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Reasons To Study In Russia- Cost of Living, Universities and more

Updated on 18 March, 2024

Neha Uppal

Neha Uppal

Sr. Content editor

Russia has a unique culture and is home to 26 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of the largest countries in the world, the Russian Federation spends almost 4.7 Trillion RUB on the education sector. This ensures that it provides students with a high-quality education at affordable rates. 

In 2021, over 4 million students enrolled in Russian higher education institutions.

The rapid development and the broadening opportunities for international students make studying abroad in Russia unique. With so many countries to consider for studying abroad, the question, ‘why study in Russia?’ might cross their minds. Reading this article will give them top reasons to study in Russia. 

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Study in Russia: Universities in Russia | Cost of Living in Russia

Reasons To Study In Russia 

Russia has approximately 450 state-accredited universities that offer over 17,500 degree programs.

Additionally, offering undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctorate degrees are scientifically and practically oriented. 

Mentioned below are some of the benefits of studying in Russia:

Earn a globally recognized degree

The Russian education system is considered one of the best education systems in the world. So, when a student attains a degree from a Russian university, it is globally recognized. Especially the science and engineering degrees from Russian universities are well-respected by employers worldwide. 

Learn a new language

Russian is spoken in more than 19 countries, and almost 156.6 million people speak it as their mother tongue.

Furthermore, it is the eighth most spoken language in the world. 

The Russian government offers scholarship opportunities to all international students. The condition being students must enroll in some Russian-medium courses. So, students get to learn a new language spoken widely worldwide. This will give them an edge over others while climbing the career ladder. 

There are several preparatory courses to help students pick up the language. 

Opportunity to explore a new culture

Studying in Russia opens a doorway for students to absorb the Russian culture and way of life. Some universities organize trips for students to visit landmarks such as Red Square, the Kremlin, the Golden Mountains of Altai, and many more. So, students will get to explore the rich history and gain valuable insights into the country they are studying in.

Work while studying in Russia. 

From the year 2020 onwards, Russia has made it easier for foreign students to thrive while studying. The new law allows students to work without obtaining a work permit while studying here. Students can work for 20 hours per week without an additional work permit. This will make it easier for students to afford tuition fees and living expenses while they study in Russia. 

Students should also try to apply for jobs in cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg to have better opportunities to apply their newly learned skills. 

Students can study for free with scholarship opportunities. 

The Russian Government welcomes all international students to apply for scholarships. In fact, they have a scholarship that waives entire tuition fees and provides students with a monthly stipend to cover accommodation, food, and other expenses. 

Luckily, students don’t have to write an entrance exam to qualify for this scholarship. Furthermore, there are several other scholarship opportunities that students can avail themselves of from individual institutes and other foreign foundations. 

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Best Universities to Study 

Several top universities in Russia are ranked in the QS Top Universities Ranking, 2023 and are members of the Association of European Universities. Additionally, there are over 741 universities across 82 regions in Russia. 

One of the top universities to study in Russia is Lomonosov Moscow State University, located in Moscow. It is the highest ranked university and welcomes more than 4000 international students annually. It has an impressive library, research center, and museum. This university is well-equipped to add to students’ education.

Mentioned Below are the QS world rankings 2023 of the best universities to study in Russia: 

University Name QS World Ranking 2023Number of Programs Number of International Students 
Lomonosov Moscow State University #7577 Undergraduate and 101 postgraduate programs 10341 students 
Bauman Moscow State Technical University #230 35 undergraduate programs and several Postgraduate programs, including 9 in English 3977 students 
Novosibirsk State University =26035 undergraduate programs and 82 postgraduate programs 1623 students 
Tomsk State University =264Two undergraduate programs and eight postgraduate programs 2886 students 
Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT/Moscow Phystech) =26712 postgraduate programs and 590 undergraduate programs 1255 students 
Saint Petersburg State University =270At least 400 undergraduate programs and 24 postgraduate programs 4863 students 
RUDN University =29567 undergraduate programs and 269 postgraduate programs 8934 students 
HSE University =308Eight undergraduate programs and 40 postgraduate programs 5112 students 

Cost Of Studying in Russia 

Studying at a Russian university is quite affordable. Students can get fundamental knowledge and globally recognized diplomas at reasonable prices. On average, a student can expect to pay anywhere between ₽ 85987 to ₽ 455232 per year at prestigious institutes. 

Moreover, the cost of living is much less when students study in Russia. Furthermore, several scholarship opportunities are available to students to subsidize their tuition fees. 

Following are some of the average costs involved when students study in Russia: 

Undergraduate Programs – 

Generally a four-year course, the undergraduate programs cost approximately ₽ 240 to ₽260,000 per year. 

Postgraduate Programs – 

These are two-year programs and provide in-depth subject knowledge. These courses generally cost approximately ₽260-280,000 thousand per year. 

Specialist’s Programs – 

These are specialized courses that require five years of theoretical and practical training. On average, they cost approximately ₽240,000 to ₽ 260,000 annually. 

Scholarship Options 

The Russian Government Scholarship Program welcomes more than 15,000 foreign students and waives the tuition fee for students who are granted scholarships. Every year, Russia offers at least 100 grants exclusively for Indian students.

Mentioned Below is the list of the scholarships Russia offers students to apply for:

  • Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship Program, 2023
  • Royal Society International Exchange Programme, 2022
  • Banting International Postdoctoral Fellowships, 2022
  • Aerospace Russia Partial Scholarships 
  • National Air Transportation Association Pioneers of Flight Scholarship 2022
  • International Mathematical Union- Abel Visiting Scholar Program in US 2022
  • Open Doors Russian Scholarship
  • Eastern European University Association Scholarship 
  • National Research University Scholarship 
  • Eurasian Management and Administration School Scholarships for MBA 
  • Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology Scholarship 
  • Siberian Federal University Scholarship 
  • National Overseas Scholarship 
  • Vladimir Potanin Foundation’s Olympic Scholarship 

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Requirements To Study: 

To study abroad in Russia, students must be aware that the application process starts in November of the previous year and ends in August of the same year. Generally, the academic year begins in September. 

Students need to be geared with the following requirements to study in Russia: 

  • They must choose their program and university and learn about financing and scholarship options. 
  • They should have their documentation ready. 
  • One of the first documents is the application form of the preferred university. 
  • Students should have a passport copy 
  • Students should have a certificate of their education level 
  • Students should have two medical certificates, one stating that they have no diseases and the other stating that they don’t have HIV

In addition to the above general requirements, students must adhere to certain conditions for undergraduate and postgraduate courses. 

Undergraduate course – 

Students wanting to undergo undergraduate studies must have a Russian language proficiency test through the Unified State Entrance Examination. Students must have their high school diploma and academic records translated into Russian. 

Postgraduate course – 

Students wanting to apply for the postgraduate degree must have proof of their undergraduate or specialist’s degrees in the same field. Students might need to provide English Proficiency like TOEFL or IELTS as most postgraduate courses are taught in English

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Right Cities To Live and Study 

Russia is a large country where many international students and visitors meet and mingle. Students can move around the country freely, day or night, without taking any special precautions. Moreover, the police are reliable and help in any situation, ensuring lower crime rates. 

Some of the best cities to live and study include the following:


Moscow is home to 257 universities and has the top-ranked Lomonosov Moscow State University located here. It is a metropolitan city and is the capital of Russia. It is a clean city with no slums and high-risk districts. Public transportation is cheap, reliable, and safe. 


St. Petersburg has over 103 universities and is a city on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. It is the world’s cultural capital. The city’s historical center is a protected UNESCO Heritage Site. In St. Petersburg, students get the opportunity to experience beautiful weather and explore historically and culturally significant places. 


Tomsk is one of the oldest cities in Russia. It is located in the southeast of western Siberia. Tomsk is the scientific center of the region and is ranked first in Russia for the number of people engaged in Research and Development. Students will find this place safe and friendly, with a well-developed infrastructure. Some of the top medical colleges are located here.


Novosibirsk is home to 34 universities and hosts over 100 R&D organizations. It provides a unique environment and has a cooler climate. It is an inexpensive, safe city with an excellent transportation system. 

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Cost Of Living 

Living in Russia is more affordable as prices are lower compared to the remaining European countries. According to Study In Russia’s data following are the approximate cost of living in Russia: 

  • Depending on the university accommodations a student chooses to live in, the living expenses come to almost ₽ 500-35,000 per month. The variation depends on the region and location.
  • The approximate food expenses are up to ₽ 10,000 per month. On average, grocery shopping can cost up to ₽ 4209 per trip.
  • Mobile and cellular data can cost from ₽ 300 to 400 per month. Students might likely get free Wi-Fi at the university dorm. However, if students rent an apartment, they will be asked to pay approximately ₽ 300-500 per month for internet access.
  • Cultural pursuits like visiting the cinema can cost ₽ 400 to ₽ 1000, and visiting the Moscow theater can cost ₽ 800 to ₽ 2500. However, students should research and try to get the student discount offers. 

Students should note that the costs mentioned above are average and may vary depending on their lifestyle, region, and requirements. 

Stay Back Options

After completing their education, students might want to stay back and work. For this, they will need to secure a work visa or a work permit to stay and get a job in Russia. 

There are two types of work visas that a student can apply for post-study: 

  • Standard Work Visa – It is a single entry visa valid for three months. Students can hope to get an annual salary of less than 2 million RUB. 
  • Highly Qualified Specialist Work Visa – The visa is generally valid for three years. It is granted on showing documentation of an annual salary higher than 2 million RUB. 

Alternatively, graduates of accredited Russian Universities can apply for a Temporary Residence Permit and stay in Russia as temporary residents. However, individuals need to re-validate the visa every three years. 

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Do students have to give any entrance exams to join Russian Universities?

Generally, students do not need entrance exams to join a Russian university. However, some universities may take their entrance exam to test their general aptitude and subjectivity. Moreover, students must meet the minimum criteria to join their preferred university and program.




Is it necessary to learn Russian to study in Russia?

Students must learn Russian if they want to reap the benefits of scholarship opportunities. This is because most courses eligible for scholarships are conducted in Russian. However, some English medium classes are available, too, albeit without scholarship access. International students need to take the Uniform State Examination to avail of scholarships.




Can one apply for a Work Permit after completing the course?

Yes, one can apply for a work permit after graduating from the university. Students need to check the list of documents required for the General Administration for Migration Issues on the Interior Ministry of Russia’s website.




When should one apply to a Russian university?

One must apply to a Russian University according to the intakes they are interested in. If one wants to join the January or February intake, one completes the application formalities before November of the previous year. Suppose one wants to join the September intake; one must complete formalities before July of the same year.







Neha Uppal

Sr. Content editor

Neha Uppal is a passionate content creator and editor. She carries 7.5+ years of experience working with leading edutech companies where she worked as a Faculty, Community Manager, and Content Marketeer. At upGrad, she is helping out people keep informed about the scopes and opportunities of studying abroad via informational articles/blogs.

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