Moscow State University

Moscow State University. Study in Russia

Moscow State University Details

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Moscow State University is the oldest educational institution of Russia. It was founded on 12th of January 1755 on Saint Tatyana’s Day at the decree of empress Elizaveta Petrovna on the initiative of the great Russian scientist Mikhail Vassilievich Lomonosov after which it is named. The day its foundation (Jan 12) is celebrated as the Student’s Day in Russia.

The year 2005 is marked with the festivities and more than 900 special events dedicated to the 250 anniversary of MGU. A new university library, a new faculty of medicine and a modern university clinic mark this special event.

Moscow State University has a long-standing tradition of academic excellence. At this oldest and most famous Russian university scientific and educational schools of international reputation have been formed. Among its graduates and professors there are Nobel Prize winners and world known scientists. Moscow State University includes a number of scientific research institutes specialized in the most significant areas of modern science such as Mechanics, Nuclear Physics, Astronomy, Lasers, Molecular Biology, Bioorganic Chemistry, Anthropology, Materials Sciences, Ecology, Humanitarian Sciences, and others.

The total number of students enrolled (including post-graduates and part-time students) is 40 000. The staff includes more than 8 500 professors, associates professors and research associates. Currently the number of foreign students and postgraduates is 5000 from 80 countries.
Moscow State University has agreements with the leading international organizations (e.g., UNESCO, The World Bank), is a member of many international associations, and signed over 300 agreements with universities of all continents. The Lomonosov University is the centre of cooperation between the universities on the territory of the former USSR.

Many outstanding scholars, public and state leaders of the world have been elected Honorary Professors and Doctors of the University. Among them are J. Goethe, the beloved German thinker and novelist, the first prime-minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru, Margaret Thatcher, and last but not least, Bill Clinton.

Many current and past political leaders, such as M. Gorbatchev are alumni of Moscow State University and underling the ambitions of the university to provide the best tuition to the best people. This is why we recommend you to learn russian in Moscow State univerity.

If you would like to enroll at MGU, please check out our detailed information page for prospective students. The annual budget of MGU amounts to approximately 2bn rubles (about USD 350 million).

Schools / Colleges / Departments / Courses / Faculties

  • Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics
  • Faculty of Computational Mathematics and Cybernetics
  • Faculty of Physics
  • Faculty of Chemistry
  • Faculty of Materials Science
  • Faculty of Biology
  • Faculty of Bioengineering and Bioinformatics
  • Faculty of Soil Science
  • Faculty of Geology
  • Faculty of Geography
  • Faculty of Fundamental Medicine
  • Faculty of Fundamental physical and chemical engineering
  • Faculty of History
  • Faculty of Philology
  • Faculty of Philosophy
  • Faculty of Economics
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Journalism
  • Faculty of Psychology
  • The Institute of Asian and African Studies
  • Faculty of Sociology
  • Faculty of Foreign Languages and Area Studies
  • Faculty of Public Administration
  • Faculty of World Politics
  • Faculty of Fine and Performing Arts
  • Faculty of Global Processes
  • Faculty of Educational Studies
  • Faculty of Political Science
  • School of Business Administration
  • Moscow School of Economics
  • School of Translation and Interpretation
  • Graduate School of Public Administration
  • School of State Audit
  • Graduate School of Management and Innovation
  • Graduate School of Innovative Business
  • School of Contemporary Social Sciences
  • School of Television
  • Higher School of Policy in Culture and Management in the Sphere of Humanities
  • Faculty of Military Training
  • Faculty of Biotechnology


Ivan Shuvalov and Mikhail Lomonosov promoted the idea of a university, and Russian Empress Elizabethdecreed its establishment on January 25  1755. The first lectures took place on April 26. Russians still celebrate January 25 as Students’ Day.

Saint Petersburg State University and Moscow State University engage in friendly rivalry over the title of Russia’s oldest university. While Moscow State University dates from 1755, its St. Petersburg competitor has operated continuously as a “university” since 1819, and sees itself as the successor of the university established on January 24, 1724, by a decree of Peter the Great.

The university originally occupied the Principal Medicine Store on Red Square from 1755 to 1787;Catherine the Great transferred it to a Neoclassical building on the other side of Mokhovaya Street. This main building was constructed between 1782 and 1793 in the Neo-Palladian style, designed by Matvei Kazakov, and rebuilt after the 1812 Fire of Moscow by Domenico Giliardi.

In the 18th century, the university had three departments: philosophy, medicine, and law. A preparatory college was affiliated with the university before it was abolished in 1812. In 1779 Mikhail Kheraskov founded a boarding school for noblemen (Благородный пансион), which became a gymnasium for the Russian nobility in 1830. The university press, run by Nikolay Novikov in the 1780s, published the most popular newspaper in Imperial Russia — Moskovskie Vedomosti.

In 1804, medical education split into clinical (therapy), surgical, and obstetrics faculties. In 1884–1897 the Department of Medicine – supported by private donations, City Hall, and the national government – built an extensive, 1.6 kilometer long, state-of-the-art medical campus in Devichye Pole, between the Garden Ring and Novodevichy Convent. It was designed by Konstantin Bykovsky (ru), with university doctors like Nikolay Sklifosovskiy and Fyodor Erismann acting as consultants. The campus, and medical education in general, were separated from the university in 1918. As of 2015 Devichye Pole is operated by the independent I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University and by various other state and private institutions.

The roots of student unrest reach deep into the 1800s. In 1905 a social-democratic organization emerged at the university and called for the overthrow of the tsar and for the establishment of a republic in Russia. The Tsarist government repeatedly threatened to close the university. In 1911, in a protest over the introduction of troops onto the campus and mistreatment of certain professors, 130 scientists and professors resigned en masse, including prominent figures such as Nikolay Dimitrievich Zelinskiy, Pyotr Nikolaevich Lebedev, and Sergei Alekseevich Chaplygin. Thousands of students were expelled.

After the October Revolution of 1917 the school began admitting proletariat and peasant children. In 1919 the university abolished tuition fees, and a preparatory facility was established to help working-class children prepare for entrance exams. During the implementation of Joseph Stalin’s First Five-Year Plan (1928–1932), Gulag prisoners constructed parts of the university. Stalin would later ironically mock, repress, and imprison the intelligensia.

After 1991 nine new faculties were established. In 1992 the university gained a unique status: it is funded directly from the state budget (bypassing the Ministry of Education), which provides a significant level of independence.

On September 6, 1997 the French electronic musician Jean Michel Jarre, whom the mayor of Moscow had specially invited to perform, used the entire front of the university as the backdrop for a concert. The frontage served as a giant projection screen, while fireworks,lasers, and searchlights were all launched from various points around the building. The stage stood directly in front of the building, and the concert, titled “The Road To The 21st Century” in Russia (but renamed “Oxygen In Moscow” for worldwide video/DVD release) attracted a world-record crowd of 3.5 million people.

Since 1953, most of the faculties have been situated on Sparrow Hills, in the southwest of Moscow, 5 km from the city center. The main building was designed by architect Lev Vladimirovich Rudnev. In the post-war era, Joseph Stalin orderedseven huge tiered neoclassic towers to be built around the city. It was built using Gulagor labour, as were many of Stalin’s Great Construction Projects in Russia. Located on Moscow’s outskirts at the time of its construction, the location of the main building is now about half-way between the center of Moscow at the Kremlin and the city’s current limits. The Journalism Department now occupies the university’s original location in downtown Moscow across from the Manezh, steps from the Kremlin and other government buildings. Indeed, frequent student unrest, including street protests, well pre-dating 1917 may be one reason why Stalin’s planners sited the university across the Moscow River, so far away.

The MSU main building was the tallest building in the world outside of New York City at the time of its construction, and remained the tallest building in Europe until 1990. The central tower is 240 m tall, 36 stories high, and flanked by four huge wings of student and faculty accommodations. It is said to contain a total of 33 kilometers of corridors and 5,000 rooms.

Facilities available inside the building include a concert hall, a theater, a museum, administrative services, a library, a swimming pool, a police station, a post office, a laundry, a hairdresser’s salon, several canteens, bank offices and ATMs, shops, cafeterias, a bomb shelter, etc. Along with the university administration, the Museum of Earth Sciences and four of the main faculties – Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics, the Faculty of Geology, the Faculty of Geography, and the Faculty of Fine and Performing Arts – now reside in the Main building. The star on the top of the tower is large enough to include a small room and a viewing platform; it weighs 12 tons. The building’s facades are ornamented with giant clocks, barometers, thermometers, statues, carved wheat sheaves, and Soviet crests. It stands before a terrace featuring statues of male and female students gazing optimistically and confidently into the future.

While the Sparrow Hills were on the outskirts of the city at the time of the construction of the main building, they are now about halfway from the Kremlin to the city limits. Several other buildings and sports facilities were later added to the campus, including the only baseball stadium in Russia. Currently, a new building is under construction for the social sciences faculties, and another new one of vast size has just been built for the library, which is the second-largest in Russia by volume (number of books). The university also has several dormitory buildings in the Southwest of Moscow, outside the campus.

The historical building on Mokhovaya Street now mainly houses the Faculty of Journalism, the Faculty of Psychology, and The Institute of Asian and African Studies. The university includes a number of faculty buildings located near Manege Square in the center of Moscow and a number of campuses abroad in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The university’s main library is one of the largest in Russia. Current estimates suggest that it contains approximately 9,000,000 volumes. The library serves in the area of 55,000 readers per year, using approximately 5,500,000 books.

The university offers classes on its main campus not only in Moscow, but also on campuses in Armenia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. These include the Puschino MSU campus, Podmoskovny MSU campus, Chernomorsky MSU campus and Kazakhstan MSU campus. The Ulyanovsk branch of MSU was reorganized into Ulyanovsk State University in 1996.

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