Moscow Engineering Physics Institute

National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute)
Motto Latin: Ut ambules in via; Russian: Дорогу осилит идущий
Motto in English The one who continues to walk will finish the road.
Established 1942
Type Public
Rector Mikhail Nikolaevich Strikhanov
Location Moscow, Russia
Former names Moscow Mechanical Institute of Munitions (1942-1953), Moscow Engineering Physics Institute (1953-2009)
Old logo

National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute) / NRNU MEPhI, NIYaU MEPhI or MEPhI) (Russian: Национальный исследовательский ядерный университет “МИФИ” / НИЯУ МИФИ or МИФИ) is one of the most recognized technical universities in Russia. MEPhI was founded in 1942 as the Moscow Mechanical Institute of Munitions (Russian: Московский механический институт боеприпасов, ММИБ), but it was soon renamed the Moscow Mechanical Institute. Its original mission was to train skilled personnel for the Soviet military and atomic programs. It was renamed the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute (Russian: Московский инженерно-физический институт) in 1953, which was its name until 2009.

By the Order of the Government of Russia, issued by the Russian Government on April 8, 2009 (#480-r) on behalf of Russian President's Decree of October 7, 2008 (#1448) "On the pilot project launching on creating National Research Universities" the university MEPhI was granted this new status. The university was reorganized. The aim of the university existence is now preparing the specialists by giving them higher professional, post-graduation professional, secondary professional and additional professional education, as well as educational and scientific activities.[1]


Today, MEPhI has five main departments (faculties):

  • Experimental and theoretical physics
  • Physics and Technology
  • Cybernetics and Information security
  • Automatics and electronics
  • High Technology Management and Economics

The university offers bachelor, masters (and similar degree ‘Specialist’), and post-graduate degrees in physics, mathematics, computer science and other areas. MEPhI facilities include a 2.5 MW (thermal) pool-type research reactor and Neutrino Water Detector NEVOD. The university has about 35,000 students at branches in Moscow and other towns. In Moscow are around 8,000 students (including 600 foreigners). It normally takes 4 - 5.5 (some sub-departments take six) years for a student to graduate from MEPhI. The curriculum of the first two years consists exclusively of required courses, with emphasis on mathematics, physics, experimental work and English. After the two first years of studying students on a competition basis enroll to the sub-departments which specialize in different branches of physics, computer science, information security, mathematics, etc.

Starting with the fourth year, some students have a choice to make their diploma thesis, working at base science institutes. Most of them are research institutes, usually belonging to the Russian Academy of Sciences. For instance, Lebedev Physical Institute, Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics, Kurchatov Institute etc.

The MEPhI curriculum is, indeed, considerably more extensive compared to an average American or European college. In addition, MEPhI programs usually focus more on research and less on classroom education.

Among MEPhI graduates are Nobel Prize winners, members of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and winners of national prizes. Its professors and alumni have made major contributions to various fields of theoretical and experimental physics, mathematics, cybernetics, and computer sciences.

Traditional university rankings are based on the universities' research output and prizes won by faculty. In contrast, many distinguished professors teaching at MEPhI are officially on staff at the base institutes like Kurchatov Institute. Student research work is typically carried out outside of MEPhI, and published research results do not mention MEPhI. In effect, many MEPhI professors are not considered as such for the rankings, and student research is not earning any ranking points for MEPhI. This effectively hides MEPhI from the academic radar, an effect not unwelcome during the Cold War era when leading scientists and engineers of the Soviet arms and space programs studied there.

In recent years, the institute has been working to improve its curricula in the humanities, economic sciences, and foreign languages.

MEPhI in leading international and national university rankings

  • 226-250 - THE (Times Higher Education World University Rankings) 2012/13 [2]
  • 74 - THE Physical Sciences (Subject rank) [3]
  • 251-300 (4th in Russia) - QS Physics & Astronomy (Subject rank) [4]
  • 57 - QS University Rankings: BRICS 2014 [5]
  • 481-490 - QS World University Rankings 2014/15 [6]
  • 248 (4th in Russia) - QS World University Rankings 2014/15: Faculty Areas - Natural Science[7]
  • 641 (4th in Russia) Webometrics Ranking of World Universities 2014 [8]
  • 3 - Russian university ranking, announced by the international news agency Interfax and Echo of Moscow [9][10]
  • 4 - The ranking agency "Expert RA" (Russia) [11]

Student population

The student population, especially on natural science departments, is predominantly male. During the first years from MEPhI's foundation there was a ban against accepting women. In recent years this situation has changed and in 2010 more than 30% of first year students were females.


It is a fifteen-minute walk (or a five-minute bus ride) from the university to the Kashirskaya station on the Zamoskvoretskaya Line of the Moscow Metro. Its campus is one kilometre from the famous Kolomenskoe park and museum.

Famous alumni & faculty


  1. ^ 12
  2. ^ Rankings THE 2012/2013
  3. ^ THE — Physical Sciences 2013/14
  4. ^ QS/Subject rank Russia 2014
  5. ^ QS/BRICS 2014
  6. ^ QS WUR 2014/15
  7. ^ QS WUR 2014/15
  8. ^ QS/Subject Webometrics Ranking of World Universities
  9. ^ Interfax Rankings 2013
  10. ^ Interfax Rankings 2014
  11. ^ Expert RA Rankings

External links

  • (Russian) and (English) English language and Russian language official website of National Research Nuclear University MEPhI
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