How to Study in Russia as an International Student: Application Process, Tuition Fees and Student Visa and Scholarships

Russia is one of the fast-growing economies in the world, alongside other BRICS countries. It is keen to internationalize its tertiary system, and is investing heavily in developing its universities and extending support for international applicants. If you were not aware, universities in Russia charge  low tuition fees for international students. Considering whether to study in Russia? Read on for our guide to Russian universities, applications and study costs.

Russian University Application Process

Majority of university programs at Russian universities are taught in Russian. So if you intend to study in Russia, it’s likely that you’ll have to study and master the language first, and provide certified proof of language proficiency as part of your application.

If you are not confident with your Russian language skills just yet, note that Russian universities offer one-year preparatory courses for international students, designed to help you to get up to the required standard quickly. For those who have only a very limited knowledge of Russian, there’s also the option to undertake a program taught in the English language, which are offered at some Russian universities. Although some English-taught options do exist at undergraduate level, English-language master’s programs are much more common.

Depending on the university and your academic background, Russian university requirements may also include an entrance exam and/or an interview. The Russian academic year runs from September to June, split into two semesters.

Russian Student Visa and Scholarships

Once you’ve been offered a place to study in Russia, the university’s international department will file an application for a Russian student visa on your behalf. This should take between three and five weeks and costs about US$40. All visas must be registered within seven business days after arriving in Russia. This visa will cover your stay for three months only, so if you’re planning to study in Russia for more than 90 days you’ll need to apply for an extension once in the country. For a longer stay you’ll also be asked to provide the results of a medical examination and HIV test.

A set number of state scholarships are available for foreign students each year, covering tuition fees, accommodation and medical insurance. These payments are currently RUB 75,000 (~US$1,200) a month, and do not cover travel or personal expenses, which you will need at least an extra $50 a month for.


International students without any scholarships will be required to pay anywhere between US$6,000 and US$10,000 per year for fees and living costs, depending on the course and location. Although tuition fees have increased recently in Russian universities, there are still relatively low compared to other international study destinations – depending on your program of study, they are likely to be around US$3,900-7,700 a year.

Students are also eligible to obtain part-time work, with a valid work permit, either on-campus or elsewhere. Some students may be able to gain exemption from having to apply for a work permit, but this is not automatic.

You should also consider gaining health insurance before arriving in Russia, to ensure you’ll be able to access healthcare if necessary.





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