System of education

Russian System of Education

In Russia, the length of study at the faculty of medicine and engineering depends on the medium of instruction. The faculty with the Russian language as the medium of instruction offers a study program of 4-5 years, this includes 1 year training in the Russian language at the preparatory faculty.

If you opt for English as the medium of instruction, you do not have to go through the 1-year training at the preparatory faculty. Whichever course in medicine you are studying, you will have to have a 1-year intern-ship.

Postgraduate studies in medicine are now available in English, this is a 2-3 years course.

Russians have always been concerned with education, in fact in the Russian Constitution there is a “right for education” stipulated. It is guaranteed by compulsory secondary schools, vocational schools, and higher education institutions. There are also many evening courses and state funded scholarships and grants.

Due to the demands of the international markets, Russian education has changed considerably in the last few years. Universities have started implementing systems similar to those in Britain and the USA, 4 years for a bachelor degree and 2 years for a Master’s degree. These changes are still in progress as some now offer this new system, but some still offer the old system of 5-years courses.

Once you have completed your higher education, you can move onto doctorate postgraduate studies, these are 2-3 year courses. After you have defended your thesis the “Candidate of Science” This is considered to be the equivalent to a Ph.D. in America.

There is one scientific degree that is higher than the Candidate of Science, this is the Doctor of Science, and is awarded on successful completion of the 3 year course.

The Russian system of education is free for all with a high literacy rate standing at 99%, compulsory education ends at the age of 16, however, 96% of the population do go on to complete some form of higher education. This means that competition for places in universities and other top institutions is very intense. About 12% of employed people in Russia have completed higher education and the quality of the teaching tends to be better than in many Western countries.

Basic general education lasts 9 years, the stages of the compulsory education in Russia are:

Elementary school for children age 6/7 to 10, Senior School for those 10 to 16 and High School for age 16-17/18. Generally the length of time spent at school is 10-11/12 years. There are also vocational schools (or non university level) higher education institutions, that you can enter after senior school. These offer 2 types of courses, one the purely professional education lasting up-to 2 years, and the professional and and secondary general education which last three to four years.

Higher education is provided by state and private accredited higher education institutions. The state facilities are not usually free, but if you perform well in the entrance exam and get a top score you will find yourself funded. About one third of students pay tuition fees. In the private institutions all students pay the tuition fees. Higher education comes under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation, and they are responsible for the accreditation and licensing of institutions, and for developing and maintaining the state education standards.

The academic year lasts from September to May or June and is divided into 2 semesters, there are examinations at the end of each semester. The Russian system of education is made up of the following tiers: Kindergarten (for those under the age of 7), Primary School (1st – 4th grades), Secondary School (5th – 9th grades), high secondary school (10th and 11th grades) and higher education at university.

The language used for teaching in universities is mostly Russian. Some courses can be taught in English (these are primarily General Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy and Computer Science), and French (General Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy). The fees for courses taught in English are generally 25 – 50% higher than the courses taught in Russian.

All students, regardless of if you are a native Russian or an International Student, stay in the hostels at the university, generally in rooms for 1-3 people so long as the meet the sanitary requirements of the Russian Federation. All rooms are provided with furniture and bedding, you can purchase your own plates, cutlery, electrical appliances at your own cost should you not wish to use the provided ones. In winter all the rooms are heated the temperature indoors is an average of +22 degrees. Just about every student hostel has a café, gym, study classrooms, a laundry, telephones for international calls, internet centres and medical posts.

There are toilets and showers with hot and cold running water on every floor of the hostels, there are also kitchens on every floor too (unlike most European countries hostels), enabling you to prepare your own food instead of eating out every day.

You should always keep the hostel clean and tidy, and please respect the neighbours. At night you should keep the noise down and be quiet, it doesn’t matter what your nationality, background, citizenship, status or income are, and everyone will be a big multicultural family by living together in the hostel. You should expect to spend around $30-$60 a month for the accommodation.

When you first arrive in Russia, you will not know who your roommate will be. If you are not from the same country, then it is a good idea to practice speaking Russian to each other so that you will understand yourselves. If there are extra rooms, it could be possible for you to change rooms or even have a room to yourself (this will cost you extra), you should bear in mind that if you do have a one person room that your costs will change, as you will not be splitting bills like heating and lighting between others. We advise that for when you first arrive in Russia you have about $500 to buy some items here. Things like plates, clothes, electrical equipment etc.. The food expenses on average a month will cost you about $120-$150, unless you are in Moscow, where this cost will be $200.

The public safety in Russia is provided by the state security and law enforcement service – the Militsia (Police). They are responsible for the safety of both Russian citizens and foreign visitors throughout the whole of the country. As an International Student, you will find that special attention is given to your safety. How is this done? Simple, all university buildings and student hostels are continuously guarded by the university internal security department or by hired private security guards. All entrances to the universities are guarded, to enter you will need to show your pass (the one you received when admitted to the university). You can only enter your hostel between the hours of 6am and midnight (so ensure if you are going out of an evening, you return with plenty of time to gain admittance back again). Any one coming to visit you at the hostel is allowed in between 4pm and 11pm, so again, you will need to ensure you visitors leave before 11pm, they will also need to show some ID to gain entrance. These rules apply all over the Russian Federation and all foreign citizens MUST carry their passport and migration card (make sure you do not lose either). As a student, you will be treated the same as a Russian citizen, therefore, please ensure you obey all laws, respect the traditions and customs of Russia, and follow the simple, common sense rules for your personal safety.
As stated, as a foreign citizen in Russia, you are treated exactly the same way as native Russians, therefore you are liable for any criminal or administrative offence committed within the country. Don’t panic, there are specially employed people within the university that meet with you upon arrival, and will explain the basic rules, laws and norms of behaviour expected. This will include your legal responsibilities and all safety measures.

If you need any help pertaining to matters of security, you can approach a militsioner (policeman) and they will assist you in an emergency. If there is a much greater emergency, you can dial the emergency telephone number 01 (this will get you police, ambulance or fire service) anywhere in Russia, this is a free call.

You should always remember why you are here in Russia, that is of course for study. Enhancing your education and gaining a recognised qualification within the subject area you opted to study. This means that you can only have a job in your free time, this would basically be the vacation times or after class. If you take a job that means you miss class you can be expelled from the university for poor attendance. Another thing to bear in mind is the employer MUST be licensed to employ foreign nationals. It is not recommended that you get a job during the first 2 years of study, this is to enable you to fully concentrate on your studies, and also, you will not yet speak fluent Russian or be fully aware of the conditions in the country.

The jobs you will find available to you as a foreign student are temporary positions, and usually low paid because the employers are looking for unqualified low cost workers. Please bear this in mind when you are looking for work and think of it as a way of earning “pocket money” rather than to cover your tuition fees or other expenses whilst in Russia

You must present all documents needed for consideration of your application for the university course. Please follow all instructions of our representative in the country where you receive the letter of invitation for studying in Russia, and get your visa (if applicable) issued by the Russian Embassy in your home country.

You must try and meet all the requirements of to ensure you have time to complete all necessary paperwork and documentation for staying in Russia during the study period. You must obey without question, all rules and the terms of registration, ensure you attend all classes as your schedule dictates and master the curriculum in your chosen speciality. You must also keep your hostel clean and tidy, obey all local and national Russian laws, and obey all the university internal rules and regulations.

You must ensure you have sufficient funds to pay for the tuition, accommodation fees and all your other expenses, including life and health insurance. These expenses (other than your monthly food expenses) MUST be paid yearly and no later than 1st September. Please remember that you can be expelled from the university for poor attendance, poor academic records or even poor financial welfare. If this does happen you will have to leave Russia within 14 days, so you would have to have a ticket to return home, or the money to purchase one.

You must inform us of any problems and needs in order for us to be able to help and advise you. You must always follow any recommendations we make to you, this is to enable both us and yourself to protect your interests during your period of study and stay in Russia.

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