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Recent History of Russia's Oldest University
before March 9, 2006

Since 1917 over 180,000 specialists have graduated from Moscow University and about 35,000 have been awarded doctoral degrees, which confirms the position of Moscow University as a leading centre of learning and science in Russia.

In June 1992 the President of the Russian Federation issued a decree, which established the status of Moscow University as a self-governing institution of higher education. In November 1998, after a wide-ranging discussion, the Charter of Moscow University was approved.

The Charter proclaims democracy, openness and self-government to be the main principles in the life of Moscow University; the main goal is freedom to teach and to study as well as to develop oneself as a personality. The basic division within the University is a department (laboratory) whose professors, instructors and staff make decisions collectively.

Moscow State University is a major traditional educational institution in Russia, it offers training in almost all branches of modern science and humanities. Its undergraduates may choose one of 57 qualifications, while doctoral students may specialize in 168 different areas. The total number of MSU students exceeds 40,000; besides, about 10,000 high school students attend various clubs and courses at MSU.

MSU is a centre of research science famous for its major scientific schools. There have been 11 Nobel Prize winners among its professors and alumni, out of 18 Russians who have received the prestigious prize so far. Many more MSU scientists have been awarded various Soviet and Russian prizes for their achievements, among them 60 Lenin Prizes and 120 State Prizes, over 40 MSU scientists having received the State Prizes over the last decade, 6 of them this year.

Among those who teach at MSU there are 2,500 higher doctoral degree holders and almost 6,000 holders of doctoral degrees, almost 1,000 full professors and 2,000 associate professors. The total number of full members and correspondent members of The Russian Academy of Sciences is about 300. About 5,000 scientists and scholars are currently involved in 310 research projects in various fields.

Moscow State University comprises 29 faculties and over 350 departments, 15 research institutes, 4 museums, the Science Park, the Botanical Gardens, The Library, the University Publishing House and printing shop, a recreational centre and a boarding school for talented children. 9 faculties have been recently established, along with 47 new departments and 22 research laboratories. Research has recently started in 30 new interdisciplinary areas. At the moment the University Computer Centre represents more computing power that any other educational institution in Russia. There have been major changes in the curricula, with over 200 new academic programmes added.

The first Russian Science Park appeared at MSU 10 years ago; now it unites about 2,000 scientists who work to make scientific achievements into technological innovations.

From the engineering and operational point of view Moscow University campus, with its 1,000 buildings and structures, 8 dormitories and 300 km of utility lines, is an extremely complex system. Nevertheless, this system is being modernized and developed. According to the plan, approved by the government, a number of new buildings are to be erected in the area adjacent to the campus on Vorobievy Gory. There will be new blocks for a few faculties and research laboratories, a library, a swimming pool, a stadium, a recreation centre, some services. The University clinic and the Main Library Building are being built at the moment, the latter will be opened in January, 2005.

The University's scientific potential creates a unique opportunity for interdisciplinary research and pioneering work in various branches of science. The recent years have been marked by achievements in the fields of high-energy physics, superconductivity, laser technology, mathematics and mechanics, renewable energy sources, biochemistry and biotechnology. In humanities new problems arise while studying various aspects of sociology, economics, history, psychology, philosophy and the history of culture. On average 800 doctoral and 200 higher doctoral degrees in various fields of science and humanities are awarded at MSU every year.

As training highly qualified specialists has always been the main goal, the faculties and departments constantly revise their curricula and introduce new programmes. The stress is on student's ability to work independently and meet employer's requirements. In the curricula for science faculties more classes in the humanities have been included. The University offers individual programmes combining classes at different faculties.

In the first two years undergraduates have two obligatory physical training sessions a week, later they may join one of sports clubs.

The curricula of all MSU faculties are based on the combination of academic instruction with student's research work and the combination of thorough theoretical knowledge with special skills. Having acquired theoretical knowledge in the first and the second year, undergraduates choose an area to specialize in. At the same time they choose a field for their independent research work, joining special seminars; the results of research are usually presented at the meetings of students' scientific societies or at scientific conferences, the most interesting results are published. At the end of the final semester the results of each student's independent research are submitted in the form of final paper, which is publicly presented by the student at the meeting of the department.

The historical, philological, sociological faculties and the faculties of economics, journalism and psychology offer programmes with evening classes; the Faculty of Journalism offers a correspondence degree programme. Undergraduate students complete 5- or 6- year course of study, which varies at different faculties and for different programmes.

The students in most MSU programmes do not pay their tuition but 15% of students whose tuition is not covered by the government funding have to pay fees. Accommodation in MSU dormitories is provided for those students who are not residents of Moscow.

According to the MSU Charter, The MSU Student Board is a form of student government, coordinating various aspects of campus life and activities.

MSU has a long-standing tradition as a centre of retraining admitting up to 5,000 students a year. Highly-qualified professionals update themselves on the latest achievements in various fields of science and humanities, choosing special programmes at one of MSU faculties.

As a centre learning, MSU publishes a wide range of scientific literature, reference books, popular science editions, up to 400 titles and 3,000,000 copies a year, on various aspects of philosophy, psychology, history, economics, law, politics, philology, journalism, mathematics, physics and astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology and geography. The books, published under the title "University Library" include works of well-known philosophers and historians, both ancient and modern, memoirs, classical Russian and European authors. The books published under the title "Physics: ideas, achievements, prospects" are for specialists and for anyone interested in the field. The latest findings of MSU historians are presented in the series " The French Revolution". There is a special series including the works of outstanding Russian philosophers and historians.

MSU library is one of the largest in Russia, with its 9,000,000 books, and the average number of readers 55,000, using 5,500,000 books a year.

MSU collaborates with the International Association of Universities and has links with about 60 educational institutions, centres and unions in Europe, the USA, Japan, China and some other Asian countries, in Australia, Latin America, Arab countries.

Since 1946, when the first international students were admitted, over 11,000 highly qualified specialists from 150 countries have graduated from MSU. Over 2,000 undergraduate and post-graduate students enroll every year, with over 400 students in intensive Russian/University preparation programmes.

Moscow University has well-established contacts with the most distinguished universities in the world, exchanging students and lecturers with the leading universities abroad. Moscow University houses the UNESCO International Demography Courses, the UNESCO Hydrology Courses, the International Biotechnology Centre, The International LASER Centre, courses and seminars on Russian as a foreign language. In 1991 the French University College, the Russian-American University, the Institute of German Science and Culture were opened. MSU has awarded honourary degrees to more than 60 scientists, statesmen and politicians from abroad; in their turn, many prominent University scholars and scientists hold honorary degrees from foreign academies and universities.

In January 2005 Lomonosov Moscow State University celebrates its 250th anniversary. Over 800 various events are planned on the occasion.

All the history of the University is the evidence of the outstanding role its alumni have played promoting the ideas of freedom, common good, humanity, and truth.

Tags: Russian universities education in Russia    

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