Graduate

General information

Are there any Master’s or PhD programs at Nazarbayev University taught in Kazakh or Russian?

No, there aren’t. All Master’s and PhD programs are taught in English with an exception of the Executive MBA program which is taught in English, but provides simultaneous interpretation into Russian.

What entry exams are required to enter postgraduate programs?

All programs require taking a standardized test of English proficiency (IELTS/TOEFL), if you did not study on a program taught in English earlier. 

In general, the Admissions Committee of the respective program considers application packages taking into account all its components:  

  • personal statement, where an applicant should reflect the reasons for applying to the program and its influence on his/her development;
  • transcript with grades by subjects related to the chosen program; 
  • reference letters, confirming an applicant’s previous experience and achievements;
  • outcomes of the interview with the Admissions Committee.

Some programs require taking GRE, GMAT, ALEKS exams and work experience in addition to the above-mentioned requirements. Please note that there are specific exams required for some programs of the School of Medicine.

What is the sequence of actions for applicants who wish to enter postgraduate programs?
  1. Select a Master’s or PhD program. Applicants can simultaneously apply to two Master’s and/or PhD programs at a maximum. If an applicant receives an offer to both programs, he/she needs to choose one of them. 
  2. Research the entry requirements of programs and prepare all documents for the online application package.
  3. Register online on the portal within due dates of the selected program and upload all necessary documents.  
  4. Go through the interview with the Admissions Committee, if invited. Interviews are held in English. 
  5. In case of the successful outcome of the competition, an applicant should provide the originals of all required documents.
When can I apply to postgraduate programs and what are the deadlines?

Master’s programs: 

  • from November 16, 2020 to April 30, 2021 (inclusive) for the Graduate School of Education, School of Mining and Geosciences, School of Sciences and Humanities; 
  • from November 23, 2020 to April 30, 2021 (inclusive) for the Graduate School of Public Policy, School of Engineering and Digital Sciences, School of Medicine;
  • from November 23, 2020 to May 11, 2021 (inclusive) for the Graduate School of Business. 

PhD programs:

  • from December 7, 2020 to April 30, 2021 (inclusive) for all PhD programs.
Are there any Master’s programs that I can combine with my full-time work?

There are several programs at Nazarbayev University that you can pursue while working full-time:

  • Master of Science in Educational Leadership (module-based);
  • Master in Public Administration (with classes on weekends);
  • Executive Master of Business Administration (with classes on weekends).

All other programs are full-time and do not allow combining with full-time employment.

Is there any work obligation after the completion of a Master's/PhD program? What requirements and conditions are provided?

This requirement applies to citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan only who received the state scholarship. The three-year work obligation after graduation is a requirement of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan and is indicated in the Law “On Education”. The process is coordinated by the Financial Center of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

If I already received a Master’s/PhD degree at another Kazakhstani university under the state scholarship, can I enter Nazarbayev University to the same program level?

If you received a Master’s/PhD degree under the state scholarship already, you cannot receive the same degree under the state scholarship again, unfortunately. This applies to the holders of the “Bolashak” scholarship as well. In such cases and in case of the successful outcome of the competition, you can enter the program on a fee-paying basis or search sponsors for financial aid.

 It is worth noting that for the applicants of the “Master of Science in Finance” program the scholarships are given by the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan. More information is available on the website of the Graduate School of Business.

Online application

What should I do if an error occurred during my online application?

In this case, you will need to send a message to the email address indicated in the upper right corner of your application form, state your problem, and attach screenshots of the error.

Can I choose a Master/PhD program if my previous educational background is different?

Your previous degree does not need to match the program you are applying for at Nazarbayev University. However, applicants are expected to outline their high motivation and strong interest in the program in the statement of purpose.

Can I apply for several Master’s/PhD programs at the same time?

Applicants can simultaneously apply to two Master’s and/or PhD programs at a maximum. If an applicant receives an offer to both programs, he/she needs to choose one of them.

Can I transfer my credits if I am studying or have already completed my Master’s/PhD program?

Yes, you can. Transfer credits are identified by the Admissions Committee. In order to do that, you need to select the appropriate field in the application form. The maximum number of transfer credits is 25% of the total number of credits (except for MD and Residency programs). No grades will be assigned to transfer courses, only credits. The grades received at the previous institution(s) will not be calculated into a student’s grade point average (GPA) or cumulative grade point average (CGPA) at the University.

How can I check my application status?

Your final status will be displayed in your Personal account. As for the final decision of the Admissions Committee, it will be sent to your email address, indicated during the registration, based on the results of the competitive selection.

Can I apply for Master’s programs at Nazarbayev University if I have a low level of English?

“Nazarbayev University Zero Year Program” (NUZYP) was developed specifically for applicants who have high motivation to study, but a low level of English. However, in order to apply for the NUZYP applicants should have a valid overall IELTS test score of 5.5 with no more than one sub-score of 5.0 (except for Master of Arts in Eurasian Studies, Master of Arts in Political Science and International Relations - IELTS test score of 6,0 is required with no more than one sub-score of 5.5) or the equivalent TOEFL scores as posted on the ETS website.

If I am a final year student, can I apply for a program with no diploma of higher education?

If you are a final year student, you can submit an official current transcript prepared by the office of the registrar of your university with subsequent provision of the Diploma of higher education and final transcript. 

What is NUZYP and who is it for?

What does NUZYP (Nazarbayev University Zero Year Program) mean?

Nazarbayev University offers the opportunity to study at “Zero year of Master's Programs”- a two-semester, full-time intensive pre-master English and content course program for applicants who lack the English proficiency required for direct entry into Master's programs. The aim of the program is to help students improve their English language proficiency and academic skills required to successfully begin Master’s level studies. Satisfactory completion of the program will permit students to progress to Master’s programs of the University to which they applied for and for which they were interviewed.

Is it possible to apply for the scholarship to study under the NUZYP?

Yes, it is. There is no separate application form for the NUZYP. You need to complete the application form of the Master’s program to which you would like to progress after the completion of the NUZYP. In the application form there is a question on whether you would like to be considered for the NUZYP. You need to tick “Yes” in this field.

Do all programs have the NUZYP?

All Master’s programs offer the NUZYP, except the following:

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Doctor of Medicine
  • Residency
Is it necessary to go through the competitive selection for a Master`s program again, after the completion of the NUZYP?

In case of successful completion of the NUZYP, there is no need to apply and go through the competitive selection for a Master’s program. If a student studied on the scholarship during the NUZYP, he/she will continue studying on the scholarship at a Master’s level as well.

Can I change my major after completing the NUZYP?

Change of a major is impossible after the completion of the NUZYP.

Preparing the application package for the competitive selection and entry examinations

Is it mandatory to do a notarized translation of documents into English?

If a document includes the English version, then the notarized translation is not needed. In other cases, notarized English translations are mandatory since the Admissions Committee members are foreign individuals who do not know Russian or Kazakh.

How can I calculate my GPA correctly?

You can calculate your GPA using a 4-point system with the help of online resources or specify your GPA as indicated in your transcript. In any case, the Admission Department staff member will recalculate it.

May I provide IELTS/TOEFL results after the application deadline?

You will need to upload your certificate in your Personal account before the application deadline. After the deadline certificates will not be accepted. In that case your application will be found as ineligible and will be rejected.

Where should I send certificates if I improved my IELTS/TOEFL results before the application is closed?

You should upload your certificate in your Personal account in the «UPLOAD IELTS/TOEFL RESULTS» section.

What are the codes for sending IELTS/TOEFL/GRE/GMAT test results?

Nazarbayev University codes to send the test results:

IELTS – Nazarbayev University

TOEFL – 6762

GRE – 6496

GMAT – H6m-R7-93

Are IELTS Indicator results accepted to enter Master's or PhD programs?

IELTS Indicator results are not accepted.

Are TOEFL Home Edition results accepted to enter Master's or PhD programs?

TOEFL Home Edition exam results are accepted.

Is it enough to provide a scanned version of the IELTS / TOEFL certificate in the Personal account?

No, it is not. You will need to order an electronic version of the IELTS/TOEFL certificate, which must be sent to Nazarbayev University by the test administrator directly. You can do it free of charge during the registration for the exam. However, if you have already taken the exam but have not ordered the delivery of the results to Nazarbayev University, then you need to order a paid delivery service from the test administrator.

What should I do if my certificate is not found in the database when I enter the TRF number?

You should check the correctness of all the data entered (name, passport details in the application form, and TRF number/Appointment number) or contact the test administrator to send the electronic version of the IELTS/TOEFL certificate to the address of Nazarbayev University.

What is the ALEKS test?

ALEKS test is an exam to determine the level of basic mathematical skills for business. It uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a candidate knows and doesn't know in a course.

Can I find out more about the ALEKS test format?

You can familiarize yourself with the test format as well as take a trial ALEKS test on www.aleks.com or receive a monthly subscription on http://www.aleks.com/buy_aleks_now.

Is the ALEKS test for the Master of Business Administration and Master of Engineering Management programs fee-paying?

ALEKS test is included into the application fee. In case of retaking, the cost will be 10 000 tenge. 

Retaking the ALEKS test is impossible for the Master of Engineering Management program.

Where is the ALEKS test taken?

ALEKS test is taken at Nazarbayev University. The invitation to the exam is sent by the secretary of the Admissions Committee. Applicants have an opportunity to choose the day for taking the test from the list of approved dates.

What is МСАТ exam and who is required to take it?

MCAT stands for Medical College Admission Test. This is an exam for those who wish to study at a medical faculty of educational institutions. MCAT is a standardized test with multiple choice of questions that assesses the skills of a future student, that is: the ability to solve complex problems, critical thinking and knowledge of the natural and social sciences, biology and other subjects that serve as a prerequisite for studying medicine.

MCAT Format

The test consists of four parts:

  • Biological and biochemical foundations of living systems
  • Chemical and physical foundations of biological systems
  • Psychological, social and biological foundations of behavior
  • Critical analysis and reasoning

MCAT Assessment

When compiling the MCAT, a student can score from 1 to 15 points in each of the four parts of the test. The final result is the total score of all parts of the MCAT.

Results are known after 30-35 days after the test. A student can find out this information on the official MCAT website by visiting the “Get Your Test Scores” section.

Registration and payment of MCAT

Payment for the test ranges from 305 to 355 dollars, depending on whether you have registered in advance, or at the last moment. Materials for self-preparation for the MCAT test can be found here.

Where can I take the MCAT exam?

MCAT exam can be taken only abroad. You need to register on the website aamc.org to choose the country and the date of the exam. Please note that the result must be provided before the application deadline for the Doctor of Medicine program.

What is the USMLE exam and who is required to take it?

USMLE is taken for admission to the Residency program (only Step 1 is taken).

USMLE Step 1 is a computer-based exam with a choice of proposed answers that tests the knowledge of subjects studied during the first two courses of a Medical University in the United States and most countries of the European Union. USMLE evaluates a physician’s ability to apply in practice the knowledge, concepts, and principles, as well as demonstrating basic patient care skills.

  •     350 questions/7 hours + 45-minute break
  • Average question size: from 60 to 70 words

The list of certified centers is available on Prometric website (https://www.prometric.com/).

What is an IFOM exam and who is required to take it?

The IFOM exam was developed by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) to assess students' knowledge of the basic and clinical disciplines, which are key disciplines to the implementation of the basic functions of a physician during patient care.

The exam includes 160 questions with several possible answers, most of which are presented in the style of clinical vignette to assess the ability of subjects not only to recall but also to apply basic knowledge of medical science in the following areas: Anatomy, Biochemistry, Histology, Cell biology, Microbiology, Organ systems, Pathology, Pharmacology and Physiology.

Where can I take the USMLE/IFOM exams?

IFOM can be taken at the Nazarbayev University School of Medicine. You can take the test in April and June 2021. All details can be found on www.nusom.nu.edu.kz/

USMLE can be taken abroad only. The detailed information can be found on www.usmle.org.

Who can be my referee?

People related to you in academic and professional fields can be your referees, such as your professors, academic advisers, teachers, deans, employers, colleagues, strategic partners, etc.

What is the procedure of submitting reference letters?

As soon as you press the “SUBMIT APPLICATION” button having completed the online application, a link will be automatically sent to referees’ email addresses provided in your application form. This link enables referees to submit reference letters through 2 options.

Option 1 – a referee sends the reference letter to Nazarbayev University from his/her corporate/institutional email address. Your referee should fill out the electronic reference form using the link that he/she received to the email address.

Option 2 – is used when the referee does not have a corporate/institutional email address. In this case the referee should prepare the letter on the letterhead of the organization that he/she represents, with the date and outgoing number of the letter. The letter then is scanned and uploaded through the link he/she received to the email address. Referees are given 5 working days to prepare the letter. 

In case my referee refuses to provide a reference letter, can I indicate another referee?

Yes, you can. In order to do so, you need to send a request to the respective email address of the Admissions Department and indicate all details of a new referee.

  • For applicants of Master’s programs offered by the Graduate School of Business - admissions.gsb@nu.edu.kz
  • For applicants of Master’s programs offered by the Graduate School of Education - admissions.gse@nu.edu.kz
  • For applicants of Master’s programs offered by the Graduate School of Public Policy - gspp_admissions@nu.edu.kz
  • For applicants of Master’s programs offered by the School of Engineering and Digital Sciences - admissions.seds@nu.edu.kz
  • For applicants of Master’s programs offered by the School of Medicine - admissions.nusom@nu.edu.kz
  • For applicants of Master’s programs offered by the School of Mining and Geosciences - admissions.smg@nu.edu.kz
  • For applicants of Master’s programs offered by the School of Sciences and Humanities - admissions.ssh@nu.edu.kz

For PhD applicants - phd_admissions@nu.edu.kz

How do I choose a research topic to enter a PhD program? How can I find out if there are research areas at the University that I want to study during my PhD program?

In order to determine your research area, please visit the website of the respective School, look through the faculty profiles and their research interests to understand what interests you the most out of the given research areas. Based on that, you can develop your own topic. Also, there are plenty of opportunities to attend online lectures and sessions of the School faculty, open house days held throughout the year, which will help you receive answers to your questions on how to prepare a strong research proposal.

Do you have any requirements for the content of the motivation letter?

There are no special requirements for the content of the letter. The entire content of the letter is your authentic project. There are many resources on the Internet that give recommendations on how to prepare a strong motivation letter. Some programs of Nazarbayev University have requirements for the length of the letter.

How can I confirm my work experience?

If work experience is an additional requirement for the program, you can provide your CV. However, if the work experience is a mandatory requirement, then you will need to submit official documents. In accordance with the Labor code of the Republic of Kazakhstan, any of the following documents can be provided as the confirmation of the work experience:

  • employment record;
  • employment contract with an employer's mark on the date and reason for its termination;
  • extracts from the acts of the employer confirming the start and termination of employment relations based on the conclusion and termination of the employment contract;
  • extracts from salary payment statements to employees;
  • records (list of information about the work of the employee), signed by the employer, duly stamped and notarized;
  • extracts from the unified pension savings Fund about mandatory pension contributions;
  • information from the State social insurance Fund on social contributions made;
  • archive certificate containing the information about an employee's employment history.
What Diploma is necessary to apply for Residency Programs?

Doctor of Medicine Diploma or an equivalent medical degree (the highest level of medical qualification providing the right to receive registration or certification to practice as an independent medical doctor in the country) is needed, obtained at a recognized university in accordance with the World Directory of Medical Schools.

Is basic medical education necessary to apply for the Master of Public Health program?

Basic medical education is not mandatory for the Master of Public Health program. However, applicants are expected to have high motivation and a strong interest in the program as outlined in a statement of purpose.

Terms and conditions for postgraduate students of Nazarbayev University

Will Master's and PhD students be provided with a dormitory?

The dormitory will be provided to Master’s and PhD students in priority sequence. The priority will be given to the students of the Foundation and undergraduate programs as well as international students.

What is the cost of living in a dormitory?

The living cost in the dormitory depends on the type of rooms:

A double occupancy room with 2 beds - 27 000 tenge per semester (Master’s students live 2 persons per room)

A single occupancy room with 1 bed - 80 000 tenge per semester (PhD students live 1 person per room)

Are students with families provided with rooms in a dormitory?

Married couples with kids might be provided with on-campus studios and/or one-room apartments, built for the University faculty, on a competitive basis.

The cost of these apartments is 67 000 tenge for a studio apartment and 98 000 tenge for one-room apartment plus utility expenses.

What is the amount of the monthly stipend for Masters` and PhD students?

125 000 tenge – for Master’s and NUZYP students

175 000 - for the students of the Doctor of Medicine program

150 000 tenge – for PhD students*

*PhD students can work as research assistants (RA) and graduate teaching assistants (GTA) with a monthly salary starting from $600 depending on the program.

Is the orientation week mandatory to attend?

Attendance of the orientation week is a mandatory requirement for your enrollment.

How many grants are allocated for Master’s programs?

669 state grants were allocated for Master’s programs in 2020. The number of state grants is determined by the Decree of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, which is published annually around May. Grants are distributed according to applicants’ ranking.

How many grants are allocated for PhD programs?

65 state grants were allocated for PhD programs in 2020. The number of state grants is determined by the Decree of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, which is published annually around May. Grants are distributed according to applicants’ ranking.

Are there any discounts offered to students admitted on a fee-paying basis?

The information on discounts (partial scholarship) can be received by contacting the Bursar’s Office at bursars_office@nu.edu.kz.

If I decide to withdraw after my enrollment to Nazarbayev University, will I need to reimburse any expenses?

In case of withdrawal, a student does not need to reimburse tuition expenses.