Full-time Students

Higher Education in Russia

In Russia, higher education is governed by the Ministry of Education and Science. There exist three types of higher education institutions (HEIs) in Russia: University, Academy and Institute.

A university covers a broad cross-spectrum of sciences, teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses, including research and doctoral degrees. A university also pursues desktop research in many different fields. An academy will typically specialize in a selective field of science, technology or culture. An institute provides career-based training in specialist fields of science, technology or culture.

All higher educational institutions must be licensed or accredited by education authorities. No independent institution is allowed to provide educational services without a government license.

Accreditation means that the accredited study course meets the national education standards. An accredited institution may issue standardized national diplomas or certificates.

An academic year consists of two parts: the autumn and spring semesters, each ending in a week of continuous tests and course thesis presentations. The tests are followed by exams. An academic year begins on 1 September and ends on 30 June.

Russian higher education is a multi-level system:

  • Level 1: Pre-university courses, which take 1 year to complete;
  • Level 2: Undergraduate degree (Baccalaureate), which takes 4 years;
  • Level 3: Specialists’ Diploma (5 years in total), or Master’s Degree (2 years following the undergraduate degree).

Qualifications are awarded to all students having passed the final exams.

The holder of a Specialist’ or Master’s Diploma may progress to a postgraduate research degree or a taught postgraduate course.

Part-time or distance learning is when a student studies independently according to the institution’s core curriculum in the chosen field of study with in-process proficiency tests and final exams at the institution.

Under the laws of Russia, international students wishing to come to Russia to study for higher education need a “Student Visa” – an entry visa that states “higher education” as the purpose of entry and specifies the institution of study.

Russian higher education institutions do not offer foreign students the option of combining study with gainful employment.

Degree-Seeking Students:

Before Arrival:

  • Read carefully the text of your Learning Agreement and all the information you have received from the Admission Board.
  • If you need a visa for travelling to Russia, it is important to apply for it as soon as possible, as it may take some time to process. Contact the Russian embassy in your country for further details.
  • When crossing the Russian border don’t forget to take and carry with you a Migration Card (a little white paper where you fill in your name, date of arrival and expected place of stay in Russia).
  • International citizens are entitled to health services in Russia provided they are covered by health insurance obtained in their home countries for travelling purposes. Do not forget to bring the valid insurance certificate with you. If you have none, our International coordinator will assist you to obtain a medical insurance certificate in St. Petersburg upon your arrival.
  • Our university offers accommodation for international students in one of the student dormitories (subject to availability). Address the UNECON International Office upon arrival. We do not assist students with renting apartments in St. Petersburg. Contact one of the city real estate agencies for that purpose.
  • For current rules and regulations concerning your stay in Russia check the website of the St. Petersburg Division of the Russian Migration Service 

After Arrival:

  • Within 3 working days after arrival all international students have to meet the UNECON International Coordinator to ensure your registration on the territory of the Russian Federation (in compliance with the Migration law)
  • Attend lectures during orientation week

Visa, Residence, Work Regulations:

International students, wishing to come to Russia to study for higher education need a “Student Visa” – an entry visa that states higher education as the purpose of entry and specifies the institution of study.

Russian Migration Law obliges all international students to get registered every time they enter the territory of the Russian Federation. Registration must be completed not later than within 3 working days after the arrival. Registration fee is 300 Rub.

Coordinators of the UNECON International Office assist international students with registration.

In order to get registered every international student within 3 working days after the arrival shall submit to the International Office his/her passport, visa and migration card (a little white paper, received at the Russian border, where the name, date of arrival and expected place of stay in Russia shall be filled in) and pay the registration fee.

After registration international students will be issued multiple entry visas to enable them to travel during their period of studies in UNECON. Multiple entry visa may take around a month to process. Documents for multiple entry visa include: copies of passport, visa and migration card, fresh AIDS test and 2 black and white passport size photos (done in Russia).

If a student’s passport expires before the end of his/her study period at UNECON, the student has to take care of its timely extension or obtaining a new passport. A copy of the extended or new passport must be submitted to the university International Office.

In case of loss of documents, a student must as soon as possible (the same day) advise of the loss the nearest police station officer and the UNECON international coordinator. After that a student has to apply to the Embassy of his/her home country for the new passport. On receipt of the new passport the student shall come to the UNECON International Office and have the new passport registered.

International students under “Student visa” are not permitted to combine study with gainful employment.

More information on Migration Law: and International students bear responsibility for violation of migration regulations in accordance with the Russian Federal Migration Law #109-FZ of 18.07.2006.

Health Insurance:

Health insurance is mandatory for all students regardless of their period of study in St. Petersburg State University of Engineering and Economics. Insurance must cover illness and accident, and include travel costs to home country in case of an emergency and/or repatriation and liability insurance.

Please make sure that your health insurance is valid through the entire duration of your visa. For travel outside Russia check that the insurance is valid for these countries as well.

If a student does not have his/her health insured for the period of stay in Russia, this can be done in St. Petersburg. Coordinators of the university International Office assist students with getting health insurance.

Enrollment at UNECON

Degree-Seeking Students:

Eligible international degree-seeking applicants are admitted to degree programs upon submission of an application, complete with required documents, and passing of matriculation examinations, conducted in the form of written tests. More information on eligibility and admission:

The student selection is based on the selection criteria and admission regulations of St. Petersburg State University of Economics

Teaching at St. Petersburg State University of Economics is in Russian. UNECON provides language support to international degree-seeking students, admitted to studies: Russian language lessons are included in their first year curricula.

Some internationally oriented courses are taught in English.

Accommodation and migration formalities of international degree-seeking students are dealt with by the university International Office.

Academic issues shall be referred to the university Admission Board and the Dean’s Office of the relevant faculty.

Language of Instruction

Language of instruction for degree studies is Russian. Therefore applicants need to have good command of the Russian language. A proficiency test in the Russian language is not required. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure a sufficient level of Russian language skills prior to applying to a degree program.

Some internationally oriented courses are taught in English.

Academic Year

  • Academic year consists of 2 semesters:
  • Autumn semester          1st September – 24th January
  • Spring semester              13th February – 30th June

There are some state holidays during the academic year when there are no classes:

  • 1-5 January – New Year Holidays
  • 7 January – Orthodox Christmas
  • 23 February – Defender of the Fatherland Day
  • 8 March – International Women’s Day
  • 1 May – Spring and Labour Day
  • 9 May – Victory Day
  • 12 June – Day of Russia
  • 4 November – Day of National Unity

Student ID Cards

  • International students can obtain a university Student ID Card, which entitles them to use of university facilities and e-resources, as well as to some benefits such as student discounts.
  • The card is issued to students free of charge after the Order on Admission of a student to the university is signed by the Rector.
  • Degree seeking students can get their cards from the Deans office of their faculties.