Study in Tomsk
Updated 2018-03-15 08:46

Tomsk is a perfect choice for students with a tight budget and who long for a 100% Siberian experience! The city appears in the world's top 10 universities for affordability in the QS best student cities ranking and is ranked 91st in the QS best student cities overall ranking.

With seven universities for half a million inhabitants, Tomsk has the highest student to population ratio in all Siberia. The cost of living as well as tuition fees are much lower than in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Novosibirsk; however the city is much smaller and as such offers much fewer transports and leisure options. Located in Siberia, Tomsk has long and freezing winters with temperatures dropping to -40 or even lower, and snowfall from October to April. Summers are short and fresh with an average temperature of 15°C.

Note that in most universities the vast majority of classes, if not all, are taught in Russian which is why international applicants have to provide a certificate of Russian language Level 1 minimum upon application to almost any degree. Most universities have Russian language courses during summer to help their international students before classes start on September 1st.

Tomsk State University (TSU)

Founded in 1878 as the first Siberian imperial university, Tomsk State University (TSU) is the oldest university in Eastern Russia. The university is ranked 323rd in the QS world top universities and in the top 250 in the field of physics and astronomy, the 11th university in Emerging Europe and Central Asia and 43rd one in the BRICS. The institute employs 1674 academic staff for 15000 students of which 1754 come from abroad. The university is composed of 20 faculties offering 136 master's programs, 103 bachelor's, 80 PhDs as well as dual degrees with universities in France, China, Belgium and other countries. In 2000 the university obtained the status of national research university. It employs 500 doctors in science of which 13 are members of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, and the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences. The university possesses four highly specialised research institutes: the Siberian Institute of physics, the Institute of applied mathematics and mechanics, the Institute of biology and biophysics which has 18 laboratories and the Siberian botanical garden. Each research institute has several laboratories and/or departments. As such, the Siberian Institute of physics comprises six departments: compound semiconductors physics and electronics, radio and optoelectronics functional materials, radiophysics and electronics, medical materials and implants with shape memory, computer science and photonics branch; as well as seven laboratories: space geophysics and ecology, physics of plasticity and strength, physics of structural transformations, metallography, physics of inelasticity materials, alloys theories and the optical wave propagation. The Siberian botanical garden spreads over 10 hectares of land and exchanges materials with 150 botanical institutions from 40 countries allowing itself to gather no less than 6000 species. Some 140 foreign researchers work in these research institutes.

TSU has developed several partnerships with 43 universities in many countries. Furthermore, TSU offers six double award degrees (master level): Physics Methods and Technologies in Biomedicine in partnership with the Maastricht University, Historical and Regional Geology in partnership with Lille I, Mathematical Analysis and Modelling in partnership with the University of Rouen, Studies of the European Union in partnership with the Free University of Brussels, Finance in partnership with the University of Coimbra and Eurasia Integration in partnership with the Kyrgyz National University Zh. Balasagyn.

TSU also offers English taught degrees: computer and information sciences (BA), linguistics and literacy studies (BA), and management.

The campus is composed of 10 museums, a herbarium, a Siberian botanical garden, a swimming pool, a cultural center, a research library comprising 4 million volumes and dormitories. Count â¬8,60 per month for a place in a shared bedroom on the campus, â¬144 per month for a one bedroom flat and â¬58 for the compulsory subscription to a medical insurance.

Tuition fees for a bachelor's first year taught in Russian vary between â¬1,283 for a course in innovation studies and â¬3,300 for sport. Count between â¬2,512 and up to â¬5,500 for a bachelor's degree taught in English. The second year costs between â¬1,333 and â¬2,400 for programs taught in Russian and up to â¬2,611 for programs taught in English. The third year costs between â¬630 for a course in applied computer science and â¬2,078 for graphic design, whilst the fourth year and master's cost between â¬630 for a course in applied computer science and â¬2,078 for music and theatre. The website does not indicate any price for programs taught in English after the second year.

TSU offers grants to international students. These grants can only be used to pay for the ticket from the students' home country to Tomsk, accommodation, and medical insurance during their studies at TSU. Note that grants offered by TSU are allocated on a competitive basis and paid post factum. They are subject to a 13% tax if students are residents of the Russian Federation and 30% if they are not.

Classes start September 1st and applicants should register online to start their application. Candidates need to provide a certificate of Russian language Level 1 or enroll in a preparatory course at TSU. TSU admission department's contact details: Tel.: 7 3822 529-852. Fax: 7 3822 529-585. E-mail:

Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU)

Tomsk Polytechnic University was founded in 1896 and is the oldest technical university in Eastern Russia. It is the second best university in Russia for engineering and ranks 252nd in Europe on the Times Higher Education ranking. It is also ranked 64th in the QS BRICS ranking and 400th in the whole world. As of 2017, 14,098 students were registered at TSU, 26% of which were foreigners. The university has nine schools: the school of earth sciences and engineering, the school of energy and power engineering, the school of nuclear science and engineering, the school of non-destructive testing and security, the school of computer science and robotics, the school of advanced manufacturing technologies, the school of engineering entrepreneurship, the Institute for E-learning and the Yurga institute of technology as well as seven research institutes. TPU offers 47 bachelor's degrees, 35 master's degrees, and 28 PhDs.

TPU has developed partnerships and exchange programs with dozens of universities in 22 countries. TPU counts many prestigious partners such as the Ecole Polytechnique and Ecole Centrale in Paris, the University of Lausanne as well as the Norwegian University of Science and Technology where TPU international students can spend from one semester to one academic year. TPU takes part in several international scientific projects: Large Hadron Collider, RD51, NA64, ATLAS IT, CMS and the Arctic Sea's Carbon Research International Lab.

The university possesses a large campus with 15 residence halls, a stadium, a swimming pool, a skiing center, seven sports grounds, a science park, an international cultural center, a research nuclear reactor, a center for geological training in Khakassia. A place in a two people bedroom costs about â¬12 per month and â¬15 for a shared bedroom with a fridge and a TV. Health insurance for international students is compulsory and costs â¬47 per year. Other students' compulsory expenses include the application fee (â¬75), multiple-entry visa paid by students at the end of their single-entry visa after the first three months (â¬25 per year).

Prices for a Bachelor's degree at TPU vary between â¬2700 and â¬4139 per year for a program taught in Russian and â¬2951 for a program taught in English. A master's degree costs from â¬3017 to â¬4342 for a program taught in Russian and between â¬3268 and â¬4342 for a program taught in English. PhDs are only offered in Russian language and cost between â¬3201 and â¬4509 per year.

Documents to submit for application at TPU are copies of passport and notarized translations of previous diplomas and transcripts in Russian or in English as well as a certificate of Russian language level one. TPU international students office's contact details: Tel. : 7 3822 606 426. Fax: 7 3822 564 651. E-mail:

Tomsk State University of Control Systems and Radioelectronics (TUSUR)

Tomsk State University of Control Systems and Radioelectronics (TUSUR) was founded in 1962, at a time when the Soviet Union was actively looking for highly qualified specialists to explore outer space and TUSUR strived to train such people and take part in groundbreaking research. The university is ranked 171-180 in the QS BRICS ranking, 144th in the EECA QS ranking, 5th in the QS EECA ranking by percentage of international students among Russian universities and many other world university rankings. The University counts 13,000 students and 13 faculties for diverse fields: radio engineering, innovation technologies, computer systems, law, control systems, economics, human sciences, security, advanced training, radio design, electronic engineering, distance learning, extramural and evening education. Since its foundation, 21 CEOs of Russian firms graduated from TUSUR. The creation of a Special Economic Zone of Technical Innovation in Tomsk in 2005 has helped businesses and startups settle and develop in the region.

TUSUR has a division of international cooperation in charge of its joint research projects with over 20 foreign partners, universities and organisations, in the USA, the UK, Germany, France, Taiwan and many others on eight priority research areas: nanosized and nanostructured materials and coatings, plasma technologies; superhigh frequency nanoelectronics and radioelectronic systems on its basis; basic research in radioelectronics; intelligent automation systems for information processing and control; optoelectronics and nanophotonics; applied research on optical communication; fundamental and applied research in space material science; high performance electro-technical systems based on intelligent power devices for aircraft, space equipment, and multifunctional systems. TUSUR's partners include the University of Oxford, the British Council, the University of California Berkeley, Stanford University, Ecole des Mines de Nancy, the Ministry of Education of Tajikistan and many other prestigious institutions.

Classes start September 1st and the academic year is divided into two semesters. The examination periods take place from January 3rd to January 23rd and from June 6th to June 26th, whilst holidays take place between January 24th and February 6th, and from June 27th to August 31st. Each class lasts two academic hours and students are given the opportunity to learn and develop their skills through a wide range of individual and teamwork activities including lectures, practical classes, laboratory works, workplace practical training, independent study and individual consultations. Student performance is graded from 2/5 or F which is a fail, 3/5 or C which is a pass, 4/5 or B which is good, to 5/5 or A which is excellent. The exams are usually in the form of a written or computer test, and oral exams are rare. Students are invited to take part in project-based group learning to create devices and software products to commercialize them. Class attendance is carefully monitored.

Note that all departments at TUSUR accept international students for research internships. In some cases, interns can benefit from a TUSUR tuition fee waiver and a special rate for accommodation in the university dormitories. TUSUR has six dormitories which can accommodate 871 students. Each room is shared by four people. Count â¬10 per month for a bed in a shared bedroom. Contact the university for details on the price list, living conditions, available furniture in the rooms as well as amenities. Contact detail of the student dormitories: 7 3822 41 25 68

As of 2016, annual tuition fees varied from â¬910 for a bachelor's degree in law to â¬1,744 for a bachelor's degree in electronics and nanoelectronics whilst master's degrees cost between â¬960 and â¬1,744 per year. Each program has between 50 and 60 privately financed places and between 70 and 90 State-sponsored places. Furthermore, TUSUR offers grants to foreign students on a competitive basis which fully cover tuition fees but does not cover preparatory courses or Russian language courses. For more information on available grants contact

To enroll at TUSUR, you will need to provide a certificate of proficiency in Russian. To help foreign students prepare for programs entirely taught in Russian, TUSUR offers two pre-university preparatory courses in engineering and economics. These courses last one academic year and start September 1st. TUSUR International Department's contact details: Tel.: 7 3822 51 08 04 or E-mail:

Work and Internship in Tomsk

While living in the university's dormitories is the cheapest option, for those who prefer the comfort and independence of an individual flat, it might be necessary to find a job to pay their rent and bills. Foreign students are not allowed to work officially whilst staying in Russia on a student visa. However, if you find a company ready to provide you with visa support you can work on their visa whilst studying. This is the safest way to combine studies, usually for evening courses, with work during daytime.

Paid internship is not an option in Russia, which only allows for unpaid internships. Your university in Tomsk may help you in your research. Sometimes they have a list of partners that take on a few students from the university each year.

Fees and scholarships


The cost of one year of study at TSU varies between â¬1,283 and â¬2,611. TSU offers grants to international students covering ticket from the students' home country to Tomsk, accommodation and medical insurance during their studies at TSU. These grants are allocated on a competitive basis and paid post factum. Exchange or visiting students may apply for a scholarship at their home university. For everyone else doing a full Russian degree, you may try your luck and enroll on a quota basis and therefore apply for the Russian government scholarship for foreign students. Note that the Russian government scholarships cover the full cost of tuition fees and some extra money is transferred to the student's student card if they choose to live in the university dormitories.


Tuition fees at TPU vary between â¬2,700 and â¬4,509 per year. The institute does not offer scholarships to foreign students; however, exchange or visiting students may apply using the scholarship options available in their home country and full Russian degree students may apply for the Russian government scholarship.


Tuitions fees at TUSUR vary from â¬910 to â¬1,744 per academic year. The university offers grants to foreign students on a competitive basis and a tuition fee waiver for interns on a case by case basis. Otherwise, students may apply for the Russian government scholarship. The various steps of the procedure are explained here.

Where to live in Tomsk

For those who prefer independence and privacy, university dormitories might not be the most suitable option. Count about â¬200 for a one bedroom flat. Note that affordable housing blocs in Tomsk are not always equipped with a lift and can have up to 11 floors.

The city is divided into five main districts: Sovetski (East to center), Academgorodok where most universities are located (Eastern part of the city), Kirovski (South-West), Leninski (North to center), Oktiabrski (North-East).

Academgorodok and Kirovski are the most popular districts amongst students, beware of the micro district Kachtak, particularly reputed for its high criminality rate. Oktiabrski is located further from the center and universities and thus suits mostly those who own a car and do not rely on public transports.

Useful links:


Student lifestyle and leisure

The city hosts plenty of exhibitions and events. Tomsk is also home to 85 museums among which Tomsk Regional Art Museum, Tomsk History Museum, the Museum of Wooden Architecture and many others. Tomsk also has three theaters, Tomsk Drama Theatre, Skomorokh and the Kamerni Dramaticheski Theater. For those who enjoy long walks, you may want to wander in Siberia's first botanical garden's 126 hectares. The Epiphany cathedral built in 1784 is also worth a look. In winter, Tomsk opens several ski centers. Find a detailed map of them here. Finally, young people representing a high percentage of Tomsk's population, the city hosts many bars, restaurants, and cafes which you will treasure during winter!

Useful links:

Menu Tomsk
2 Do 2 Go
Travel Ask

Getting around

Transportation is cheap for students. Tomsk is a very small city but public transports may save you a very cold walk as temperatures drop quick low in winter. Count â¬0,23 for a trolleybus ride and â¬0,26 for a bus ride. The city also has five tramway lines on which 59 trams circulate on a daily basis. Public transports start working from 9 am with 20 minutes intervals. You may want to use the following websites to help you plan your journeys:

GPT Incom
Bus 62

Student monthly budget

Your accommodation budget will depend on what kind of accommodation you choose. If you chose to live in the dorms, food will be your main expense. Expect to spend around â¬120 per month at the supermarket, â¬5 to eat out in a decent restaurant such as Dushanbe and â¬17 in the city's top restaurants such as Reka 827 and Tot sami parmesan. As for taxis, Uber seems to be offering the most attractive prices and the best client service. Tariffs vary according to the time and distance traveled but are set beforehand and so traffic jam does not influence them once the client agreed to the price. Beware of Yandex taxis as they do not always handle client complaints and do not offer refunds or discounts when their app or website have crashed and made you pay for unfulfilled trips. Young foreigners, women as well as men, are strongly advised to avoid unofficial taxis when traveling alone.


To study in Russia you will need a visa. If you are already living in Tomsk on a work visa when applying to university, you may keep your visa so as to be able to keep working if you wish. If you do not have a visa you will need to apply for a student visa. Once your application has been accepted, the university will send you an invitation letter to apply for a visa in your home country. Documents required for a student visa may vary from one country to another but in most cases, you will need to provide the Russian consulate or embassy with the following:

  • Your passport;
  • A copy of the first two pages of your passport;
  • An ID photo;
  • A completed application form;
  • An insurance policy valid for the first three months of your stay;
  • The letter of invitation from the university;
  • The proof of payment of the visa fees.
We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.