Moscow State University


Moscow State University 'M. V. Lomonosov' (MSU; Russian: Московский государственный университет имени М. В. Ломоносова, sometimes abbreviated МГУ, MGU) is a public research university located in Moscow, Russia. It was founded in 1755 by Mikhail Lomonosov and Ivan Shuvalov, after whom it was renamed 'Lomonosov University' in 1940. Its rector is Viktor Sadovnichiy.

Moscow State University 'M. V. Lomonosov'
Московский государственный университет имени М. В. Ломоносова
Moscow State University CoA.png
Coat of arms of the Lomonosov State University of Moscow
Наука есть ясное познание истины, просвещение разума
Motto in English
Science is clear understanding of truth, enlightenment of the mind
Scientia est clara cognitio veritatis, illustratio mentis (Latin)
Established23 January 1755; 267 years ago (1755-01-23)
RectorViktor Sadovnichiy
Academic staff
Colours  Blue
AffiliationsAssociation of Professional Schools of International Affairs (cancelled in 2022)
Institutional Network of the Universities from the Capitals of Europe (suspended in 2022)
International Forum of Public Universities
Building details
Главное здание МГУ (ГЗ МГУ)
МГУ, вид с воздуха.jpg
Moscow State University is located in Moscow
Moscow State University
Location within Moscow
General information
LocationMoscow, Russia
Coordinates55°42′14″N 37°31′43″E / 55.7039°N 37.5286°E / 55.7039; 37.5286Coordinates: 55°42′14″N 37°31′43″E / 55.7039°N 37.5286°E / 55.7039; 37.5286
Architectural240 m (787 ft)
Top floor214 m (702 ft)[1]
Technical details
Floor count42
Floor area1,000,000 m2 (10,763,910.417 sq ft)

Alumni of the university include leaders of the Soviet Union and other governments as well as a Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church.[2] As of 2019, 13 Nobel laureates, six Fields Medal winners and one Turing Award winner had been affiliated with the university. The global Times Higher World University Rankings rated it #296, and it was the highest-ranking Russian educational institution by QS in 2020,[3] and according to the Nature Index in 2019 the highest ranked Russian university for research output.[4] The university includes 15 research institutes, 43 faculties, more than 300 departments and six branches (including five foreign ones - all in the Commonwealth of Independent States countries). Moscow State University is generally accepted as the leading higher educational institution in the former Soviet Union.[5]


Imperial Moscow UniversityEdit

The Principal Medicine Store building on Red Square that housed Moscow University from 1755 to 1787
Main buildings of the university in Mokhovaya Street, 1798

Ivan Shuvalov and Mikhail Lomonosov promoted the idea of a university in Moscow, and Russian Empress Elizabeth decreed its establishment on 23 January [O.S. 12 January] 1755. The first lectures were given on 7 May [O.S. 26 April]. Russians celebrate 25 January as Students' Day. (Foundation of the university is traditionally associated with the feast of Saint Tatiana, celebrated by the Russian Orthodox Church on 12 January Julian, which corresponds to 25 January Gregorian in the 20th–21st centuries.)[citation needed]

Saint Petersburg State University and Moscow State University engage in rivalry over the title of Russia's oldest university. Though Moscow State University was founded in 1755, St. Petersburg has had a continuous existence as a "university" since 1819 and sees itself as the successor of an academy established on 24 January 1724, by a decree of Peter the Great.[citation needed]

Moscow State University originally occupied the Principal Medicine Store on Red Square from 1755 to 1787. Catherine the Great transferred the university to a Neoclassical building on the other side of Mokhovaya Street; that main building was constructed between 1782 and 1793 in the Neo-Palladian style, to a design by Matvei Kazakov, and rebuilt by Domenico Giliardi after fire consumed much of Moscow in 1812.[citation needed]

In the 18th century, the university had three departments: philosophy, medicine, and law. A preparatory college was affiliated with the university until its abolition in 1812. In 1779, Mikhail Kheraskov founded a boarding school for noblemen (Благородный пансион) which in 1830 became a gymnasium for the Russian nobility. The university press, run by Nikolay Novikov in the 1780s, published the newspaper in Imperial Russia: Moskovskie Vedomosti.[citation needed]

In 1804, medical education split into clinical (therapy), surgical, and obstetrics faculties. During 1884–1897, the Department of Medicine—supported by private donations, and the municipal and imperial governments—built a 1.6-kilometer-long medical campus in Devichye Pole, between the Garden Ring and Novodevichy Convent; this had been designed by Konstantin Bykovsky, with university doctors like Nikolay Sklifosovskiy and Fyodor Erismann acting as consultants. The campus, and medical education in general, were separated from Moscow University in 1930. Devichye Pole was operated by the independent I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University and by various other state and private institutions.[citation needed]

The roots of student unrest in the university reach deep into the nineteenth century. In 1905, a social-democratic organization emerged at the university and called for the overthrow of the Czarist government and the establishment of a republic in Russia. The imperial government repeatedly threatened to close the university. In 1911, in a protest over the introduction of troops onto the campus and mistreatment of certain professors, 130 scientists and professors resigned en masse, including Nikolay Dimitrievich Zelinskiy, Pyotr Nikolaevich Lebedev, and Sergei Alekseevich Chaplygin; thousands of students were expelled.[citation needed]

Moscow State UniversityEdit


A 1962 Soviet stamp features Moscow State University

After the October Revolution of 1917, the institution began to admit children of the proletariat and peasantry. In 1919, the university abolished tuition fees, and established a preparatory facility to help working-class children prepare for entrance examinations. During the implementation of Joseph Stalin's first five-year plan (1928–32), prisoners from the Gulag were forced to construct parts of the newly expanded university.


In 1970 the university imposed a 2% quota on Jewish students.[6] A 2014 article entitled "Math as a tool of anti-semitism" in The Mathematics Enthusiast discussed antisemitism in the Moscow State University’s Department of Mathematics during the 1970s and 1980s.[7][8][9]

In the mid-1980s, the Dean of MSU's law faculty was dismissed for taking bribes.[10] After 1991, nine new faculties were established. The following year, the university gained a unique status: it is funded directly from the state budget (bypassing the Ministry of Education), thus providing the university a level of independence.[citation needed]

On 6 September 1997, the French electronic musician Jean Michel Jarre used the front facade of the university as the backdrop for a concert. The concert, entitled "The Road To The 21st Century" in Russia was renamed "Oxygen In Moscow" for worldwide release in video/DVD. It attracted a paying crowd of half a million people.[11]


Students celebrating the 250th anniversary of the university in 2005

In 2007, MSU Rector Viktor Sadovnichy said that corruption in Russia's education system was a "systemic illness," and that he had seen an ad guaranteeing a perfect score on entrance exams to MSU, for a significant fee.[12]

On 19 March 2008, Russia's most powerful supercomputer to date, the SKIF MSU (Russian: СКИФ МГУ; skif means "Scythian" in Russian) was launched at the university. Its peak performance of 60 TFLOPS (LINPACK - 47.170 TFLOPS) made it the fastest supercomputer in the Commonwealth of Independent States.[13][14]

In November 2012, Mikhail Basharatyan, Deputy Dean of the MSU World Economy Department, was fired for taking a bribe from a pupil.[15][16] In February 2013, Andrei Andriyanov resigned as head of the Kolmogorov Special Educational and Scientific Center of the university, after an investigation concluded that he had included fake references in his doctoral thesis.[17]

In March 2022, Victor Sadovnichy, rector of Moscow State University and president of the Russian Union of Rectors, was the lead signature in a public statement endorsing the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[18] In response to the Russian invasion, that same month the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences suspended its longstanding relationship with the university.[19]


Building of the Faculties of Biology and of Soil Science

Since 1953, most of the faculties have been situated on Sparrow Hills, in the southwest of Moscow. The main building was designed by architect Lev Vladimirovich Rudnev. In the post-war era, Joseph Stalin ordered seven tiered neoclassic towers to be built around the city. It was built using Gulag labour, as were many of Stalin's Great Construction Projects in Russia.[20] The MSU main building was the tallest building in Europe until 1990. The central tower is 240 m tall, 36 stories high, and flanked by four wings of student and faculty accommodations.

The university library

Along with the university administration, the Museum of Earth Sciences and four of the main faculties – Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics, the Faculty of Geology, the Faculty of Geography, and the Faculty of Fine and Performing Arts – now reside in the Main building. The building on Mokhovaya Street now mainly houses the Faculty of Journalism, the Faculty of Psychology, and Institute of Asian and African Countries. The university includes a number of faculty buildings located near Manege Square in the centre of Moscow and a number of campuses abroad in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The university's library is one of the largest in Russia.

The university offers classes on its main campus not only in Moscow, but also on campuses in Armenia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. The Ulyanovsk branch of MSU was reorganized into Ulyanovsk State University in 1996.


The first Humanities Building
As of 2015, the Old Building housed the Department of Oriental studies

As of September 2009, the university had 39 faculties and 15 research centres. A number of small faculties opened recently, such as Faculty of Physics and Chemistry and Higher School of Television. Evening classes were conducted by the Faculties of Economics, History, Journalism, Philology, Psychology and Sociology while the Faculty of Journalism offered a correspondence degree program. Here is the full list of faculties, according to its website:[21]

Institutions and research centersEdit

Staff and studentsEdit

The university employs more than 4,000 academics and 15,000 support staff. Approximately 5,000 scholars work at the university's research institutes and related facilities. More than 40,000 undergraduates and 7,000 advanced degree candidates are enrolled. Annually, the university hosts approximately 2,000 students, graduate students, and researchers from around the world.

Academic reputationEdit

University rankings
Global – Overall
ARWU World[22]97 (2021)
QS World[23]84
THE World[24]199 (2019)
USNWR Global[25]324 (2022)
The main building in winter

The university has contacts with distinguished universities in the world, exchanging students and lecturers. It houses the UNESCO International Demography Courses and Hydrology Courses, the International Biotechnology Center, and the International LASER Center. In 1991 the French University College, the Russian-American University, and the Institute of German Science and Culture were opened.[citation needed]

MSU is one of Russia's top institutions of higher learning. Nonetheless, it performs inconsistently in international rankings. While it was placed 97th overall in 2021[22] by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, and 112th[26] In the QS World University Rankings, it was not included among the top 200 universities[27] by the Times Higher World University Rankings and came in 296th in the full THE World University Rankings. On one ranking, Moscow State University ranked 45th among 300 Best World Universities in 2012 compiled by Human Resources & Labor Review (HRLR) on Measurements of World's Top 300 Universities Graduates' Performance.[28] Moscow State University seems to be strong mostly in natural sciences and mathematics (in 2011 placed between 38th[26] and 75th[29] in the world), but considerably weaker in other disciplines. Despite the fact that it is the highest-ranked Russian university according to the three international rankings mentioned above (with the nearest Russian competitor being Saint Petersburg State University that scored 300–400th), the university was consistently placed outside the top 5 nationally in 2010–11 by Forbes[30] and Ria Novosti / HSE,[31] with both ratings based on data set collected by HSE from Russian Unified State Exam scores averaged per all students and faculties of university.[citation needed]

Russian University Rankings
2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
Ria Novosti / HSE 6th[32] 7th[31] 1st[33]
Forbes 6th[30]
Ria Novosti / HSE (Multi-Faculty Universities) 1st[34] 1st[31] 1st[33]
Interfax / Echo Moskvy (Multi-Faculty Universities) 1st[35] 1st[36] 1st[37] 1st[38] 1st[39] 1st[40]
World rankings
2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005
Academic Ranking of World Universities[41] 87th 86th 84th 79th 80th 77th 74th 78th 70th 77th 70th 68th
QS World University Rankings[42] 108th 114th 120th 116th 112th 93rd 101st 183rd 231st 93rd 93rd
Times Higher Education World University Rankings[27] 161st 196th 226-250th 201-225th 214th 296th 237th
Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings[43] 30th 25th 51-60th 50th 33rd
Human Resources & Labor Review (Graduates performance)[41] 44th 44th 44th 43rd
Academic Ranking of World Universities (Natural Sciences)[41] 51–75th 51–75th 51–75th 51–75th 51–75th 51–75th 53–76th 41st
QS World University Rankings (Natural Sciences)[43] 60th 34th 84th 44th 38th 29th 30th 29th 27th 44th

Notable peopleEdit

As of 2017, 13 Nobel laureates, 6 Fields Medal winners and one Turing Award winner had been affiliated with the university. It is the alma mater of writers such as Anton Chekhov, Boris Pasternak, and Ivan Turgenev, politicians such as Mikhail Gorbachev and Mikhail Suslov, as well as mathematicians and physicists such as Boris Demidovich, Vladimir Drinfeld, Vladimir Arnold, Vitaly Ginzburg, Andrey Kolmogorov, Grigory Margulis, Andrei Sakharov, and Yakov Sinai.

Moscow State University in philatelyEdit

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ "Where is Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia on Map Lat Long Coordinates".
  2. ^ "Moscow State University: The Quintessential Russian Institution · Educational Institutions of Higher Learning in Moscow: Products of Changing Regimes · The Urban Imagination". Retrieved 2021-08-24.
  3. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2020". Top Universities. June 5, 2019.
  4. ^ "2019 tables: Institutions | 2019 tables | Institutions | Nature Index".
  5. ^ "Conference Venue". Archived from the original on 2016-09-23.
  6. ^[bare URL PDF]
  7. ^
  8. ^ Malseed, Mark (May 6, 2013). "The Story of Sergey Brin".
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Mad Max Fury Road: Ten Road Warrior themed world records". Guinness World Records. May 15, 2015.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "8th edition of the Top 50 list of the most powerful computers in Russia released". TOP500 Supercomputing Sites. 2008-04-16. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  14. ^ "ru:В МГУ запустили мощнейший в СНГ компьютер". 2008-03-20. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
  15. ^ "Basharatyan fired from MSU for receiving bribe".
  16. ^ Times, The Moscow (October 30, 2012). "Professors Caught Taking Hefty Bribe". The Moscow Times.
  17. ^ "Scandals Envelop Two Russian Science Officials; Allegations of a falsified dissertation lead to departure of head of special science high school".
  18. ^ "MILTA: Russian Colleges are calling for war. Will Yale react?". Yale Daily News. March 15, 2022.
  19. ^[bare URL PDF]
  20. ^ Figes, O. (2013) 'Just Send Me Word – A True Story of Love and Survival in the Gulag' pg. 192, Penguin Books: London.
  21. ^ "Подразделения МГУ".
  22. ^ a b "2021 Academic Ranking of World Universities".
  23. ^ "Top Universities". Top Universities.
  24. ^ "World University Rankings". 2019.
  25. ^ 2022}}
  26. ^ a b "QS World University Rankings 2011 Results". Archived from the original on 2011-10-02.
  27. ^ a b Top 200 – The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2010–2011. Retrieved on 2011-10-29.
  28. ^ "World Top 300 Universities Alumni Ranking". Archived from the original on 2011-05-11. Retrieved 2012-06-06.
  29. ^ "Moscow State University". Archived from the original on 2011-11-18. Retrieved 2011-09-16.
  30. ^ a b Самые сильные университеты России. Таблица. Retrieved on 2011-10-29.
  31. ^ a b c Рейтинг качества приема в российские государственные вузы–2010 | Все рейтинги | Лента новостей "РИА Новости". RIA Novosti (2011-02-28). Retrieved on 2011-10-29.
  32. ^ "Качество приема в ВУЗы 2011: средние и минимальные баллы ЕГЭ. (в расчете на 1 предмет) по вузам, сгруппированным по профилям" (PDF).
  33. ^ a b М. С. Добрякова, ed. (2009). ЕГЭ и приём в вузы. Средний балл абитуриентов, поступивших в московские вузы по результатам ЕГЭ: август 2009 г.: доклад Государственног университета – Высшей школы экономики. Moscow: Гос. ун-т — Высшая школа экономики. ISBN 978-5-7598-0706-3. PDF version
  34. ^ Качество приема в Вузы 2011: Результаты исследования | Лента новостей "РИА Новости. Retrieved on 2011-10-29. Archived September 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ Сводный рейтинг выборки университетов России Archived 2015-06-07 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2012-04-02.
  36. ^ Сводный рейтинг выборки университетов России. Retrieved on 2012-04-02.
  37. ^ Сводный рейтинг выборки университетов России. Retrieved on 2012-04-02.
  38. ^ Сводный рейтинг выборки университетов России. Retrieved on 2012-04-02.
  39. ^ Сводный рейтинг выборки университетов России. Retrieved on 2012-04-02.
  40. ^ Сводный рейтинг выборки университетов России. Retrieved on 2012-04-02.
  41. ^ a b c Moscow State University.
  42. ^ Lomonosov Moscow State University Archived October 2, 2011, at the Wayback Machine,Lomonosov Moscow State University. Topuniversities. Retrieved on 2011-10-29.
  43. ^ a b "World Reputation Rankings". Times Higher Education (THE). April 13, 2015.

External linksEdit

  • Moscow State University