PhD degree in Russia
On this page, we will discuss PhD studies. Philosophiae Doctor is the third level of higher education in Russia and the first stage on the path to an academic career of a scientist.
In Russia, PhD studies conducted not only in universities but also in various specialized scientific organizations and research centres. Upon completion of the PhD programme and the candidate's dissertation defence, a graduate is awarded the title of candidate of sciences, which in the Bologna education system is equivalent to a PhD degree. The next stage is the degree of Doctor of Science.
Russian universities offer a great number of programmes in various fields, so it is quite easy to find a PhD programme that is right for you. We have assembled a list of the most attractive directions from the leading Russian universities of today.
How to apply to a PhD school in Russia?
You can always find the most up-to-date information on the admission rules in our detailed guide – Apply to a Russian university in 5 easy steps.
Graduates of any master's programme or Russian specialist can enrol in PhD school directly. Applicants must have sufficient grades in specialized subjects, as well as successfully pass the entrance exams in the history and philosophy of science, foreign language and speciality.
Far Eastern Federal University is a unique educational centre with an ultra-modern campus and a focal platform of communication for Russian and international experts. In 2020, the university began the construction of the Pacific Quantum Centre. Soon young scientists and PhD students will be able to conduct here their research projects on the most topical problems of fundamental physics. FEFU consists of 9 scientific schools that carry 300 educational programmes. Many of them are PhD studies: Ecology (Biological sciences), Computational Mathematics, History and Archeology, Clinical Medicine, Theory and History of Culture, Mathematics and Mechanics, Mechanical Engineering, Psychological Sciences and others.
The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology was founded by Nobel laureates P. Kapitsa, N. Semenov and L. Landau. Today it is a world-class scientific centre. MIPT is regularly ranked in numerous prestigious international rankings, including the top-350 in the QS world university rankings, the top-300 in THE world's best universities, the top-50 industry rankings in QS Physics & Astronomy and THE Physical sciences.
MIPT is renowned for training highly qualified specialists in physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology and engineering. These experts employed by leading Russian and international companies, go on to work in the most advanced realms of science. University lecturers are professional researchers working on innovative technologies in interdisciplinary fields of science, the leading scientists and engineers in their fields. Therefore, much attention is paid to supporting the academic track within the university and attracting young scientists to work in laboratories on the MIPT campus.
The university has many PhD programmes ranging from quantum technology to Arctic research. For example, the Astrophysics and Stellar Astronomy programme. PhD students examine physical systems of various scales and their functions, as well as physical, biophysical and physicochemical technologies, methods of physical examination and monitoring. MIPT also offers programmes in Molecular Biology to study biological systems and their use for various purposes. And Oceanology to study the structure of the Earth, its geosphere and mineral deposits, to learn how to monitor and make development forecasts and to master territorial planning, design and forecasting.
Since 2014, the National Research University Higher School of Economics has been running 18 PhD schools in such subjects and fields as sociology, management, economics, law, political sciences, education, psychology, philological sciences, mathematics, technical sciences, physics, computer science, art and design, state and municipal administration, international relations and cultural studies. All schools are united by unified standards of academic research, peer review of the research work, additional courses, master classes, lectures by leading Russian and international researchers, travel grants and internships. One of the demanded PhD programmes is Methods and systems of information security, information security. Its highlight is specialization in the development and application of mathematical models and methods for data protection. Graduates of the programme work in government, IT departments, state corporations and financial institutions.
In the fall of 2020, HSE University launched a single education track Master's – PhD studies for the first time. Students of this programme begin with a master's degree, defend their dissertation and proceed smoothly to work on their PhD thesis without going through the admission procedure. It is still necessary to pass the exams. HSE University is very considerate of individual study plans. It means that your master's programme will be adjusted in advance to take into account your further PhD studies.
National Research Technological University MISiS is one of the leading universities in Russia that educates specialists in metallurgy, materials science, mining, nanotechnology and IT-technologies. In 2018, the university celebrated its 100th anniversary. There are 9 faculties and 51 departments with 220 programmes developed for international applicants, including PhD studies. PhD at MISiS will allow you to conduct the scientific activity as part of international research groups based on modern laboratories and get internships at international universities. If you are interested in PhD studies in English, check out the Materials Science of Non-Ferrous Metals and Physics of Condensed Matter and Quantum Technologies.
Novosibirsk State University located in Akademgorodok is considered an integral part of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The structure of the university includes 13 faculties, a physics and mathematics school, a higher college of informatics, an institute for professional retraining, a research unit and PhD studies. 70 research laboratories and 48 research institutes of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences are available to NSU students. The university laboratories are famous for their advancements. For example, control devices created at the university are installed on the satellites of the Global Navigation Satellite System. NSU actively cooperates with international research centres and companies like Intel, HP and Parallels.
NSU offers numerous PhD programmes. Among them is Biological Sciences. This programme includes specialization in molecular biology, ecology, physiology and genetics. The Informatics and Computer Technologies consists of scientific work in mathematical and software support computers, complexes and networks, as well as modelling and studying numerical methods. Despite the technical focus of the university, there are also PhD programmes in humanities. For example, History and Archaeology with several areas of specialization: Russian history, general history, archaeology, ethnography, ethnology and anthropology. NSU also offers English-language programmes such as Aetroparticle Physics. The programme is aimed at training specialists in the field of astrophysics, cosmology and particle physics. Graduate students explore the fundamental research on the origin and evolution of the universe.
Siberian Federal University, the largest educational centre beyond the Ural Mountains, demonstrates active continuous development, expanding its profile and adding new disciplines. Today SibFU offers more than 220 educational programmes for international applicants, including PhDs. For example, you can enrol in the English-language PhD in Biophysics. The programme aims to study living nature, its laws and functioning processes; the use of physical, engineering-physical, physical-medical and environmental technologies for economic and medical purposes.
Consider University of Tyumen PhD programmes. Choose from biological sciences, computer science and computing, information security, historical sciences and archaeology, cultural studies, mathematics and mechanics, earth sciences, pedagogical, psychological, sociological sciences, physics and astronomy, philosophy, ethics, religious studies, chemical sciences, economics, jurisprudence and linguistics and literary criticism.
Nowadays, international partnerships between universities are now actively developing in Russia. Pay attention to double degree programmes. You can find a suitable one at various educational organizations. Some of them are implemented only at the bachelor and master levels, but there are also PhD programmes, such as the double degree programmes of the National Research Tomsk State University.
TSU has joint programmes with their partner universities so you can simultaneously get a Bologna PhD degree and a Russian PhD degree (candidate of sciences). You will need to work on your dissertation with two different scientific advisers. Such programmes are held between TSU and the University of Zaragoza (Biological Sciences), Frankfurt Goethe University (Philosophy, Ethics and Religious Studies) and Rouen University (Mathematics and Mechanics).
The duration of PhD programmes can vary depending on the subject and form of study and on average takes from 3 to 5 years.
The scientific adviser plays a special role in the education process of a PhD student. Choosing a future mentor is one of the most important steps while applying for a PhD degree. With this person, you will choose a topic of your future dissertation and, under their guidance, you will conduct research activity throughout the programme.
Students start with choosing a scientific direction and a research topic for their dissertation. PhD studies are actual scientific work that will require a lot of time and attention. Get ready to be constantly in touch with your scientific adviser and dive deep into the specialized literature.
Entrance exams are not the only ones that you'd need to pass during your studies. All PhD students also go through the candidate minimum exams – a required stage for obtaining a degree. The minimum includes exams in three subjects: history and philosophy of science, foreign language, special discipline (your profile subject). Then, you need to receive admission to defend your dissertation. For example, 2-3 publications in scientific journals from the list of the Higher Attestation Commission under the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation will allow that. In addition to painstaking work on your own articles and the dissertation, including its pre-defence and defence, the PhD programme also includes practical and pedagogical activities. If you choose a specialization in physics, you will go on to teach it to students of technical departments, conduct your own scientific research and, most interestingly, work in a laboratory.
PhD students of technical programmes in Russian universities gain access to unique laboratories and innovative equipment, like supercomputers. For example, at Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, PhD students can access joint educational centres of the university and international organizations and use their laboratories for research. For example, Polytech-Siemens Research And Educational Centre, Kawasaki – Polytech Industrial Robotics Sap Erp Centre, and Weatherford – Polytechnic International Research Centre.
Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B.N. Yeltsin provides PhD students with 12 modern international research laboratories headed by international researchers with a worldwide reputation.
There are also 12 international laboratories at South Ural State University (National Research University), and international PhD students are actively involved in their work. Some of the laboratories were opened quite recently. For example, magnetic oxide materials laboratory, polycyclic aromatic compounds and carbon nanomaterials laboratory, applied semi-group research laboratory and the Digital model of the sports movement laboratory.
Career and further academic activities
After completing your PhD studies, you will receive a diploma and qualification of a researcher or teacher-researcher. After successfully defending your dissertation, you will be awarded the degree of candidate of sciences – the first stage of the scientist status in Russia (PhD). Candidates can then proceed to study for the Doctor of Science degree – the second stage of the scientist status. In Russia, it is awarded following the defence of a doctoral dissertation. Also, after graduating from PhD school, you will be able to continue your scientific career at leading international universities.
Each year, the opportunities for young scientists to work and study in Russia are expanding. Many research centres and universities maintain close cooperation with international scientific organizations and carry out ambitious joint projects.
PhD studies in Russia are an exceptional opportunity to immerse yourself in an innovative scientific environment and start a successful academic career.
Candidate of Science (PhD)
PhD dissertation defence
A huge number of programmes available in Russian and English
Candidate of Science (PhD)
PhD dissertation defence
A huge number of programmes available in Russian and English
Use the convenient search on our website. Choose a Postgraduate Course and apply directly to a Russian university for free right now! You can submit an unlimited number of applications to different educational organizations. Start building your scientific career today!