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The State of Study Abroad in Russia

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PROGRAMS  / DEGREE PROGRAMS

Degree Programs in Russia
Preparing, Applying, and Assistance

 University Preparatory Courses in Russia. Student club area of MGU
 University Preparatory Courses. SPbGPU trains students for degrees in the sciences.
 Universtiy Prepatory Courses in Russia. Classroom at IrGTU.
 Universtiy Prepatory Courses in Russia.

Degree programs at Russian universities are becoming more and more appealing as costs continue to escalate at home and as more and more professionals trained in Russia successfully test their skills in the West. An SRAS consultant can assist you with navigating the Russian education system and point out how study in Russia may fit into your academic and professional goals.

The questions most often faced by students who are considering earning a degree abroad are the following:

 

1. Admissions Requirements     back to top

Admission to degree programs is almost exclusively limited to the fall semester.

For degree programs, a limited number of "slots" are available for foreign students. These slots are generally distributed on a merit basis to those students who have all other documentation (see below) in order. Note that completion of documentation is not a guarantee that you will be admitted and that much of the documentation and testing must be performed in Russia.

Admissions are fairly standard among Russian universities and include the following:

Prerequisites: For undergraduate study, a high school diploma is needed. Applicants for advanced degrees (M.A./M.Sc., Ph.D., D.Sc.) must have their prior degree in the same field. This requirement is strictly enforced in Russia for nearly all fields of study except the humanities, which generally require a degree in a related field.

Medical Tests: This is generally limited to an HIV-test, but can include several others. Your SRAS representative will let you know what certificates and tests you will need.  

Language Requirements: In all cases, you must pass the Test of Russian as a Foreign Language (TORFL). This test may be taken upon arrival in Russia. Most students take a full-year of RSL prior to taking the TORFL. 

Other Requirements: Especially in science, math, and other non-humanities faculties, students may need to take additional exams testing their basic knowledge in their intended field of study. These tests are nearly always administered in Russian. Some faculties will require that students take special preparatory courses for up to one year before taking these exams. Some competitive faculties (such as law and economics) may require an interview.

Dual Citizens: Special rules apply to citizens of foreign countries who hold Russian passports. Click here for more information. 

Questions about study in Russia?
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2. Transferability and Degree Recognition     back to top

As more and more Russians study and work abroad, the questions regarding transferability of their education are diminishing rapidly. Most Russian universities have also switched over to a more international system of the four-year BA and two-year MA degrees rather than the previous "Specialist" degree, which was a 5-year program. Many universities have retained the "Specialist" degree as well, particularly in programs such as law.

You should not face any difficulties with degree recognition in your home country. Russian-educated physicists, chemists, and programmers are actively recruited for work outside of Russia, both in industry and academia. If you are interested in work directly related to Russia, study in both Russia and in your home country could add up to some impressive credentials if planned carefully.

Research the professional circle you plan to enter and discuss your idea to see if there are any "political," logistic, or other issues that would discourage you from obtaining your degree abroad in Russia. In particular, make sure you do your research for "regulated" fields such as medicine; if you plan to work in a different country from which you received your degree, you will still need to take licencing exams in order to start working. Feel free to discuss your concerns with an SRAS consultant at any time.

3. Costs (Time and Money)     back to top 

First, it should be noted that financial aid cannot be used for degree study in Russia (with the exception of the GI Bill in certain cases). Work opportunities will also be limited - though many students find informal employment teaching English or translating, degree study in Russia is also much more time consuming than in the States and leaves less time for earning money.

Of course, one of the great attractions of education in Russia is the cost, especially compared to the quality. Degree study tuition can range from $1500 to $8000 per year. Included in this range are universities ranked highly internationally. Dormitory housing can run, depending on location, from $150-300 per month. You will also need to factor in international travel and daily costs such as those listed in our Student Guide to Russia.

Most students take a full year of RSL before taking their entrance exams. Those students hoping to enter programs with additional subject-area testing should contact SRAS about developing a custom RSL course to prepare them for this - or for help in applying for the university-mandated preparatory course (if one exists).

Lastly, you should also keep in mind that Russian Universities generally do not accept transfer credit. If you have already started your degree abroad, you will still have to complete the full degree program in Russia.   

This preparation time and cost does add to your expenses and may mean that it will take longer to receive your Russian degree than it would to receive a degree in your home country. There is also additional risk in that, even after this preparation is completed, you are not guaranteed a slot at the university. However, extended time abroad is nearly always a plus on a resume or CV (and for developing a creative, academic mind) and so should never be considered "wasted."

SRAS Means More!Enrollment Assistance Fee: 
Full Academic Year (up to 10 months) - Cost: $1975 

This service from SRAS includes visa and registration, health and accident insurance, application assistance, enrollment costs, consultation during the course selection process, pre-departure safety and orientation guides, access to SRAS cultural events, and SRAS in-country support.

After the first year of study, you may elect to continue without SRAS support, or to purchase insurance only. Note that some Russian universities may require additionally that you purchase their own insurance policy. ***All prices subject to change without notice.

4. Fields of Study      back to top

Of course, there is no sense in majoring in Spanish language or US history in Russia. However, there are many areas of study in Russian universities which are competitive internationally. Science, engineering, mathematics, international relations, law, economics, medicine are just some of these. At the graduate level, it is also worth considering history, philology and other humanities studies as a component of your academic career.

5. Other Personal Considerations      back to top

Making the decision to study overseas for an extended period involves a lot of considerations. The vast majority are positive, such as learning another culture and language and becoming part of a select number of truly international candidates in the job market. The risk of course is that you just don't like it. Russia and Russian education will likely be very different from anything you have ever experienced. Just as when you are choosing a university in your own country, we advise visiting Russia first.

Application deadline:  Students applying for degree studies should apply by May 1 of the same year.

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