is the Rouble.

What to do next

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