Russia is one of the most educated countries in the world, with half of its population being holders of undergraduate degrees. This tradition is reflective of its top-caliber universities, which offer quality education for a fraction of the cost.

While the 741 Russian universities are cheaper compared to those of other European countries, there’s still a way for you to study in Russia for free. All you just need to do is heed the following tips:

How to Study in Russia for Free

1. Have Great Credentials

As is the case for every country, applying in advance is the best way to secure a slot – and any scholarship available.

To study in Russia for free, you need to prepare the initial application documents, which include:

  • Diploma and/or Transcript of Records
  • Accomplished Application Form
  • Copy of Identification (Passport)
  • Photographs
  • Medical Form Statement

After submitting the required documents, you will need to undergo competitive selection. Like Russian students, foreigners will need to take the EGE to be admitted to his/her university of choice. Applicants may also need to undergo additional oral or written tests, depending on his/her preferred program.

Foreign students may further improve their chances of qualifying for admission or scholarship by joining any of the competitions held by the Russian government. Those that are open to international students include:

  • Phystech International Olympiad in Physics and Mathematics
  • Time to Study in Russia Consortium
  • Global Scholarship Competition
  • International Olympiad Open Doors (Masters’ Students)
  • HSE Olympiad
  • Open Programming Olympiad
  • Rosatom Industrial Olympiad in Physics and Mathematics
  • International Mathematics Olympiad Tournament of Towns
  • All-Siberia Olympiad
  • All-Russian Academic Olympiad
  • Conquer Sparrow Hills
  • Nanotechnology Olympiad
  • International Mendeleev Chemistry Olympiad
  • ND Kondratiev Olympiad
  • Olympiad in Informatics & Programming
  • Vysshaya Proba
  • Lomonosov
  • Joint Inter-University Mathematics Olympiad
  • KFU Regional Subject Olympiads
  • Moscow Olympiad
  • Online Physics Olympiad

By winning such a contest, you may not have to take the EGE or other exams required by the university.

Click Here to See: Universities in Russia with High Acceptance Rates

2. Research Scholarships in Russia and Apply

With your application submitted early, you can proceed with applying for scholarships. One way to study in Russia for free is to apply for a government grant. You can do so by completing the following requirements:

  • Acing the Entrance Exams & Unified State Exam
  • Meeting the Quota for the Government Scholarship
  • Winning a Competition Held in Russia or Another Country

With this scholarship, you don’t only get free tuition for the entire program. You will also receive a maintenance allowance of 1,484 Rubles ($22) a month.

Apart from government scholarships, local governments, and several universities have their scholarship offers as well (see below).

Check Also: Best Scholarships in Russia

3. Apply to Affordable Russian Universities

The average tuition in Russia is 400,000 Rubles a year, which is about $6,000 a year. While this is already affordable, you can save more money by opting for ‘cheap’ universities that are usually located in the provinces. One good example is Kazan Federal University, where you only need to pay 120,000 Rubles ($1,800) annually.

Click Here to See: Cheap Universities in Russia

Tuition-free Options for Bachelor’s Studies in Russia

If you’re thinking of studying as an undergraduate student for free in Russia, you can apply for these undergraduate scholarship programs:

1. Higher School of Economics

Based in Moscow, HSE Russia is one of the most prominent universities in the country. It is well-renowned for its programs in Economics, Politics & International Studies, and Sociology.

Here, students can get full-tuition scholarships by topping the entrance exam or winning the HSE Global Scholarship, which will allow undergraduate students to study in Russia for free.

To qualify, applicants must be free of disciplinary action/reprimand, and their academic grades should not be below 4 points as well.

2. Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

MIPT is a university that specializes in the studies of physics, mathematics, and related disciplines. For undergraduate students, it offers a variety of scholarships.

  • State Academic Scholarship
  • Scholarship of Charitable Foundation for the Development of Innovation Education (Low-Income Students)
  • Presidential and Governmental Scholarships
  • Moscow City Government Scholarship (Through Participation in Moscow City Public Events)
  • Moscow Region Government Scholarship (Exemplary and Disabled Students)

See Also: Best Subjects to Study in Russia

3. Siberian Federal University

SFU is one of the first federal universities in Russia. Based in Krasnoyarsk, it offers courses in Humanities, Engineering, Architecture, Information Technology, Business, and Education, to name a few.

SFU offers 300 state-funded places under the competitive Russian Government Scholarship Program. These are open to both undergraduate and graduate students. If you want to study in Russia for free, get this scholarship because this covers full tuition, as well as a monthly allowance.

4. University of Tyumen

The University of Tyumen, founded in the year 1930, is the first institute to be founded in Tyumen Oblast. It offers English-taught undergraduate degrees with a liberal arts & science curriculum. At the same time, it offers scholarships for foreign undergraduate students as well.

Through its School of Advanced Studies, the university offers 3 slots for a 4-Year BA Scholarship. The available majors for the scholarship program include Information Technology, Cultural Studies, Economics, Life Studies, History, Film & Media, and Sociology & Anthropology.

To qualify, applicants must submit the following materials:

Learn More About: How to Study for Bachelors in Russia

Tuition-free Options for Master’s Studies in Russia

Many Russian universities offer scholarships for students who wish to pursue Master’s degrees, and we have listed several institutions in Russia that meet the criteria.

1. Higher School of Economics

HSE University is also very gracious in offering scholarships for Master’s students. These are available to those who have met the following requirements:

  • Aced the Entrance Exam (Portfolio Competition)
  • Won in the Open Doors Olympiad

These scholarships are also available for the following applicants:

  • Preparatory Year Graduates from HSE or Other Russian Institutions
  • Summer University Program Graduates
  • HSE Undergraduates

To qualify, applicants must be free of reprimand/disciplinary action and have no two grades lower than 6. They should complete all the recommended assessments as well.

Find Out: The Best Cities in Russia for International Students

2. Siberian Federal University

For Masters’s students, SFU offers the Open Doors Russian Scholarship Project. By participating and winning this olympiad, applicants may complete their Master’s degree in SFU for free.

3. Innopolis University

Innopolis University is an institute based in Innopolis, a new city in the Republic of Tatarstan. It offers Master’s programs in Information Technology, Security & Network Engineering, Data Science & Artificial Intelligence, and Robotics & Computer Vision.

The university offers a full-tuition scholarship for Master’s students, which will allow Master’s students to study in Russia for free. To qualify, applicants must submit an application form, CV, motivation letter, project description, and recommendation letters through the Innopolis portal. Applicants also need to undergo selection rounds, which include interviews and assessment tests.

See Also: The Requirements to Study Masters in Russia

Tuition-free Options for PhD Studies in Russia

To study your doctorate program in Russia for free, you can apply to any of these universities listed down below.

1. Higher School of Economics

HSE University also offers a Russian government scholarship (quota) for Ph.D. students. Once accepted, applicants have to provide the following documents to the admissions committee:

  • Completed Application Form with Color ID
  • 2 Copies of Academic Credentials
  • Document Establishing the Absence of Medical Conditions (If Applicable)
  • Document Confirming the Negative HIV/AIDS Results
  • Copy of Passport ID

Those who qualify for the Advanced Doctoral Program are entitled to receive a monthly stipend of 30,000 Rubles ($450) as well.

2. South Ural State University

As with most Russian universities, SUSU offers a Ph.D. scholarship program through the Russian Government bursary. To apply, students need to access the Future in Russia website and submit an application form, attach the scanned documents, and pass the competitive selection process.

Check Also: Available Programs in Europe for International Students

FAQs: Studying in Russia as an International Student

Can Foreigners Work and Study in Russia?

International students can study and work in Russia if they meet the eligibility criteria. First, you must be enrolled in a full-time program at a state-accredited university and hold a valid student visa. This allows you to take up on-campus job opportunities. However, if you want to work off campus, you must get a work permit which is valid for one year but can be renewed.

Learn More About: The Russia Work Visa

Can I study in Russia Without Speaking Russian?

You will be glad to know that you can study in Russia without being conversant in the Russian language. However, it is recommended to learn a foreign language when studying abroad to help you enjoy other aspects of the country and make it easier to move around. Several top universities in Russia teach in English, like Tomsk State University and the People’s Friendship University of Russia.

See Also: Best Universities in Russia for International Students

Getting quality education at an affordable cost is the dream for many international students. Thankfully, Russia has some of the best universities offering financial aid opportunities for international students enrolled in their programs. You will also find Russian government scholarships on our page to help fund your studies in Russia. Together with the tips above, you will be one step closer to achieving your educational dream in Russia.


We hope that this article on how to study in Russia for free was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Europe!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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