Study in Belarus | Top Universities

A landlocked, former Soviet republic in Eastern Europe, Belarus maintains close cultural ties with its neighbor Russia, but has a unique, proud culture of its own to appreciate too. It might not be your first choice when you think of studying abroad, but Belarus has a lot to offer, with lush green spaces, historical but modern cities, and friendly, welcoming people. It’s also very affordable – another key attraction for the 6,000 or so international students who come here every year.

Want to join them? Read on to find out how to study in Belarus.

There are 48 universities in Belarus, many of which are based in Minsk, the capital city. In addition to general universities, there are also specialized medical schools, such as Belarusian State Medical University, and technical universities, such as Belarusian National Technical University (BNTU).

Two Belarusian universities are featured in the QS World University Rankings® 2018, with a further two found in the QS EECA University Rankings 2018, a ranking of the top universities in Emerging Europe and Central Asia (EECA).

The four top universities in Belarus according to the latest EECA ranking are:

Belarusian State University 

Belarusian State University

Belarusian State University (BSU) is ranked joint 334th in the QS World University Rankings® 2018, up 20 places from last year’s ranking, and 21st in the QS EECA University Rankings, climbing 18 spots from last year.

Located in Minsk, BSU was founded in 1921 and is the largest university in the country, hosting around 30,000 students, 2,000 of whom come from outside Belarus.

BSU has a teaching staff of 3,000, which helps it score within the world’s top 100 universities for faculty/student ratio, one of the six indicators used to compile the world ranking.

It’s also the largest international cooperation center of education and science in the country, maintaining partnerships with over 400 universities and scientific institutes around the world.

Belarusian National Technical University 

Belarusian National Technical University

Also located in Minsk, Belarusian National Technical University (BNTU) is one of Belarus’ leading technical universities, currently placed 751-800 in the world rankings and 79th in EECA. It was established in 1920 and today has 17 faculties offering training in 89 specialties and 121 specializations, and over 35,000 students enrolled.

It’s also gained many traditions over its near-century of existence, including the Student Kaleidoscope Festival, a five-day multicultural event in which BTNU students from different countries collaborate to show the uniqueness of their traditional cultures.

Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics 

Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics

Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics (BSUIR), again located in Minsk, is ranked 118th in the latest EECA ranking, earning its highest score for the employer reputation indicator.

BSUIR was founded in 1964 and, as its name would suggest, trains students in the fields of computer science, radioelectronics and telecommunications. It offers English-taught courses both on-campus and via distance learning, plus foundation year programs so students studying in Russian or English can build their proficiency to the required level.

Russian-taught bachelor’s degrees start at US$3,000 a year depending on the program, while English-taught bachelor’s degrees are US$5,000 a year.

Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno 

Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno

Ranked 191-200 in EECA, Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno (YKSUG) is located in Grodno in western Belarus and is home to around 18,000 students, the majority of which are undergraduates.

Named after famous Belarusian poet Yanka Kupala, YKSUG was founded in 1940 and now consists of 15 faculties and 71 departments. Most of its courses are taught in Russian, but there are English-taught courses in mathematics, information technology, tourism and hospitality, international law, economics and finance.  

Minsk 

Minsk

The capital of Belarus and its largest city, Minsk is likely to be top of your list of potential destinations if you want to study in Belarus. Also the administrative capital of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Minsk is home to around 3.2 million people in its metropolitan area and is the country’s major industrial center.

There’s plenty to do outside your studies here, with 16 museums, 11 theaters and 139 libraries, including the National Library of Belarus, which is impressively designed as a giant rhombicuboctahedron (we don’t know how to pronounce it either), and includes a viewing platform for breath-taking views of the cityscape.

Minsk also boasts all the fashionable cafes, traditional restaurants and vibrant nightclubs you’d expect from a European capital, as well as excellent, extensive public transport with an underground metro system, making it easy to get around.

On top of all this, Minsk is an important hub for education as it’s home to three of Belarus’ four entries in the latest QS EECA University Rankings, including the Belarusian State University (BSU) which is ranked in the top 50.

Grodno 

Grodno

Grodno, also known as Hrodna, is the capital of the Grodno region in north-western Belarus.The country’s fifth-largest city, it has a population of around 365,610 people. Grodno is one of Belarus’ best preserved medieval cities, retaining more historical monuments and sights than other cities, including the Kalozha Church, which dates back to the 12th century.

Grodno’s close proximity to the border with Poland (about 12 miles away) means there’s a large Polish community here and sense of Polish culture, and it also has a sizeable concentration of Roman Catholics.

Grodno is also well known for its medical university, Grodno State Medical University, which attracts many students both from within and outside Belarus. It’s also home to Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno (YKSUG), which is ranked in the top 200 of EECA.

Gomel 

Gomel

Also known as Homyel, Gomel is Belarus’ second-largest city, with around 526,872 residents, and is located in the south-eastern part of the country on the bank of the river Sozh. This waterside location means the city enjoys extensive beaches.

The city’s main historical attraction is the beautiful Gomel Palace & Park Ensemble, which stretches 800 meters along the right bank of the Sozh, making for a very peaceful and picturesque walk, loved by tourists and local residents alike. Universities in Gomel include Gomel State Medical University, the youngest of Belarus’ four medical universities, and Francisk Skorina Gomel State University.

Brest 

Brest

Not to be confused with the French city of the same name, Brest is located in the south-west of Belarus, right on the border with Poland (with the Polish town of Terespol directly opposite). Brest is home to around 340,141 people and is known for its blend of historical cultures, and 19th century fortress, which was given the honorary ‘Hero Fortress’ title in honor of the defense of Brest Fortress in June 1941.

Other sights to explore and enjoy in your spare time here include the 20-hectare Brest City Park, the excellent outdoor Museum of Railway Technology and Nikalaivsky Church.

There are two universities in Brest: A.S. Pushkin Brest State University and Brest State Technical University.

How to apply to study in Belarus 

Belarusian flag

The application process is quite straightforward – you should apply directly to your chosen Belarusian institution, including your high school leaving certificate or equivalent, to prove that you’ve completed 12 years of education. If applying for a master’s degree, you’ll need your bachelor’s degree certificate.

The language of instruction at universities in Belarus is usually Russian or Belarussian, but some universities offer English-taught courses. If your course is in Belarussian or Russian and you’re not fluent in either language, you’ll need to take a 10-month language immersion course before starting your studies. These cost US$1,800.

The Belarusian academic year is made up of two semesters, the first one lasting from September to January, the second lasting from February to July. Bachelor’s degrees take four years to complete, while master’s degrees take two years.

How to get a Belarusian student visa

All international students need a visa (Belarus is not a member of the European Union). To apply for this, you’ll need to go to your nearest Belarusian embassy or consulate and submit the following documents:

  • Your passport, which should be valid for at least six months beyond your intended return date
  • Your birth certificate
  • Your completed student visa application form
  • Two passport-size color photos of yourself with a plain white background
  • A statement of medical fitness, including proof you’ve had a HIV/AIDS test
  • Your paid visa fee (US$60)
  • An official letter of invitation from the Belarusian university you’ll be attending

You’ll need to purchase health insurance, which costs around US$110 a year. Your university will assist you in getting a temporary residence permit.

Tuition fees, living costs

and funding

Minsk, Belarus

Tuition fees in Belarus will vary depending on your university and subject, but international students can expect to pay around US$2,000-3,500 a year, with English-taught courses tending to be more expensive than Russian or Belarusian-taught courses. As is common around the world, medical degrees are more expensive, costing around US$4,100 a year, or US$4,600 or more if you study in English.

Belarus is quite affordable in terms of living costs, with students only needing around US$2,400-3,600 per year. This means your study abroad costs could come to as little as US$4,400 a year.

Numbeo is a useful source for comparing the costs you’re used to in your home city with how much things cost in a Belarusian city such as Minsk (for example, the cost of rent is 85 percent lower than in London). In terms of accommodation, most students live in student hostels offered by the university, which only cost around US$30-50 per month.

You may want to look for a scholarship to help fund your studies, particularly as international students can’t work whilst studying in Belarus. You can find scholarship opportunities here.

Fast Facts

  • Capital: Minsk
  • Population: 9.5 million
  • Currency: Belarusian ruble
  • Official languages: Belarusian and Russian. However, the main language of instruction at Belarusian universities is Russian.
  • Gained independence from the Soviet Union on 25 August 1991
  • Average international tuition fees: US$2,000-3,500 a year
  • Average amount needed for living costs per year: US$2,400-3,600
  • All international students need a visa (Belarus is not a member of the European Union).
  • Main industries in Belarus include mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, food, textiles and agriculture.
  • At 207,600 square kilometers (80,200 sq mi), Belarus is slightly smaller than the United Kingdom.
  • Temperatures range from -8.5°C in the depths of winter to 18-20°C or more in summer.
  • Belarus has a very low unemployment rate – only 0.5 percent.
  • Popular traditional Belarusian dishes include machanka (pork stew), vereshchaka (homemade sausages), draniki (thick potato pancakes), kolduny and kletski (dumplings) and babka (baked grated potato pie).
  • Nearly one third of Belarus is made up of forests. There are also thousands of lakes.
  • Belarus has borders with Russia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Poland and Latvia.
  • More than half of the population are religious, with Eastern Orthodoxy and Russian Catholicism the most common religions.
  • Belarus doesn’t use Daylight Saving Time.
  • There are still around 400 monuments to Vladimir Lenin in Belarus.