If you’re looking to study in another country, Russia should be at the top of your list. It’s home to many reputable institutions, 48 of which are listed in the World University Rankings.

Russia’s high standard of education continues to attract many international students – on top of the 315,000 already living in the country. The numbers are expected to increase exponentially, with many opting to study Medicine, Engineering, and IT in Russian universities.

And while studying in Russia is cheaper than in most countries (fees start at EUR 1,750/$2,080), you may not have to pay a lot – or anything at all. With the help of these Russian scholarships for international students, you may achieve world-class education without paying a single penny.

Best Scholarships in Russia

1. Russian Government Scholarships

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full tuition for the entire duration of the program
  • Eligible Degree: Bachelor’s or Master’s degree at universities with state-funded places

On average, the Russian Government is the best scholarship in Russia for international students and grants 18,000 scholarships to deserving international students. These slots are dispersed throughout the many universities within the Federation.

The application process typically starts with communing with the embassy or scholarship operators in the student’s home country. They can provide information regarding the number of slots and the study fields available for the year.

Armed with this info, students may start with the application process. As part of the registration, the student must supply his personal details, current educational level, profession/specialization, and level of Russian proficiency.

All applicants may apply to six universities. However, the choice of institutions in either Moscow or St. Petersburg should be limited to three.

Shortlisted applicants may need to undergo additional testing, interviews, and examinations as required.

All Russian Government scholars are entitled to free tuition, apart from monthly maintenance allowances and dormitory accommodations.

2. Open Doors: Russian Scholarship Project

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full tuition for the entire duration of the program
  • Eligible Degree: Master’s and Doctorate degree

Apart from merit scholarships, the Russian Government also offers full funding through Olympiads such as Open Doors.

All Open Door winners are granted the opportunity to pursue English- or Russian-taught postgraduate studies for free. And compared to other scholars, Olympiad awardees are exempted from taking an entrance examination.

The Olympiad is comprised of two separate tracks. Master’s students will need to undergo two rounds, the first of which is a portfolio competition. The second track, on the other hand, is a problem-solving event.

Ph.D. students, on the other hand, will need to undergo three rounds. The first two are similar to that of Master’s students. As for the final round, they will need to face an interview with their prospective Ph.D. supervisors.

Winners will be automatically admitted for free at their university of choice.

3. Phystech International Competition

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full tuition for the entire duration of the program
  • Eligible Degree: Bachelor’s degree at MIPT

MIPT, one of the most reputable universities in Russia, hosts the yearly Phystech International Competition. To date, it has hosted over 12,000 participants from over 100 countries.

The competition is open to all pre-graduating and graduating international students. Those who wish to participate may showcase their skills in the fields of biology, physics, or mathematics.

The first round of the competition follows a video-solution format (online). As for the final round, the student will need to attend the Olympiad proper in certain countries. Both rounds require participants to solve tasks/challenges in their chosen study fields.

Phystech competition winners are provided tuition-free scholarships in Russia, apart from the other competitive benefits that MIPT offers.

4. International Open Competitions in Mathematics and Computer Science for School Students

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full tuition for the entire duration of the program
  • Eligible Degree: Bachelor’s degree at ITMO

Applicants who wish to take a Bachelor’s degree in Math or Computer Science at ITMO may study for free through its International Open Competition. Sponsored by the Ministry of Education, it is comprised of three rounds.

The first round of preparatory training is held online. While this does not bring points, it’s a way for applicants to practice for the next two rounds. All students, regardless of knowledge level, are encouraged to join this round.

The second phase or qualifying round is also hosted online. Applicants only have one chance to solve the tasks to be eligible for the next stage.

All second-round winners may proceed to the last round. The top 25% of students, as ranked by the point system, are considered the winners and future ITMO scholars.

Apart from this Russian scholarship, competition winners need not take an entrance exam to study at ITMO.

5. HSE Global Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Partial to Full tuition for the entire duration of the program
  • Eligible Degree: Bachelor’s degree at HSE

Sponsored by the Russian Government, the HSE Global Scholarship provides partial/full awards to several competition winners.

This Russian scholarship is open to all foreigners (under the age of 30) who wish to study at HSE for free.

There are 17 available tracks available under the categories of Formal & Natural Science, Social Science, Communications, and Politics & Law. Of these 17, applicants may choose to compete in four.

Compared to other competitions, HSE only requires applicants to undergo one round – either online or offline.

Likewise, participants are encouraged to attend the preliminary phase, which is held before the competition proper.

Winners of the HSE Global Scholarship do not necessarily have to enroll in the institution right away. Competition results are valid for the next two years.

6. Major League Olympiad Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full tuition for the entire duration of the program
  • Eligible Degree: Master’s degrees at HSE

HSE also offers an Olympiad scholarship for graduate students. Named the ‘Major League,’ it consists of 38 competition tracks. Participants may opt to join in as many fields as they want.

The 2-round competition starts with the qualifying round. Done online, this phase requires participants to complete tasks within the given time.

All qualified students from the first stage may progress to the final round.

Except for those competing in the fields of Math, Psychology, Media Communications, and Judicial Power/Law, all applicants must follow a self-proctoring system. This means running the OBS studio software throughout the duration of the competition.

As for the fields mentioned above, testing will be done through Zoom videoconferencing.

Like other Olympiads, Major League winners are granted admission to HSE Master’s programs for free – and without the need for entrance exams.

7. “I am a Professional” Educational Olympiad

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Undisclosed (plus cash prize)
  • Eligible Degree: Master’s Degree

Admission benefits and cash prizes await the foreign winners of the “I am a Professional” Educational Olympiad. The contest is open to students who are experts in the field of technical studies, humanities, and natural sciences.

At NRNU, for example, students may compete in the areas of nuclear physics & technology, laser & radiation technology, nanotechnology, and information systems.

Educational Olympiad winners are given preferential benefits for enrolling in Master’s degrees at participating universities. They are also awarded a cash prize of RUB 200,000 to 300,000 ($2,690 to $4,030).

Winners of this Russian scholarship are also given an opportunity to take internship spots at select Russian companies.


I hope that this article on the best scholarships in Russia for international students was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Europe!

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