International Study in Russia
Why study abroad in Russia?
Russia may not be the first study destination to come to mind.
- However, there are attractive undergraduate study options in one of the world's growing economic nations.
- Russia's membership of the European Higher Education Area means that Russian universities and higher education institutions have begun to offer a more Westernised model of higher education.
That process is only beginning, though, and Russian universities can be challenging places, with a legacy of political interference, nepotism and corruption.
- There are more than 600 state universities and a considerable number of private universities of variable quality.
- Despite this, it has no universities in Top 100 of the 2011 QS World University Rankings.
- English-medium teaching exists but is restricted to a handful of universities who are eager to recruit internationally (not just from the UK and the US).
Entry and visa regulations
A student visa is required to study in Russia.
- Visa application documents will be issued by the university once a student has been accepted, and the application handled by the university’s foreign department.
- This can be a lengthy process and should be begun three months ahead of the start of the course.
- The initial visa is for three months only, must be registered within 72 hours of arrival, and is renewable after arrival.
- A certificate showing a negative HIV test may be required.
At the moment, there are no national entrance exams (such as the SATs in the US) needed to study in Russia, but different universities may have individual admissions policies.
- Students without the Russian language have to complete a pre-academic year and pass the entrance exam.
- There is an upper age limit of 28 (35 for doctoral studies).
Funding your study
Because Russia is a relatively new study abroad destination for international students, fees to study there are not expensive.
- There is a wide variety of degree programmes to study in Russia, from law, arts and languages to computing, mathematics and sciences.
- Fees will vary depending on the programme of study but are likely to be between £2,500 and £5,000 per year.
As with any international study experience, accommodation and living costs must be taken into account.
- Finding student accommodation in Russia can be difficult so many students tend to stay in university halls of residence.
- Alternatives, such as staying with a family or as part of a flatshare may be required as part of the visa application.
Is part-time work possible?
- As a student it may be possible to be exempted from the requirement to have a work permit to find part-time work, but it is not automatic.
- Wages will not be high and it is advisable to take local advice.
Moscow is the most expensive city in Russia but prices will appear reasonable to UK residents.
Here are some approximate prices of how much things will cost (all prices are in GBP):
- Weekly grocery shop: £25.
- One-way third class train ticket from Moscow to St Petersburg: £25.
- International calling card with three hours prepaid: £13.
- Lunch from a traditional Russian fast food chain: £3.50.
- Metro ticket: 30p.
Health and safety
Make sure you take out health and travel insurance before leaving the UK to study abroad in Russia.
- Some health provisions can be hard to come by in Russia so do some research on what is available and be sure to take a first aid kid of supplies with you for any emergencies.
- Normal safety precautions apply and in the case of cities such as Moscow should be followed scrupulously.
- For more information on international study in Russia and what life is like in this country, visit Study in Russia.
- The Way to Russia blog contains useful and interesting insight to the Russian people and life in Russia.
Next page: Study in Spain