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Higher education in Belarus

How to apply to a university in Belarus? How much does it cost? What disciplines can international students study?

Top-quality higher education is the hallmark of Belarus. The country is the CIS leader in terms of educational attainment and the quality of education: curricular meet European standards, Belarusian bachelor’s degrees are recognized in 18 countries.

There are 50 institutions of higher learning in Belarus, including 42 state-run and 8 private ones. They include:

  • 33 universities
  • 9 academies
  • 8 institutes

Belarus has a total student population of about 228,000, of whom 94% study at state-run educational facilities (2022/2023 academic year). More than 40% of students have a job.

Students are trained across 15 areas of study encompassing more than 400 specialties and specializations:

  • Communications. Law. Economics. Public administration. Management in the manufacturing industry - 29.2%
  • Engineering and technology. Architecture and construction - 25.8%
  • Healthcare. Social security. Physical education. Tourism and hospitality - 11.5%
  • Art and design. Humanities. Natural sciences - 11%
  • Pedagogy. Vocational training - 9.9%
  • Agriculture and forestry. Landscape design - 8.7%
  • Others - 3.9%

Belarus is currently implementing the University 3.0 project, which involves infrastructural changes in higher learning institutions. Taking part in it are 18 universities that are addressing a number of scientific, educational and commercial tasks. There are seven university techno-parks in Belarus that bring together undergraduate and post-graduate students and established scientists to translate research outcomes into value-added commercial products. The next step is the transition to the University 4.0 model, which implies a new mission for universities: the establishment of innovative industries and technologies for the sustainable social and economic development of regions and the country as a whole.

Over the past decades, the number of international students has been on the rise in Belarus. About 27,000 foreigners study at Belarusian universities in the 2022/2023 academic year. The number includes undergraduate and post-graduate students, as well as those studying at preparatory faculties. Most of foreign students hail from China, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Lebanon, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan. The most popular areas of study among foreigners are medicine, engineering, teaching, culture and arts. Information technology is very popular, too. Being home to one of the largest IT clusters in Eastern Europe, Belarus offers world-class degree courses in IT. 

Belarusian universities perform well in international rankings. For example, Belarus’ best university -  Belarusian State University (BSU) - is in the top 300 of 30,000 higher learning institutions of the world.

As of 1 July 2023, the following Belarusian universities had spots in top 5,000 universities according to Webometrics (an initiative of the Cybermetrics Lab, a research group belonging to the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)):

  • Belarusian State University (1050)
  • Francisk Skorina Gomel State University (3291)
  • Yanka Kupala Grodno State University (3428)
  • Belarusian State Medical University (3507)
  • Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics (3904)
  • Belarusian National Technical University (4256)
  • Belarusian State Technological University (4759)
  • Polotsk State University (4821)

The QS World University Rankings 2024 compiled by England-based QA Quacquarelli Symonds Limited has explored 1,500 leading universities from around the world. Several Belarusian universities are also featured in the rankings: Belarusian State University (387), Belarusian National Technical University (801-850), Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics (1201-1400).

Belarusian universities were also ranked by SIR World Report 2023 (the work of the SCImago Research Group, a Spain-based research organization consisting of members of the Spanish National Research Council and Spain’s biggest universities). The SCImago Institutions Rankings include Belarusian State University (5501), Belarusian State Medical University (7680), Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics (8098), Belarusian National Technical University (8165), Francisk Skorina Gomel State University (8320), Belarusian State Technological University (8381), and Yanka Kupala Grodno State University (8396).

The prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) that covered more than 1,900 universities in 108 countries and territories in 2024, features Belarusian State University.

Top 5 universities in Belarus

  • Belarusian State University (BSU) – 22,900 students
  • Belarusian National Technical University (BNTU) – 21,100 students
  • Belarusian State Economic University (BSEU) – 14,400 students
  • Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics (BSUIR) – 12,600 students
  • Yanka Kupala Grodno State University – 10,600 students

Belarusian State University

Belarusian State UniversityBSU is the country's biggest university and is ranked in the 1% of the best universities in the world. It is featured in 9 global and 13 subject rankings, including the ‘big three’, the most authoritative rankings of the world's top 1,000 universities. BSU, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2021, is a large-scale complex that incorporates 27 faculties, institutes and institutions, 177 chairs, 100 research laboratories (including 60 student ones), 4 research institutes, 2 scientific centers and 1 startup center, 6 innovative enterprises, 3 educational and experimental stations, 6 museums, 1 science and technology park. The BSU electronic library is one of the five best university repositories in the world (according to the Ranking Web of World Repositories).

Belarusian National Technical University

Belarusian National Technical UniversityBNTU is the leader of engineering education in Belarus. Established in 1920, it is the only university in the country to have the status of a national university. It enrolls more than 30,000 students and offers almost all possible technical majors. The university incorporates 16 faculties, 9 colleges and 6 institutes, 32 research laboratories, a science and technology park, 20 innovative enterprises, a startup school, a FABLAB, and experimental production. It also operates dormitories, sports facilities and a sanatorium. BNTU has the world's first Confucius Institute for Science and Technology.

Belarusian State Economic University

Belarusian State Economic UniversityBSEU is the flagship economic university in Belarus that offers the widest range of specialties in the field of economics, finance, management, marketing. Great emphasis in teaching students is placed on the knowledge of modern information technologies and foreign languages. For example, the youngest faculty – the digital economy faculty – trains professionals in programs combining economics and IT, big data analytics. The university consists of 11 faculties, the Institute of Social and Humanitarian Education, the Institute of Master's Programs and the Institute for Advanced Training and Retraining of Economic Personnel, three colleges, educational and scientific laboratories, a campus.

Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics

Belarusian State University of Informatics and RadioelectronicsBSUIR is the main university providing training in information technology and is among the most popular universities in Belarus. Today it is a large educational, research and innovation complex consisting of 8 faculties, 32 chairs, research institutes, the Institute of Information Technologies (2 faculties and 4 departments). In addition, the university has 12 educational centers of the world's leading companies: the National Instruments educational center, the IBM technology competence center, the Cisco Academy branch, the SAP Academic Center for SAP cooperation programs with “University Alliance” universities, Android Software Center, INTES, A1QA, and Huawei.

Yanka Kupala Grodno State University

Yanka Kupala Grodno State UniversityYanka Kupala Grodno State University is the largest regional university in Belarus providing training across a wide range of specialties and responding rapidly to market needs. It traditionally features in independent international rankings as one of the best Belarusian universities. It incorporates 15 faculties, the Institute for Advanced Training and Retraining of Personnel, 4 colleges, Technolab educational, science and production center with the status of a scientific and technological park, the Center for Technology Transfer. Yanka Kupala Grodno State University became the first non-metropolitan university to be included in the University 3.0 model project. It closely cooperates with manufacturing companies to design and manufacture innovative products and technologies. It also maintains ties with more than 150 foreign universities.

For decades, medical universities have been on the list of the most in-demand universities for both Belarusian and foreign applicants. There are four of them in Belarus:

  • Belarusian State Medical University
  • Grodno State Medical University
  • Vitebsk State Medical University
  • Gomel State Medical University

The full list of higher education institutions in Belarus with contact information is here.

How do foreign students apply to study at universities in Belarus?

Once you have decided to continue your education at a university in Belarus, you will need to contact the university in order to receive an invitation. To do this you will need to provide the following documents:

1. completed application form (samples are available on university websites)
2. copy of your certificate of education showing your subjects and grades
3. copy of your birth certificate
4. copy of your national (or foreign) passport
5. copy of your medical certificate, confirming that you can study in the climatic conditions of the Republic of Belarus.

After that, you will need to apply for a student visa in order to enter the Republic of Belarus.

Citizens of the countries subject to Belarus’ visa waiver need neither an invitation to study nor a student visa.

Upon arrival in Belarus, you need to submit the following package of documents to the admission committee of the university:

1. a standard application form for admission to the university;
2. official certificate of education showing your subjects and grades;
3. medical certificate confirming you can study in the climatic conditions of the Republic of Belarus;
4. negative HIV certificate (valid six months);
5. copy of your birth certificate;
6. six photos (4x6 cm)

A national passport with a visa shall be presented by a foreign citizen in person.

The paperwork can be done in Belarusian or Russian. If documents are provided in English, French, Spanish or German, accompanying translated copies are required in Belarusian or Russian.

The language of instruction in Belarus is Russian or Belarusian.

Most foreign students need to do a one-year language course at the chosen university in Belarus before they can embark on their studies.

Training is available in English as well.

How much does it cost to study in Belarus?

For Belarusian citizens who receive fee-based higher education, the cost of education varies from $1,000-1,200 to $1,500-1,600 a year. The cost depends on the university and the course.

Tuition fees for foreign citizens studying in Belarus are on average 2-2.5 times higher than for Belarusian students. The cost of education at medical universities and also a number of courses at Belarusian State University is the highest across the country.

Accommodation for foreign students

All colleges and universities in Belarus have an accommodation department, which can help you get a residence permit and find lodgings. Most students live in student dormitories that are comfortable and cheap.

The Student Village was built in Minsk. It is a big modern complex where students of nine Minsk universities, including foreigners, live. In addition to eight large dormitories, the campus includes a kindergarten, a clinic, a shopping center, and an ice arena. Each dormitory has gyms, canteens, cafes, and medical facilities.

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