RegionNorthern Europe
Expenditure on higher education2,2 %
Unemployment5,26 %
EuroUniversities in top 1003
EuroUniversities in top 25014
EuroUniversities in top 50029
EuroUniversities in top 100058
Foreigner students7,2 %
Enrollment rate in higher education82,8 %

Russia is a transcontinental country located in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. Covering an area of 17,125,200 square kilometres, it is the largest country in the world by area, spanning more than one-eighth of the Earth’s inhabited land area, stretching eleven time zones, and bordering 16 sovereign nations. The education system in the Russian Federation (RF) is regulated by the Constitution of the RF (1993), the Law on Education in the Russian Federation (adopted in 2012 and enacted in 2013). Under Article 43 of the Constitution of the RF [], citizens have the right to free secondary vocational education and training (VET) and higher professional education (HE) if they are working towards their degree/diploma for the first time. According to the Para 2 Article 5 of the Law on Education in the Russian Federation [], Russian citizens are entitled to education irrespective of their gender, race, ethnicity, language, origin, residence, religion, convictions, membership in public organisations, age, health, social, material and employment status and previous conviction.

First Cycle Programmes.

Branches of Study. The standard structure and duration of Bachelor programmes is equivalent to 240 ECTS credits (level 6 of the Structure of Levels of Qualifications, see above). There is also a tiny percentage of programmes equaling 270 and 300 ECTS equivalent credits (0.02 full-time, 0.001% part-time). They are: Urban development; Architecture; Restoration and refurbishing of architectural heritage sites; Architectural space design; Teacher training. There are differences in the structure of programmes depending on whether they are academically or professionally oriented (or are located in HEIs that are academically or professionally oriented). Professionally oriented programmes offer more extensive on-the-job/workplace training and practical classes than the academic programmes.

First cycle study programmes cover such broad areas as physics and mathematics (9 subject areas), natural sciences (9 subject areas), humanities (30 subject areas), social sciences (3 subject areas), education/pedagogy (5 subject areas), health (1 subject area), culture and arts (22 subject areas), economics and management (5 subject areas), information security (1 subject area), service sector (5 subject areas), agriculture and fishery (9 subject areas), geodesy and land management (2 subject areas); geology and natural resources exploration (1 area); energy and electric engineering (7 subject areas); metallurgy, machine-building (8 subject areas), aviation and space engineering (9 subject areas), marine engineering (3 subject areas), means of transportation (3 subject areas), instrument-making industry and optics (5 subject areas), electronics, radio-engineering and communications (4 subject areas), automation and control (9 subject areas), ICT (5 subject areas), chemical engineering and biotechnologies (3 subject areas), reproduction and processing of forestry resources (3 subject areas), technology of food products and consumer goods (8 subject areas), architecture and built environment (5 subject areas), life safety environmental engineering and environmental protection (3 subject areas).

Admission Requirements. Access to bachelor programmes is open to the holders of the certificate of the completed general secondary education. Formally, access and equality are guaranteed by the Constitution. However, given the growing share of paid services offered by HEIs and the financial and social differentiation of the population, there is a risk of seriously limiting access to children from low income or disadvantaged families to higher education. To address this risk, a Uniform State Examination (USE, единый государственный экзамен, ЕГЭ) was introduced and is taken on completion of general secondary education. While previously enrollment at HEIs was based on entrance examinations, currently, it is based on the results of the USE (ЕГЭ). Each HEI sets its own requirements for the USE score obtained by general school-leavers. The HEIs can carry out additional selection procedures if applicants are required to have certain abilities that the USE cannot assess. The list of occupations of training which requires additional examinations is approved by the Ministry of Education and Science together with a list of subjects for these additional examinations. Only two universities (Moscow State University and St. Petersburg State University) were granted the right to independently determine subjects for additional examination. At state HEIs, the enrollment figures are identified every year by the federal ministry to which the HEI is affiliated. Every HEI can enroll students on a contractual basis (paying tuition fees) within the maximum enrollment figures indicated in its license. As indicated in the section on lifelong learning recognition of prior learning is possible with a view to shortening the duration of training.

Curriculum. Curriculum development is regulated by the federal HE standards that set requirements to the competences to be developed, to the structure of the programme, learning environment and teacher qualifications. Based on the standards, a framework curriculum is developed under the aegis of the Ministry of Education and Science by university/college methodological associations, which has the character of a recommendation. Education institutions are free to abide by the framework curriculum or develop a detailed curriculum on their own. The education standards allow a wide margin of academic freedom to ensure curricula content compliance with the regional and local labour market requirements. It is a legal requirement that curriculum development must involve employers and their associations.

Teaching Methods. Teaching methods remain largely traditional and teacher-centred, though under the influence of the processes of internationalization and the impact of a number of Tempus projects there is a visible shift to the student-centred approaches. More attention is being given to students’ independent work and the using the acquired knowledge in the practical situations. Traditional lectures are becoming more interactive and contain big-group discussions and presentations that are replacing the “talking heads”. Teachers are free to choose their own teaching methods and teaching materials.

Progression of Students. Students’ progress from one year/stage of studies to the next is based on the successful results of exams and practical training at an enterprise. Bachelor graduates are entitled to continue to the Master level programmes. Usually students can take examinations in a given subject twice during the examination session at the end of semester, after which a third attempt may be granted. There is no difference between failing in elective and compulsory subjects. Students are obliged to complete their studies within a prescribed period. However for students with special needs the duration of the programme may be prolonged. Or, the duration can be shortened if the student has had certain competences recognized.

Employability. There are no specific measures on the part of central authorities and higher education institutions to facilitate graduate access to the labour market after the first cycle (bachelor) degree. As it is, the bachelor degree is often looked upon with suspicion by employers who assume that four years is not enough to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills. However, with the strengthening of the cooperation link between labour market and the universities, this lack of trust is gradually diminishing. Effective work placements as part of the program implementation contribute to students/graduates employability. Under the acting HE Education Standards work placements are integrated in the study programmes. Para 6, article 13 of Federal Law “On Education in the Russian Federation” stipulates compulsory inclusion of practical training in the HE programmes: “The core professional study programs include placement of students for practical training”. Following up on this requirement of the Federal Law, para 10 of RF Ministry of Education and Science Order N 1367 of December 19, 2013, on approval of procedures for organizing and implementing higher education program activities for Bachelor, Specialist and Master programmes, requires compulsory practical training periods for students: “Disciplines/modules and practical training periods included in the study program, also disciplines/modules and practical trainings included in the elective part of a study program in accordance with the field of the said program are compulsory for students”. The length of the work placements will vary depending on the character of the program (academic or practically oriented) and the subject area. The average share of work placements in the overall program is around 30%. Practically all strong universities have special units dealing with cooperation with the world of work, work placements and employment of graduates. The units also provide career guidance and counselling to students. The students can also obtain career guidance at employment service agencies, which is in line with Para 1, article 9 of the Russian Federation Law N1032-1 “On Employment of Population in the Russian Federation” of April 19,1991, that determines the right of every citizen to “receive free-of-charge counselling, free-of-charge information and services related to career guidance at employment service agencies.” Order N 407 of the RF Federal State Statistics Service dated July 24, 2012 N 407 (as amended October 12, 2012, amendments taking effect October 12, 2012) on Approval of Statistical Instruments for Organizing Federal Statistical Observation of Headcounts, Working Conditions, Labour Remuneration and Activities in the Field of Education establishes the following indicators for HEI students employability:
• number of full-time graduates;
• number of graduates who got a job placement;
• number of graduates who did not get a job placement;
• number of graduates entitled to find a job themselves;
• number of students who continue studies in the next full-time cycle;
• number of students conscripted to the Armed Forces.
Since 2015, graduate employability indicators have been included in the list of monitoring indicators for evaluation of HEI performance. In this case, graduate employability indicators will have a direct effect on HEI funding and future opportunities.

Student Assessment. The most common form of assessment of students is through traditional examinations and graduation projects. A holistic assessment of learning outcomes is not yet in place. Exams and graduation projects largely focus on knowledge assessment. However there is a shift of graduation projects towards addressing concrete needs of enterprises, where the university-enterprise cooperation is well in place. At the end of each semester, there is a student assessment and/or examinations, the number, format and content of which are determined by the HEI in line with the HE standards. The maximum number of examinations during the academic year is eleven for full-time students. A student is exempt from part of a course if he/she has completed a course in a related area of training at an education institution of secondary vocational education; however this is done on an administrative but not on a competence basis. Under Section VIII – Evaluation of the quality of the program learning outcomes – of the Federal State Education Standards universities must develop objective procedures for assessing knowledge and skills of students and competences of graduates. Final qualifications are awarded on the basis of projects for

Bachelor programmes. Bachelor graduates (as well as graduates from traditional one-cycle programmes) are entitled to go on Master level programmes. Assessment procedures embrace on-going assessment (equivalent of continuous evaluation) called control in Russia) of the students’ progress, intermediate (equivalent of formative evaluation) and final assessment (equivalent of summative assessment) called attestation. Intermediate attestation is performed to assess students’ achievements after completion of a certain subject or module. It is performed in the form of an examination or credit (зачет/zachet). On-going assessment takes place during the course of studying the subject or discipline. Final attestation presupposes an integrated assessment of all student achievements for the whole of curriculum. Concrete forms and procedures for on-going assessment and intermediate attestation per specific discipline/module are established by the HE (its departments/entities). Results of assessment are expressed in marks/ numeric values. Content of on-going assessment is determined by the teachers of a specific subject. Content of intermediate assessment is developed by the department in charge of the specific subject/module. Content of the final assessment is developed at the institutional level. The system of assessment of student performance and its outcomes are set down in respective normative documents developed and adopted at the institutional level. Currently all universities are encouraged to develop a repository of assessment assignments following the provisions contained in the Annex “On the repository of assessment tools” to the Order № 1367 of the MoE“ of December 19, 2013 «On approval of the procedure for organisation and implementation of education activity under HE curricula”. The progress of individual students is measured by means of the so-called rating system applied at all cycles.

Certification. The term certification is not used in Russian higher education system. The closest to certification is the term award of degrees/qualifications. Upon the completion of the bachelor program students are awarded a Bachelor degree (cтепень бакалавра). The authority responsible for awarding the degree is the higher education institution. Upon the completion of the first cycle of higher education, the student receives a diploma with his/her relevant professional title, area of study, awarded degree and the number of ECTS earned. The student also receives a diploma supplement, which contains information regarding the level, type and content of the successfully completed studies (subjects, ECTS credits awarded and marks received). As for the rights attached to a final degree/qualification in terms of access to further studies, Bachelor graduates and specialists (graduates from traditional one-cycle programmes) are entitled to continue on Master level programmes.

Second Cycle Programmes.

Branches of Study. Second cycle study programmes cover such broad areas as physics and mathematics (9 subject areas), natural sciences (10 subject areas), humanities (28 subject areas), social sciences (3 subject areas), education/pedagogy (4 subject areas), health (1 subject area), culture and arts (19 subject areas), economics and management (7 subject areas), information security (1 subject area), service sector (5 subject areas), agriculture and fishery (8 subject areas), geodesy and land management (2 subject areas); geology and natural resources exploration (1 area); energy and electric engineering (7 subject areas); metallurgy, machine-building (8 subject areas), aviation and space engineering (9 subject areas), marine engineering (3 subject areas), means of transportation (3 subject areas), instrument-making industry and optics (5 subject areas), electronics, radio-engineering and communications (4 subject areas), automation and control (11 subject areas), ICT (5 subject areas), chemical engineering and biotechnologies (3 subject areas), reproduction and processing of forestry resources (3 subject areas), technology of food products and consumer goods (9 subject areas), architecture and built environment (5 subject areas), life safety, environmental engineering and environmental protection (3 subject areas).

Admission Requirements. Under Federal Law “On Education in the Russian Federation”, any person completing a bachelor program (the first cycle of higher education) or a traditional specialist-training program may enroll in a master program (the second cycle of higher education). Under para 3 and 6, Article 69 of Federal Law “On Education” applicants can enroll in master programmes based on results of entrance examinations administered by higher education institutions independently. The law does not establish any other exemptions, additions or withdrawals from this general rule. According to expert estimates about 70% of first cycle students continue to the second cycle.

Curriculum. The master curriculum comprises 120 ECTS credits, and the duration of studies is 2 years. It is developed according to the same format as bachelor programmes. The development of curricula is performed in line with the State HE Standards that allow 70% of academic freedom to ensure that the content of the curricula meet the labour market demand. The methods of implementation depend on the subject area, but as indicated above, an important part is given to work placements at enterprises. The Law on Education stresses the fostering of the networking as a factor of enhancing quality of training graduates. Under the networking schemes, part of curricula can be implemented at other universities or organizations, both at home and abroad. An important part of the master programmes is the preparation of the master thesis. Due to the enhanced cooperation with the world of work, these are increasingly addressing the needs of regional enterprises.

Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes.

Organisation of Doctoral Studies. Organisation of doctoral studies is regulated by subpara b, para 3, Article 12 of Federal Law “On Education”, that stipulates that third cycle higher education programmes include researcher and teacher training. Doctoral studies follow structured doctoral programmes, which is a recent development in Russia. To provide doctoral programme both universities and research institutes must have a license and state accreditation. Provision of doctoral programmes is regulated by a number of governmental and MoE regulations and supported from the state budget in the amount identified by the Ministry of Education and Science. These documents include:
• ”Regulations on the Supreme Attestation Commission at the RF Ministry of Education and Science” adopted by RF Government on June 20, 2011, № 474,
• Regulation of the Ministry of Education and Science “On the Council Responsible for Defense of Thesis of Candidate of Science and Doctor of Science”, of December 12, 2011, № 2817,
• Regulation “On training research and teaching personnel in the system of postgraduate professional education”, adopted by MoE on March 27, 1998, № 814,
• Regulation on the “Order of awarding research degrees”, adopted by RF Government on January 30, 2002, № 74.

Organizations with a state accreditation of doctoral programmes, award the individuals who have successfully completed the doctoral studies with a respective diploma, a document of higher education and qualification. Doctoral students study according to individual learning plans that are developed by the student together with the supervisor and approved by the respective Academic Councils.

Branches of doctoral studies embrace: mathematics and mechanics; computer and information sciences; physics and astronomy; chemistry; earth sciences; biological sciences; architecture; construction technology and engineering; informatics and computer engineering; information security; electronics, radio-engineering and communication systems; photonics, optic and biotechnical systems and technologies; electrical and thermal engineering; nuclear engineering; machine-building; physical and technical sciences and technologies; chemical technologies; industrial ecology and biotechnologies; techno-sphere security and environmental engineering; applied geology, mining, oil production and geodesy; technology of materials; means and technology of land transportation; aviation and space engineering; air-navigation and exploitation of aviation and space technology; techniques and technologies of ship-building and water transportation; technical systems control; nanotechnologies and nanomaterials; light industry technologies; fundamental medicine; clinical medicine; health sciences and preventive medicine; pharmacy; agriculture; forestry and fishery; veterinary; psychological sciences; economics and management; sociology and social sciences; law; political sciences and regional studies; mass media and library operation; education and pedagogical sciences; history and archaeology; philosophy, ethics and religious studies; theology; physical culture and sport; arts; cultural studies and socio-cultural projects.

Admission Requirements. There are uniform admission requirements to the third cycle studies. Admission requirements are stipulated in the Order of MoE of March 26, 2014, № 233 and based on them the organization offering doctoral programmes designs own internal regulations. Namely all candidates must have a master degree or a diploma of specialist. Also entitled for admission are graduates from other doctoral programmes who pay for their tuition. Doctoral programmes can be full-time and part-time (correspondence courses/ zaochnaya forma). Entrance examinations are conducted in the Russian language by an examination board that is formed by the director of the organisation. The content of examinations is developed by the provider of the doctoral programmes based on the requirements of the Federal State HE Standards. The examinations comprise the subject of specialization, philosophy of science and a foreign language. The examinations can be held in various formats, including distance formats. The most common length of doctoral programmes is 3 years (full-time) or 4 years (part-time). One full time year of doctoral programmes amounts to 60 credits. Admission of doctoral students for free-of-charge tuition is performed on the basis of quotas (target figures) determined by the Ministry of Education and Science. Paid tuition is provided under contracts with physical and legal entities.

Status of Doctoral Students/Candidates. Doctoral students/candidates are legally considered as students. Social benefits for doctoral students are provided according to the RF legislation and respective by-laws. The period of doctoral studies is included in the overall period of employment. Full-time doctoral students whose studies are supported from the state budget receive stipends. They are also allowed to work part-time with the approval of their supervisor. Full-time students are entitled to annual 2-month long vacations. Also all doctoral students studying with the support from the federal budget are entitled to a grant for the purchase of literature in the amount of 2 monthly stipends. Part-time doctoral students (RF citizens) are entitled to an additional vacation paid by the employer of the doctoral student. Also employers pay for extra time the student needs to travel from the work place to the location of the doctoral studies provider. Part-time students are also entitled to one extra day a week free from work (with half pay). This category of students is provided with hostel accommodations for the period of examinations. Personal responsibility for organizing and assuring quality of doctoral studies is vested with heads of departments/laboratories, etc. The doctoral program is made up of disciplines/modules aimed at assisting students to pass their candidates’ examinations; and at preparation for teaching activities. Apart from that there are practical training periods (work placements). An important component of the curriculum is research performed under supervision of an experienced scholar. Part of that research is a compulsory publication of one article in a referenced journal and presentation/report at a conference (either domestic, or international).

Supervision Arrangements. Supervisors are responsible for the assessment of the dissertations of the full-time doctoral students as well as for the quality of dissertation/performed research, psychological and methodological support. The supervisor’s average workload is about 50 hours per one doctoral student. Supervision can be entrusted to experienced teachers with an academic degree in the respective subject area. The average number of doctoral students per one supervisor is 3-5 people. The supervisor identifies the research goals and objectives; guides the students towards meeting the goals and objectives; provides consultations to the student; recommends sources of information and literature; assesses the accomplished work. The students regularly (once a month) inform the supervisor about the achieved progress and seek advice. It is possible to seek supervision of foreign researchers. Every 6 months the supervisor submits reports about the students’ progress to the Academic Council. For part-time doctoral students consultants are appointed whose workload is 25 hours per one student. For dissertations in multidisciplinary areas students are entitled to have 2 supervisors.

Mobility and internationalization in Higher Education.

Para 2, article 105 of Federal Law N273-FZ On Education in the Russian Federation dated December 29, 2012 defines the following national policy vectors in the field of internationalization:
• Sending teachers and researchers from Russian education providers to foreign education providers and also hosting the foreign teachers and researchers;
• joint research, fundamental and applied research in the field of education, joint innovation activities;
• participation in networking forms of the study programmes implementation;
• participation in the activities of international organisations, in international education, research and scientific projects, congresses, symposium, conferences, and workshops, or in organizing the said types of events, as well as sharing study and research materials on a bilateral and multilateral basis. The monitoring of HEI performance includes targets related to internationalization.

Student Mobility. International cooperation is one of the priorities of the Ministry of Education and Science. Student mobility is also an issue of special importance, given that both national and international mobility is still weak, mostly due to financial reasons and to lack of foreign language competence of students and teachers. The Ministry of Education and Science lays special emphasis both on the “export” of education and on attracting foreign students to HEIs. Thanks to international programmes such as Tempus and Erasmus Mundus the mobility figures have been improving and will further improve under the Erasmus+ Programme, namely under its International credit mobility strand, part of which is student credit mobility entitling students at all cycles of higher education to study from 3 to 12 months abroad This type of mobility is implemented on the basis of the inter-institutional agreements. Under this learning mobility strand, focus areas are joint master degrees (JMD) that also include JMD student scholarships. Mobility targets are defined as part of the education services export concept for credit mobility, and in terms of degree mobilities there are targets for the number of foreigners whose studies will be funded from the Russian Federation budget (quota for foreign citizens and stateless persons to get education in the Russian Federation set by the RF Government). The Federal Programme for Development of Education for 2011 – 2015 set the following targets for international student mobility: the share of students with built-in mobility periods abroad in the overall student cohort was to increase from 3% to 30% by end of 2015. However, there are yet no data about the results. Students’ academic mobilities are supported by the development of joint programmes with EU universities. Yet, the overall number of joint programmes is still very low – around 246, implemented at 78 universities (only 2% of the delivered programmes). They comprise of 20% of Bachelor programmes, 65% of Master Programmes, 9% of traditional one-cycle programmes and 6% of Doctoral programmes. Joint degree programmes comprise 45% in economics and management, 36% in engineering and ecology, 14% in humanities and 5% in natural sciences. Leaders in international cooperation, to mention just a few, include Moscow State University, St. Petersburg State University, Tomsk Polytechnic University, Moscow State Technical Bauman University, Far-Eastern State university, Russian university named after Immanuel Kant, Nizhny Novgorod State University. Main obstacles to student mobility are lack of funding, recognition issues, foreign language skills, and lack of motivation. To help address the above issues organisational and financial support measures at the government level has been envisaged to promote academic mobility; also a set of measures at the HEI level have been introduced aimed at raising awareness, streamlining organizational efforts. These include setting up double-degree programmes, attraction of sponsors, enhanced information support, language courses including distance-learning courses; development of a system of education exhibitions, information centres, HEI websites, and other forms of information support for academic mobility; and improvement of the regulatory framework for academic mobility at the HEI level. Information about all mobility schemes can be found on – the site of the National Information Centre for Academic Recognition and Mobility. In 2014 the program “Global Education” was approved by the Russian Government. The Program provides funding for training Russian citizens, who independently opted to study at leading foreign universities. Participants of the Program receive a grant of 2,763,600 rubles a year. The program addresses the three cycles in five priority areas as: science, education, engineering, medicine and management in the social sphere. After graduation from the foreign university of their choice the participants of the Program are to work for 5 years in Russia.

Academic Staff Mobility. Within the Erasmus+ Programme’s international credit mobility strand, staff mobility is envisaged for 5 days to 12 months. Under the 2011 – 2015 Federal Target Programme for Education Development, the share of teachers at HEIs involved in inter-university cooperation and in research at other institutions in the total number of HEI teaching staff was to change from the baseline value of 5% (as per 2010 year-end) to the target value of 52% (2015 year-end). However, there are yet no data about the results. Obstacles for staff mobility relate to obtaining visas, language skills, funding, difficulties relating to finding staff who could cover for the mobile teacher, as well as legal issues Measures/ programmes implemented to tackle and remove the obstacles to staff mobility comprise:
• development of information and organisation support for academic mobility of teachers and other staff;
• development of model regulations and other normative documents regulating academic mobility at the HEI level;
• creation of regulatory and methodological support for academic mobility at the HEI level (Regulations on Academic Mobility of HEI Staff, etc.) to optimise the academic mobility process;
• financial incentives (for example, some HEIs offer monetary benefits for publications in journals which are included in international data bases such as Web of Science, Scopus, etc.;
• foreign language courses for academic staff.

In the recent years the number of foreign teachers coming to Russian universities has increased: 52.6% of universities invited about 10 teachers, 33.3 % of HEIs invited from 10 to 30 lecturers while 2.9% of them invited over 80 teachers within 2 years to deliver complete courses.

Other Dimensions of Internationalization in Higher Education. The Russian Federation promotes cooperation between Russian and foreign education institutions, international academic mobility of students, teaching professionals, scholars and other workers in the system of education, promotes attracting foreigners to study in Russian HEIs, mutual recognition of education and/or qualifications. Compliant with international treaties, the Russian Federation participates in the activities of various international organisations in the field of higher education. In the field of education, federal executive authorities and regional governments of the RF regions interact with international organisations, foreign governments and foreign NGOs. Para 1, Article 105 of Federal Law “On Education in the Russian Federation” defines such goals of international cooperation in the field of higher education:

  • – expansion of access to education for citizens of the Russian Federation, foreign nationals and stateless persons;
  • – coordination of interaction between the Russian Federation and foreign states and international organisations in the development of education;
  • – improvement of international and national education development mechanisms. Under the Presidential Decree of May 2012, № 599 «On measures of state policy in the field of education and science” it is envisaged to ensure that 5 RF universities would enter the 100 top world universities. In 2013 the Programme 5 in top 100 was adopted.

Under the Programme 21 universities were selected through a competition. Each has developed a “road map” to improve competitiveness. The road map includes:

  • • the formation of a reserve of management staff at the university by means of attracting specialist to the managerial positions with a prior experience at established foreign and Russian universities and scientific organization;
    • attracting young researches and teachers who have prior experience in performing research and doing teaching at leading Russian and foreign universities and research organizations;
    • implementation of programmes with in-built international and domestic academic mobility of academic staff (internships, training and retraining periods and programs);
    • improving the third cycle programmes;
    • support for students, trainees, young researches and teachers;
    • implementation of joint curricula with leading Russian and foreign universities and research organizations;
    • attracting foreign students to study at Russian universities;
    • conducting fundamental and applied research in collaboration with local and international research organizations.
  • The role of coordination of the internationalization processes is carried out by the International Department of the RF Ministry of Education and Science. In addition to it, the National Information Center for Academic Recognition and Mobility is dealing with academic recognition. The MoE coordinates drafting intergovernmental and interdepartmental agreements in the field of education, science, technologies and innovations, as well as intergovernmental agreements on the recognition of documents on education and/or qualifications and degrees awarded by foreign states. It assures fulfillment of assignments from the President of the Russian Federation and Government of the Russian Federation relating to developing interaction in a particular field, on a multilateral and bilateral basis, with foreign countries and close neighbours, international and regional organisations, CIS-member
  • states, member states of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC), also with the Eurasia Economic Commission, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (hereinafter – SCO), etc.. It also coordinates development of proposals and concepts relating to the export of RF educations services. The overall internationalization efforts have resulted in the development of respective strategies at HEIs. From 51 to 75% of universities adopted an internationalization strategy. Practically all universities are
  • engaged in internationalization actions without adopting a formal strategy. In the context of internationalization, joint programmes are becoming increasingly widespread. In 2013 (latest data available) such programmes were implemented in the following subject areas (percentage to the total number of implemented programme at universities):

However the joint programmes are not many. According to the recent research of joint programmes completed on the initiative of the EU Delegation in Russia, the overall number of full-fledged joint programmes (with a common curricula structure, learning outcomes, in-built mobilities, and quality assurance systems) is only 1% (186). These 186 programmes are implemented in cooperation between 79 Russian universities and 156 EU universities and in the framework of multipartite consortia (49%); bilateral agreements (89%) and ERASMUS Programme (22%). The most popular subject areas for joint programmes are: social sciences, law and business (47%), engineering, industrial and construction occupations (23%), humanities and arts (10%), natural sciences (9%), service sector (6%). Subpara “c”, para 1 of Decree N 599 by the President of the Russian Federation of May 7, 2012, “On Measures to Implement the National Policy in the Field of Education and Science” contemplates achievement of the following targets in the internationalization of education: by 2020, at least five Russian universities must be among the world’s one hundred leading universities in accordance with the global university rating. Subpara “d”, para 1 of the same Decree envisage raising the share of Russian researchers’ publications in the total number of publications in the world’s leading journals in the WEB of Science data base to 2.44 per cent.

Partnerships and Networks. Partnerships and networks in higher education are expanding both across Europe and beyond it. In terms of European context, Russia has resumed participation in the BFUG, and its representatives are involved in a number of the BFUG working groups. Under the RF Ministry of Education a Bologna working group has been established to disseminate Bologna instruments and enhance integration in the EHEA. Outside Europe Russia is involved in cooperation with universities of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Under this partnership, the Center for BRICS countries studies has been established in Yekaterinburg. Also a Forum “Cooperation of universities and research centres of the BRICS countries: education, research, innovations” was launched, as well as a BRICS network university.
Another network covers (Asia-Europe Meeting) ACEM countries and aims at fostering a global education area, enhanced networking, increased student flows from Europe to Asia, enhanced transparency in the sphere of recognition of the quality of education, and enhanced academic mobility. Partnerships and networks with foreign universities are observed at the majority of RF universities. 77% cooperate with universities in the CIS and European countries, about 17% cooperate with US partners, and 17% with China. Within the internationalization context, recognition of qualifications is an important issue. Experts prepare a substantiated conclusion about the compliance of a qualification received abroad with the Russian State. Educational Standards and about possible ways of addressing the gaps of non-compliance. The National Information Center on Academic Recognition and Mobility provides information about national systems of education and national qualifications, about the accreditation status of Russian and foreign HEIs, about the recognition procedures, possibilities for application and other recognition-related issues. The Center provides information on recognition issues to all interested parties. It actively assists in the recognition of Russian education documents abroad and takes an active part in the European network of information centres ENIC network. To promote academic mobility, the Russian Council for Academic Mobility (RCAM) has been set up as a voluntary association of HEIs and other Russian organisations working in the field of education and science. Internationalization achievements are taken into account in the course of annual monitoring of universities instituted by the Ministry of Education and Science. About 85% of universities affiliated to the MoE train foreign students (in the past years the share of foreign students has comprises on the average 4% of the overall student cohorts). Overall about 93% universities have foreign students.

Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation. Bilateral agreements with foreign universities are observed at practically all Russian universities depending on the university they can vary from a couple to dozens. These agreements envisage student mobilities, teacher mobilities, joint summer schools, joint research as well as joint programmes implementation (see sections above). Russia takes part in the EU Erasmus+ Programme that has integrated former Tempus, Jean Monnet, Marie Skłodowska-Curie and Erasmus Mundus instruments. These programmes pursued a wide range of activities: mobility visits (credit and degree mobility), training, curriculum development, capacity building of institutional structures and management, reform of higher education policies, equipment purchase, research, etc. The Tempus projects have contributed to the promotion of the lifelong learning models, modernization of curricula for all 3 cycles based on learning outcomes/competences, spread of joint programmes, internationalization of universities, enhanced cooperation with EU universities, improvement of quality assurance systems, gradual transition to student-centred teaching and learning, integration in the EAHE and implementation of Bologna process instruments, to mention just a few results.