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.
Московский государственный университет имени М. В. Ломоносова
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)
|Established||23 January 1755|
|Affiliations||Association 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
Главное здание МГУ (ГЗ МГУ)
Location within Moscow
|Architectural||240 m (787 ft)|
|Top floor||214 m (702 ft)|
|Floor area||1,000,000 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. 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, and according to the Nature Index in 2019 the highest ranked Russian university for research output. 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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
In the mid-1980s, the Dean of MSU's law faculty was dismissed for taking bribes. 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.
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.
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.
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.
In November 2012, Mikhail Basharatyan, Deputy Dean of the MSU World Economy Department, was fired for taking a bribe from a pupil. 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.
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. In response to the Russian invasion, that same month the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences suspended its longstanding relationship with the university.
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. 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.
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.
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:
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.
|Global – Overall|
|ARWU World||97 (2021)|
|THE World||199 (2019)|
|USNWR Global||324 (2022)|
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.
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 by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, and 112th In the QS World University Rankings, it was not included among the top 200 universities 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. Moscow State University seems to be strong mostly in natural sciences and mathematics (in 2011 placed between 38th and 75th 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 and Ria Novosti / HSE, with both ratings based on data set collected by HSE from Russian Unified State Exam scores averaged per all students and faculties of university.
|Ria Novosti / HSE||6th||7th||1st|
|Ria Novosti / HSE (Multi-Faculty Universities)||1st||1st||1st|
|Interfax / Echo Moskvy (Multi-Faculty Universities)||1st||1st||1st||1st||1st||1st|
|Academic Ranking of World Universities||87th||86th||84th||79th||80th||77th||74th||78th||70th||77th||70th||68th|
|QS World University Rankings||108th||114th||120th||116th||112th||93rd||101st||183rd||231st||93rd||93rd|
|Times Higher Education World University Rankings||161st||196th||226-250th||201-225th||214th||296th||237th||–||–||–||–||–|
|Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings||30th||25th||51-60th||50th||–||33rd||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|Human Resources & Labor Review (Graduates performance)||–||44th||44th||44th||43rd||–||–||–|
|Academic Ranking of World Universities (Natural Sciences)||51–75th||51–75th||51–75th||51–75th||51–75th||51–75th||53–76th||41st||–||–||–|
|QS World University Rankings (Natural Sciences)||60th||34th||84th||44th||38th||29th||30th||29th||27th||44th||–|
|Famous alumni of the Moscow State University|
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.
1950 postage stamp:
the project of the 26-storey building of Moscow State University
1955 postage stamp:
the old university building
1955 postage stamp:
the new building of the university
1957 postage stamp:
Moscow Festival of Youth and Students
1958 postage stamp:
V Congress of the International Union of Architects
1958 postage stamp:
X Congress of the International Astronomical Union in the new building of the university
2002 postage stamp:
200th anniversary of the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation
2005 postage stamp:
250th anniversary of Moscow State University
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