The world’s largest country, one of its oldest and greatest civilizations, a preeminent global superpower; the long list of accolades that one could shower upon Russia seems to go on indefinitely. Largely misunderstood in the West, Russia has for centuries been a global leader in thought, innovation, and scientific research, all flowing from its rich history of academic excellence. Earning your degree abroad in Russia is the opportunity to explore this infinitely deep culture firsthand, while further benefiting from enrollment in one of the world’s most prestigious university systems.
A behemoth nation spanning two continents and bordering over a dozen different countries throughout Europe and Asia, you will undeniably have your hands full deciding where to earn your degree abroad in Russia. Yet despite its size, Russia is actually very sparsely populated, and there are a small handful of cities which rank preeminently as the most popular destinations for international students to pursue their degrees.
First is Moscow. The nation’s capital, largest city, and home to some 16 million citizens, Moscow also hosts a number of the most prestigious universities where you can earn your degree abroad in Russia. For centuries Moscow has been one of the most influential global cities in the world, and today you will discover nothing short of greatness while living abroad there.
Saint Petersburg, Russia’s second largest and most “European” city, is another especially popular destination where to earn your degree abroad in Russia. Saint Petersburg was the imperial capital of Russia for a long time before the Russian Revolution took over in 1918, and continues to serve as a major cultural hub in wake of Moscow’s burgeoning political and economic influence.
Other cities where you might look into earning your degree abroad in Russia include Perm, Syktyvkar, and Nizhny Novgorod. There are hundreds of universities located throughout Russia, so research your potential locations thoroughly before deciding where to pursue a degree.
Academics & Degrees
As Russia continues to take strides away from old Soviet policies towards a more globalized outlook, its education system has become increasingly open to international students who want to earn their degree abroad. The catch, of course, is that you will be expected to have a strong degree of Russian language fluency in order to be considered for enrollment. Some universities will test your comprehension before admission, and others might offer a language immersion program prior to your studies as well.
Some of the most popularly pursued degrees abroad in Russia among international students include International Business, Russian Studies, Political Science, and History. English-taught degree programs do exist in Russia, but will usually offer quite a slim choice in subject area. On the contrary, the benefit of studying in a fully immersive Russian context is that you can take your pick from essentially any degree that is offered by your host university.
Students can travel to earn their degree abroad in Russia at the undergraduate, Master’s, or doctoral level. The Russian university system remains largely state oriented, but is continuously taking measures to align its structure with a more European-styled academic configuration. Academic years typically run on the semester system between September and June, with a break during the winter season.
Scholarships & Costs
Russian universities are largely state-funded, so tuition costs are fairly low by global standards (Russian students often even receive free housing and a stipend to live off of during their studies). International students may be expected to pay a more significant amount than Russian students for their tuition, but this will still prove more affordable than many private universities around the world. To learn more about what kinds of financial aid opportunities are available for international students in Russia, check out our Scholarship Directory.
Accommodation & Visas
International students earning their degree abroad in Russia will generally get to choose between living in student dormitories or in their own apartment. In some cities such as Moscow, rent costs can be exceedingly expensive, rendering dormitories a more attractive short-term option for many. Some degree abroad programs in Russia may also offer the option of living in a homestay, at least for a portion of your studies abroad.
Your host university will also have to endorse you for a student visa in order for you to be eligible to pursue a degree abroad in Russia. Some additional steps, such as a medical examination and proof of adequate funds, may be required if you are planning on staying in the country for an extended period of time. For more information regarding your individual circumstances, check out our Russian Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Vast and Deep. If you’ve ever read the works of one of the great Russian writers such as Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, or Chekhov, you may have some idea of what you are up against. The world’s largest country is home to an impressive history of cultural and intellectual depth.
Global Prominence. Russia has for long been one of the most influential countries in the world, and continues today to be a key player in international affairs and commerce. Not a bad place to reach across the aisle by earning your degree abroad.
Language Immersion. Russian is one of the UN’s six officially recognized languages, and one that is not commonly known among native English speakers. Earning your degree abroad in Russia is the opportunity to become fluent in an immensely valuable second language.