International student count up despite COVID-19

In spite of the pandemic, the 2020 international admissions campaign at MIPT has seen outstanding results. Applicants from all over the world have been selected to join one of the six MIPT schools, making up 15% of the overall student body.

As always, MIPT has separate admissions campaigns for prospective bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD students. Undergraduate programs attracted the most applicants this year, and the School of Applied Mathematics and Informatics emerged as the №1 destination for foreign students at MIPT regardless of program level. One of the most popular English-taught undergraduate degrees — BSc in computer science — has attracted students with advanced knowledge of programming and experience with olympiads in that subject.

However, the distribution of international students across the programs of different levels is shifting, with more graduate and doctoral students admitted in 2020 compared with the previous year. Many of them were admitted to the School of Biological and Medical Physics, where the English-taught programs are full. What distinguishes MIPT from other Russian universities is that many international students have opted for its educational programs after first obtaining a degree elsewhere in Russia.

“We would like to move closer to the so-called European model, where most international students enroll in graduate and doctoral programs,” comments Deputy Director of the International Department Anna Oykher. “As MIPT is a leading scientific center, we are interested in selecting students with a strong research background, and it tends to be more challenging among school leavers. Despite the pandemic, this year we managed to almost double the number of students on PhD programs.”

The data says that the CIS region is still responsible for the largest number of MIPT foreign applicants, but the top 10 nations also include India, Syria, China, Vietnam, Nigeria, and Myanmar. The total list numbers more than 50 countries, including those in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. COVID-19 did not affect the communication with students, as MIPT had always been using online tools. Moreover, the University had developed its own special system of online monitoring during exams. “We are one of the few universities that had an online exam system before the pandemic, and this year we had a chance to scale it up,” Oykher added. “That test went successfully, and we ensured the admission of talented students.”

The successful experience of MIPT with its proprietary online proctoring solutions became a basis for collaboration with Rossotrudnichestvo — a Russian federal agency working on humanitarian cooperation. MIPT was entrusted with a mission to ensure stable and transparent online proctoring for hundreds of applicants to other Russian universities that did not have these technical capacities.


Most of the international students enrolled at MIPT in the 2020 admissions campaign had arrived in Russia at various times before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and therefore did not have to cross the border and were not affected by the tightened virus-related travel regulations.

Originally published at



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