For every academic year, dates for submitting applications and sitting entrance examinations are determined by Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation. Based on these deadlines, universities set their own dates, which are then published on their websites. Therefore, you need to check the application and examination dates on your chosen university’s website or with their international offices. In the 2018/2019 academic year, applications were accepted and examinations sat from 20 June to 26 July. Please refer to the website of the university you have chosen or contact its International Office representatives for accurate information on application and examination dates. Applicants from countries with a visa regime of entry when submitting documents must take into account that it takes about 2 months to process an invitation and obtain an educational visa.
Russian legislation sets no age limits for prospective students entering higher education. To meet basic requirements for Russian university enrolment, they need to have completed general or vocational secondary education and provide documented proof thereof. The documents must meet certain standards to be accepted. Document requirements depend on the university and the programme you plan to enrol in. Contact university representatives for detailed information.
Following is the Russian Foreign Ministry’s official reply to the question: a foreign citizen can be denied entry to Russia if they misstate the purpose of their trip in the visa application. You cannot apply for a tourist visa if entering a university is the declared purpose of your visit. However, you can come to Russia as a tourist and combine sightseeing with applying to university or taking examinations. Please keep in mind that if you’re admitted to university, you will need a student visa to legalise your stay in the country. In that case, you will have to return to your home country to reapply for a Russian visa. To avoid waste of time and money you might want to apply for a student visa from the beginning: it is valid for three months and you can have it extended in Russia by the Interior Ministry’s Migration Department. Refer your questions to the Russian consulate or Embassy in your country first to learn the visa procedure.
The application deadlines for Russian government scholarships are announced annually between December and January. Visit the websites of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation or Rossotrudnichestvo for details. The website also publishes the list of documents required for registration and announces the competitive selection start date. Different deadlines are set for different regions and countries, taking into account their specific education systems. For example, prospective students from Kyrgyzstan had to submit their documents by 19 February in academic year 2018/2019, Ukrainian applicants by 23 February and Armenian nationals by 2 March. Contact Rossotrudnichestvo or the Russian Embassy in your country with queries about university application deadlines and scholarship issues.
Generally, scholarships are provided not by universities, but the Government. Annually the Russian Government grants 15 000 ‘state-funded spots’ for foreign students in Russian universities. Allocation of ‘state-funded spots’ for a citizen of foreign country depends on intergovernmental agreements. You can get information about available government scholarships (quotas) for your country in a respective here office. However, some Russian Universities are able to provide their own scholarships for talented students. You should approach a representative of the International office of the University you are interested in order to clarify information about availability of such kind of scholarships.
Basic programme classes in Russia start on 1 September and end on 30 June. In certain cases, universities can make an exception for international students and accept their late applications (for example, if a student is still waiting to get the previous degree or a visa). There are two semesters: the first one is from 1t of September to 25th of January, the second one is from 9th of February to 30th of June. At the end of each semester students are passing exams. After this they have holidays: 2 weeks in winter (from 25th of January to 9th of February), 2 months in summer (from 1t of July to 30th of August). Preparatory Department classes usually start in October and end in June; they can offer a more flexible schedule of training and courses of different lengths. Some begin in winter or in spring, and some are available anytime.
Russia’s law on education does not provide for transfer to a Russian university from any foreign university. International students have to enroll in the first year. After they have been admitted, they can present a certificate confirming completion of certain courses at their national university, which will be reviewed by a special commission. It will then decide on the student’s course articulation. However, you can pursue the next level of education after getting a degree from your university. For example, if you’ve completed your bachelor’s studies you can apply for a master’s programme at a Russian university.
The Russian law, in effect since 2016, requires foreigners to take out health insurance immediately upon arrival in the country. When taking out private health insurance please note that the minimal price for foreign citizens increased to 100,000 roubles (1,740 US dollars) from 1 May 2016. Students can take out insurance on their own or with the assistance of the university’s International Office staff. Importantly, even the international students studying at government-funded places in Russia should pay their own money for private medical insurance. In 2017 Russian insurance companies offered Moscow students VHI policies for 6000-9000 rubles ($ 100-150) per year.
Yes, international students can work at the university (or at its organizations) on their free time. Sometimes universities’ International Offices help students find employment such as contract work. In this case you don’t need to take the relevant permit from the General Administration for Migration Issues of the Interior Ministry of Russia. In other cases a permit is required. Permits are issued only to students on full-time courses at state-accredited universities. Students can work only according to the profession specified in the permit, and in the region (city) where their university is located. You should not assume however that supplementary employment can cover all your living costs (amounting to $300 to $400 per month on the average). Due to intensive study at Russian universities and homework challenges students do not have much free time. It’s best to have your family support you or save a certain sum to meet your expenses in order to stay focused on your studies.
Russian universities may provide their full-time students with dormitory places, if available. For this, students enter into rental contracts, with monthly rates varying from 500 to 5,000 roubles ($8 to $80), depending on the city and chosen university. All dormitories have kitchens where students can cook their everyday meals, laundry facilities, essential furniture in students’ rooms and wi fi or Ethernet. Dormitory accommodation rates are much lower than hotel or private apartment rent.