How to Study on Cheapest Tuition in Russia: University Requirements, Student Visas and Cost.

Russia sits across two continents and spans an amazing nine time zones (having cut down from 11 in 2010). Needless to say, Russia is the largest country in the world by far. Also within its vast boundaries lie some of the planet’s most luxurious palaces, extensive plateaus, high sky mountains, coldest cities, strongest spirits, best ballet companies, and largest collections of stacking dolls. Talking of culture, literature is one of the country’s most notable displays; Russian authors such as Tolstoy, Bulgakov, Dostoyevsky and Nabokov are celebrated worldwide for creating some of the greatest works of the 19th and 20th centuries.

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University Requirements

For international intending to study in Russia, note that the majority of courses at Russian universities are taught in Russian. So if you intend to study in Russia, it’s likely that you’ll need to learn the language first, and provide proof of language proficiency as part of your application.

If you are not confident with your Russian language skills just yet, some 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.

Student Visas, and Costs

Once you’ve been offered admission to study in Russia, the university’s international department will file an application for a Russian student visa on your behalf. This usually takes 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.

Those without scholarships will need anywhere between US$6,000 and US$10,000 per year for fees and living costs, depending on the course and location. Tuition fees have increased recently in Russian universities, but 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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