Want to study at one of ITMO University’s cutting-edge Master’s programs for free? Take a chance with the Open Doors academic competition!

About Open Doors

International academic competition for international prospective Master’s and PhD students Open Doors is supported by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation. The competition is organized by the Association of Global Universities
ITMO University is a co-organizer of the competition and has been an active contributor to the project since its very beginning. Click here to learn more about ITMO University, and here to discover the beautiful St. Petersburg, the home of ITMO. 

More than 45,000 students from 160 countries participated in the 2019-2020 competition, at the end of which 400 participants from 31 countries took first prize. 35 Open Doors winners joined ITMO University as Master’s students.

Citizens of any country in the world except Russia, with a Bachelor’s degree or completing their Bachelor’s program in 2021 can participate in the Open Doors competition. 

Registration and more info is available on the Open Doors website.

From 2020, the competition will have two tracks, one for Master's and the other for PhD students. Winners of the relevant track will be able to study for free at Master's and PhD programs at ITMO University. 

Click here to find out more information about the PhD Track.

In 2020-2021, the competition is held in the following subject areas

  • Biology & Biotechnology
  • Computer & Data Science
  • Mathematics & Artificial intelligence 
  • Business & Management
  • Politics & International Studies
  • Neuroscience & Psychology
  • Physical Sciences
  • Linguistics & Modern Languages
  • Chemistry & Materials Science
  • Economics & Econometrics
  • Engineering & Technology
  • Clinical Medicine & Public Health
  • Earth Sciences
  • Education

Important dates

The selection process for the Master's track has two rounds: the first round is a competition of portfolios, and the second (final) round is a problem-solving challenge.

  1. The first (qualification) round of the international academic competition Open Doors is held from September 15 to December 10, 2020.
  2. The second (final) round will take place on January 11-30, 2021.

You can submit your application (which implies registering on the competition’s website and completing a portfolio in the chosen subject area) on the official website of the competition

The competition’s advantages

  • Open Doors is an online competition, so you don’t have to go anywhere to participate or to submit your documents to be enrolled in a Master’s program if you win
  • The competition is held both in Russian and English, so you can choose the language you’re more comfortable with 
  • The winners are granted free tuition at Russia’s best universities co-organizing the competition 
  • You can participate in several subject areas at the same time
  • Those participants of the competition’s second round who haven’t been granted free tuition can enroll at ITMO with no entrance examinations

ITMO University’s Master’s programs for winners

Computer & Data Science

program track


program track

Engineering & Technology

program track

Chemistry & Materials Science

program track

Economics & Econometrics

program track

Mathematics & Artificial intelligence

program track

Earth Sciences

program track



What is a subject area of the Open Doors international academic competition?

A subject area of the Open Doors international academic competition is a scientific or academic field you as a prospective Master’s student would like to specialize in. 

Can’t decide which subject area suits you best? Apply for participation in two (three, four, ten) subject areas in one go!

How is the Open Doors international academic competition carried out?

The Open Doors international academic competition is held in two rounds.

The first round is a portfolio contest. It will be held from November 1, 2018 to January 31, 2019.

You will need to choose a subject area (or several subject areas), register on the competition’s website and upload your achievements (diplomas, certificates, grants and publications) in each chosen subject area.

Study the list of Master’s programs available to the competition winners (here are the ones offered by ITMO University), pick those you like the most, and check if you submitted a portfolio for a corresponding subject area.

The results of the first round are decided by an expert jury consisting of representatives of Russia’s leading universities. The participants with the most achievement-heavy portfolios are admitted to the second round.

The second round is a problem-solving contest. It will be held from February 18 to March 7, 2019

Some tasks of the tests you’ll be offered to solve as part of this round are assessed automatically, the other are evaluated by the expert jury. The results of the second round will be published within 24 hours after its completion. 

Your final result is the total of points you’ve received in the first and second rounds.

Who wins the Open Doors international academic competition?

The participants with the most points after the two rounds will make it to the top-25% of the ranked list of the Open Doors international academic competition winners. 

Participants who have scored a significant amount of points but still failed to make it to the top-25% can still be accepted to ITMO University’s Master’s program in a corresponding subject area without any entrance examinations.

What is the prize for the Open Doors international academic competition winners?

More than 300 Master’s places at Russia’s leading universities have been allocated to the 2018-2019 Open Doors international academic competition winners. They will not only be granted free tuition for the duration of their studies, but also receive free Russian language training as part of ITMO University’s Foundation program.

Still got questions?

Participation in the Open Doors academic competition

Lomonosova St. 9
project coordinator
Polina Petrusha