Education in Russia

Russian universities offer several types of education. Firstly, there is full-time attendance, when you need to be present at the university classes during the day. Secondly, there is the evening option, when you attend classes in weekday evenings and weekend days. Thirdly, you may choose part-time enrolment, where students listen to introductory lectures and subsequently study at home in accordance with a specially developed curriculum, and then come to the university to pass tests and exams. There are several levels of higher education: You can study in programme that award a Bachelor's, Specialist, Master's, or Postgraduate Degree as well as professional training programme or career advancement programme, or you can simply come to study Russian.

Levels of Higher Education

Level 1 - Bachelor's Degree

This is a complete higher education course. Individuals who have completed education equivalent to Russian general secondary or vocational secondary education can enrol in a Bachelor's Degree course. The course lasts 4 years and gives general fundamental training.

At the end of their Degree, students defend their thesis. If successful, the student is awarded a Bachelor's Degree certificate (BA, BSc). The certificate grants the student the right to work according to profession or to further their studies on a Master's Degree course.

Level 2 - Specialist Degree

Unlike Bachelor's Degrees, Specialist Degrees are more focused on practical work in industry according to the selected discipline. These programmes are offered to individuals who have education equivalent to Russian general secondary or vocational secondary education. The course lasts for a minimum of 5 years. Based on the examination results and thesis defence, a Specialist Degree certificate specifying the qualification (e.g., "Astronomer," "Teacher," "Information Security Specialist," etc.) may be issued. Graduates of a Specialist Degree may work in industry or further their studies on a Master's or other postgraduate course.

 - Master's Degree

This allows in-depth specialisation in the student’s chosen field. Bachelor’s and Specialist Degree holders can enrol in Master's Degree courses. The course lasts at least two years and involves training students for research work. Students defend a thesis which, if successful, leads to a Master's Degree certificate and the qualification of Master.

Graduates of Master’s Degrees may work in industry or further their studies on a postgraduate course.

Level 3 - Highest Professional Training

A POSTGRADUATE COURSE is a form of training for academics. Graduates of a Master's or Specialist Degree can enrol in a postgraduate course. The course includes study, teaching, hands-on experience, and research. Postgraduate students select a research field and subject of research for their dissertation. Full-time study lasts at least 3 years, while part-time study lasts at least 4 years. A graduate is awarded a postgraduate certificate with the corresponding qualification (“Research Fellow,” “Research Teaching Fellow”). Depending on the result of the dissertation defence, a Candidate of Sciences Degree is awarded, which is the first Degree to confirm the status of scientist. Candidates of Sciences proceed to their Doctoral Degree (the second Degree to confirm the status of scientist), which is awarded following successful defence of their doctoral dissertation.

A POSTGRADUATE MILITARY COURSE is the equivalent of a university postgraduate course; however, it is only related to the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Defence.

AN INTERNSHIP is a form of postgraduate course for graduates of medical universities that leads to a professional qualification. The course lasts one year and is a practical placement at a medical institution under the mentoring of senior colleagues.

A MEDICAL RESIDENCY is the final stage in training in a number of medical (or pharmaceutical) fields. Individuals who hold a higher medical (or pharmaceutical) qualification can enrol in a medical residency. The course lasts 2 years and is a combination of in-depth study of the rudiments of medical sciences with hands-on experience in medical institutions where students develop the necessary professional skills and abilities. The course concludes with a three-stage qualification examination. Graduates are awarded a medical residency certificate and the qualification of specialist, enabling them to work in medical institutions.

AN ASSISTANTSHIP is a form of training of highly qualified personnel working in the arts. Graduates of Specialist or Master's Degrees in this field can train on assistantships. The course lasts up to two years and follows a tailor-made syllabus under the supervision of a mentor and head of department at the university. The graduate qualification work may be a performance, concert, show, exhibition, or film depending on the specialisation. An assistantship concludes with the award of a certificate, with the respective qualification ("Concert Performer and University Professor"), granting the right to perform or teach.

Second Higher Education

Russian legislation grants Russians just one free higher education (of levels 1, 2, or 3), while subsequent study must always be paid for. Foreign citizens who have graduated from a university outside the Russian Federation may enrol in a second higher education course both on a commercial and state-funded basis (subject to successful completion of the selection process). This can be done as part of a Bachelor's (up to 4 years), Specialist (up to 6 years), or Master's (at least 2 years) Degree.

The selection process is based on entry examinations. Upon graduation, a certificate is awarded to confirm the qualification.


Forms of Study


During full-time study, all classes are taught within a university. The education process involves personal contact between professors and students during lectures, seminars, and workshops. Students can ask questions, hold discussions, and professors can monitor the progress they make. Full-time study takes place during the day, which means it cannot be combined with another activity like employment.


A convenient option for those in employment. Classes are given in the evening during the week or on weekends. Most of the time is allocated to independent study. The ratio of independent study and lectures at universities is 50/50 or 60/40. Part-time study can be either state funded or fee based. The latter is considerably cheaper than its full-time equivalent.


Extramural students spend just 30% of their study time at the university, with the remaining 70% spent on independent study following the university syllabus. The academic year for extramural students is divided into teaching and assessment sessions. During the teaching session, students attend induction lectures for 2-3 weeks and are then assessed. The period between sessions is 4 to 5 months when students independently study the subjects. Extramural study is convenient for Distance Learning and is considerably cheaper than its full-time equivalent. Extramural forms of study may not be available for certain disciplines, such as medicine.

Distance Learning

This is based on the active use of telecommunication technologies and the Internet. The delivery is based on online teaching: lectures, seminars, and interaction of students and professors take place via Skype or other means of video communication.


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