Higher education at all levels in Russia is aligned with the Bologna system. This is an excellent opportunity for international students who are on the lookout for continuing their master’s studies, as admissions to these programs are made simple. Many of the postgraduate programs offered in the country are internationally recognized, giving students added value to their professional credentials upon completion of the program.

Russian universities are among the leading universities globally, and they offer a wide selection of master’s programs in all disciplines. Aspirants are presented with countless information, and they get to select the duration of the study, the language of instruction, location, and courses about the study programs of their liking. In Russia, master’s programs are usually completed in one to two years. Since most students are primarily comprised of industry professionals, they can finish the program full-time or part-time, depending on their preference.

In this guide, we will be talking about how you can apply for a master’s in Russia.

Master’s Degree Admission Requirements

Applying for a master’s degree in Russia will require international students to possess the following initial requirements:

The most important requirement a student must obtain is a Bachelor’s degree from any university. Keep in mind that some universities require students to take preparatory courses before advancing in their chosen master’s study programs. Also, a few select universities only admit students who have maintained high remarks during their undergraduate studies.

Another entry requirement is to take an interdisciplinary exam or a video interview. Most master’s degree programs do not require an admission exam. However, this will still depend on the university you are applying to. The postgraduate committee of the school will interview students who wish to study master’s in Russia in English to determine if they are qualified for the study program.

Russian universities offer a multitude of English-taught master programs. International students seeking to further their study in the country will need to present an English proficiency certificate to prove their language skills. This is also an essential requirement to acquire when studying a master’s program in Russia.

Aside from the entry requirements, there might be additional academic requirements such as introductory essay, curriculum vitae, medical certificates, or letter of recommendation that must be submitted to your chosen university.

Also, the submission of documents must be taken seriously. All requirements must be complete as failure to submit one document might be grounds for disqualification.

Language Proficiency Tests Needed for Master’s Studies

Master study programs are conducted in English, Russian, or Russian and English languages. Students have the option of which language of instruction they would enroll in.

International students wishing to study master’s in Russia but would prefer to enroll in programs entirely taught in English must submit proof of language proficiency. Most schools accept IELTS, TOEFL certificates, or equivalent. The level of proficiency will depend on the school’s standard requirements. Students who are proficient in the Russian language and would prefer to enroll in Russian-taught programs would also need to submit proof of language proficiency of the university’s desired level. Most Russian universities offer preparatory programs or language programs to international students. Some students take this opportunity to enhance their language skills.

The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology offers master programs conducted in English. International students are required to submit proof of their language proficiency certificate. Only recognized certificates from IELTS or TOEFL are accepted.

Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University also offers numerous master’s degree and double-degree programs in Engineering, Management, and Economics entirely held in English. The entry requirements to be admitted are a B1 level of English proficiency for English-taught programs and a Russian proficiency of B1 level for Russian-taught programs. The school states that official language certificates are not necessarily required; however, students who possess these certificates can submit the document along with other required documents.

Master’s Degree Application Process

As previously stated, Russia’s higher education is aligned with the Bologna system. This makes applying for master’s programs easier for international students, especially from countries with similar higher education standards. Applying for a master’s program in Russia is not as complicated as it seems. Here are the detailed steps in applying for a master’s program.

Step 1. Choose a Master’s Study Program and University

International students must consider all important information about the study program and the university of their choice. As soon as you have found the study program and school of your preference, it is best to directly contact the school’s International Office to check if they could give additional information about your chosen master’s program.

The Russian Federation Ministry of Science and Higher Education has created an official website specifically designed for international students who need assistance looking into master’s study programs and related information about studying higher education in Russia. There are thousands of master’s programs in all disciplines in the website’s database, and it helps students submit numerous applications to certain universities.

Step 2. Learn about Financing and Scholarships

While most international students studying in Russia are either self-funded or sponsored by their company or organization, a postgraduate student can also avail of scholarships funded by the Russian government. Students can take part in select Educational Olympiad competitions. Winners and some participants of the competition will have an opportunity to avail scholarship programs from select state universities.

Step 3. Completion of Required Documents

International students who would like to study for a master’s degree in Russia need to prepare two sets of the document package. First, the submission of documents during the initial application, and second during the submission of official documents to the university after you arrive in Russia.

Generally, the required documents for the initial application are a copy of a bachelor’s diploma, a copy of the student’s passport, a duly accomplished application form, and the student’s photo.

Once the university officially admits the student, the following documents must be submitted: application for admission, passport ID or national ID indicating citizenship, bachelor’s degree certificate, medical certificate with HIV test results, and photos. All documents must be original, certified, and notarized in Russian.

Step 4. Undergo a Competitive Selection (Available for Select Postgraduate Students Only)

This step is only for select individuals who have participated in the Educational Olympiad competitions. Winners and participants of the competitions are eligible to avail scholarships in state-funded universities. Students who have passed the selection will be listed in the Russian embassy of the student’s home country and will receive an invitation from the Russian Federation.

Step 5. Get an Official Invitation and Apply for a Student Visa

All admitted international students who have gone through a standard procedure will receive an invitation from the university. In contrast, students who have been selected through competitive selection will receive it from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Russia. All invitations are issued by MOFA of Russia, and it is an essential document when applying for a student visa. Students will need to apply for a student visa at the Russian embassy of the applicant’s home country. As soon as the visa is issued, this will serve as an entryway to Russia.

International student aspirants can browse at HSE University’s extensive selection of master’s programs. Students are allowed to choose up to two programs. Applicants will need to register in the university’s master’s program portal to access its account page. Make sure to completely and correctly fill out the form to avoid errors. There are different requirements for each study program, and it is necessary to check if you meet the criteria and possess all documents required for the program. Before submitting your application, make sure to check all documents thoroughly and complete all requirements. All documents submitted are subject to evaluation, and the admission committee will review your application within two weeks. Students who have received an email stating that they were admitted to the university will prepare the required documents. The students may proceed to the enrollment process and eventually must secure a student visa.

The National University of Science and Technology (MISIS) accepts international students in their master’s degree programs. The application form can be directly filled up on their website, and other requirements must be uploaded. Once the application has been evaluated, the International Office will schedule an online interview. Students will be notified within five working days if they have passed the interview. They will receive an admission letter thru email. The university will send an invitation issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia. With this document, students may process their student visas. Once the visa is received, it is important to email your flight details to the admission officer. The university’s International Office will assist you with your concerns about traveling to Russia.


We hope this article on how you can apply for a master’s degree in Russia was helpful. To know more information like this, check out the Programs in Europe for International Students!

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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