The Education System in the Russian Federation
Figure A-14. Levels of education in the Russian Federation, by age and year of schooling:
NOTE: Education levels are defined according to the 1997 International Standard
Classification of Education (ISCED97). Ages represent the typical age at the beginning
of the school year (rounded up as necessary). Numbers in bold print indicate ages
of universal enrollment (i.e., an enrollment rate of over 90 percent). Numbers highlighted
represent the age at which compulsory enrollment begins through the age at which
compulsory enrollment ends. No meaning should be inferred from width of subdivisions.
Duration of first university degree program is generally 4 years in the Russian
SOURCE: Miller, D.C. and Warren L.K. (2011). Comparative Indicators of Education
in the United States and Other G-8 Countries: 2011 (NCES 2012-007). U.S.
Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC:
U.S. Government Printing Office.
- Common name: Doshkolnoe obrazovanie
- Ages of attendance: As early as age 3 to age 6 ½
- Number of years: 1 to 4
- Start of universal enrollment: Does not begin in preprimary; see below
- Compulsory: No
- Common name: Nachal'noje obshchee obrazovanie
- Ages of attendance: 6 to 10
- Number of years: 4
- Start of universal enrollment: Age 6 ½7
- Compulsory: Yes, begins at age 6 ½8
NOTE: There are no formal divisions between primary, lower secondary, and upper
secondary schools in the Russian Federation, and they are generally located in the
same buildings, except in rural areas.
- Common name: Osnovnoe obshchee obrazovanie (basic school)
- Ages of attendance: 11 to 15 (most students turn 15 during the last year of lower
- Number of years: 5
- Universal enrollment: Yes
- Compulsory: Yes
- Entrance/exit criteria: In order to graduate from basic school, students must pass
four written examinations: one in Russian language, one in mathematics, and two
in other subjects chosen by the student.
NOTE: Basic general education includes primary and lower secondary school. Graduates
of lower secondary school may either continue their education at upper secondary
school to receive a secondary complete general education, go to vocational schools
to receive professional training, or go to secondary vocational schools to receive
a combination of academic and vocational education.
- Common name: Professional'no-technicheskoe uchilische; kolledž,professional'nylitsei,or
technikum; srednee (polnoe) obshchee obrasovanie
- Ages of attendance: 16 to 17 for secondary general school, and 16 to 19 for vocational
- Number of years: Varies according to the type of school: 2 (for secondary
general school), 2 to 4 (for vocational schools)
- Universal enrollment: No
- Compulsory: Yes, through age 179
- Entrance/exit criteria: Students in the Russian Federation must pass two written
exams at the end of secondary school in order to obtain the Certificate
of Secondary Complete General Education. These exams include Russian language and
mathematics and are administered in the form of the Unified State Examination
NOTE: Students who have graduated from lower secondary school have the option
to continue in three types of upper secondary schools:
- Professional'no-technicheskoe uchilische: These schools provide professional
education in a program that usually lasts
- Srednee (polnoe) obshchee obrasovanie: Students who wish to continue
their academic education enter these upper secondary schools. The program lasts
for 2 years, and students receive a Certificate of Secondary Complete General Education,
which qualifies them to apply for entrance into higher education. Graduates
may also continue their study in initial and secondary vocational schools.
- Kolledž, professional'ny litsei, or technikum:
These schools provide combined professional and academic programs that lead to a
diploma (Certificate of Secondary Complete General Education). The programs are
usually 3 or 4 years.
Postsecondary and tertiary:
- Common name: Kolledž, technikum, universitet
- Ages of attendance: Varies
- Number of years: Varies according to degree
- Universal enrollment: No
- Entrance criteria: Candidates are accepted into postsecondary vocational institutions
on the basis of the results of the Unified State Examinations or additional examinations
called vstupitelnoe ispytanie. The number of exams and the subjects vary
according to the department a student wishes to attend, although all students must
take an exam in Russian language.
Common degree programs:
- Nonuniversity-level diploma: Obtained from kolledž
(colleges) and technikum (technical colleges). These diplomas are
in applied or vocational fields and require 2 years of study after secondary
school. Students may be able to enter university-level institutions after
completing this degree and transfer some or all credits toward a bakalavr.
- Diploma o nepolnom vysshem obrazovanii (diploma
incomplete higher education): If students leave
university after at least 2 years of study, they may ask for this
diploma, which allows them to work in jobs that require some university experience,
but not a degree.
- Bakalavr (bachelor's degree): Program requiring 4 years
of university study.
- Magistr (master's degree): Competitive 2-year programs
for students who have completed their bakalavr degree. Most require a year
of research and a thesis.
- Diplom: This specialized diploma can be obtained either
by completing 1 year of study beyond the bakalavr or by completing 5 to
6 years of continuous study after upper secondary school.
- Kandidat nauk: Students who hold a diplom
or magistr are eligible to apply for these programs, which typically last
3 years and require students to carry out independent research and defend a dissertation
in public. Equivalent of a doctorate in the United States.
- Doktor nauk: This is the highest possible academic degree in the
Russian Federation, and there is no U.S. equivalent. This degree requires
that a kandidat nauk become known in his or her field of study, publish
independent research, and have experience supervising undergraduates. A 3-year
sabbatical is often taken to prepare research for the degree, although there is
no specified length of time required to obtain it. The doktor nauk requires
a public dissertation defense (in addition to the defense completed to obtain
a kandidat nauk).
EuroEducation Net. (2006). Education Systems in Europe: Russia.
London: EuroEducation. Retrieved March 26, 2013, from
Marlow-Ferguson, R. (Ed.). (2002). World Education Encyclopedia: A Survey
of Educational Systems Worldwide, Vol. 2 (2nd ed.). Farmington
Hills, MI: Gale Group.
Mullis, I.V.S., Martin, M.O., Minnich, C.A., Stanco, G.M., Arora,
A., Centurino, V.A.S., and Castle, C.E. (Eds.). (2012). TIMSS2011 Encyclopedia.
Education Policy and Curriculum in Mathematics and Science (Vols. 1–2).
Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College.
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (1996).
Education at a Glance 1996: OECD Indicators. Paris: Author.
Robitaille, D.F. (1997). National Contexts for Mathematics and
Science Education: An Encyclopedia of the Education Systems Participating
in TIMSS. Vancouver, Canada: Pacific Educational Press.
7 This is rounded up to 7 in the accompanying figure A-14, which is in
concert with the data presented in Indicator 2.
8 This is rounded up to 7 in the accompanying figure A-14, which is in
concert with the data presented in Indicator 2.
9 In the Russian Federation, general secondary education (including lower
and upper secondary) is compulsory through age 17, per the review of the country
expert. This will differ from the 2011 data presented in Indicator 2, which indicates
the end of compulsory education is age 17 (i.e., through age 16).