System of Education
Higher education is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry for Education and Science of the Russian Federation, which is responsible for the accreditation and licensing of higher education establishments, and for developing and maintaining State Educational Standards.
Compulsory Basic Education:
Primary and secondary school includes 11 years of study. Every school has a core curriculum of academic subjects. After completing this stage, pupils are awarded the Attestat o Srednem (Polnom) Obshchem Obrazovanii (Certificate of Secondary Complete General Education).
At 15 years old, children may choose to enter a vocational school or non-university institute. These typically offer programs of academic subjects and a program of training in a technical field until students reach 17 or 18. Such institutions used to be called technikum but now most of them are known as colleges.
Higher education is provided by public and non-public (non-State) accredited higher education institutions. There are three levels of higher education:
Bachelor’s degree (4 years) - the first university level degree. This is equivalent to the B.Sc. degree in the US or Western Europe.
Master’s degree (Postgraduate higher education - 2 years). Master’s degree can be earned by completing 2 years of study after Bachelor or Specialist.
PhD (Aspirantura program) of Kandidat Nauk (Candidate of Science) which lasts 3-4 years. It requires the Specialist Diploma /Master’s degree for admission; second highest level (Doktorantura program) leading to Doktor Nauk (Doctor of Science) follows the Kandidat Nauk and does not have a fixed program duration.
The length and organization of the academic year is determined by the Federal Ministry of Education and Science. It is divided into an autumn and spring semester, the first traditionally beginning on 1 September. Semester is a study period of 16 weeks in autumn term and a study period of 15-16 weeks in spring term during which a course is taught.
At the end of each semester, there are examinations, the number, format and content of these are determined by the higher education institutions. The maximum number of examinations during
the academic year is eleven for full-time students. Academic breaks (student vacations) are determined by the Government. Students are normally graded on a scale from 2 - 5, with 5 being the top grade. Each student has his or her “zachyotnaya knizhka” (grade book) - a personal book of academic achievements in which teachers record the given grades.
Final qualifications are awarded on the basis of exams and projects (traditional five year programs); projects for Bachelor programs and thesis for Master programs.
Qualifications and degrees awarded to students:
- Traditional diploma of specialist with a higher education (name of qualification depending on the area of training as stipulated in the National List/Classification of the areas of training and occupations);
- Bachelor and Master degrees
- Doctor of Science
As for the rights attached to a final degree/qualification, Bachelor graduates and specialists are entitled to continue on Master level programs; graduates from specialist and Master programs are entitled to go on to programs leading to the qualification of a candidate of science; candidates of science are entitled to apply for a higher degree called doctor of science that is awarded upon completion of a serious research in specific area of knowledge. After carrying out independent research, students must prepare and defend a dissertation in public.