How to apply
for PhD studies
(It is quite simple)

We created this guide to help you with the application process.
Please, read it carefully before submitting an application,
and don't hesitate to ask any questions.
The admission and enrollment process includes several steps.
You have probably seen this timeline. Below we explain it in details.
Choose the Skoltech faculty member(s) with whom you wish to pursue doctoral studies in the Skoltech faculty directory before beginning the online application.
Online Selection
Prepare all documents (CV, personal statement, 2 reference letters) and submit your application by filling in the form on Skoltech's web site.
Selection Days
Invitations are reserved for those students who submitted the strongest online applications. You have to pass an English exam on site or present a valid TOEFL or IELTS certificate, and pass an interview.
Based on the results of each applicant's overall performance, we will make a list of students to be enrolled.
0. What to do in advance
Choose the program and the supervisor.
Fill the simple form at to create the account in our system. Then use this account to submit all the necessary information and documents. You can save your progress at any point and come back to the application later. Here is the list of documents and copies you need to obtain and prepare for your application:
Update an English-language version of your resume or curriculum vitae.
We do not have special requirements here, just follow the general rules for such documents.
Motivation letter
In 500–1000 words, in English, highlight the following issues:
  • What do you hope to gain by completing a degree in your chosen field of study at Skoltech.
  • What kind of research project you want to perform at Skoltech.
Keep in mind that motivation letter is being reviewed carefully and is very important for the selection.
2 Recommendation letters
This is important as well: we will need 2 recommendation letters, written by your thesis supervisors, team supervisors and other relevant people, confirming your skills and potential.
  • Letters should describe both the relationship between the author and the applicant (joint research, supervision, teaching, etc.) and provide the personal opinion of the author about the applicant.
  • Very formal letters, translation of standard characteristics, usually do not produce a good impression.
  • Each letter has to contain contact phone and/or e-mail of the recommender.
  • If the letters are not in English, please make your own translation into English, scan it in one file with the original and upload this way.
  • In case your recommenders don't want you to view the letters, they can email them directly to us on with your name and surname on the topic of email. You have to upload the .pdf files with their contact information instead of letters to inform us that we should find them in our inbox.
Diploma or transcript from the university
You will need to upload a scan of your most recent diploma of higher education. If you are currently studying, it is highly recommended to upload a current academic transcript to give the Admission Committee an opportunity to see your academic level. It is not obligatory when you apply online, but we will ask you to bring the original of the transcript to the interview.
Certificates and awards
Scan all your awards and certificates, including language certificates (TOEFL, IELTS, etc.) if you have any. This is not obligatory, but increases your chances.
Usual/formal photo
We will ask you to provide a photo.
We have seen a lot: beach selfies, party photos, elevator looks, sunglasses hiding 50% of the face — please, don't do that to us :) Find a formal photo.
We prefer scans in PDF files, but also accept images in JPEG, PNG, GIF or BMP formats.
Documents in DOC, PPT, TXT and other formats will not be accepted.
If any of your documents is not presented in English, please provide a translation. If possible, scan the original with the translation together. Translation is obligatory for recommendation letters and highly recommended for the rest items.
1. Application / Portfolio
Upload all the documents using your account as they are ready. Fill in the questionnaire. When everything is completed, push "Submit". Great, now you are the Applicant officially.
We do not charge any tuition fees.
2. Selection Day
Based on your portfolio and test results Admission Comittee makes a decision within 2 weeks and informs you about it via e-mail. You will need to come to Skoltech on the specified date for the final stage. Only in exceptional cases final stage may be performed remotely via video conference-call for those, who cannot come in person. Personal presence makes your chances to succeed higher.
Interview with the PhD Program Committee
PhD Program Committee consists of the program faculty members.
The applicant is supposed to make a 10 minutes' presentation about his/her academic and professional background, as well as about his/her potential research project proposal, using special presentation software. After the Q&A session will follow.

The interview lasts not more that 30 minutes.

You will need to prepare and bring the original copy of your academic transcripts to the interview.
English test (if needed)
All applicants must demonstrate proficiency in English, the language of instruction at Skoltech. This may be demonstrated by one of the following ways:
  • TOEFL iBT, TOEFL ITP or IELTS certificates. The passing score is: 80 on the TOEFL iBT, 450 on the TOEFL ITP or 6 on the IELTS. Only TOEFL and IELTS certificates are accepted. Applicants, who does not have a valid TOEFL or IELTS certificate, may pass an official TOEFL ITP examination at Skoltech after the interview (free of charge).
  • Official confirmation from your university or school that English was the language of instruction
  • Confirmation that applicant is a native speaker of English.
3. Enrollment (yee-haw!)
In a week after the Selection Days are finished we will be ready to inform you about your results. There are 3 possible outcomes:
Option 1: OFFER
Good job: if you received the e-mail containing an offer to join Skoltech PhD program it means the you have passed the selection process and we are eager to see you at Skoltech in October for official matriculation and start of study (November, 1).
If you received the e-mail saying that you are on a waiting list, it means that you need to confirm your place in the waiting list and wait until the mid-September for the final decision.
Option 3: REJECT
Sorry: that means that you did not pass the final stage, but next year you will be able to try again — we do not ban. However, this admission year you are not allowed to resubmit your application for this or another program.
The official matriculation starts in mid-September before the start of the academic year: we will inform you with a special e-mail about the list of the documents you will need to provide to become Skoltech PhD student officially.
Now you know everything about
the application process.
Let's proceed to the practical part!
Applications are being accepted till July 29, 2018 inclusive
Contact us by phone/e-mail or visit us:
phone: +7 (495) 280-1481
address: 3 Nobel Street, Skolkovo, 143026, Russian Federation
(We are more than happy to accept visitors Monday through Friday from 9:0018:00. Please arrange a visit at 48 hours in advance by writing us an email at