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Study in Russia: A Guide for International Students

The Red Square and St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow and the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg are just a few of the landmarks that come to mind when international students think about Russia as a study abroad destination. However, studying abroad in Russia is an experience that will take you far beyond its well-known tourist destinations.

With its rich and diverse history, Russian culture today is a complex mixture of tradition and innovation. Home to some of the world’s most famed cultural figures from Dostoyevsky to Tchaikovsky, Tolstoy, Plisetskaya and countless others, Russia has played a huge role in developing the global outlook on art forms like ballet, classical music, literature, and the fine arts.

The two largest cities in Russia are Moscow and St. Petersburg. Both located in the Western side of the country, Moscow is the country’s bustling capital full of contrasts, famous for its metro system often likened to a museum, and is home to Moscow State University, the oldest university in Russia dating all the way back to 1755. St. Petersburg is known as a global cultural capital, and the historic city center is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. Boasting over 100 museums, studying abroad in St. Petersburg offers international students endless opportunities to explore the diversity of Russian culture that has developed throughout the country’s history.

While its two largest cities are exciting attractions for international students hoping to study in Russia, it would be a mistake to overlook the other urban centers and towns in Russia that offer students the bona fide Russian study abroad experience. Destinations like Nizhny Novgorod, Chelyabinsk and Tambov will bring you out of Russia’s westernmost regions and illustrate the diversity of Russian culture, and its opportunities for higher education across its expansive geographic territory.

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The biggest country in the world by a significant margin, Russia spans more than 17 million square kilometers from Europe to Asia, with 776 universities open to international students to boot!  

With its tremendous size comes an extremely heterogenous population, as the country is home to around 200 ethnic groups which speak an estimated 100 unique languages. If you're looking to brush up on your Russian skills before starting your studies, there are many options for studying Russian outside of Russia.  Russia is an extraordinarily diverse country, filled to the brim with different traditions and cultures, and higher education institutions of all shapes and sizes. Higher education in Russia especially renowned for its achievements in scientific research.

Want to study abroad in this amazing country? The sections below provide a broad overview of everything you need to know about studying abroad in Russia. Whether you know Russia is the destination for you or if you're just starting to think about studying abroad, it's never too early to start your research! 

Russia - Quick facts & figures






144.4 million

Area Size

17.1 million km²

International students


Academic Year

September - June


Russian Ruble (RUB)

Calling Code


Time Zone

Several (GMT+2 to +12)

Students in Russia

More about Russia

Russia is renowned for higher education in the sciences, but it is not to be outdone in the humanities and social sciences. Choosing to pursue your education in Russia means studying in the birthplace of some of the world’s most prolific artists and writers.

Aside from its diverse culture, pursuing an education in Russia is made even more exciting with the fact that the country is home to 26 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, attracting millions of tourists and Russians alike. It’s common practice in Russia for universities to organize student trips to landmarks such as the Red Square, the Kremlin and the Golden Mountains of Altai amongst many others, making Russia the perfect destination for students itching to explore.

Rapid development in Russia over the last two decades have made it an incredibly different destination than the Russia your parents may be familiar with. Continuously broadening its opportunities for international students, Russia may be an ‘off the beaten path’ study abroad destination for some, and all the more interesting for you! Read on to learn everything you need to know about the unique and vibrant study abroad experience awaiting you in Russia. 

Learn more about studying abroad in Russia:

Education System

Higher education in Russia is similar in structure to the central European system, with a few key differences. Everything you need to know about the Russian university system.

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Student Visas

Do you need a visa to study in Russia? Student visas in Russia are required for students from most foreign countries. Learn more about the student visa process, and what you need to enter the country.

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Housing & Living Costs

Student accommodation and living costs in for international students in Russia can greatly vary, depending on where you're staying. Learn more about different student housing options and how much everything costs.

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Tuition Fees & Scholarships

For some students, Russian university tuition will seem a lot less expensive than their home countries. Find out more about the range of tuition fees in Russia.

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Language & Culture

When you think about the size of Russia, it comes as no surprise that the country has a wide variety of languages and cultures. Take a look.

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Application Process

All countries have specific admissions requirements for students to gain acceptance into a university. Learn more about the ins and outs of admission to programs in Russia, and what you need to apply.

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Ready to look at programs in Russia? Use our search engine to find and compare top programs in Russia today!

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Last update: 08 Jan 2020

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