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Moscow State University

M. V. Lomonosov
Moscow State University
Московский государственный университет имени М. В. Ломоносова
Moscow State University CoA.png
Coat of Arms
Наука есть ясное познание истины, просвещение разума
Motto in English
Science is a clear knowledge of the truth, enlightenment of the mind
TypePublic research university
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)
Technical details
Floor count42
Floor area1,000,000 m2 (10,763,910.417 sq ft)

M. V. Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU; Russian: Московский государственный университет имени М. В. Ломоносова) is a public research university in Moscow, Russia and the most prestigious university in the country.

The university includes 15 research institutes, 43 faculties, more than 300 departments, and six branches (including five foreign ones in the Commonwealth of Independent States countries). Alumni of the university include past leaders of the Soviet Union and other governments. As of 2019, 13 Nobel laureates, six Fields Medal winners, and one Turing Award winner had been affiliated with the university.

The university was ranked 18th by The Three University Missions Ranking in 2022, and 76th by the QS World University Rankings in 2022, #293 in the world by the global Times Higher World University Rankings, and #326 by U.S. News & World Report in 2022. 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. Moscow State University is generally accepted as the leading higher educational institution in the former Soviet Union.


Imperial Moscow University

The Principal Medicine Store building on Red Square that housed Moscow University from 1755 to 1787

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]. Saint Petersburg State University and MSU each claim to be Russia's oldest university. Though Moscow State University was founded in 1755, St. Petersburg which has had a continuous existence as a "university" since 1819 sees itself as the successor of an academy established on in 1724, by a decree of Peter the Great.[citation needed]

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

Main buildings of the university in Mokhovaya Street, 1798

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 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 1884–97, the Department of Medicine built a medical campus in Devichye Pole, between the Garden Ring and Novodevichy Convent; 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 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.


A 1962 Soviet stamp features Moscow State 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).[citation needed]

On 6 September 1997, French electronic musician Jean Michel Jarre used the front of the university as the backdrop for a concert. The concert attracted a paying crowd of half a million people.


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.

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 reaction, Academia Europaea, a pan-European academy, suspended the membership of Sadovnichy. In response to the Russian invasion, that same month Yale University, the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, University of Potsdam, and HKU Business School suspended their longstanding relationships with the university, and the University of St Andrews suspended a joint master’s degree programme with the university. Intel and AMD, the largest chip manufacturers in the world, whose processors are used in the Moscow State University supercomputer, as well as NVIDIA, reacted by suspending deliveries of their processors to Russia.


Building of the Faculties of Biology and of Soil Science

Since 1953, most of the faculties have been situated on Sparrow Hills, in southwest Moscow. 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.[citation needed]

The university library

Along with the university administration, the Museum of Earth Sciences and faculties of Mechanics and Mathematics, Geology, Geography, and Fine and Performing Arts are in the Main building. The building on Mokhovaya Street houses the Faculty of Journalism, the Faculty of Psychology, and Institute of Asian and African Countries. A number of faculty buildings are located near Manege Square in the centre of Moscow and a number of campuses abroad in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.[citation needed] 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 2009, the university had 39 faculties and 15 research centres. A number of small faculties opened, such as Faculty of Physics and Chemistry and Higher School of Television. The full list of faculties is as follows:

Institutions and research centers

Academic reputation

University rankings
Global – Overall
ARWU World101–150 (2022)
QS World75 (2023)
THE World296 (2022)
USNWR Global335 (2023)
The main building in winter

In world rankings, MSU was ranked 101st–150th by the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2022, #75 by QS World University Rankings 2023, and #335 by U.S. News & World Report 2023.

According to the some international rankings MSU is the highest-ranked Russian university (with the nearest Russian competitor being Saint Petersburg State University), but it was consistently ranked 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.[citation needed]

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

World rankings
2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005
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

Staff and students

The university employs more than 4,000 academics and 15,000 support staff.[citation needed] Approximately 5,000 researchers work at the university's research institutes and 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.[citation needed]

Notable people

Notable alumni of 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 Vladimir Arnold, Boris Demidovich, Vladimir Drinfeld, Vitaly Ginzburg, Andrey Kolmogorov, Grigory Margulis, Andrei Sakharov, and Yakov Sinai.

Moscow State University in philately

See also

This page was last updated at 2023-01-11 09:19 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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