Russian Federation | International Credentials Equivalencies

Minimum GPA
A Minus GPA
B Plus GPA
Instruction Languages
Bachelors Equiv.
Bakalavr (requiring 4 years of study); Specialist Diploma
Masters Equiv.
Magistr; Specialist Diploma (requiring 5 years of study)
Grad Sample
Candidate of Science (Kandidat Nauk)
First Degree Sample
Diploma of Specialist
Grading System

5 Excellent (Otlichno)
4 Good (Khorosho)
3 Satisfactory/Pass (Udovletvoritel`no)
2 Unsatisfactory (Neudovletvoritel`no)

Passed/ Credited (Zacet): used for a course in which an examination was not taken, but all course requirements were completed.

Recognized Universities

Literature Institute named after A. M. Gorky
Moscow Higher School of Economics
Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
Moscow Medical Academy named after I. M. Sechenov
Moscow Pedagogical State University
Moscow State Institute of International Relations
Moscow State Technical University named after N. E. Bauman
Moscow State University
Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov
Novosibirsk State University
Rostov State University
Russian Peoples` Friendship University
St. Petersburg State Technical University
St. Petersburg State University

There are over six hundred public and over two hundred accredited non-State institutions of higher education in the Russian Federation. If you are not familiar with an institution, contact your Student Services Officer.

Notes for Russian Federation

The Russian Federation has developed new “Federal State Educational Standards” (FSES) that define higher education programs at the bachelor, master and specialist level in terms of “workload credit units”, replacing the traditional system of expressing student workload in terms of hours. The introduction of “credit units” – зачетний единиц / zachetnaja edinitsa in Russian – is a result of Russia’s participation in the Bologna process, which requires the use of credits that are compatible with the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) as one tool in increasing student mobility in Europe.

The FSES are the outlines of curricular structure and content mandated for use at all levels of education throughout the Russian Federation. The development of a credit system in Russian higher education was first approved in 2002. The Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia began using a credit system in 2005. By 2007, over 100 higher education institutions and branches of institutions were using the credit system. The 2009 Bologna process National Report of the Russian Federation states that 50-75% of programs at Russian higher education institutions were using ECTS credits at that time.

The new credit unit is defined as representing 36 academic hours per credit. The academic hour in Russia is 45 minutes. A full-time year consists of 60 credits, making the Russian system compatible with the ECTS credit system. The four-year bachelor requires 240 credits. The five-year specialist requires 300 credits, while the six-year specialist program in medicine requires 360 credits. The two-year master, which follows the bachelor, requires 120 credits. The credit system is not used for the research-based degrees, the Candidate of Sciences and Doctor of Sciences.

Students who began studies under previous iterations of the FSES will continue under the requirements of those programs and will receive a diploma and diploma addendum (transcript) in the state standard format of 2012. Students who begin studies under the new FSES using the credit system will receive a newly-formatted diploma supplement that will show credits.

Pre-university education requires 11 years of study. The Certificate of Secondary Complete General Education is required for admission to university level institutions. Some universities require competitive entrance examinations.

There are articulation agreements between colleges and universities which permit transfer credit for up to two years of college-level education toward university degrees.

Bologna note:

Russia joined Bologna process in 2003. Since the mid-90s, many universities have introduced educational programs allowing students to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree (4 years) and then earn a Master`s degree (another 1–2 years) while preserving the old 5–6 year scheme. In October 2007 Russia enacted a move to two-tier education in line with Bologna Process model:

1) Bachelor’s (undergraduate) (4 years)

Courses leading to the award of Bachelor take four years (two years of general education plus two years of specialised modules). This is designed to be more of an academic degree although it does confer professional rights on graduation. Apart from general disciplines (studied mainly during the first two years) students cover subjects from areas of general professional disciplines and specialised professional disciplines. The curriculum also includes four months of diploma project work in a chosen area of study. On completion students have to sit state examinations and / or defend a thesis. The degree of Bachelor is a prerequisite for admission to Master’s degree programmes.

2) Master’s (graduate) degrees (1-2 years).

Master’s degrees are awarded after successful completion of a further one to two years of study following a Bachelor degree (Диплом бакалавра – Diplom bakalavra). Programmes are primarily research-oriented and require students to successfully pass final state examinations and the defence of a thesis to be awarded a final certificate. Graduates of Master’s degrees are eligible for entry onto third-cycle doctoral studies.

Diploma Supplements are issued, automatically or upon request, depending on the awarding institution. They are issued in Russian and in one of the widely spoken languages of the EU, and awarded to first-, second- and third-cycle graduates, as well as old-style award graduates. It is worth noting, though, that the majority of graduates are still not receiving a Diploma Supplement.

Specialist Diploma (Диплом Специалиста – DIPLOM SPECIALISTA)
Specialist programmes are five to six years in duration and are offered in professionally oriented subject areas such as architecture, engineering, law, medicine, pharmacy, teaching etc. These programmes have two functions: they allow access to professional practice upon graduation (e.g. for engineers, teachers, chemists, mathematicians, linguists, etc.) and they are also the traditional prerequisite for admission to doctoral studies. Although the Bologna three-cycle structure was introduced in 2009, Specialist Diploma programmes continue to be offered at some universities and remain a popular option for those entering higher education. Old Specialist Diplomas are now being discontinued.

Candidate of Science (Кандидат наук – Kandidat Nauk)
This period of study takes a minimum of three years after a Specialist Diploma or a Master’s degree. Students must carry out independent research, sit candidate examinations, and submit and defend a thesis to the Academic or Dissertation Councils. On successful completion, candidates are awarded the degree of Candidate of Science (Кандидат наук – Kandidat Nauk). Requirements are set by the Russian Higher Attestation Commission (Высшая аттестационная комиссия – Vysshaya attestatsionnaya komissiya VAK), under the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation.

Last Update: October 19, 2020

Last modified: October 19, 2020