The Russian Federation spans 17 million square kilometers and nine different timezones, making it the largest country in the world. The education system in Russia is as far-reaching as its geography. It produces a 98% literacy rate that exceeds that of Western nations. Besides an admirable foundational education, the country offers a broad range of higher education programs too. In this article, we will be looking at the best universities in Russia for international students.

Top Universities in Russia for International Students

1. Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU)

Lomonosov Moscow State University, the best university in Russia for international students, was established on 23rd January 1755, which began Russia’s traditional celebration of Student’s Day. It was named after its founder, the Russian scientist and polymath Mikhail Lomonosov. As one of the oldest universities in the country, MSU represents higher education in Russia to the world through its excellent performance in subject rankings and research output. There are 39 faculties in MSU, and they are most potent in mathematics and natural sciences.

Over 4000 international students enjoy the vast MSU campus, which houses a science park, four museums, 15 research centers, a publishing house, and more. It also includes one of the largest libraries in the world. MSU is also the site for international organizations such as UNESCO Demography Courses, UNESCO Hydrology Courses, and International Biotechnology Center.

2. Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT/PhysTech)

The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology began as the PhysTech department under the Moscow State University in 1945. This top university in Russia rapidly grew as an institution specializing in applied mathematics, theoretical and applied physics, and allied disciplines that it gained university status by 1951. The university believes in an individualized approach to education to cultivate the creative drive of students. Students are immersed in research work in leading academic and research institutions as early as their second year.

There are eleven departments in MIPT with programs that take six years to complete. The university is also known for current and former professors that are prominent scientists and Nobel Prize winners.

3. Higher School of Economics (HSE University)

The Higher School of Economics is a prestigious research university prioritizing socio-economic sciences. It was formed in 1990 to train teachers, analysts, and economists to work on the Russian government’s reforms at the time. HSE University is indeed the training ground for the country’s future leaders. In addition, the university also focuses on Information Technology, Mathematics, and Physics & Engineering. Its primary study field in terms of research includes education, social welfare, microeconomics, and technological development.

The HSE University main campus is located in Moscow with regional sites in Nizhny Novgorod, St Petersburg, and Perm. Besides delivering an excellent education around the country, HSE maintains close collaborations with over 500 universities.

4. Peter the Great St Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU)

Peter the Great St Petersburg Polytechnic University is one of the top universities in Russia, intending to design new technology to achieve sustainable development. It specializes in applied mathematics and physics, industrial engineering, aerospace engineering, computer science, and other close disciplines. SPbPU boasts famous scientists, Nobel Prize winners, and an international faculty when it comes to research. They work on high-level scientific studies such as astrophysics, automation systems development, and new manufacturing technologies, to name a few.

SPbPU is renowned in the global community, with over 520 partner universities from different countries. Around 8500 international students currently attend outstanding programs in bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. levels.

5. Bauman Moscow State Technical University (BMSTU)

Bauman Moscow State Technical University is one of Russia’s oldest technical universities providing comprehensive programs on engineering and applies sciences. It was initially established in 1830 to train skillful artisans and was known as a craft school. Within a few years, the institution grew into teaching many technical skills and has since achieved accomplishments in technology, material treatment, mechanical sciences, the food and textile industry, and more. BMSTU presently has 19 departments, state-of-the-art research facilities, and one of Russia’s first scientific libraries.

From its humble beginnings as a craft school, BMSTU now carries a National Research Center status. This top university in Russia provides talented professionals for science and technology research in Russia and the world.

6. National Research Nuclear University MEPhl

National Research Nuclear University MEPhl is the foremost university for nuclear and radiation research, nano- & sub-nano-technologies, and engineering. Its programs are more extensive and take up to six years to finish. During this period, MEPhl students are exposed more to research than classroom education. They focus on practical applications of knowledge in the different fields of mathematics, physics, information security, and computer science, among others. While the university delivers first-class education in science and technology, they also strengthen their programs in humanities, foreign languages, and economic sciences.

MEPhl is recognized in several international university rankings. They also increase global presence by providing over 40 courses on online educational platforms such as edX and Coursera. Whether digitally or in-campus, MEPhl provides an excellent academic experience to students of different nationalities.

7. Saint-Petersburg Mining University

The Saint-Petersburg Mining University, one of the best universities in Russia for international students, was established in 1773 to train engineers in the mining and metal industries. The university’s centuries of experience in these disciplines have placed them the 12th best in the world for the field. Its longstanding excellence and expertise continue as the university adopts modern teaching methods, new technology for equipment, and state-of-the-art laboratory facilities. They also initiate several projects with international oil and mining companies and are highly supported by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Saint-Petersburg Mining University campus expands to over 300,000 square meters in the historic city. It is home to neoclassicist buildings, the finest mineral museums, and classrooms and complexes for international scientific conferences.

8. Novosibirsk State University (NSU)

Hailed as the 3rd best university in Russia, the Novosibirsk State University (NSU) is a world-class university with three institutes and six departments coordinating for interdisciplinary education. The NSU premises provides students with a modern, yet close-to-nature experience. Aside from having bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degree programs, the NSU also has specialist degree programs, residency training, internships, and preparatory courses for Medicine.

Students are given a Student ID card which indicates the student’s status. NSU takes the students’ safety and security seriously. Only those with the student pass card can enter the University buildings and dormitories. Also, international students are required to apply for health insurance that will last throughout their stay at the university.

9. Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN)

The Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN) is a public research university placing 317th in the world, according to the QS Ranking 2022. RUDN stays true to its name by putting multinationalism and multiculturalism as one of its distinctive traits. RUDN is home to more than 160 nationalities.

To qualify, international students should present their most recent GPA and their notable curricular and extracurricular achievements, including special awards and participation in contests. RUDN can aid in searching for health insurance for foreign students. RUDN Department for Internships and Employment also assists international students to find job opportunities. For these reasons, RUDN is among the top universities for international students in Russia.

10. Kazan Federal University (KFU)

Founded in 1804, the Federal State Autonomous Educational Institution of Higher Education “Kazan (Volga Region) Federal University”, commonly known as the Kazan Federal University (KFU) is a top university in Russia. Currently, it is the 11th best university in Russia and among the 801st best universities in the world, according to Times Higher Education.

International students can acquire scholarships through the Russian Government. Every year, 18,000 students are selected to become government scholars. There is also migration support given by KFU in form of visa and migration support, registration of notices of arrival (migration registration), and temporary residence.

11. Ural Federal University (UrFU)

The Ural Federal University (UrFU) is a high-ranking university situated in Yekaterinburg. According to the QS World University Rankings, UrFU stands as the 335th best university in the world. This is evidenced by their honorable alumni President of the Czech Republic M. Zeman and the first President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Elbasy N.A. Nazarbayev.

Students’ life at UrFU is never boring. Activities for international students are initiated weekly by Buddy-students and ESN Ural Federal.

12. ITMO University

Regarded as the best university in Saint Petersburg, ITMO University ranks 365th among the best universities in the world, according to the QS World University Rankings. ITMO University leads innovations in the fields of information technology, quantum science, photonics, and even in arts and humanities, making it among the top Russian universities for international students.

Serving as a ‘home away from home to more than 2,500 international students, ITMO University provides sufficient student housing and health clinics within or near the premises of the university. Students can also join a number of interest clubs such as, but not limited to, singing and dance clubs, anime enthusiasts, and reading circles. International students also have their own organizations.

13. Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU)

The Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) is a prominent university in Russia since 1896. TPU is one of the most ancient universities consistently at the forefront of Russian education of the sciences. Not only that as the university is among the top universities in Russia for international students. The QS World University Rankings place TPU among the 400 best universities in the globe.

Student life is characterized by event engagement at TPU. The University Student’s Union serves as a community for both local and international students as they hold dialogues and initiatives which forward students’ interests. The union also brings color to student life through student-led events such as the Parodies party, National Competition of Independent Video-projects Gold Ribbon, University Snowboard Championship Bobbish Board, and Cheesefare Week (a really tasty holiday) among others.

14. First Moscow State Medical University (FMSMU)

The I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University also referred to as First Moscow State Medical University (FMSMU) and “First Med”, is a historic, top medical university in Russia. FMSMU comprises the Institute of Public Health and Healthcare Management, and the Institute of Medical Sociology, Healthcare Economics, and Medical Insurance.

FMSMU has students of over 80 nationalities. Its Preparatory Training unit of the Dean’s Office helps admitted international students in the first stages of their study. Included in this preparation is assistance in studying the Russian language and coping with the university environment.

15. Saratov State University (SSU)

The Saratov State University (SSU) is a National Research University specializing in Biology, Geography, Geology, Sociology, and Mechanics & Mathematics among others. Established in 1909, SSU has long been a torchbearer in the nation, being one of the forerunners in the Programme of High Technologies’ development in the Saratov Region.

Students can excel in their chosen fields of interest side-by-side in their academic life. Student membership in the choir, music bands, and sports teams (Futsal, darts, karate, etc.) is welcomed by the university. With how the university provides academic and extracurricular support to their students, it’s no surprise that SSU is among the top Russian universities for international students.

16. Southern Federal University (SFEDU)

The Southern Federal University (SFEDU) is among the top 100 BRICS country universities according to the QS World University Rankings. SFEDU envisions itself as a purveyor of ingenious methods of both fundamental and applied sciences and modern technologies.

SFEDU encourages its students to live a physically active lifestyle. The university incentivizes achievements in sports and encourages their students to practice one as well. Some of the sports enjoyed by the students include handball, judo, parachuting, and rhythmic gymnastics. Similarly, SFEDU encourages self-government amongst the students by giving autonomy to the Students Union which organizes sports and academic events for all enrollees.

17. Siberian Federal University (SibFU)

Branded as a university centered on industry, power engineering and energy, research, and education, the Siberian Federal University (SibFU) is a major university composed of 22 schools and 3 regional branches. SibFu was created upon the merger of 5 major Krasnoyarsk institutions of higher education.

International students at SibFU can benefit from the numerous student organizations. SibFU values fostering students’ skills and talents by supporting their bard music clubs, vocal studios, and rock clubs, just to name a few. The university highlights “culture and creativity” as two of the most important assets of its students.

FAQs about Studying in Russia

Is Russia good for international students to study in?

Russian universities have a comprehensive set of disciplines that meet every interest of international students. It offers excellent programs in art, literature, music, and humanities. After all, it is home to the world’s finest thinkers and artists like Stravinsky, Anton Chekhov, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Russia is also leading in science and technology with the most advanced programs and facilities for physics, mathematics, engineering, computer science, and natural sciences. Sports enthusiasts will also find a haven in Russia with the country’s accessible sports facilities.

Tuition in Russian universities is inexpensive for the quality of education it provides. It starts at around $1186 per year for a full-time Bachelor’s Degree program and can range up to $8000 depending on the subject. Additional living costs may vary if your university is in the capital or other regions. Furthermore, the Russian government generously awards several state scholarships to deserving international students.

Russia is a culturally rich environment with over 160 ethnic groups. This diversity and openness provide international students a conducive living environment, especially in student cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Can international students work in Russia while studying?

According to a recently passed amendment, Russia allows International students to work and study simultaneously. They are allowed to find employment within and outside of the university and its organizations. Students can work up to four hours a day or 20 hours a week. Furthermore, there would be no additional documentation or permit needed except that of their enrollment to a university.

The country aims to increase international students who are currently over 330,000 in 2019. The Russian government hopes that this new bill will decrease students dropping out due to tuition fee issues.

Can international students stay in Russia after graduation?

After completing their studies, international students need to obtain a work visa or permit to stay in the country. You can apply through the Federal Migration Service with a valid visa, school documents, and a medical certificate. After one year of experience in your profession, you will be eligible to apply for Russian citizenship.

There are plenty of opportunities in Russia for international students. The country particularly needs qualified professionals in the following industries: metal, wood, oil & natural gas, mobile technology, information technology, electronics, and banking. Education, especially in the English language, is also an in-demand job in the country.


We hope that this article on the best universities in Russia for international students was helpful. To know more information on studying abroad, check out the Programs in Europe for International Students.