The red diploma, or красный диплом in Russian, is awarded to graduates who have excelled in their studies and demonstrated exceptional academic performance. It is, simply put, the equivalent of an honors diploma or a magna cum laude title. To obtain one, you must have a grade average of 4.75 or higher, get an “excellent” on your thesis defense, and have no “satisfactory” (also known as 3 or C) grades. To learn how the Russian grading system works, visit this page.

Benefits for international students 

The red diploma is a symbol of excellence and academic prowess. It is an acknowledgment of a student's exceptional dedication, hard work, and mastery of the subject matter. It also opens doors to numerous professional and personal opportunities, even for international students. Here are some of the key benefits:

1. Global recognition: the red diploma holds significant recognition worldwide, emphasizing the high standard of education offered by Russian universities. It acts as a valuable credential when seeking employment or further education opportunities abroad.

2. Competitive advantage: international students who earn a red diploma gain a competitive edge on the job market. Employers often prioritize candidates who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievements, and the red diploma serves as concrete evidence of their capabilities.

3. Research and career opportunities: obtaining a red diploma can improve a student’s chances of securing various research grants, scholarships, and fellowships, allowing them to continue their academic pursuits or contribute to cutting-edge research within their field of expertise.

4. Permanent residence visa and citizenship opportunities: a red diploma can significantly enhance an international student's chances of obtaining a permanent residence visa or citizenship in Russia. The Russian government offers favorable immigration policies to highly skilled individuals who contribute to the country's scientific, technological, and economic development.

ITMO.LiVE 2023. Credit: Elizaveta Shevchenko / ITMO.NEWS

ITMO.LiVE 2023. Credit: Elizaveta Shevchenko / ITMO.NEWS

Immigration benefits for red diploma holders

The Russian government values the contributions of highly skilled foreigners who complete their education in the country. Therefore, international students who achieve a red diploma may be eligible for the following immigration benefits:

1. Simplified permanent residence: graduates with a red diploma have an easier time obtaining permanent residence (PR) compared to other categories of immigrants. A PR gives a foreigner the right to work anywhere in the country without a work permit, travel in and out of Russia multiple times a year, and live anywhere in Russia. This is also a lucrative proposition for international graduates, as it gives them the right to enjoy the public healthcare coverage. 

2. Fast track to citizenship: foreign nationals who possess a permanent residence visa or have graduated from a Russian state-accredited university are eligible to apply for Russian citizenship after being officially employed for at least 1 year in the country. This expedited path allows international graduates to become citizens of Russia more quickly.

International students celebrate their graduation. Credit: Elizaveta Shevchenko / ITMO.NEWS

International students celebrate their graduation. Credit: Elizaveta Shevchenko / ITMO.NEWS

New education-based visa for international students

Since January 1, 2023, international students who have enrolled at Russian universities in a full-time program are eligible to apply for a temporary residence permit (TRP) without the necessity to wait until graduation with a red diploma. For more information regarding TRP, follow this link.

In conclusion, the red diploma is a testament to a graduate’s exceptional academic performance, representing the pinnacle of achievement for students who dedicate themselves to their studies. Besides academic and professional accolades, this prestigious distinction opens doors to numerous opportunities for international students.