Applying to ITMO as an International Student: Admissions Process Tips and Tricks

While the admissions campaign at ITMO University is very much up and running, it could be a good idea for those who haven’t hit that graduation milestone quite yet to start getting ready for the admissions process by expanding their knowledge outside of the school curriculum. If you want to nail those programming academic competitions, gear up for the gruesome Physics Unified State Examinations (should you decide to take this application route) or start designing robots, ITMO University offers courses and summer schools that could be just the place for you. And for those of you who can’t come to St. Petersburg to attend just yet, this article presents you with a guide to ITMO admissions for international students, as well as featuring leading teachers and professionals’ top recommendations for the best online resources that will help enhance your knowledge of the subjects needed for admission so that you can get that coveted ITMO university spot. 

Basic information on the ITMO University admissions process for international students is featured on the university’s website. Apart from the full list of the programs that the university offers, there you can find comprehensive, step-by-step guides that explain the application process to the T. Whilst getting acquainted with the admissions page, keep your eyes peeled for special programs that can ease your way into ITMO (full list available in Russian): for example, winning Maths and IT Entrance Competitions gives you the chance to pre-qualify for the relevant Bachelor’s programs, whilst participating in ITMO’s Russian language academic competition (additional information available in Russian) can give you some extra brownie points when applying. Feel like your Russian skills need a bit of honing? You may want to check out the ITMO Foundation program; this 9-month intensive Russian studies course will provide you with all the necessary knowledge of Russian language and culture you need to enter any Russian-taught Bachelor’s and Master’s program you want.  ITMO also offers a range of summer and winter schools that could help you work on your Russian, including one focusing on Russian language and culture, but please note that you have to be over 18 to enter these.

If your Russian is good enough for understanding study materials (if that’s the case, big kudos to you), then head on to the ITMO.START project website (available in Russian). Here you can not only discover the university preparation opportunities that exist within ITMO University and Russia-wide, but also get some online career counseling so that you can find your path in IT.

ITMO prides itself in its extensive range of university preparation courses, which are listed below, however most links are available mostly in Russian, so if you’re interested, please read on.

  • Programming

The ITMO Academy of Informatics and Programming’s goal is to give the students a profound knowledge of the latest technologies and programming tools. Courses at the Academy include preparation classes for IT academic competitions and Unified State Examinations, programs teaching students foundations of programming languages like Pascal, Python, and C, as well as training in algorithms and data structures.

For those who can’t come to St. Petersburg to attend the Academy’s classes, its teachers recommend starting university preparation with ‘Information Technologies’ national academic competition, which is open to secondary and high school students from Russia and abroad and gives the winner a guaranteed place at ITMO University. You may want to visit the competition’s website even if you don’t intend to participate: besides featuring detailed analysis of the solutions to competition’s challenging tasks, it also lists the recommended literature for all the competition topics.

  • Physics and Maths

ITMO University’s Research School provides an in-depth preparation in Physics and Maths. Apart from offering an intense year-long study program, the School has developed an alternative online course. Each lesson includes theoretical questions masterfully explained by course mentors, step-by-step analysis of corresponding tasks, and some homework. Moreover, over the course of their studies students receive constant teacher support and guidance.

You can enter the online course by filling in an enrolment form. For further information, please contact program coordinators by calling +7 812 312 4827 or email them at

ITMO also offers a wide array of courses aimed at preparing school students for Unified State Examinations and academic competitions; though these courses are based on classroom teaching and laboratory research, their online counterparts are currently being developed, so watch this space. If you can’t wait to immerse yourself into convoluted matters of hard sciences, Maxim Korobkov, Senior Lecturer at ITMO University’s Faculty of Physics, recommends the following online courses:

ITMO University Professor Alexander Chirzov’s course in Kinematics

Aimed at high school and first year university students, this course consists of six parts which explore different theoretical aspects of Physics. Active discussions and teamwork are highly encouraged. The structure of the course implies interim assessment tasks and a final test. Admission is free, lessons start on 23 July.

KHAN ACADEMY crash course in Physics  (available in English)

According to Maxim Korobkov, Khan Academy Physics lessons are unrivaled in terms of their scope and diversity: you can start by learning the absolute basics or delve deep into more complex theoretical questions. You can also practice what you’ve learned by solving different tasks included on the website. And if all this studying made you feel a bit spaced-out, there’s a whole section developed in collaboration with NASA for you to explore, for example, check this short but informative video about Mars to find out if it’s really red!

Introduction to Physics: Thermal and Electromagnetic Phenomena

Developed by School №30, a prominent St. Petersburg institution specializing in Maths and Physics, this course will be invaluable for school students preparing to take their final exams - or for anyone wanting to brush up their Physics skills.

School № 30 'Introduction to Physics: Thermal and Electromagnetic Phenomena' course. Credit:
School № 30 'Introduction to Physics: Thermal and Electromagnetic Phenomena' course. Credit:

Have read through it all and are now impatient to put your newly-acquired knowledge into practice? You can find lots of actual Unified State Examination tasks on this website, as well as on the official Federal Institute Of Pedagogical Measurements website.

And if you want to try your hand at the many school academic competitions Russia has to offer, you can find their extended list here.

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