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Best Russian Universities

Best Russian Universities
© ITMO University

Every applicant can choose the best university for themselves. What are the criteria for choosing? Let us look at them.

Some say that the most important criteria are the quality and level of training while others give priority to facilities and equipment, employment prospects or research opportunities during studies. Leading international agencies mostly rely on these parameters to compose world university rankings; each comes up with its own top list.

International rankings

The most reputable ranking are produced by three leading agencies.

Britain’s Quacquarelli Symonds relies on several parameters including academic reputation, employer reputation and international faculty radio/international student ratio. Many Russian universities have well-deserved positions in QS rankings. In 2019, QS listed 25 Russian higher education centres; the top 500 included Novosibirsk State University, National Research Tomsk State University, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Higher School of Economics, National Research Nuclear University MEPhI, Ural Federal University, National Research Tomsk Polytechnic University, Kazan Federal University, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, ITMO University, Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, National University of Science and Technology etc.

Times Higher Education, another prestigious British ranking agency, is focused on such performance indicators as teaching (the learning environment), research volume etc. THE World University Rankings 2019 included 39 Russian universities. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Higher School of Economics, ITMO University and National Research Nuclear University MEPhI were in the top 500.

ARWU (Academic Ranking of World Universities), also known as Shanghai Ranking, is presented by Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. It uses such criteria as alumni of an institution winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, research output etc. It is the most challenging ranking for Russia, yet in 2019, ARWU listed 11 Russian universities; the top 500 included Lomonosov Moscow State University, Saint Petersburg State University, Novosibirsk State University and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

Rankings by subject

Aside from world university rankings, QS, THE and ARWU publish rankings by subject. For example, Higher School of Economics is in ARWU’s top 100 for mathematics and social science and in the top 200 for economics and political science. The QS top 100 for physics and astronomy includes such powerhouses as National Research Nuclear University MEPhI, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and Novosibirsk State University. Russian universities also show traditional strong performance in IT technologies. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Saint Petersburg State University, ITMO University, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, and HSE are in the QS top 300.

THE rankings by subject highlight the strong positions of Russian universities in the IT field, too. ITMO University and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology are placed 74th and 95th, respectively, in THE’s top 100 for computer science. THE’s top 300 for physical sciences includes Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology at 45th position, National Research Nuclear University MEPhI in the 101-125 group, Novosibirsk State University (126-150), National Research Tomsk State University (126-200), Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (201-250), ITMO University (251-300) etc. In the top 300 for engineering and technology Russia is represented by Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (201-250), ITMO University (201-250), National Research Tomsk Polytechnic University (251-300) etc.

Regional rankings

These rankings are presented by QS and THE every year. QS publishes the BRICS rankings (of universities in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and EECA (includes developing countries in Europe and Central Asia). THE releases annual BRICS & Emerging Economies Rankings.

QS BRICS awarded leading positions to Russian universities. The top 50 included Lomonosov Moscow State University and Saint Petersburg State University (6th and 11th places respectively), Novosibirsk State University (12th), National Research Tomsk State University (19th), Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (21st), National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (30th), Higher School of Economics (37th) and National Research Tomsk Polytechnic University (39th). THE BRICS & Emerging Economies Rankings 2019 listed five Russian higher education centres: Lomonosov Moscow State University (5th), Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (12th), National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (16th), HSE (22nd) and National Research Tomsk State University (49th).

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