The best of the BRICS: Examining Russia’s universities

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February 13, 2014
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Photo of a Lomonosov student after the 2012 graduation ceremony presenting her diplomat with honors.
Lomonosov student after the 2012 graduation ceremony presenting her diplomat with honors. © Ramil Sitdikov, RIA Novosti

Lomonosov Moscow State University was recently ranked in the top 5 best universities across all BRICS countries as compiled by Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings. Read on to see how Russia’s schools rank.

A look at the BRICS

During the past few years there has been a lot of talk about emerging countries. In particular, much was said about how some of these emerging countries were catching up fast with their western counterparts. The BRICS, an alliance of five countries representing almost half of the world population is the group of emerging economies that comes to mind the most. It is composed of:

  • Brazil
  • Russia
  • India
  • China
  • South Africa

As a developed European country with more than 100 years at the forefront of technological, scientific and medical innovation, Russia is more than its emerging counterparts

How do Russia’s universities rank?

Of the 100 universities in the listed in the ranking, Lomonosov Moscow State University came in third with an overall score of 93.4 percent. What’s more, Lomonosov was one of a total of six Russian universities to make the list!

Each university in the Quacquarelli Symonds ranking is judged on a number of criteria such as:

  • Academic reputation
  • Employer reputation
  • International faculty
  • Citations per paper
  • Faculty staff with Ph.D.

Qualitatively speaking, Russian universities did very well – here are the categories where they got the highest scores:

1. Citations per paper: First place went to Russia’s National Research Nuclear University (MEPhl), and third place went to the Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University (RNRMU).

2. Faculty staff with PhD: The Moscow State Institute of International Relations came third in terms of faculty staff holding Ph.Ds.

3. Faculty to student ratio: The top 10 in the rankings are all Russian universities, with the North-Eastern Federal University - also known as Ammosov - ranking first, and the Kazan National Research University “Moscow Power Engineering Institute” coming in second.

Lomonosov Moscow State University

While Lomonosov Moscow State University does not score so highly in individual categories, the overall third-place ranking is far superior.

The university is known to be one of the best education institutions in Russia, and offers many different courses from chemistry and physics to history, politics, law and much more. Eleven of Russia’s eighteen Nobel Prize winners as well as six of Russia’s eight Fields medallists were alumni or academics at Lomonosov. 

Education in Russia

Education in Russia has been improving over the past years with a number of reputable institutions, such as the OECD, recognizing better performance results in scientific disciplines across the country.

With 721 state and 369 non-state institutions for higher education, Russia has the potential to become a leading international centre of excellence and opportunity for education. Russia’s strength in numbers, coupled with its increasing qualitative education assets, may well be the key to making the country one of the most prosperous incubators for new business and innovation.

How well do you think Russian Universities will do in the coming decade? Share your comments below.


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