FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BY FUTURE STUDENTS WHO ARE GOING TO STUDY IN RUSSIA
Q. What is the duration of the undergraduate medical course in Russia? What is the degree awarded?
A. The duration of the undergraduate medical course in Russia is 6 years (English Medium), or 7 years (Russian Medium). The Degree awarded is MD (Physician). Unlike the MBBS, which is a Bachelor Degree (Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery), the Degree of MD (Physician) is a Master Degree in general medicine (Doctor of Medicine, Physician). Just as in the USA, UK, Australia and other Western Countries, the first medical degree awarded in Russia too is the Master Degree. It is not a post graduate degree and is not to be confused with the Post Graduate Degree of MD / MS awarded in India and a few other countries.
Q. Is the Russian undergraduate medical degree recognized in India?
A. Yes. The Degree awarded by those medical universities in Russia which are approved under the provisions of the Indian Medical Council Act 1956, are recognized in India. According to the Regulations framed by the Medical Council of India (MCI), an Indian citizen desirous of joining an undergraduate medical course in any foreign country shall first obtain an eligibility certificate from the MCI before joining the course. After successful completion of the course, the student shall have to qualify a screening test conducted by the National Board of Examinations in order to get registration from the MCI.
Q. What are the criteria to be satisfied to get the Eligibility Certificate from the MCI?
A. The student has to satisfy the following conditions in order to qualify for the Eligibility Certificate:
a) The candidate should be not less than 17 years of age on or before 31st December of the year of admission to the course.
b) The candidate should have passed the 2nd PUC / 12th Std / HSC exam with the subjects of Physics, Chemistry, Biology and English individually and have obtained a minimum of 50% marks in the aggregate in Physics, Chemistry and Biology (40% for SC/ST and OBC).
The application form for the Eligibility Certificate can be downloaded from the website of MCI, or can be collected from the Firm. The firmguide the student in filling up the form, but the responsibility of satisfying the criteria of the MCI and obtaining the certificate from them rests with the student.
Q. How often is the Screening Test conducted? What are the subjects included in the Test?
A. The Screening Test is conducted twice every year by the National Board of Examinations.
There are three papers of multiple choice questions in Preclinical, Para-Clinical and Clinical Medicine and its allied subjects including Obstetrics and Gynaecology. The language of the test is English. The test for each paper will be of three hours duration. The minimum pass marks in each paper separately are 50%., which is applicable to all categories of candidates without exception. A candidate should pass all three papers in the same attempt. There are no restrictions on the number of attempts to appear in the test.
Q. What are the advantages of choosing a Russian medical university for study?
A. There are many advantages in choosing to study in Russia such as:
* There is no entrance exam like the CET etc. Admissions are made on first come first served basis.
* Russian universities do not charge any capitation fees, nor do they take any donation.
The annual tuition fees and the total cost of study in Russia is very reasonable and much less in comparison to a private medical college in India.
*The medium of instruction is English.
* International students are taught in batches of 8 to 12 in a class.
*Russian medical universities are well established and many are listed among the top medical universities in the world.
* The teaching faculty is all highly qualified.
* All Universities are equipped with the most modern diagnostic and teaching aids.
Q. Is it necessary to learn the Russian language even for the English Medium course?
A. Yes. The Russian language is taught as part of the curriculum in order to prepare the student to be able to converse with the local patients and hospital staff as they do not speak English. Moreover, knowledge of the local language is always an asset for communication with shopkeepers and others or while taking the local transport.
Q. What is the duration of the postgraduate medical course in Russia? What is the degree awarded?
A. Post Graduate higher education in Russia is of 3 basic types:
a) Short term specialization: This is a 1 year duration certificate course.
b) Ordinatura: This is a 2 to 5 years duration Post Graduate Residency course. It is a full time education and leads to acquiring of deep theoretical knowledge and practical skills. The 2 year course can be considered to be equivalent to the Indian post graduate degree courses MD and MS, while the 5 year course can be considered to be equivalent to the Indian super specialty degree courses DM and MCh.
c) Aspirantura: The Aspirantura prepares the student for a research or an academic career. There are two levels of Aspirantura: The first level is the degree of 'Kandidat Nauk1, or Candidate of Sciences, requiring 3 years of study, roughly equivalent to the PhD of other countries. The second and highest level is the degree of 'Doctor Nauk', or Doctor of Sciences, for which the duration is not fixed. It follows the Kandidat Nauk and is awarded after preparation and a public defence of a dissertation. It does not always have an equivalent in other countries. The average time between obtaining Kandidat and Doctor degrees is roughly 10 years.
For MBBS & BDS graduates from India, the duration of the PG education in Russia was З1/2 years, comprising a 6 month accelerated Russian Language course and a 1 year equivalency programme followed by the regular 2 year PG course. However, the Russian Government has recently relaxed the requirement of the equivalency programme & permitted universities to award the PG Degree after 21/2 years of study including the Russian Language course. Some universities have already implemented this decision while the others are in the process of doing so.
Register, and Indian Government jobs and the Teaching profession in India will also open up for the students who have acquired PG qualifications from Russia.
Q. How are the Fees to be paid to the university? Are the fees liable to change during the duration of the course?
A. The payment of Tuition Fees for the first year of study shall be made prior to the student's departure for Russia, in accordance with the instructions issued by the university. Such instructions may require the fees to be either wire transferred directly to the university, or paid in Indian Rupees in India to Firm, which will do the further needful. For subsequent years, the fees may be paid in India in Indian Rupees to the Firm through which the student is admitted to the university, or directly at the university cash counter within 7 days of the commencement of classes. The fees are payable to the university in Rubles at the rate of exchange ruling on the date of payment, as fixed by the Central Bank of Russia , or in some cases as set by the university itself. Russian universities do not accept fees in any currency other than the local currency namely Roubles. The Dollar / Euro rates quoted are normally for the information and guidance of the student only. It is generally understood that the tuition fees as mentioned in the Admission Letter do not change for the duration of the course, except in some extraordinary circumstances. Utilities such as gas, cold & hot water, heating and power to the hostels are supplied and maintained by the local municipal administration. In case there is some change in the tariff of these supplies to the hostel, the hostel fees could be subject to some marginal changes.
Q. Can a student get a scholarship / assistantship, or take up part time work to earn some money for education expenses?
A. Education in Russia is highly subsidized by the Government and hence no scholarships or assistantships are available to International students. According to the Federal Law governing foreign students in the Russian Federation, students can work only during their free time i.e. after classes or during their holidays. Their employer must be licensed to hire foreign citizens. The student is liable for expulsion from the university should he / she have poor attendance or poor academic achievement. Jobs for International students are generally low paid & may be only a way to earn some pocket money rather than to cover any part of the tuition fees. It is strongly recommended that the students do not take up any work at least during the first 2 to 3 years, since they do not speak Russian fluently enough. It is important however for the student to remember that the main aim in coming to Russia is to acquire an additional educational qualification, & it is therefore advisable to concentrate on studies rather than take up any part time assignments.
Q. Is the Russian Postgraduate Medical Degree recognized in India or elsewhere in the world?
Universities in Russia awarding postgraduate degrees are listed in the 'World Directory of Medical Schools' published by the World Health Organisation. This means that their degrees are recognized worldwide. Students from these universities can write screening exams like the USMLE of USA, PLAB of UK, AMC of Australia etc, and on passing, are eligible to work in the respective countries. Some countries in the Gulf, Maldives and a few others directly recognize the Russian degrees & students can take up appointments in these countries without writing any screening exams. The MCI does not have a system in place presently for recognition of a Postgraduate degree from any country in the world. The student can however legally suffix the foreign PG qualification to his / her name, engage in private practice or work in any private hospital in India as per the PG qualification, but will not be able to work in a government hospital or in an academic position. The good news however is that there is a move by the Government of India to recognize PG degrees from foreign universities. Once this becomes a reality, the additional qualification will be noted in the Indian Medical Register, and Indian Government jobs and the teaching profession in India will also open up for the students who have acquired PG qualification from
Q. Are the students provided hostel accommodation? What facilities do the hostels provide? Are they situated within the campus?
A. Students are accommodated in International hostels managed by the university. The rooms can accommodate 2 to 3 students each depending on its size. Each student will get a table, a chair, a bed and a cupboard. Bed linen, pillow and blankets are provided by the university and are changed once a week. The hostels are centrally heated in winters. Every floor of the hostel has adequate toilets and bath with running hot & cold water. Each floor will have a kitchen with burners / hot plates, cutting tables, washing sinks etc where students can cook their own meal. The hostels employ cleaning staff to maintain the areas of public use such as corridors, halls, kitchens, toilets etc, while maintaining the cleanliness and tidiness of the room is the student's own responsibility.
Hostels in some universities are located within the campus, while in some others, such as in Moscow, they are 50 to 60 km away. However, public transport in Russia is excellent and the student will experience no difficulty in commuting between the hostel and the university. It may be wise for the student not to expect living conditions similar to the USA or other western countries where the costs are very much higher than in Russia. But you can be sure of the excellent and high quality education, while residing in reasonable comfort.
Q. Are mess facilities available in the hostels? Do they serve Indian food?
A. Mess facilities are generally not available in the hostels, but many hostels have a cafeteria, which serve Russian and Continental food and snacks at subsidized rates. Such cafeterias are also available in all university main buildings. The usual practice is for the student to have lunch in the university cafeteria & cook his / her own meal in the kitchen provided on each floor of every hostel.
Q. How much money is required for living expenses in Russia?
A. A student can manage comfortably with $100 to $120 per month in most Russian cities. In Moscow & St Petersburg, the expenses could be as high as $250 to $300 per month. It must be noted however that the living expenses will depend also on the spending habits of the student.
Q. Can a student open a Bank Account in Russia? Are there any other means of sending money to the student in Russia?
A. Yes, the student can open a Bank account in Russia after his / her passport and local address has been registered with the immigration authorities. Money can be directly transferred to the student's bank account from a bank in India. There are also convenient ATM facilities in Russia from which students can withdraw money using Debit Cards or Travel Currency Debit Cards which are issued by some banks and other authorized institutions in India.
Q. How does a student keep in touch with his / her parents?
A. Mobile phones are widely used in Russia and are convenient for the student. Mobile networks in Russia work on the GSM system. The student may carry a GSM compatible phone from India or purchase one in Russia itself. The student can purchase a SIM card for the mobile phone as soon as the registration procedure is completed. Internet facilities are also available in Russia for keeping in touch through e-mail.
Q. What are the facilities available to a student in case he falls sick?
A. The Russian Government has made it mandatory for foreign students to take a medical insurance policy to cover the cost of treatment including medication in case of hospitalization for any ailment. The premium for such a policy varies between $ 100 to $ 150 per year. For normal or routine cases not requiring hospitalization, the student can consult doctors free of cost at the university hospitals, but the cost of medicines will have to be borne by the students.
Q. How is the safety and security of the students in Russia ensured?
A. Russia is a very safe country for all its residents including foreign citizens. Just as in every country in the world, the general safety of the Russian as well as foreign citizens is entrusted to the Police Department (called Militia in Russia). The universities and their hostels are guarded by their own internal security departments.
The militia constantly patrols the streets, paying special attention to the security of international students. All students are issued Identification cards by the university. They are expected to carry their ID cards and a copy of their passport with them at all times when moving outside the hostel, & produce them when and if asked to do so by the militia.
Q. Is Russia cold throughout the year? How does a student from India cope with the conditions?
A. Russia is not cold throughout the year. It has four distinct seasons - Summer from May to August, Autumn from September to November, Winter from December to February and spring from March to April. Summer temperatures average +25° С while winter temperatures can be about -25°C.
All establishments in Russia like homes, hostels, classrooms and shops as well as all means of transport like buses, trams, taxis, trains etc. are centrally heated. It is therefore not a problem for the Indian students to cope with the extreme winter temperatures. They need only ensure adequate protection from exposure to the cold by wearing warm clothing, gloves & woolen headgear when moving around outdoors.
Q. When do the students get their vacations?
A. Undergraduate medical students get winter holidays from January 25th to February 9th' and summer holidays from July 5th to August 30th each year. There is no specific vacation period for Post graduate students.
Most students utilize the summer vacations to go back to their countries. The hostels remain open for those who would like to stay back. Some universities also offer summer training programmes like nursing, Para medicine etc. during the vacations for those students who are interested.
Q. Is it permissible to transfer to another university in Russia after admission?
A. It is important to note that migration from one university to another is not a right of a student. It may be considered only in exceptional circumstances or on compassionate grounds, provided the following criteria are fulfilled:
a) The university to which the student desires to migrate should be approved under the provisions of the Indian Medical Council Act 1956.
b) The student must get an objection certificate from both universities to the transfer.
c) The student must get an exit visa from the university in which he / she is studying, return to India, and then enter Russia again on the Invitation Letter issued by the university he/she proposes to join.
d) Migration during the clinical course is not generally permitted on any grounds.
e) All migration cases are subject to the approval of the Ministry of Health, Government of Russia.
Q. Is there any ragging in Russia?
A. Ragging is severely discouraged in Russia & considered to be a criminal offence. Anyone found guilty of ragging can be suspended or expelled from the university or deported from the country.
Q. Can the student's parents visit their children in the university in Russia?
A. Yes, parents are most welcome to Russia to meet their children. Universities consider it a privilege to meet the parents and are eager to show them around the university to see for themselves the infrastructure, the sophisticated teaching and diagnostic aids and the well-equipped laboratories, clinical and surgical facilities etc.
Q. Are there any job opportunities in Russia after education there?
A. All Medical Universities in Russia are listed in the 'World Directory of Medical Schools' published by the WHO. Hence the Degrees awarded by any of these universities are recognized worldwide. Graduating students are eligible to write screening exams such as the USMLE, PLAB, AMC etc. and on passing them will become eligible to work in those countries.
Many countries in the Middle East, Maldives etc. directly recognize Russian medical degrees & greatly value and prefer applications from students graduating from Russian universities. The opportunities in Russia itself are rather limited. Moreover, remuneration levels in Russia are yet to catch up with that of other countries and International graduates from Russia may prefer to seek opportunities elsewhere.