Russian medical universities graduates have successful practice in more than 100 countries the world over. Medicine is one of the most popular study directions selected by international students at Russian universities. Russian universities have a rich history of training in medical specialities. The first medical college in Russia, Apothecary Chancery, was set up in the 17th century. At present, medical education is provided by more than 70 Russian universities.
Higher medical education in Russia is only available to intramural students. Length of study depends on medical specialty. For example, bachelor’s degree in nursing care is awarded after four years of study. A surgeon’s diploma requires eight to nine years of study. In the United States, medical students study for 12 to 18 years. Medical training lasts ten years in Great Britain and eight to ten years in Germany. A medical diploma in Canada requires four years of study at a medical school, and as many at a university. It is followed by three- to four-year internship, depending on speciality.
In Russia, entering a medical university is possible after finishing school. Universities offer programmes in Russian and English. If you do not speak Russian, you can learn it at a preparatory department or take a language course at leading medical universities. Aside from learning to speak Russian, preparatory departments train international students in other subjects to help them better prepare for future study.
Over 6,000 Indians students are currently enrolled in various medical institutions in the Russian federation. Please note that Indian students who have studied MBBS from Russia are required to register with a State Medical Council (SMC) in order to practice in India after completion of their medical education. The SMC can register a student with foreign medical qualification only after he/she appears and passes in the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE) conducted by the National Board of Examination (NBE).
In order to appear at FMGE, a candidate should obtain Eligibility Certificate (EC) from the Medical Council of India (MCI) before taking admission to a medical course in a foreign institution. This is as per Section 13 (4B) of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956. Please visit website www.mciindia.org to see details.
Students are issued EC by MCI subject to fulfillment of criterion laid down under section 4 & 5 of the Medical Council of India Regulation on Graduate Medical Education, 1997. Please visit website www.mciindia.org for further details.
It may also be noted that as per directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India dated 17/12/2013 in SLP No.36956/2013, all candidates taking admission in medical courses in foreign countries after 16/04/2010 are required to pass out from the same institution. Students must bear this in mind as changing a medical institution may create problems for their subsequent registration with MCI.
The FMGE or Screening Test is conducted twice a year in June and December by NBE as a computer-based test. The performance of Indian students, who have studied in Russian Medical institutions. The low pass percentage of Indian students, who have studied in Russia in the FMGE may be kept in mind before deciding to study medicine in a Russian medical institution.
Indian students seeking admission in foreign medical institutions are required to take a No objection Certificate from MCI. It is mandatory for all their certificates and mark sheets to be apostled. Apostling of certificate is done at Patiala House, Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi.
While it is possible, in principle, for students to apply directly for admission, most Russian medical institutions have appointed “contractors” for recruiting students from different countries and insist on using this channel for admission. Please note that there are no recognized education contractors/consultants by the Ministry of Education & Science of the Russian Federation. Universities prefer to work through contractors for provision of hostel facilities, general welfare of the students and even collecting fee. This is ostensibly for the convenience of the students, who are new to the environment and do not speak the local language. These contractors have their sub agents in India. In many cases, senior Indian students themselves function as contractors and agents.
Prospective Indian students must ensure that they have been given full and correct information about the university including tuition and other fees / facilities, curriculum of the course, language of instructions/ teaching, availability of hostel facilities, monthly living expenses. A copy of the Indian MBBS curriculum as per Graduate Medical Regulation may be obtained by students so that they can compare the same in the context of their training at the Russian medical institution.
It has come to notice that Russian medical institutions were conducting admission tests after the students came to Russia and in some instances students have been denied admission for reasons including lack of proper documentation and late arrival, even after issuance of visa to them.
Student contractors get large commissions for recruiting students. The Education Wing in Embassy of India, Moscow receives many complaints about contractors making false promises, giving false/misleading information as well as cheating and highhanded behavior. It is, therefore, in the interests of prospective students to make enquiries directly from medical institutions about courses/facilities available before signing a contract with a particular consultant. Prospective students may also ascertain the amount of fees to be charged to avoid any misunderstanding on this score. It is strongly advised that students ascertain these facts before signing any contract with educational consultants.
There is publicity in India about English medium courses in medical studies in the Russian federation. This is not correct. Medium of education in Russian institutions is mostly the local language. A special license is required by institutions to teach in English. In practice, most institutions try to teach first three years in English medium while simultaneously teaching Russian language. From the fourth year, students are expected to study in the Russian language. Students must be prepared for this dual medium of instruction. Some institutions which claim to have dual medium courses do not even have requisite faculty to teach in English even for the first three years. Please note no books on medicine in English are available in Russia and in some cases education contractors were providing the same. Some students have also complained about unfair practices with teachers demanding money for clearing exams.
While contractors collect the fee from students for the first semester on their arrival in Russia, it is advisable to pay the fee directly to the university from subsequent semester. There are number of complaints of contractors collecting money, but not depositing it with the university which has led to termination of enrollment. Most Russian universities do not accept cheques or drafts and money has to be deposited in cash in the bank. If students bring cash in dollar or any other acceptable foreign currency, it is advisable to get it declared in the customs at the airport on arrival which makes it easier for depositing the money into their accounts. Russian institutions generally do not refund fees once deposited even if a student has to leave the institution.
The Education Wing frequently gets complaints regarding expulsion of Indian students from Russian medical universities for failing to obtain requisite marks or clearing examination, non-payment of fees, lack of attendance and those students who have contracted infectious diseases like tuberculosis. Instances of students being expelled due to disciplinary problems have also been reported. Please note that these expulsion rules are very stringently observed and often the students are expelled midway in their medical study which ruins their careers. It is also not possible to obtain financial scholarship or education loan in Russia and in some cases when students were unable to pay fees due to domestic problems they were expelled and had to leave the country.
Prospective Indian students must bear in mind that Russian medical institutions are spread across the country, with a cold and harsh climate. There are direct flights only between New Delhi-Moscow and students studying in different regions would have to take further flights/modes of transport to reach. Cost of living, particularly fresh fruits/vegetables, is generally high and Indian food is not available locally in most places. Students must also check in advance hostel facilities available in the university that they are seeking admission to. Hostels at many universities are inadequate and do not offer any boarding facility. Students are generally expected to cook their own food.