The MGIMO School of Government and International Affairs

Bachelor of Arts in Politics and International Relations


MGIMO and University of Reading, UK

The double degree program was launched at The MGIMO School of Government and International Affairs in 2018. It is taught over two initial years at MGIMO University in Moscow and two final years—at Reading University in the UK. The first cohort of students completed the MGIMO part of the curriculum in July 2020 and moved to the UK for the final two years of coursework from October 2020.

Anyone holding a high school diploma recognized by MGIMO is eligible to apply. For holders of GCSE, at least five GCSE grades not lower than C are required. For A-level holders, three A-level grades no lower than C are required. Please note that the application procedure differs depending on the applicant’s nationality.

1) Russian nationals must apply in person following the procedure and deadlines described under Section 2 here (in Russian):

2) Non-Russian nationals must apply by sending to high-resolution scans of the following documents:

  • Filled electronic application form
  • High school diploma if you already have received it. If not, you will need to send it to us as soon as you receive it from your school.
  • Photo of applicant (at least 300 dpi).
  • CV / Résumé (no specific template to follow).
  • Motivation letter (personal statement), strictly 800 to 1,200 words
  • Academic and/or professional references (at least two). Please do not collect references yourself. Provide us with the names, positions, and institutional e-mail addresses of your referees, and we shall reach out to them separately. Please advise your referees that MGIMO SGIA will be contacting them soon after you file your application.
  • English language test certificate: International English Language Testing Service / IELTS with a total score of 6.0 and 5.5 in each of the components; and/or Test of English as a Foreign Language / TOEFL with a minimum score of 80 and 20 in each of the four skills.
  • National passport.

Do not send us any original documents or photocopies by regular mail as we shall not be able to return them. Please be informed that the processing of your inquiries usually takes 5 to 15 business days. We will get back to you shortly with any updates regarding the status of your application.

Admission decisions are taken on the rolling basis, so it is a good idea to apply early and not to wait until the deadline. You may send your application materials in batches, but make sure that we receive the final batch before the deadline. If your application is not complete by the deadline and/or submitted after the deadline, we shall not be able to process it.


Tuition fee for the student cohort that enrolled in 2020 is 900,000 Russian rubles for Russian nationals and 12,000 euros for other students per academic year.

At this time, MGIMO does not offer scholarships to the students of its English-taught BA programs.

  • Deadline for applications to enrol in September 2021: July 15, 2021. We encourage early applications from March 2021.
  • First round of admission distance testing: March 2021.
  • Admission results publication: On the rolling basis, but no later than August 2021.


Why does MGIMO need my motivation letter?

We ask applicants to submit a motivation letter because of the high level of competition for admission to MGIMO and its School of Government and International Affairs. Thus, the quality of your motivation letter is an important admission criterion.

When considering your application, we will make our decision not only on the basis of your academic or professional record. We shall also take into account any other information that shows whether you have achieved the level of knowledge, including command of English, and motivation necessary to complete the course.

How to write an exceptional motivation letter?

Your motivation letter must be written in English. It should reflect your personal writing style. The letter should indicate the nature and extent of your interest in the area and the subjects you wish to study.

In no more than 1,200 words, try to answer the following questions: why have you decided to apply to MGIMO SGIA? What do you think you will gain from the course of study you are applying to? How does your choice of university and course fit into your future career and life plans? How would you be able to contribute to the student community at MGIMO?

You may also want to demonstrate your interest in the chosen study program by linking it to your own experiences. These might be summer jobs, extracurricular activities, books, travel, personal connections, internships, etc. Do not simply describe the activities that appear elsewhere in your application—you need to demonstrate how they led you towards your choice of a study program and how helpful your experience would be to you during studies at SGIA.

Please remember that the core part of your motivation letter should explain your motivation to study international affairs.

While the letter should be a true reflection of you, for more confidence, you may ask a friend or relative to read it through. Friends or relatives should not, however, be involved in the writing process. You must write your motivation letter yourself.

Other essential rules that you may want follow when preparing your motivation letter include:

  • organizing your letter, so that it is well-structured and coherent;
  • linking your current and future studies and activities;
  • producing several drafts before feeling confident and happy;
  • using your best English and not letting spelling and grammatical errors spoil your letter;
  • being enthusiastic—if you show your genuine interest in the course, it may help you secure a place.
  • using all of the space available up to the limit of 1,200 words.

At the same time, do not

  • start many sentences with “I”;
  • fill the space with irrelevant information;
  • use jargon or sophisticated expressions;
  • use quotations—we are interested exactly in what you think, not what somebody else thinks;
  • rely on a spellchecker, as it will not fix everything. Proof read as many times as possible;

Finally, never lie in your motivation letter. We want to see the real you.

What does the admissions committee look for in my motivation letter?

Your motivation letter plays a key role in the application process. SGIA Admissions looks for an original and well-written letter providing evidence of your genuine interest in international relations and institutions, government and governance, politics and policies, strategies and tactics of political and business interaction.

In your motivation letter we shall be looking for answers to the following questions: why do you wish to pursue a degree in the multi-disciplinary field of government and international affairs? Are there any elements or aspects of the course that are of specific interest to you? How the MGIMO program you want to join relates to your prior experience? What additional reading or other activities have you undertaken which led you to apply to join this BA program at MGIMO?

How to choose a referee?

References supporting your application are very important to us, so you should take special care when choosing your referees. Do not choose someone only because of his/her title or position. Choose inspaniduals who can show that they know you well and can evaluate your skills and personal qualities.

It is important that your referees have had a chance to assess your work—written in particular—and that they can be impartial and clear. Please note that your referees should not be personal contacts, but rather teachers, trainers, or supervisors.

If your referees are teachers, choose those who have taught you the core disciplines and/or disciplines that are similar to those taught at the chosen BA program at MGIMO. Do not choose foreign language teachers—your foreign language skills will be assessed separately on the basis of your IELTS/TOEFL results.

Make sure that the inspaniduals you designate as your referees are prepared to provide a recommendation. Take the time to meet with them in order to explain your motivation and the reasons behind your choice of study program. Take this opportunity to remind them of the strong elements of your personality or of your experience that you would like them to talk about in the reference letter.

Candidates are not permitted to access their reference letters. They are strictly confidential and will only be read by SGIA Admissions.

What should referees focus on in their letters?

Referees are advised to focus on the answering the following questions:

  1. In what capacity and how long have you known the applicant?
  2. What are the applicant’s key strengths and talents?
  3. What are the applicant’s weaknesses or areas for improvement?
  4. In which areas has the applicant made the biggest progress during the time that you have known him/her?
  5. If you are a professional referee, would you work with the applicant again after s/he has completed a BA in Government and International Affairs? If you are an academic referee, what would be the applicant’s likely contribution to an undergraduate program in government and international affairs?

How do I obtain my visa to study in Russia?

If you require a visa to study in Russia, we advise that you begin to apply for it as soon as you receive confirmation of your admission to SGIA. Admitted students obtain Russian visas through a simplified procedure. You will need to let us know which Russian consulate you will be applying to for your visa. We shall then send you a visa form to fill out and upon its return we shall provide detailed instructions on the visa application procedure.

The list of Russian consular missions can be found here. Information about specific documents required as part of the visa application can be usually found on the websites of the embassies and consulates of the Russian Federation around the world.