Information on Study and Research in Russia

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According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Russia’s population enjoys one of the highest levels of education in the world, putting it ahead of Canada, Japan, Israel and the United States. More than half of the population has a university degree. Over 200,000 people from 168 countries in the world enrol in degree programmes at Russian universities each year.

The Russian academic sector has a lot to offer – hardly a discipline or subject is not offered in Russia:

  • 950 major universities in 85 regions of the country,
  • over 200 branches of study are offered at Russian universities,
  • prospective students can enrol in bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral programmes in 657 different disciplines.

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Advantages to studying in Russia

Naturally students in Russia can gain fundamental knowledge in all disciplines, but the country’s reputation is largely based on its world-renowned scientific schools in the areas of mathematics, physics and the natural sciences. Russia is recognised worldwide for its outstanding mathematicians, physicists, chemists, geologists, computer programmers, engineers, doctors and experts in other natural scientific fields – which is also confirmed by its top-placed universities in international rankings.

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Tuition fees in Russia are much lower than those in the USA, Canada and Great Britain, and yet the quality of education is so high that leading universities in Russia are able to successfully compete with Western institutions of higher education.

Russia is one of the few countries in the world that offers tuition-free study to foreign students. Each year the Russian government subsidises several thousand study places for international students (15,000 in 2015). There are also several categories of foreign students which are eligible for publicly financed study places beyond the standard quota. Students can also obtain financing by participating in the university-organised “Academic Olympics” in various disciplines. The winners receive certain privileges when applying for admission to leading Russian universities.

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Some 260 million people worldwide speak Russian, and about 10.5 million foreigners learn Russian as a foreign language. Russian universities offer a broad range of programmes for learners of Russian: language courses, summer school language programmes, distance learning etc. International students are given a one-year Russian course to prepare them for university study. The courses are free for foreign students who receive a subsidised study place from the Russian government.

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You didn’t get around to learning Russian in time for your trip? No problem! More and more Russian universities are offering degree programmes in English.

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Russia joined the Bologna Process in 2003. In autumn 2007, all universities in Russia established the two-tiered BA/MA system (four-year bachelor’s, two-year master’s) parallel to their traditional five-year diploma programmes. The “Federal Target Programme for Educational Development from 2006 to 2010” was approved in order to facilitate better integration into the “Single European Educational Area”. The diplomas conferred by Russian universities are recognised in most countries. Furthermore, many Russian universities have established international degree programmes in cooperation with foreign partner universities. This enables students to earn a degree in Russia while pursuing a second degree at a European university at the same time.

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Russian university facilities are as well-equipped as those of most European universities. Modern technological equipment in laboratories, scientific centres and class rooms are an integral part of everyday life at university. Most universities operate their own student halls of residence with comfortable and inexpensive rooms.

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Students in Russia can take advantage of a wide array of discounts, for example, on public transportation, at museums, libraries, theatres, concerts, art exhibitions and other performance venues.

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There are numerous recreational activities available to students in Russia. They can play sports, participate in competitions, attend student parties and festivals, learn languages and much more. Many universities have their own student theatre groups, sports teams and a variety of student volunteer organisations.

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Collaboration in the areas of education, research and technology represents one of the central pillars of German-Russian relations. In April 2005, both countries adopted the “Joint declaration on the German-Russian strategic partnership in education, research and innovation” in which they pledged to expand collaboration in a wide range of research areas.

In 2008, with support from the DAAD, the Institute for Russian-German Literary and Cultural Relations (in German language) was established on the basis of the Russian State University for the Humanities in Moscow (RGGU). In 2010, again with support from the DAAD, the German-Russian Interdisciplinary Science Center G-RISC was founded on the basis of the St. Petersburg State University. Its purpose was to intensify and deepen interdisciplinary scientific collaboration between Germany and Russia in the fields of physics, chemistry and mathematics. In 2014, the DAAD helped establish the German-Russian Institute of Advanced Technology GRIAT on the basis of the Kazan State Technical University named after A.N. Tupolev .

The scope of cooperation is still expanding. Today the DAAD finances seven scholarship programmes in cooperation with Russian academic institutions. In the near future, the DAAD plans to launch the new scholarship programme “Abram Ioffe” (in German language) together with the association of leading universities in the Russian Federation. This programme will offer both German and Russian applicants new possibilities for financing study or research visits in Russia and Germany.

Impressive facts and figures:

  • A total of 908 cooperation agreements exist between universities in Germany and Russia.
  • Seven German-language degree programmes have been established in such subjects as Agricultural Science, Political Studies, Environmental Studies, Law and Economics.
  • Twelve dual-degree programmes have been successfully established at German and Russian universities with support from the DAAD.
  • Ten partnership agreements on cooperation in the area of German Studies have been concluded between German and Russian universities.

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