What accommodation is offered for international students?

ITMO University provides students with accommodation in several dormitories in different districts of St. Petersburg. A majority of international students are housed in the two dorms on Vyazemsky Lane 5-7 and Karpovka Embankment 22. Both are located in the historic center of St. Petersburg, not far from ITMO University's main building. You can see all of ITMO's buildings and dorms in the city on this map. Read more about ITMO’s dorms on our website or our news portal.

How is the online entrance examination carried out? What is the passing score?

The online entrance examination is carried out via the online examination system ITMOproctor. Applicants are provided with a manual and the logins and passwords needed to enter the system. Coordinators of educational programs inform the applicants about the date and time of their respective examinations. Applicants are expected to answer several examination questions in English and have a short interview with the examiner. The lowest passing score is 50 out of 100.

What are the average living expenses in St. Petersburg?

Life in St. Petersburg is a lot cheaper than in many European capitals. An average student needs from 20,000 to 30,000 rubles per month. If you want to learn about the costs of living in St. Petersburg, read about it here or on our news portal.

How can I obtain a student visa for studies at ITMO University?

After an applicant has successfully passed the entrance examination, they will receive an official invitation from ITMO University. These invitations allow students to apply for student visas in their home country's Russian embassy or consulate. For more information on Russian immigration-related regulations and the required procedures go here or read the article on our news portal.

Are there any sports and hobby clubs at ITMO University?

Whatever your talent, let it shine at ITMO! Everyone can find something for themselves here by choosing from the wide range of sports clubs and numerous creative clubs.

What kind of support do international students receive at ITMO University?

ITMO University has several initiatives designed to help international students in adapting to the new city and culture. Among such projects are ITMO University’s International Student Council, "Get Local" International Students Club, and the buddy program.

When applying for an international Master’s degree program, do I need to submit a certified translation of my academic documents if the documents are originally in English?

According to our admission rules, all submitted academic documents should be translated into Russian. However, during the application process, applicants are allowed to submit documents in English provided that it is a document’s original language. A certified translation is required when the admission of the applicant is confirmed.

Can international students work during their studies?

International students are allowed to be employed both by the university and external companies and organizations. If a student would like to work outside the university, he/she will need to submit to the prospective employer the Letter of confirmation of enrollment issued by the University’s Student Office. Please be informed that this rule applies only to full-time students.

Can I bring my spouse/child/any other relative with me?

International students are free to bring their family members with them. However, ITMO University does not issue invitations for the students’ family members and does not register them at the University’s premises. Family members are not allowed to stay at the student dormitories and are not provided any administrative support.

When taking my entrance exams, can I receive my migration registration from the university?

Yes, but only if you are staying at ITMO University’s dorms.

What is the procedure for receiving a migration registration as a foreign student?

You can get your temporary registration at ITMO’s Migration Services Office. You must acquire your registration within the first 3 days since your arrival. You must renew your registration on time and request a new one upon returning from trips, or staying at hotels or hospitals.

How do I get my student visa invitation?

The invitation is drawn up upon your enrollment. A special form must be filled out specifying the place where you will receive your visa. The invitation is made in 30 business days and is sent to the enrolling student for the purpose of obtaining a student visa. Upon your arrival to Russia, your single-entry visa can be extended at ITMO’s Migration Services Office.

Can I work at ITMO on a tourist visa?

No. There are several types of Russian visa, and the purpose of your stay in Russia must correspond to your visa type.

Can I be employed at ITMO if I have my visa issued by another institution?

This depends on your visa type; however, in most cases you will need to make a new visa issued by ITMO.

What kind of medical insurance should I have for employment?

You will need an insurance policy for work migrants. You may choose your coverage, but minimal requirements are: emergency aid on the whole territory of Russia, and repatriation.

How should I get registered in St. Petersburg?

Foreign citizens are required to obtain a migration registration when staying in the Russian Federation.
If you stay at a hotel, you should be registered on the day of your check-in; just ask about your registration at the reception area (may cost up to 300 RUB).
If you rent a flat, your landlord should register you. Please write to inv@itmo.ru to get more details on registration in a flat.

How much taxes will I pay from my salary?

If you have spent less than 183 days in Russia within the past 12 months, your tax rate will be 30%. Later, this rate may become 13% if you don’t leave the country for extended periods of time.

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a group of related RNA viruses that predominantly affect animals, but in some cases can be transmitted to humans, too. 

What are its symptoms?

COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Common symptoms include:

  • fever
  • dry cough
  • tiredness
  • aches and pains
  • sore throat
  • diarrhoea
  • conjunctivitis
  • headache
  • loss of taste or smell
  • a rash on skin, or discoloration of fingers or toes

If you are experiencing any of those symptoms, answer these questions:

  • Over the past two weeks, have you been to countries with a large number of cases of coronavirus infection?
  • Have you been in contact with someone who has been to countries with a large number of cases of coronavirus infection in the past two weeks?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, seek medical advice to confirm the diagnosis and obtain qualified medical help. It’s better to refrain from visiting hospitals and clinics. You can arrange to have a doctor visit you at home by calling 112 or 103.

How is it transmitted?

  • By airborne droplets

Air is the main transmission factor for the novel coronavirus. Just like other respiratory diseases, COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales. 

  • By airborne dust particles

Another way COVID-19 can be transmitted is by dust particles in the air. 

  • Through contact 

The novel coronavirus can also be transmitted through handshakes or touching shared objects and surfaces.

What safety precautions can I take to prevent myself from getting infected?

  • Refrain from visiting public places

Try to avoid going to shopping malls, mass events, and public transport at rush hour.

  • Use a disposable medical mask (respirator) in public places

Remember to change your mask (respirator) every 2-3 hours.

  • Avoid close contact and being in the same room with people who are visibly ill with the flu

The signs of being ill with the flu include coughing, sneezing, and running nose.

  • Wash your hands with soap

Thoroughly wash your hands with soap upon returning from a public outing, as well as after contact with strangers.

  • Disinfect your devices and any other surfaces that you touch
  • Limit hugs and handshakes
  • Only use personal hygiene items

Read this illustrated guide by ITMO.NEWS for more advice.

Who do I contact if I can’t find up-to-date information on the partner university’s website?

You can reach out to us via outgoing@itmo.ru and we will send you the most up-to-date information. You can also contact exchange coordinators at partner universities and put us (outgoing@itmo.ru) on copy.

A partner university’s website mentions fees for incoming students. Do I have to pay those?

Yes, you will have to pay fees to go to some European universities. This will allow you to get a student ID that will provide student discounts and (sometimes) free access to public transport.

How can I calculate the approximate amount of money I’ll need on an exchange?

Make sure to check the costs of your student visa, insurance, and flights. It can also be useful to see the average rent and transport fees, as well as calculate your monthly expenses on food – you can do this by checking the prices in major shops online. In this case, your expenses will depend on your habits and daily must-haves.

I am currently on an exchange program in another country and I want to stay at the partner university for one more semester. Why do I have to come back to Russia in September and spend money on the tickets? The extension of my stay was already approved by the partner university, now I only need a letter of nomination from ITMO University.

Generally, it’s not enough for the partner university to be able to admit you – you also need to have approval from ITMO. The likelihood of your repeat nomination depends on 1) the number of students who can be nominated for a particular university and the number of places available there; 2) your curriculum at ITMO, the completion of which allows you to receive a state-standard diploma at the end of your studies. Your head of program has to approve all further changes to your curriculum, which means you also have to get their approval on the subjects you are going to take at the partner university to make sure they will be counted towards your diploma.

How do I choose a university? What should I keep in mind?

The university you choose has to offer majors and courses corresponding to the ones you are taking at ITMO. We understand that the courses offered by partner universities and your program at ITMO cannot be identical, so it’s best to consider your own interests and abilities, as well as the advice of the head of your program.

Can I still go on an exchange program if none of the subjects I choose correspond to my curriculum at ITMO?

Unfortunately, no, because you can’t spend a semester away from ITMO and come back with no relevant skills or grades that could be counted towards the completion of your program.

What’s the limit of students per partner university? Should I worry I won’t get a place if my grades are not perfect?

It depends on ITMO’s contract with the university. On average, two or three students visit each partner university per semester, though sometimes only one student can go. But you definitely shouldn’t worry: in 99% of cases, you can easily find a great alternative to your first-choice university.

Can I get into trouble if the schedule at partner university doesn’t correspond to the one at ITMO? For instance, in Germany summer semesters last till October.

True, there are certain differences in the academic timetables of different countries. However, we and our colleagues from the Academic Affairs Office try to find solutions for students who find themselves in such situations – and usually, we succeed.

When do I have to come back to ITMO from the spring exchange semester if it’s my final year of studies?

If you are graduating in this academic year, we don’t recommend opting for universities with shifted semesters. Remember that you will have to return to ITMO no later than May 20! Make sure to ask your dean’s office or head of the program for a more specific date.

What are ECTS? How much do I need to get – and why?

ECTS stands for the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System. These credits make it easier for students from different countries to go on academic exchange programs. With ECTS, we can easily compare the workloads of two different universities. Over a semester, each student has to earn 30 ECTS, which means that one academic year equals 60 ECTS – about 1,500-1,800 academic hours. In an exchange semester, students have to earn at least 20 ECTS at a partner university, of which at least 9 ECTS (for Bachelor’s students) and 12 ECTS (for Master’s students) have to correspond to core subjects of their specialization at ITMO. A good strategy is to choose courses that will earn you over 25 ECTS in case of unexpected changes in the curriculum. The ECTS you earned will be reflected in your academic transcript. 


How can I calculate my ECTS?

First of all, check the website of your partner university of choice. The number of ECTS is calculated based on the number of hours it takes students to master the course. In the majority of European universities, 1 ECTS equals 25-30 hours. At ITMO, 1 ECTS equals 36 academic hours. 

Any differences in academic transcripts between the courses you take abroad and the ones featured in your program will have to be eliminated upon your return to ITMO. You can also talk to your head of program in advance and arrange to study some courses online and take exams in other courses when you come back to ITMO.


What is a Learning Agreement and how do I get one?

A Learning Agreement is an official contract between a student, a partner university, and ITMO that lists the subjects taken by the student at the partner university. The Learning Agreement is compiled by students with guidance from the head or coordinator of their program. 

Before filling in your Learning Agreement, make sure that the list of subjects you are going to take abroad corresponds to those in your program at ITMO and is approved by the head of your program. The Learning Agreement has to contain information about the courses you will be taking and their respective ECTS. You will have to fill in the document in English. You can find a template for the Learning Agreement here

The corresponding courses should be placed side by side in the table so that the credits you earn would later be counted towards the completion of your degree. 

If some courses at the receiving university don’t correspond to ones offered at ITMO, you should describe them on a separate line of the Learning Agreement.


Who signs the Learning Agreement?

The Learning Agreement is signed by the student and head of their program. In special cases, such as when the accepting university provides its own Learning Agreement template, coordinators from the International Office will also have to sign it, but first and foremost comes the approval and signature of the head of the program.

The head of my program approved my Learning Agreement. What next?

Make sure that you have: 

  1. Confirmed your nomination to the partner university in ISU by listing the courses you will be studying in the Комментарии (Comments) section of the Номинация (Nomination) tab. 
  2. Received the approval of your head of program in ISU and the status of your application has changed to Заполнение заявления (Filling in the application form). You don’t have to fill in the Заявление (Application) section in ISU at this stage. 
  3. Studied the website of the partner university and learned about the application process, requirements, and deadlines.

If you’ve successfully covered these three steps, you can fill in your Learning Agreement.

You will have to fill in the Learning Agreement (LA) in English and then have it signed by the head of your program. Their signature goes in the fields Departmental Coordinator’s signature or Responsible Person. Next, you will have to get your LA signed by a specialist from the International Educational Programs Office (in the field Institutional Coordinator's signature). We cannot sign an LA that doesn’t have the signature of the head of your program. 

In case the partner university has their own Learning Agreement template, you will have to fill in and sign both this template and the one issued by ITMO University. 


When do I send my application to the partner university? The deadline has passed/is approaching!

First of all, make sure that you’ve received the approval of the head of your program and then take a careful look at the website of your chosen partner university. If you’ve discovered that the deadlines specified there aren’t the same as those on int.itmo.ru and have either already passed or are coming close (less than two weeks to the deadline) and you still don’t have all the information you need on the application process, you can email us to outgoing@itmo.ru. In your message, describe the situation and provide links to the website of the partner university.


How can I get a student visa and what kind of documents do I need for it?

In order to get any kind of visa, you will have to contact a consulate/embassy of the country you are going to or a visa center that provides visas for that country. You can find all the necessary information about visas on the websites of consulates and embassies; you can also ask fellow students who have already been on an exchange for advice on the matter.

Do I have to get a student visa? I think I can enter Europe on a regular Schengen visa and simply not disclose that I am entering as a student. Student visas are costly and take a long time to be processed.

It is forbidden to study in the EU (or other countries) without a student visa. The accepting university will simply not take upon itself such responsibility and will not formalize your arrival. In this case, you could be deported at any time, while the relations between ITMO University and the accepting university, as well as ITMO’s reputation, will be damaged. You should apply for a student visa right after receiving your invitation because such visas take longer to make than tourist ones.

How do I find a place to stay abroad?

If accommodation isn’t provided by the accepting university, you will have to find it on your own. One source of advice in this case are those students who have already been to this country or city on an exchange program. Most universities have Facebook pages for incoming exchange students where you can find other students to rent a flat with. Often, universities also provide useful resources for those looking to rent an apartment or room, such as websites, agencies, and online communities.

When will I be notified about the results of the competition?

A notification will be sent to the email address associated with your ISU account. You can change notification settings on your personal page.

Don’t forget to allow no-reply emails and check your spam folder.

IMPORTANT: Letters from partner universities are sent to your @niuitmo.ru email address, as that is the one we’ll be using for the nomination.


I am ready to be nominated for a partner university, what next?

First of all, make sure that you have: 

  1. Confirmed your nomination for a partner university in ISU stating the approximate duration of your exchange and a preliminary list of subjects in the Номинация (Nomination) section. 
  2. Received approval from your head of program in ISU and the status of your application has changed to Даты семестра (Semester dates). You don’t need to fill this section at this stage.

Studied the website of the partner university and learned about the application process, requirements, and deadlines. If you’ve successfully covered these three steps, you can fill in your Learning Agreement.

Where can I find the courses available at the partner university?

On their official website. If the university hasn’t yet provided an updated list of courses, you can use the ones from past years. You can also reach out to the coordinator at the accepting university and request the list of relevant courses.

Where can I find the application form?

On your personal page in ISU.

Where is the Отправить заявку (Send application) button in ISU?

This button will appear as soon as you have filled in ALL the necessary fields in your application and agreed to the processing of your personal data. After that, the status of your application should change from В работе (In progress) to Заявка (Application). It is only in this case that the application is considered submitted!

P.S. Your application will only be submitted if you use an email in the @niuitmo.ru domain.


Who should I discuss my choice of universities with?

You should address the head or coordinator of your program. You can find their name and contact details on the page of your program in ISU.

I haven’t had the chance to discuss my choice with the head of my program, can I still apply for the competition?

Yes, you can submit your application. However, it is key that you have discussed your choice with the head of your program before the interview.

Where and how can I get an English level certificate? Can I send it in after I complete my application?

You can get your certificate at ITMO’s Foreign Language Training Center and sign up for a test via this link.

You need to submit the results of the testing or your English proficiency certificate before the deadline of the outgoing exchange competition. If you don’t obtain your certificate before the deadline, you’ll need to bring it to the interview. You won’t be allowed to take the interview without a certificate. 


What should I do if the university I am interested in hasn't published their list of available courses yet? Which courses should I include in the application?

You can look at the lists from previous years to get an idea of the kind of courses you will be able to choose from in each semester.

What do I do if the university doesn’t provide any list of courses at all?

Send us an email to outgoing@itmo.ru with the name of your program of choice at the partner university and a link to it. We will reach out to the university and request the list of programs and courses available for exchange students.

Do I have to include three partner universities in my application?

A choice of three universities allows us to give you more opportunities to go on an exchange program. Oftentimes, the competition for positions at first-priority universities is very high and it’s not possible to nominate everyone wishing to go there. In such cases, we consider students’ second and third priorities.

I am a Master’s student applying for an exchange program. What should I indicate as my GPA – the one from my Bachelor’s diploma or the one from my latest exams?

Whichever you prefer.

Who should I list as my emergency contacts?

Your parents (or nearest relatives).


What should I include in the video CV?

A video CV should be about 2-3 minutes long. Tell us about yourself, your scientific and personal achievements, and the university you want to study at as an exchange student. Explain why you want to go there specifically and the impact this experience will have on your life and career. There are no strict guidelines or requirements, just be yourself and don’t panic!

If you experience problems uploading your video to ISU, you can put it on SharePoint and send us a link to it.


What should I include in my CV and letter of motivation?

There is no ideal formula for a letter of motivation. Avoid irrelevant information or lengthy descriptions. Tell us about yourself, your education, and your hobbies and extracurricular activities. You can also list any work experience that you might have: it doesn’t matter if you were employed at a lab or a coffee shop! Maybe you also engage in volunteering or have participated in international academic programs or conferences, or published scientific papers? Don’t forget to mention this in your CV. As for the template, you can find one online.


I have to list three universities in my application, but what about the letter of motivation? Should I write three letters – one for each university, describe only my first choice, or elaborate on all three of them in one letter?

You will only need to write and upload one letter of motivation and you are free to choose which universities to describe in it. After you’ve passed the internal competition, you will likely have to edit this letter to apply for a specific university in any case.

My passport has expired and I haven’t yet got a new one. Can I apply without indicating the number of my passport?

Yes, you can simply type a space in the corresponding fields of your application. However, keep in mind that it might take about three months for you to get a passport. This might affect the process of obtaining a visa. Moreover, the accepting university might ask for the number of your passport when issuing the Acceptance Letter.