Top 10 Universities in Russia for International Students

Russians hold education in high regard. With more than 50% of its citizens university-educated, the former Soviet Union offers the same degree of academic excellence to its international students. Being home to many prestigious universities, Russia is committed to delivering world-class education – at a friendly price, but of course! In this article, we will be going over the best universities in Russia for international students.

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Are foreigners happy with Russian universities?

Yes. According to the testimonies in the Study Russia website, international students have ‘enjoyable experiences’ in the country. Many commend the completeness of the universities’ facilities, as well as the friendly attitude of Russians towards foreign students.

What are the most common courses taken by international students in Russia?

Foreigners usually take up art, literature, and history programs in Russian universities.

How many international students are enrolled in Russian universities?

There are 334,000 international students enrolled in Russian universities.

What is the best Russian university for foreign applicants?

Lomonosov Moscow State University is considered the best choice for foreigners who wish to study in Russia.

Best Universities in Russia for International Students

1. Lomonosov Moscow State University

Lomonosov Moscow State University (LMSU), or Moscow State University, is a public research institution situated in the Russian capital. It was founded in 1755 by its namesake, Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov. Lomonosov Moscow State University is the best university in Russia for international students.

The campus is located in Sparrow Hills, which is 5 kilometers away from the city center. Its main building is designed by architect Lev Rudnev, while its seven neoclassic towers were commissioned by Joseph Stalin.

There is a total of 39 faculties and 15 research centers in LMSU. They cover a wide array of disciplines, including that of the Natural & Biological Sciences, Law, Economics, Medicine, Social Sciences & Humanities, Fine Arts, Performing Arts, and Military Training, to name a few.

2. Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, also known as MIPT or PhysTech, is a university that specializes in theoretical physics and applied physics, among many other related disciplines. It was founded in 1946.

PhysTech’s main campus is based in Dolgoprudny, which is located north of Moscow. It is home to 11 departments, which only admits 80 students each per year. As such, the school is known to only admit the ‘most gifted’ of its applicants.

Successful students can study at either the Institutes of Radio Engineering & Cybernetics, Molecular & Biological Physics, General & Applied Physics, Aerophysics & Space Research, Applied Mathematics & Control, Physical & Quantum Electronics, Physics & Power Engineering, Innovation Technology, or Nano, Bio, Info, & Cognitive Technologies.

MIPT also has a branch in Zhukovsky that hosts the Aeromechanics and Flight Engineering Department.

3. HSE University

HSE University, formally known as the Higher School of Economics, is a research institute based in Moscow and is one of the top universities in Russia for international students. It was founded in 1992. It recently acquired its title of “National Research University” in the year 2009.

HSE also has branches in Saint Petersburg, Perm, and Nizhny Novgorod.

HSE is also internationalized, as it offers several English-taught programs. There are eight available bachelor’s degrees, four of which are taught in conjunction with the University of London. As for the Master’s programs, there are 20 English options in the fields of Computer Science, Economics & Finance, Humanities, Social Science, Management, International Affairs, Mathematics, Law, and Urban Studies.

4. Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University

Peter the Great St Petersburg Polytechnic University or SPbPU is one of the great technical universities outside of Moscow. Founded in 1899, it was previously known as the Peter the Great Technical Institute before it was named the Kalinin Polytechnic Institute.

The St. Petersburg-based university, which is named after Peter I of Russia, is known for its polytechnic programs. That being said, the university is a leading figure in the studies of Mathematics, Applied Physics, Aerospace Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Industrial Engineering.

Despite being a polytechnic university, SPbPU also offers degrees in the fields of Natural Science and Economics & Humanities.

5. Bauman Moscow State Technical University

Next in our list of best universities in Russia for international students is the Bauman Moscow State Technical University or BMSTU, which is Russia’s largest polytechnic institution. Founded in 1830, the Moscow-based institute is the second-oldest university in the capital after the Lomonosov Moscow State University.

BMSTU, which is also known as Baumanka, has 19 faculties that offer Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. programs. These cover the disciplines of Engineering, Biomedical Technology, Electronic & Laser Technology, Robotics & Automation, as well as Business, Social Science, and Linguistics.

Admission to any of these courses is highly competitive, as the university only accepts 1 out of 10 applicants.

6. National Research Nuclear University MEPhI

The National Research Nuclear University MEPhI, otherwise known as the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, is a prestigious technical university founded in the year 1942. It was previously named the Moscow Mechanical Institute of Munitions before it subsequently became the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute. In 2009, it was finally granted university status.

The university is home to 9 Institutes, namely Nuclear Physics & Engineering, Biomedicine Engineering & Physics, Laser & Plasma Technology, Nanoengineering, Cyber Intelligence Systems, International Relations, Financial & Economic Security, Physics & Technology, and Business Informatics.

The usual curriculum focuses on experimental work, physics, mathematics, and English during the first two years. After this, students can specialize in either physics, computer science, or information security, among many other tracks.

7. Saint-Petersburg Mining University

The Saint-Petersburg Mining University is Russia’s oldest technical institute. Founded in 1773, it was established by Catherine the Great as a training school for engineers in the mining and metal industries.

The university is located in Vasilievsky Island, Saint Petersburg. The campus is known for its neoclassicist building that can be seen from the banks of the Naya River.

The university is divided into 8 faculties that cover the studies of Geological Prospecting, Oil & Gas Engineering, Mining Engineering, Civil Engineering, Power & Mechanical Engineering, Mineral Raw Material Processing, Economics, and Humanities & Sciences.

8. ITMO University

ITMO University is a state/national research university located in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It traces its roots back to the Mechanics, Optics, and Watchmaking Department. Founded in the year 1900, it was once part of the Prince Nicholas Vocational School.

As one of the best Russian universities for international students, ITMO university has a total of 18 Departments specializing in technologies, systems, engineering, innovations, and automation controls. Despite being leaned towards technical education, ITMO also offers programs in Natural Sciences, Military Education, Vocational Education, Career Development, and Teacher Training.

While its bachelor and master’s degrees are solely taught in Russian, ITMO offers International Master’s and Ph.D. programs in the English language.

9. National Research Tomsk State University

National Research Tomsk State University (TSU) is a public educational institution situated in snowy Siberia. It was founded in 1878 following the decree by Emperor Alexander II.

The former Siberian Imperial University is the first and only higher education institution that covers the Russian Urals. As such, it’s the first university in Russia’s Asian segment.

TSU is home to several Faculties, including that of Mechanics & Mathematics, Physics, Biology, Geology & Geography, Chemistry, History, Philology, Philosophy, Journalism, Foreign Language, Psychology, Physical Education, Innovative Technology, Computer Studies, Law, Economics, and Arts & Culture.

Despite having a low student population of about 7,800, TSU has the highest percentage of international students at 35%.

10. Kazan Federal University

The final university in our list of top universities in Russia for international students is the Kazan Federal University, a public university headquartered in Kazan, Russia. It was founded in 1804. It was previously known as the Imperial Kazan University, before it was renamed in honor of its former student Vladimir Lenin.

The university is home to 18 academic departments that are grouped according to the field of specialization. These include the areas of Physics, Mathematics, & IT, Natural Sciences, Humanities, and Economics.

Several specialist and master’s programs are taught in English. However, most of its courses are taught in native Russian. As such, foreign students are encouraged to enroll in a one-year training course in the Preparatory School before starting.


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