International Masters and PhD Programs

We invite foreign students to join our international masters programs: Theoretical Computer Science and Algorithmic Bioinformatics. All courses in these programs are taught in English.

The programs are intentionally made small in the number of students so that each student receives individual attention. Students who apply for these programs undergo a serious competition.

Goal. The curriculum is intensive and research-oriented. During this two-year program you will learn everything you need to perform either academic or industrial research in theoretical computer science or algorithmic bioinformatics (ideally, you graduate with your first published paper). It means the program is tough, it comprises much more courses than a typical masters program.

Perspectives. Our alumni continue their study in PhD programs of leading universities, including Stanford University, Penn State University, New York University (and, of course, we always do our best to encourage them to join PhD programs of Russian Academy of Sciences). Still some of them prefer going to industry.

Courses and load

The courses for the TCS program include Algorithms and Data Structures I, II, and III; Structural Computational Complexity I and II; Discrete Mathematics I, II, and III; Mathematical Logic I and II; Algebraic Structures; Theoretical Foundations of Programming Languages or Functional Programming; Machine Learning I, II; Cryptography I (complexity issues) and II (constructions), and more specialized courses and seminars. (See the curriculum.)

The courses for the BIOINF program include Algorithms and Data Structures I, II; Discrete Mathematics I, II, and III; Algorithms in Bioinformatics, Machine Learning I, II; Statistics I, II; Molecular Biology I, II; Biotechnology; Data Mining; Next Generation Sequencing Data Analysis; Algebraic Structures; Theoretical Foundations of Programming Languages or Functional Programming; and more specialized courses and seminars.

A typical course load is 60 academic hours (half of those are lectures and half of those are exercises, i.e., seminar format). A typical total load for the first three semesters is 18-24 academic hours per week, which makes up to 360 academic hours in total (add homeworks and research, and you get all your time, right). Although all courses are taught in English, there will be also a course of Russian language in addition to this load.


The TCS program is taught mainly by researchers from Steklov Institute of Mathematics at SPb, including Edward A. Hirsch, Dmitry Itsykson and Alexander Kulikov working in algorithms and computational complexity, Fedor Petrov and Evgeny Goryachko working in combinatorics and representation theory, and Sergey Nikolenko working, in particular, in machine learning.

The BIOINF program is taught mainly by researchers from the Algorithmic Biology Lab recently created under supervision of Pavel Pevzner and Max Alekseyev. The lab addresses algorithmic and computational problems of modern genomics and proteomics, which are on the cutting edge of bioinformatics.

Admission. The admission procedure starts with completing an electronic application form and includes submitting the transcript of your previous studies and other documents, a written test (arranged electronically), and an interview. It is described on the admission page.

Costs. The tuition fee is modest enough: 140,000 RUB (equivalent to approx. 4,500 USD according to current exchange rates) per semester. The masters program comprises four semesters.

Teaching. The best students can be involved in teaching as teaching assistants starting the 2nd year of the masters program, which may, in particular, reduce or waive the tuition fee.

Living in St.Petersburg. The campus of the Academic University features modern comfortable guesthouse directly connected with the main building so that there is actually no need in walking down the street to get to the lectures. There are also budget dormitories at a walking distance from the campus. SPbAU encourages not only strong scientific research but also healthy style of life: campus of the university comprises all of a kind facilities allowing students to take such disciplines as swimming, bodybuilding, playing soccer, basketball, volleyball, etc. Campus cafeteria menu encompasses the meals of traditional european and national kitchens therefore being the best place to meet hunger.

Saint Petersburg is the cultural centrum of Russia featuring more than 200 museums (among them State Hermitage museum -- the most prominent of national museums being ranked 1st nationally (and 12th globally) by amount of annual visitors), 2000 libraries, more than 80 theatres, 45 exhibition halls, 60 cinemas, etc. City centre largely preserving its historic landscape makes the Saint Petersburg one of the most spectacular cities in the world. Every year city hosts hundreds of events not only of a national but also a global scale such as: scientific conferences, art and culture festivals, sport competitions and etc.

Questions? Look up in the frequently asked questions list or contact us by email at mit(at) .