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Russian universities offer three types of degrees.

A bachelor’s or undergraduate degree takes four years to complete. Bachelor programs often focus on broader academic curriculum rather than professional studies, and are viewed as a prerequisite to pursue graduate studies.

Professional degrees require five years of full-time study and usually include internships. Professional programs provide training in several fields, including engineering, school education, chemistry, and are often viewed as a prerequisite for graduate studies in these fields.

A master’s degree requires two years of full-time study and a thesis based on original research. It is open for graduates of both undergraduate and professional programs.

Finally, a doctoral degree, or PhD, is the highest level of academic degree students can achieve. Unlike most other university systems, Russian university curriculum offers a two-tier program in graduate studies: applicants work toward candidate of sciences designation and afterwards toward doctor of sciences designation. Both are viewed as an equivalent to a PhD degree, but candidate of sciences degree typically requires three to four years of studies, whereas doctor of sciences degree often takes five to fifteen years of research work.

Russian educational system uses a five-point grading scheme, in which a two point mark is a fail grade and a five point mark is a sign of excellence. Three is viewed as satisfactory, and four as good. Roughly, the following conversion chart could be used:

2 points

3 points

4 points

5 points

D, F




A two-tier – pass/fail – scheme is often used in minor disciplines or intermediate tests. Prerequisites for enrollment in upper level courses and graduation include a mark of three points or above in courses that use a multi-tier grading scheme or a pass in courses that use a two-tier grading scheme.  

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