Educational System in Russia
Although Russia provides free education for all its citizens as guaranteed by their Constitution, admittance into a post-secondary higher education institutions is extremely competitive. Because the Russian governmental sector is responsible for regulating the educational system there is a strong emphasis on earning degrees in technological and scientific fields of study. Students wishing to major in these fields should have advanced competency in their chosen subject areas as well as excellent grades in order to be accepted into a Russian university.
In addition to allocating funding for student tuition fees, Russia also pays overseas students a small stipend and provides free housing for them as well. The country has also eliminated a lot of red tape that used to prevent or delay foreign students from attending a Russian university. Now that the application system is more streamlined, students who have attended American, German, Danish, Chinese, Italian and Japanese universities will experience minimal to no issues in regards to transferring to a Russian university.
Russia is currently in the process of switching its traditional higher education degree model to one that is much more compatible with Western-type academic degrees. In 2003, Russia signed the Bologna Declaration which paved the way for the government to enact a law that removed its old, five-year degree model to one that resembles the U.S. degree system--the four-year bachelor degree followed by a master's degree. However, the postdoctorate degree still retains the traditional, Soviet Union pattern that was established nearly 90 years ago. Basically, PhDs in Russia are defined and earned according to the depth of a student's personal achievements in scientific research (doktor nauk, or doctor of science) or academic research.
Popular Russian Universities
The largest and oldest universities in Russia are the Saint Petersburg State University and the Moscow State University. During the 2000s, the government initiated a program that established "federal" universities by merging higher education institutions that already existed and allocating special funding grants to them. Some of these newer universities include Kazan Volga Federal University, Siberian Federal University and North-Eastern Federal University.
Attending a University in Russia
Since the majority of Russian universities teach classes in Russian, students should at least have a rudimentary knowledge of the language prior to applying to a university. It is mandatory for all foreign students to take a Russian language course as part of their curriculum, unless they can prove they do not need it.
International students can work part-time while enrolled in a degree program. Be aware that employers of international students must have a special license that shows they are allowed to hire foreign students before students can legally work for them.
Applying to a Russian university requires submission of the following documents:
- Application form indicating desired field of study
- Certified copy of a diploma or other educational certificate indicating the student is eligible to enrol in a higher education program
- An authorized health certificate and copy of an HIV blood test result issued by a health insurance company that is accredited by the Russian Consulate
- Certified copy of a birth certificate
- 4 x 6 sized passport photos (include at least six of these photos)
Why Study in Russia?
Russia's higher educational system is rigorous, competitive and recognized globally for its degrees that consistently have high UNESCO and WHO ratings. To specifically attract international students, Russian universities provide 100 percent tuition fee concessions as well as generous scholarships. In addition, Russia is a fascinating, diverse and historically influential country that offers foreign students a wealth of new and enriching experiences.
The Russian Federation occupies most of eastern Europe and north Asia, stretching from the Baltic Sea in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east, and from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea and the Caucasus in the south. Russia's extensive mineral and energy resources, the largest reserves in the world, have made it one of the largest producers of oil and natural gas.
The Russian Federation is a semi-presidential, federal republic containing 83 different territories known as "federal subjects". Russia shares its borders with numerous countries that include Norway, China, Poland, Finland and North Korea. It is the largest country in the world and covers one-eighth of Earth's habitable areas, spanning nine separate time zones and extending over the entire region of northern Asia.
Currently, the Russian Federation's economy is one of the most prosperous in the world, ranking as the seventh largest developed country in purchasing power. This is attributed to its extensive energy and mineral resources that have made it one of the biggest manufacturers of natural gas and oil. The Russian Federation is a member of the G8, United Nations Security Council, the Council of Europe and the World Trade Organization.
Essential Facts about Russia
- Russia has a President who is considered the "head of state" and a Prime Minister, who is referred to as the "head of government".
- The federal government consists of three branches: the Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary.
- An estimated 165 different indigenous peoples and ethnic groups live in Russia. Eighty percent of Russia's population are ethnic Russians.
- Russian is the language spoken by the majority of citizens, followed by Tatar and Ukrainian. Russian is an official language of the United Nations, along with the Arabic, Chinese, French, English and Spanish languages.
- The primary currency in Russia is the ruble.
Russia spans a large geographic area containing many remote areas such as the vast tundras of Siberia. Northern Russia, which includes Siberia, has a subarctic climate with frigid winters and heavy snow. Moscow and many other parts of Russia not contained in the northern areas have humid continental climates with warm to hot summers and cold, lengthy winters. Typical June, July and August temperatures hover around 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 Celsius) but can go as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) during heat waves. In winter, expect temperatures to remain well below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit/0 celsius) and often staying below zero for extended periods.
Religions in Russia
Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Islam are the most common religions in Russia. All are considered to be legally part of the country's historical heritage. The most popular religious holiday celebrated by nearly all Russian citizens is Easter, which they recognize by making kulich (Easter bread) and paskha, a dish containing cheese and shaped like a pyramid.
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