In Russia, the 1st of September is a special day called the Day of Knowledge (День знаний). It’s when the school year starts, and it’s really exciting! On this day, students wear their fancy clothes and give flowers to their teachers. There are fun ceremonies at school with speeches and an important moment called the “First Bell” (Первый звонок) ringing. Then, everyone goes to their classrooms to begin a new year of learning, making new friends, and exploring new subjects.
Education is really important in our lives. It gives us knowledge, helps us grow, and opens up many opportunities. That’s why it’s essential for language learners to know how to talk about education.
Knowing education-related words is practical too. It helps us navigate academic resources, understand written materials, and explore Russian literature, research, or online courses. When we learn and use education-related vocabulary, we make great progress towards speaking fluently and understanding Russian culture.
Let’s get started and enjoy the process of learning in Russian! Keep your language notebook nearby, as I’ll share lots of vocabulary to enhance your educational journey.
Russian Educational System
The education system in Russia is structured and regulated by the Ministry of Education and Science (Министерство образования). It follows a multi-level system that includes preschool, primary, secondary, and higher education.
Let’s take a closer look at the education system in Russia.
Дошкольное образование (preschool education) in Russia typically starts around the age of 3 and continues until the age of 6. Though not compulsory, it serves as a preparation phase for primary education.
Начальная школа (primary education) begins at age 6 and lasts for 4 years, from grades 1 to 4. During this period, students are introduced to basic subjects like the Russian language, mathematics, literature, science, and physical education.
Continuing from grade 5 to grade 9, basic secondary education (средняя школа) spans 5 years. It offers a more comprehensive curriculum, including additional subjects such as history, social studies, foreign languages (commonly English), art, and sports.
Grades 10 and 11 make up complete secondary education (старшие классы). At this stage, students typically follow specialized tracks, focusing on sciences, humanities, or vocational education.
Vocational education (профессионально-техническое образование) provides profession-oriented programs geared toward specific skills and trades. Students can opt for vocational education after completing the 9th grade or as a continuation of complete secondary education.
After completing secondary education, students can pursue higher education (высшее образование) at universities, academies, or institutes. This encompasses bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs, covering a broad range of fields.
The Russian education system places importance on national standardized exams, such as the Unified State Exam (ЕГЭ), which significantly impact university admissions. Moreover, there are specialized schools and programs catering to gifted students, as well as opportunities for distance learning and online education.
Высшее образование encompasses educational programs and degrees beyond the secondary level and is typically provided by universities, institutes, and academies throughout Russia.
The main types of higher education are: специалитет, бакалавриат, магистратура, аспирантура and докторантура.
In the Russian education system, “специалитет” and “бакалавриат” refer to different levels of higher education degrees:
Специалитет is a specialized higher education program that typically lasts for 5 years. It provides in-depth professional training in specific fields such as engineering, medicine, or law. Students study a comprehensive curriculum that includes both theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Upon completion, graduates are awarded a “диплом специалиста” degree, equivalent to a Master’s degree, and are qualified to work in their specialized field.
Бакалавриат is a bachelor’s degree program that typically lasts for 4 years. It offers a broad-based education in various disciplines and allows students to choose a major field of study. The curriculum includes general education courses, core subjects, and elective courses. Upon completion, graduates are awarded a “степень бакалавра” (a bachelor’s degree). They can either enter the workforce with their bachelor’s degree or continue their education by pursuing a master’s degree (магистратура).
Аспирантура (Postgraduate Studies) refers to doctoral degree programs where students engage in independent research and work towards earning a Ph.D. or a doctoral degree.
Докторантура (Doctoral Studies) refers to advanced research programs for individuals who already hold a Ph.D. or doctoral degree. It centers around further scholarly research and academic contributions.
Here is a selection of Russian vocabulary related to education that includes educational institutions, qualifications, course types, and more.
Basic Terms Related to Learning
учить – to teach, to learn, to study, to memorize (It can be used to indicate the process of learning something or being taught by someone.)
учить английский – to learn/study English
учить детей математике – to teach kids math
Я учу свою маленькую сестру читать. – I am teaching my little sister how to read.
учиться – to study, to learn (the process of acquiring knowledge or skills. It is used when talking about the act of learning, especially in an educational setting). Учиться is used to describe formal education or studying within a specific institution or under the guidance of teachers. It implies active engagement in educational activities, attending classes, and completing assignments.
Я учусь в медицинском университете. – I study at a medical university.
Мы учимся в школе. – We study at school.
Мой брат учится играть на гитаре. – My brother is learning to play the guitar.
В школе дети учатся читать и писать. – The children are learning to read and write at school.
учитель – teacher (at school)
ученик – student (at school)
учебник – textbook
учёба – study, studying, learning
знание – knowledge
знать – to know
изучать – to study, to explore (a more in-depth or comprehensive study of a particular subject. It implies a deeper level of examination or investigation). Изучать is often used in relation to academic or scholarly pursuits, research, or gaining a thorough understanding of a subject or field.
Он изучает историю Древнего Рима. – He is studying the history of Ancient Rome.
изучение – learning, studying (the act of studying or exploring something in a more specific and focused manner)
исследование – research
обучение – training (refers to the process of education or instruction)
обучать – to teach, to train
преподавать – to teach
преподаватель – professor
студент – college/university student
школьник – school student
образование – education
самообразование – self-education
книга – book
тетрадь – notebook
учебный план – curriculum
расписание уроков/занятий – schedule
класс – class (a group of school students); classroom
The word “класс” in Russian refers to “class” in English. It can have multiple meanings depending on the context:
- a specific grade level in a school. For example, “пятый класс” means “fifth grade” and “десятый класс” means “tenth grade”;
- a physical classroom or the group of students studying together in a particular class;
- a group of school students at a certain grade level.
одноклассник – classmate
задание – assignment
оценка – grade
урок – lesson
домашнее задание – homework
контрольная работа – verification work, test
тестирование – testing
экзамен – exam
библитотека – library
школа – school
колледж – college
техникум – technical school
институт – institute
университет – university
академия – academy
There is also a term “вуз” in Russian. It is an abbreviation that stands for “высшее учебное заведение“, which translates to “higher education institution” in English.
Вуз is a commonly used term in Russia to refer to institutions of higher education, including universities, institutes, academies, and colleges. These institutions offer a wide range of academic programs and degrees, such as bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, across various fields of study.
See Also: Russian Vocabulary for Urban Locations
курс – course
In an academic context, “курс” can also refer to a semester or term. For example, “первый курс” means the “first year” or “freshman year” of studies.
первокурсник – freshman
семестр – semester
сессия – session (a period of final control on the studied disciplines established by the training schedule)
факультет – faculty
кафедра – department
группа – group, class
одногруппник – classmate (at a university)
аудитория – сlassroom
студенческий билет – student ID card
зачёт – an academic credit or a passing grade in a course
During the course of study, students are assessed on their performance and knowledge in each subject. One of the possible outcomes of such assessment is receiving a “зачёт” [zachot], which signifies that a student has successfully met the requirements for that particular course. It indicates that the student has achieved a satisfactory level of understanding and mastery of the subject matter.
The granting of a “зачет” is often determined by the student’s active participation in class, completion of assignments or projects, and successful performance on examinations or tests. The opposite of a “зачёт” is a “незачёт”, which means a failure or not meeting the requirements for a particular course.
стипендия – scholarship
отчисление – expulsion
реферат – a research paper, essay, report
A реферат typically involves researching a specific topic, synthesizing information, and presenting findings in a structured written format. It is often assigned to students as a task to develop their research and writing skills.
курсовая работа – coursework
дипломная работа – graduate work, thesis
конференция – conference
куратор – curator (an employee of the university who is charged with supervising (controlling) either a certain type of students’ activity or general issues of study and everyday life of the student group)
декан – dean
ректор – rector (head of the university)
бакалавриат – bachelor’s degree program
магистратура – master’s degree program
аспирантура – postgraduate education
The word “аспирантура” in Russian refers to postgraduate education or a doctoral degree program. It is equivalent to the concept of “graduate school” or “doctoral studies” in other educational systems.
Аспирантура provides advanced academic and research training, typically following the completion of a master’s degree. Students enrolled in аспирантура, called “аспиранты” (aspiranty), work towards obtaining a Ph.D. (кандидат наук) or a doctoral degree (доктор наук) in a specific field of study.
Qualifications and Degrees
In Russia, there is a hierarchical system of qualifications and degrees, similar to other countries. Here are the main qualifications and degrees that exist in the Russian educational system:
Среднее общее образование – General Secondary Education. This is the mandatory basic education provided at the secondary school level, typically completed by the age of 17-18.
Среднее профессиональное образование – Vocational Education. This is a professional qualification obtained from a vocational or technical school after completing specialized training programs. It corresponds to the level of a skilled worker or technician.
When discussing высшее образование (higher education), there are several qualifications and degrees available:
- Бакалавр – Bachelor’s Degree: This is an undergraduate degree typically earned after completing a four-year program at a university or institution of higher education. It signifies the completion of the first stage of higher education.
- Специалист – Specialist Degree: This qualification is commonly obtained in certain fields like engineering, medicine, or law after completing a five-year program at a university. It indicates a deeper level of specialization compared to a bachelor’s degree.
- Магистр – Master’s Degree: This is a postgraduate degree acquired after completing a two-year program following a bachelor’s degree. It represents a higher level of expertise and specialization in a particular field.
- Кандидат наук – Candidate of Sciences: This is an academic degree obtained by successfully defending a doctoral dissertation. It is comparable to a Ph.D. and represents significant research achievements.
- Доктор наук – Doctor of Sciences: This is the highest academic degree in Russia, attained through exceptional research accomplishments and the defense of a doctoral thesis. It represents the pinnacle of expertise in a specific academic discipline.
In addition to these qualifications and degrees, various professional certifications and qualifications exist in specific fields, such as medicine, law, engineering, and teaching.
учёная степень – academic degree
докторская степень – doctoral degree
квалификация – qualification
специальность – specialty
специалист – specialist
бакалавр (степень бакалавра) – bachelor (bachelor’s degree)
магистр (степень магистра) – master (master’s degree)
аспирант – postgraduate student
профессор – professor
доцент – associate professor
доктор наук – doctor of sciences
диплом – diploma
сертификат – certificate
аттестат – certificate, diploma
In the Russian educational system, students receive an “аттестат об основном общем образовании” upon finishing their studies at a secondary school. This certificate serves as proof of completing the required curriculum and allows further advancement to higher education institutions.
The “аттестат” specifies the student’s academic performance, grades, and completion of various subjects. It is an essential document for university admissions, employment applications, and other official purposes, serving as evidence of completing the necessary level of secondary education.
See Also: Professions ond Occupations in Russian
курс – course
курсы – courses
“Курсы” can refer to educational classes or courses offered to acquire or improve skills, knowledge, or expertise in a specific subject. These can include language courses, professional development courses, computer courses, or art courses, among others.
It can also be used to describe training programs or courses designed to provide specialized instruction or practical skills in a particular field. These courses are often aimed at professional development, vocational training, or skill enhancement.
курсы английского – English courses
курсы кройки и шитья – sewing courses
занятие – class
практическое занятие – practical class
лекция – lecture
семинар – seminar
лабораторная работа – laboratory work
Subjects and Disciplines
In schools, students typically study a broad range of subjects (предмет) as part of their curriculum. This provides them with a well-rounded education and a foundation of general knowledge.
математика – mathematics
русский язык – Russian
иностранный язык – foreign language (often English)
английский язык – English
немецкий язык – German
французский язык – French
литература – literature
история – history
естествознание – natural science
биология – biology
химия – chemistry
физика – physics
география – geography
геометрия – geometry
алгебра – algebra
информатика – computer science
обществознание – social studies
экономика – economics
психология – psychology
изобразительное искусство (изо) – art
основы безопасности жизнедеятельности (ОБЖ) – life safety basics
музыка – music
труд/технология – labor studies/technology
физическая культура (физкультура) – physical education
Additionally, in higher grades, students may have the opportunity to choose elective subjects based on their interests or career aspirations, such as economics, psychology, additional foreign languages, or specialized sciences.
Students at universities in Russia study a wide range of subjects based on their chosen field of study or major. In contrast to schools, university disciplines (дисциплина) are more focused and specialized, allowing students to delve deeply into a specific field of study or major.
лингвистика – linguistics
философия – philosophy
социология – sociology
геология – geology
машиностроение – mechanical engineering
информационные технологии – information technology
архитектура – architecture
финансы – finance
бухгалтерский учёт (бухучёт) – accounting
маркетинг – marketing
графический дизайн – graphic design
These are just a few examples and the range of subjects offered at universities in Russia is extensive. Each university may have its own specific programs and departments tailored to different fields of study. Students can choose their majors and delve deeper into their area of interest or specialization as they progress through their academic journey.
Materials/Resources Used for Studying
учебник – textbook (plural учебники)
тетрадь – notebook (pl. тетради)
карандаш – pencils (pl. карандаши)
ручка – pen
маркер – highlighter
фломастеры – markers
ноутбук – laptop
компьютер – computer
планшет – tablet
справочные материалы – reference materials
презентация – presentation
интернет – internet
электронные ресурсы – electronic resources
библитотека – library
пособие – study guide
методичка – manual
See Also: Essential Office-Related Vocabulary
This is just a small sample of vocabulary related to education in Russian. There are many more words and phrases that you can explore to expand your understanding of the topic.
Remember, true education extends beyond the confines of textbooks and classrooms. It’s a lifelong endeavor that enriches our souls, broadens our horizons, and connects us with the diverse tapestry of humanity. So, let’s embark on this adventure together, and may the love of learning guide our way!
Stay curious, stay motivated, and let’s explore the boundless realm of Russian education and learning!