Ural Federal University: Educating International Students for 60 Years

28 September 2016 © UrFU

The Ural Federal University is a reputable Russian university. It was founded in 1920. Today it offers educational programmes in both humanities and sciences. Marina Sannikova, head of International Affairs Support Office, tells about the services offered for international students.

– Marina, what is the advantage of studying at the Ural Federal University?

– UrFU is a merged university that has incorporated a comprehensive university and a polytechnic university. There are 17 institutes that offer a wide variety of educational programmes, from Metallurgy to Political Philosophy, taught both in Russian and English. From the beginning of their studies, students may participate in research and work as research assistants at UrFU’s scientific labs. You can find more information about student employment on the university website.

Where is UrFU located?

– The university is located in the centre of Ekaterinburg. It is a big city with population of 1,4 mln people. It has a developed infrastructure and transport network, there are many curiosities, parks and museums, shopping malls and cinema theaters. International students live in 13 residences, all of which are within walking distance from university buildings. Cafes, sports grounds, a stadium and a swimming pool are located nearby, which is very convenient. Besides, the nature of the Urals is amazing. Many forests, lakes and mountains are not far from Ekaterinburg, so there are plenty of travel opportunities.

– How long has the university been admitting international students?

– The university has a rich experience of training international students. The first international programmes were launched in the 1950-s for students from India, China, Africa, Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern countries. Today we pay much attention to adaptation of international students. There is a special support department called “Buddy System UrFU”. The guys from this department work professionally and enthusiastically, helping foreigners to feel comfortable in Russia. In the past year volunteers worked with 700 new coming international students. We can say that when foreigners come to UrFU, they join one big international family. At present, 1806 international students from 63 countries are studying at the university.


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– What countries do you plan to attract students from?

– We would be glad to accept students from all over the world, but specifically attract more students from Latin America, Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa and BRICS countries (Brazil, India, China, South Africa).

– What educational programmes do international students usually choose?

– They choose programmes in Mechanical and Metallurgical Engineering, Information Technologies, Biotechnologies, Journalism, Language Studies, International Relations, Tourism, Social and Political Sciences.

– What do you do to attract international students?

– We use many instruments: we cooperate with foreign recruiting agencies, now we have 37 cooperation agreements. We participate in international exhibitions, promote our programmes online, work with Rossotrudnichestvo offices abroad, organize presentations at foreign schools throughout the year. By the way, these school meetings give excellent results, as they allow for direct communications with prospective students and parents. In general, we try to be open as much as possible, to make information about the university available for students from different countries. We work in several languages, communicate with students through social networks, answer questions. Having well-organized communications is the most important thing.


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– How many state-funded places does the university provide?

– As of 2016, 75 places in Master’s and Doctoral programmes are funded by the Russian government. 

– What advice would you give to international students that consider applying to UrFU next year?

– We would like to recommend students to prepare carefully all necessary documents: certified diplomas, medical certificates, etc. Believe me, it will help avoid many difficult and unpleasant situations. You can find a detailed information on our website. Moreover, you may always contact us by e-mail, by phone or through social networks. It is also important that students learn some basic information about the country, and have some ideas about Russian climate, food, culture and common rules of behaviour in advance. That will ease adaptation.

– Does university offer grants for talented students?

– There is indeed a grant program for talented students that covers their studying, living and transportation expenses. We also try to help those who are doing Master’s programmes in English, and those who study priority disciplines - Sciences, Mathematics, Engineering, and Information Technologies. The aim of the grant system is to support talented young people, and to increase UrFU’s attractiveness for international students.

– Are there any preparatory courses for foreigners

– There is a preparatory department for international students. For a year students learn the Russian language and study some basic disciplines in Russian, so they can pursue their studies in Bachelor’s or Master’s programmes. The standard programme is 1008 auditorium hours or 28 hours per week. On top of that, students of preparatory courses attend different events that help them learn language and culture outside the classroom. They participate in city quests, Russian cuisine festivals, linguistic clubs. In order to apply for a preparatory course, you may fill in the form on our website.


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– Do you organize summer schools?

– Yes, there are several summer schools for international students. The main topics are Russia Studies, Economics, Human Resources, and Engineering. They last from two weeks to one month, and include sight-seeing tours and social activities. The call for applications starts in November, and more information is available on the website.

– Do you have Russian language courses? How can students enrol for them?

– UrFU organizes Russian language courses of various duration for foreigners, starting from 36 hours.  Some language courses are tailored specifically to programmes in science or humanities. You can submit your application online. All people can apply for these courses no matter what their age and professional qualification are.

– Do students receive a certificate at the end of the course?

– At the end of the course students pass tests, written and oral exams. Those who pass them successfully get a university diploma. All students can pass an internationally recognized Test of Russian as a Foreign Language at the UrFU’s Testing Center and get an international certificate.  

– What education exhibitions will the university attend in the following months? 

– UrFU’s representatives will attend China Education Expo on October 24-30, 2016, Guangzhou, China; Eduexpos Asia on November 8, 2016, Seoul, Korea; A2 Morocco Fairs on November 10-11, 2016, Casablanca, Morocco. If you happen to be there at this time, please come and meet us!


© UrFU

– Are there any additional bonuses for UrFU’s students that you did not mention?

– There are many opportunities. Members of Students’ Union can have a one-way ticket home remunerated once in a semester. They can also get a free legal advice. In all, UrFU’s students have a rich social life: they can develop their skills and build connections in 30 student associations: ensembles, sport teams, international associations. There is a Student Organization of United Nations, for example. You can go learn one of twelve languages at the Linguistic club or plan your cultural life with the “Your Week-end” team.

– What is about sport activities?

– UrFU students can go in for fitness for free: attend dance, weight and aerobic trainings. We have  summer and winter stadiums, 11 specialized gyms, 2 skiing centers, a rink, and 14 sports grounds at the student campus. There is a center for team sports and a swimming pool, which students can visit during their free time. Many national competitions are held at the university: track-and-field, swimming, boxing, table tennis, and badminton competitions, as well as Russian mini-football, thai boxing, and judo Championships, competitions of Climbing World cup, and others. So, you see that there are plenty of interesting activities, and students have no time to get bored.  

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