• Educational programmes
    Field of study
    Mode of study
    Language of instruction
    Duration of study
  • Additional Programmes
    Type of additional programme
    Mode of study
    Language of instruction
    Duration of study
  • Universities
  • 5 Steps to Applying

Levels of Higher Education

Picture №1 – Levels of Higher Education
© shutterstock.com

Russia’s modern higher education system is based on the Bologna Process and includes such levels of education as bachelor’s degree, specialist degree, master’s degree, postgraduate, clinical internship etc.

Bachelor's Degree

This is a complete higher education course. Individuals who have completed education equivalent to Russian general secondary or vocational secondary education can enroll in a Bachelor's Degree course. The 4 year course provides general training in fundamental subjects.

At the end of the programme, students defend their thesis. If successful, they are awarded with a Bachelor's Degree certificate (BA, BSc). The certificate grants the right to work in their professional field or to further their studies on a Master's Degree course.

Specialist Degree

Unlike Bachelor's Degrees, Specialist Progrmmes are more focused on practical work in the selected industry. These programmes are offered to individuals who have education equivalent to Russian general secondary or vocational secondary education. The course is designed for 5 years. Based on the examination results and thesis defence students receive a Specialist Degree certificate specifying the qualification (e.g., "Astronomer," "Teacher," "Information Security Specialist," etc.). Graduates may work in industry or further their studies on a postgraduate course or a Master's course.

Master's Degree

This course allows in-depth specialisation in the student’s chosen field. Applicants with Bachelor’s or Specialist Degrees can enrol in Master's courses. For two years students are specifically trained for the research work. After the thesis defence a Master's Degree certificate is awarded with Master qualification.

Graduates of Master’s programmes may work in industry or further their studies on a postgraduate course.

Highest Professional Training

A POSTGRADUATE COURSE is a form of training for academics. Graduates of a Master's or Specialist Degree can enroll in a postgraduate courses. The course includes study, teaching, hands-on experience, and research. Postgraduate students select a research field and subject of research for their dissertation. Full-time study lasts at least 3 years, while part-time study lasts at least 4 years. A graduate is awarded a postgraduate certificate with the corresponding qualification (“Research Fellow,” “Research Teaching Fellow”). Depending on the result of the dissertation defence, a Candidate of Sciences Degree is awarded, which is the first Degree to confirm the status of a scientist. Candidates of Sciences proceed to their Doctoral Degree (the second Degree to confirm the scientist status), which is awarded following successful defence of their doctoral dissertation.

A POSTGRADUATE MILITARY COURSE is the equivalent of a university postgraduate course; however, it is only related to the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Defence.

A MEDICAL RESIDENCY is the final stage in training in a number of medical (or pharmaceutical) fields. Individuals who hold a higher medical (or pharmaceutical) qualification can enroll in a medical residency. The course lasts 2 years and is a combination of in-depth study of the basics of medical sciences with hands-on experience in medical institutions where students develop the necessary professional skills and abilities. The course concludes with a three-stage qualification examination. Graduates are awarded a medical residency certificate and the qualification of specialist, enabling them to work in medical institutions.

An ASSISTANTSHIP is a form of training of highly qualified personnel working in the arts. Graduates of Specialist or Master's Degrees in this field can train on assistantships. The course lasts up to two years and follows a tailor-made syllabus under the supervision of a mentor and the department head of the university. The graduate qualification work may be a performance, concert, show, exhibition, or film depending on the specialisation. An assistantship concludes with the award of a certificate.

Second Higher Education

Russian legislation grants Russians just one free higher education (of levels 1, 2, or 3), while subsequent study must always be paid for. Foreign citizens who have graduated from a university outside the Russian Federation may enroll in a second higher education course both on a commercial and state-funded basis (subject to successful completion of the selection process). This can be done as part of a Bachelor's (up to 4 years), Specialist (up to 6 years), or Master's (at least 2 years) Degrees. The selection process is based on entry examinations. Upon graduation, a certificate is awarded to confirm the qualification.

Course type Bachelor's Degree Specialist Degree Master's Degree
Entry requirements General secondary education or equivalent General secondary education or equivalent Bachelor's Degree

Specialist Degree

Duration of study (full-time) 4 years At least 5 years 2 years
Academic qualifications Bachelor's Degree certificate Specialist Degree certificate Master's Degree certificate
Qualification (Degree) BA, BSc Specialist MA, MSc
Type of study General basic training in a particular field without specialisation Focused on practical work in the chosen field In-depth study of theoretical aspects with a focus on research
Form of final state assessment State examinations, preparation and defence of Bachelor's thesis State examinations and dissertation (project) defence

State examinations and Master's dissertation defence
Further study Master's Degree Master's Degree or other postgraduate courses Postgraduate courses

Positions requiring a higher education qualification

Entry requirements Master's or Specialist Degree Higher medical or pharmaceutical education MA or Specialist Degree
Duration of study 3–4 years (full-time),
4–5 years (part-time)
Up to 2 years

2 years, full-time only
Academic qualification certificate Postgraduate Degree certificate Medical internship certificate Assistantship certificate
Qualification (Degree) Researcher (qualification), research fellow (qualification),

Candidate of Sciences (degree)

Specialist Specialist of highest qualification, senior professor
Type of study Study, teaching, hands-on experience, research In-depth study of teaching, clinical and medical and social basics of medical sciences;

acquisition of skills and abilities for independent professional activity during practical study in a medical institution

Individual syllabus under the supervision of a mentor and head of department at the university
Form of final state assessment Three qualifying examinations for a candidate's Degree, state examination,

dissertation defence

Three-stage qualification examination Creative and dramatic arts final graduation work (performance, solo recital, play, exhibition, or film)
Further career in a scientific and professional field Doctoral dissertation defence Further professional training to master a narrower specialisation, postgraduate course Preparation of a candidate's dissertation for a Candidate in Art History Degree. Doctoral dissertation defence
Employment Research, analytical and scientific work in accordance with qualification Work in medical institutions according to qualification Teaching or professional work in the arts in accordance with qualification