Why get a Master’s?
Master’s programs are designed for those who want to enrich their knowledge in a chosen field or change their career paths by getting a promotion or acquiring a different qualification. In doing so, you no longer need to re-enroll in a Bachelor’s program and study for four years, but to apply for a two-year Master’s program.
The second stage of higher education aims to help students acquire the most relevant professional skills, introduce them to potential employers, and teach them to conduct research. It's also a great way to make new connections, move to another city, or study for free.
Master’s degree at ITMO
ITMO University offers a record number of tuition-free positions in the country – 2,793. In 2021, applicants can enroll in one of 63 programs in translational information technologies, photonics, biotechnology and cryogenic systems, computer technologies and control, technological management and innovation, and various interdisciplinary fields.
There are five types of programs:
- scientific (for future researchers and scientists);
- corporate (for those who want to collaborate with or work at one of ITMO’s partner companies);
- entrepreneurial (for future entrepreneurs who will create and/or implement innovations);
- industrial (for those looking for an engineering or design career at the forefront of the industry);
- promising (training in the professions of the future at the intersection of disciplines).
In addition to professional training, today’s students also get to dig into soft skills and digital culture. Such an approach allows them not only to expand their competencies but also improve their chances for a successful career.
ITMO also offers its students a wide range of international opportunities: they can apply for a semester exchange, study other educational programs, do their internships at various companies, and study side-by-side with international students. Even in the midst of the pandemic, many students don’t miss their chance to take advantage of such opportunities, even online.
Some educational programs are implemented jointly by ITMO and its partner universities so that the students can acquire a double degree within one program. Also, ITMO has a number of Master's programs delivered fully in English outside of international partnerships (in 2021, there are over ten such programs).
If you want to pursue your Master’s degree, you first need to decide on an educational program. One faculty may have several different programs: each with its own team, curriculum, goals, and partners.
An educational program can be implemented within one or several subject areas. The subject area will be indicated in your diploma in the following format: 01.04.02. Informatics and Applied Mathematics. For example, the Digital Transformation Strategies and Technologies program is included in four areas, and if you want to enroll in this program, you’ll need to examine all four and choose the right one. One area is one competitive group.
A specialization is a narrower field of expertise that students study within a program. One program can include several specializations within each area of study. Students choose their specializations at the start of their first semester.
Applications should be submitted within competitive groups. The combination of a program and a subject area is one competitive group. In total, you can apply to three groups, regardless of whether they are found within one or several programs.
Admission campaign 2021
Previously, there were over 70, and now there are 63 Master’s programs. ITMO has also launched and continues to implement new ones, including FoodTech, Applied Genomics, Infochemistry, Digital Transformation Strategies and Technologies, Hydrogen Energetics, and Quantum Technologies in the Industry.
New specializations have also appeared, for example, Engineering of Intelligent Systems (implemented with Sberbank at the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence educational program) or the specialization Multisensory Systems at the Bioengineering and Biotechnical Systems program (in Russian and English)
Some programs have introduced specializations of different types: for example, some combine scientific with industrial or scientific with corporate studies. This makes it possible to find out more about the university and your program before choosing your individual learning track (as a researcher, developer, or manager).
Another new feature of the admissions process is that the applicants’ individual achievements are now placed second in order of priority after their entrance test scores. Having scientific publications in your portfolio can add up to ten points to your score on the final ranking of applicants.
How to apply
There are several ways to apply for a Master’s program:
- Congress of Young Scientists – the deadline is February 15. Participants of the National Congress of Young Scientists can take part in the report competition and, if they win, enroll in a Master’s program without entrance exams.
- Portfolio Contest – the deadline is June 1, 2021. The competition allows applicants with work experience and outstanding scientific and academic achievements to enroll in a Master's program without entrance exams.
- State final examination – the deadline is August 9. Applicants who have received a state-recognized higher education diploma in a field corresponding to their chosen subject area in an ITMO Master's program can have the result of the state final certification counted as the result of their entrance test. The decision is made by the examination committee.
- Entrance exam – dates are assigned for each program and subject area separately, starting from mid-June. The last day for taking exams is August 10. The schedule of exams will be published on the Admission 2021 website. This year's entrance exam (unless unforeseen circumstances arise) can be taken in-person or remotely. In both cases, the format of the entrance test will remain unchanged. The applicant receives an exam paper with two questions from the lists published on each program’s page along with preparatory materials. Within 45 minutes, the applicant must prepare their answers to the questions. They then present them to the examination committee, either in-person or via Zoom (in case of online testing). The maximum score is 100 points.
More details about enrollment opportunities for prospective students can be found on the Admissions 2021 website.
How to apply: online or offline
- Stage 1: application submission from February 1 to August 9
You can apply for an ITMO Master's program online by visiting abit.itmo.ru starting on February 1, 2021. To do this, you must provide information about yourself, your diploma (or the expected time of its issuing), and your achievements. Then, download the finalized questionnaire and application form, check them for errors, and upload them back. You do not need to print or sign anything.
You can submit documents in-person from June 20 to August 9 at ITMO University – St. Petersburg, Lomonosova St. 9 (from 10 am to 5 pm on weekdays and from 11 am to 3 pm on Saturday).
- Stage 2: passing entrance examinations
You need to choose a type of entrance test for each subject area.
- Stage 3: confirm your enrollment before August 14
After successfully passing the entrance examinations and receiving the results, you must once again visit your personal page and confirm your enrollment. You can only confirm your enrollment in one program and one area of study, but you can change your choice. Even if you’ve passed the selection process, you will not be enrolled in any program if you haven’t submitted your confirmation.
- Stage 4: submitting original copies of your documents before August 14
You must bring the original copy of your diploma to ITMO University (St. Petersburg, Lomonosova St. 9 from 10 am to 7 pm on weekdays and from 11 am to 3 pm on Saturday) or send it by post (or courier service) to the address: ITMO University Admissions Office, Kronverksky Pr. 49, bldg. A, St. Petersburg, Russia, 197101.
The required documents
You’ll need to provide information about your passport and diploma. You’ll also need to upload a photo to your personal account. The only document you’ll need to submit physically (by post or in person) is the original copy of your diploma.
Why should you apply now?
Many international applicants and those who have completed their Bachelor’s or Specialist’s studies several years ago enroll at ITMO University. They do not need to wait until June to apply to the programs.
This year’s Bachelor's graduates can also sign up starting on February 1, but they will not be able to submit all of their documents until they receive their diploma. However, they will still be able to take the entrance tests in the spring.
Early submission of documents allows you to make a more conscious choice, become better acquainted with the list of entrance exams, choose the most suitable one, and prepare well for it; or, in case of failure, to change your choice and try again.
2020 vs 2021
In 2021, ITMO offers 2,793 tuition-free positions for its Master’s programs. That’s 126 more than last year. In total, over 4,400 people applied last year. The most popular programs were Game Development Technologies, Urban Planning and Design, Innovative Economy and Industry Regulation, Web Technologies, and Digital Transformation of Organizations. The competition for these programs exceeded three people per position.
Where to find more information
Open Days at ITMO University