9 Cheapest Universities in Russia for International Students

Russia is renowned for being one of the largest countries in the world, spreading across 2 major continents and comprising of around 9 time zones. Within Russia’s vast landmass, there is a range of different landscapes varying from expansive plateaus and lush forests to sprawling cities and quaint towns.

Along with its rich diversity in life, the country has one of the most intricate histories as well and currently boasts of one of the largest and growing economies in the world. Home to iconic figures such as Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and Lenin, this country has constantly contributed to shaping the world’s thoughts in various ways.

With its growing economical prowess in the world, Russia naturally has a highly developed education system that is constantly improving over the years. Over the past decade alone, the system has undergone rigid changes and over USD $ 6 Billion has been allocated to developing and improving the education system as well as ensuring its students have access to the premier and cutting edge facilities.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that this country has over 20 of its main universities that are featured in the QS world university rankings, of which 10 are placed in the top 400 universities in the globe.

Russia has thus become a popular study destination for international students, whether it’s for a year abroad, on an exchange program, or for the duration of your degree. On an annual basis, the country attracts approximately 1 million foreign students to its universities.

Naturally, it can be quite worrying for students to think about finances. However, fear not. Russia, in general, is not the most expensive country to pursue your studies in.

Within this article, we list a few of the universities in Russia that charge minimal tuition fees from international students. Considering these cheap universities in Russia for international students while also thinking of accommodating your budget and the location of your university will guarantee you a cost-effective but enriching study experience in Russia!


How do I Study in Russia as an International Student?

To study in Russia, you will need to go through the application process that can take weeks to prepare. This whole process can be a bit difficult, so we’ve prepared a guide on How to Study in Russia for International Students, so read it if you feel lost.


What are the costs for an international student to study in Russia?

In general, tuition fees for universities and colleges of education in India tend to be around $2000-$3000 per year although this can definitely vary.

Additionally, complex courses such as engineering and medicine (which interestingly attract more international students) tend to vary around $2500-$4000 per year. Accommodation depends on campus and off-campus locations; typically, the costs range from $150-$400.

Although there are costs of studying, there are ways that you can study in Russia for free, which many international students have taken advantage of. If you are interested, learn more about How to Study in Russia for Free (8 Steps).


What are the languages of instruction?

Russia tends to be specific in providing education predominantly in the Russian language so the majority of international students are required to take a course in Russian. However, numerous institutions do offer English as a supportive language so students can definitely use it for their own help.


Are scholarships available for prospective students?

Scholarships are available and offered by the majority of Russian universities. Additionally, such opportunities are also provided by the student’s government. These are offered on both a need-based and academic potential basis.


Affordable Universities in Countries Near Russia

There are plenty of universities that provide affordable education in countries near Russia. If you are interested, look at these articles:


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Cheap Universities in Russia

1. Kazan Federal University

Kazan Federal University is a public and federal institute of higher education based in the western city of Kazan in Russia. With its history dating back to the early 19th century, the university is renowned for being the birthplace of organic chemistry and the theory of ‘electron spin resonance’ due to the works of its prestigious alumni and staff.

Currently, the cheap university in Russia is home to a student enrolment of over 50,000. This large and diverse institution further consists of 16 institutes, 3 higher schools, a faculty of law as well as 2 regional branches.

Collectively, it provides well over 450 different degrees of study for undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as double degrees offered in collaboration with other partner universities. The university maintains a high research focus and is predominantly intensive in the areas of oil management, pharmaceutical studies, biomedicine, aerospace technology, and social sciences.

Additionally, prospective foreign students who are not fluent in Russian are required to take a 1-year training program in the language, although English teaching is offered in numerous degrees.


2. Altai State Technical University

Based in the city of Barnaul in the Altai region in Southern Russian, the Altai State Technical University is a leading public research university that predominantly provides education in technology and sciences. The university was established in 1942 as an industrial institution.

It offers over 100 degrees and courses that include 4 year Bachelor’s programs, 2 year Master’s programs as well as specialist diplomas. Additional doctoral programs are also offered in select subjects.

The academic faculties that oversee these courses include information technology, humanities, civil engineering, energy engineering, and the university college of technology among others. Currently, the university has a student population of over 20,000.


3. Herzen University

The next cheapest university in Russia for international students on our list is the Herzen State Pedagogical University, an elite institution of higher education located in the stunning city of St. Petersburg in Russia. The university’s history dates back to the late 18th century and it was previously known as the Leningrad State Pedagogical Institution.

With a current student population of over 20,000, the university academically separated into 20 major faculties and over 100 different departments.

Additionally, the university maintains partnerships with around 150 different institutions of higher education across Europe, America, and Asia. This enables Herzen to regularly take part in international programs and student exchanges and thus draws in hundreds of international students on an annual basis.

Over the decades, the university has forged strong networks for its research and academics. Its particular areas of strength include the fields of northern studies (in terms of culture and education), nature management, and the study of biological systems.


4. ITMO University ( Saint Petersburg National Research University)

The ITMO University (which stands for Information Technology, Mechanics and Optics) is a large state university that is located in the city of St. Petersburg. It is one of Russia’s largest institutions of research and its prowess in research led the university to representation in the Russian Academic Excellence Project 5-100.

The university has a student enrolment of over 15,000 with over 1100 students coming from outside of Russia. They study under an academic constitution of 18 departments with access to 7 major research institutions overseen by the university.

TMO offers a multilevel system of education including 4 year Bachelor programs, 5-year specialist programs, 2-year master programs, and 3-4 year doctoral programs.

Additionally, partnerships with universities in the Netherlands, France, Germany, and Finland enable the university to provide double degree programs for its students. It has also periodically been ranked among the top 400 universities in the world.


5. Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University

Located in the far western Baltic city of Kaliningrad, the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University is a federal institution of higher education that was founded in 1967.

It academically consists of 12 faculties of study that provide a range of academic courses varying from the humanities to natural sciences. Currently, the university has over 13,500 students enrolled in undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

With its unique location, it has become a striking and prominent hub of education and cultural engagement in the region that offers more than 300 educational programs for its students which range from short vocational courses to full-time degrees.

The majority of students study in the humanities, followed by economics, social studies, and natural sciences. Additionally, it is one of the only universities in the region to offer a prominent business school.


6. Far Eastern Federal University

The Far Eastern Federal University is a public university based in the eastern city of Vladivostok in Russia. Founded in 1899, this cheap university in Russia was initially an institution that catered towards providing studies in the field of training for administrative and commercial institutions as well as oriental studies.

Since then, the university has transformed into an elite institution that provides education for over 42,000 students. It further contributes heavily to the economy of the east and is the host of a novel and prestigious Eastern Economic Forum.

The university has an academic composition of 9 main schools that oversee various fields such as engineering, humanities, law, natural sciences, biomedicine, data economy, and region & international studies.

It is further considered to be a bridge between Russian education and the worldwide society of universities and has forged connections with over 100 different universities in multiple countries for academic exchange and partnerships.


7. Tomsk Polytechnic University

Tomsk Polytechnic University is a public institution of higher education in the central region of Tomsk. It is one of the oldest technological universities with its history dating back to 1896.

After splitting and then undergoing various mergers, the university eventually became an institution committed to providing optimal education in the technical sciences and currently has a student enrolment of over 22,000 while having an alumni network of over 100,000.

Academic faculties of the university oversee different fields including humanities, physics, engineering, cybernetics, natural resources, international education, and strategic partnerships. Additionally, the university has a number of strong collaborations with other foreign universities across the world, including the likes of Michigan State University, Ohio State University, and Goethe-Institut.


8. People’s Friendship University (RUDN University)

The People’s Friendship University, more commonly known as the RUDN, is a public institution of higher education based in the capital of Moscow. Established in 1960, the university’s main goal was to provide a comprehensive and holistic higher education to students, particularly those from the ‘third world’. Currently, the RUDN has a student population of over 21,000 and sees as many as 1000 international students.

This cheap university in Russia is academically comprised of the Agrarian Technological Institute, the Engineering Academy, the Institute of Law, Institute of Medicine as well as the faculties of Humanitarian/Social Sciences, Russian Languages, Philology, Ecology, and Economics. Additionally, the university’s research tends to focus on gravitation, cosmology, world economy/business, and medico-biological problems.


9. Southern Federal University

Located in the southern region of Rostov Oblast, the Southern Federal University is another federal institution of higher education that happens to be the largest educational and research establishment in the region, providing education for well over 40,000 students.

The university also has additional campuses in Taganrog and Roston-on-Don. Founded in 1915, the university strives to provide a comprehensive education for its students and thus provides a range of educational degrees under its numerous academic faculties and departments; these include biology, chemistry, history, law, mathematics, natural sciences, economics, medicine, and technology.

These degrees number up to 150 in total and cover the undergraduate to postgraduate levels. Additionally, the university has been constantly ranked in the top 1000 universities in the world.


I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Europe Scholarships Page!