Starting from 2003, the Russian Federation has begun to transform its higher education system in accordance with the principles of the Bologna declaration. As of 2013, Russia has almost completed the transformation process, which means that Russian universities now offer Bachelor degree, Master degree and Doctorate degree programs.
Russian higher education system is now in full compliance with the European system. The only difference now lies in the structure of doctoral studies. Doctoral studies are two-tier in Russia and encompass two degrees ; Candidate of Science ("Kandidat nauk") and Doctor of Science ("Doktor nauk"). They can be considered equal to PhD.
In Russian universities, the academic year lasts for 36 weeks and consists of 2 semesters ; autumn and spring semester. The academic year starts in early September and finishes in late June.
Each study program contains core courses and optional (elective) courses. Courses can be delivered by Professors, Associate Professors, or junior teaching staff. However, only a Professor can hold the position of the Director of a Master or Doctoral Program.
In the course of their studies, students have to attend lectures, seminars and practical classes, as well as to carry out research. Student performance is assessed by means of ongoing assessment and examination sessions. Ongoing assessment takes place throughout the semester in the form of tests, essays, etc. Examination sessions occur twice a year, in winter (as a rule, December-January) and in summer (as a rule, May-June), and consist in pass-fail tests and exams. Traditionally, oral exams prevail in Russia, but Russian universities are currently trying to increase the number of written exams to keep in line with the international practice (especially if it concerns the internationally accredited study programs or "double degree" programs).
Internship is a compulsory part of the curriculum for both Bachelor and Master degree students. Internship implies acquiring teaching experience at the university or at schools and working at private companies or research institutes and laboratories.
It is also essential for both undergraduate and graduate students to carry out research. It implies the preparation and defense of research papers ; Bachelor ‘s thesis and Masters thesis.
Upon graduation, any student may obtain the European Diploma Supplement, that demonstreates the compatibility between Russian and European degrees.