Have you ever heard of Kazakhstan? Can you think about any facts about this country? Well, we understand if you can’t. Although Kazakhstan is unknown for many people in the Western world, this nation has become one of the most prosperous in Central Asia. Since their independence, not only its economy has improved, but they have made the transition into a better education system, in which their universities are moving into a system that is more similar to Western tertiary education.

Kazakhstan is one of the biggest countries in the world (the 9th biggest!) and was part of the USSR for a long time. They actually only declared their independence less than 30 years ago, in 1991. Since then, the government has made important attempts to improve the economy of the country.

A part of these changes includes the education system, which is similar to the Russian system but has slowly adopted Western characteristics so they can comply with international standards.

This land, full of diverse landscapes, extreme temperatures (from -35ºC to 40*C), a rich history, multiple ethnicities, and fairly traditional culture, has lots of interesting elements to offer to international students. They will experience a whole different world. In this article, we will go over cheap universities in Kazakhstan.

How different are universities in Kazakhstan?

The majority of the universities in Kazakhstan are similar to Russian ones. This means that programs and activities are mainly focused on teaching instead of research.

Bachelor’s degree programs typically last for four years, but there’s an alternative to them, which are specialist degree programs. These last for five years but are more intensive and more specialized than bachelor’s. Master’s degree programs last for two years and are similar to Western masters. Lastly, doctoral degree programs last for five years.

There are a few international universities that have a Western education system. Some of these universities were built in cooperation with the U.S. or the U.K. There, they don’t only have a Western system of education but also adopted English as the language of instruction for all programs.

Kazakhstan also has colleges, but these are not accredited to grant undergraduate or graduate degrees. These are mainly vocational.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

How is the admissions process at Kazakh universities?

Besides submitting the required documents and having a high school leaving certificate, there’s a Unified National Testing Exam, which is used for university admissions. Each individual faculty may have additional exams, especially those in the areas of science and technology.

Can I study English at Kazakh universities?

Along with Russian, Kazakh is the official language of this country. Therefore, most programs are taught in these two languages.

At bigger universities and at international universities, there are programs completely taught in English. We suggest learning at least the basic elements of Russian or Kazakh even you choose a program in English. This way you will communicate better outside the classroom, especially in smaller cities, where finding English speakers can be a little bit hard.


How affordable are Kazakh universities?

Tuition fees in Kazakhstan aren’t the cheapest in the region but are definitely on the affordable side because of cheap universities in Kazakhstan.

In the case of undergraduate fees, you should expect to pay between 2,000 USD and 5,000 USD per year. Graduate and postgraduate programs tend to be more expensive depending on the area, costing up to 9,000 USD per year.


Will I have to make a big budget for living costs in Kazakhstan?

Living in Kazakhstan is also very affordable. Their official currency is the Kazakhstani Tenge (KZT). As of 2019, 10,000 KZT is around 26 USD.

Renting a one-bedroom apartment would cost between 70,000 KZT (180 approx.) and 125,000 KZT (325 USD approx.) depending on the area.  Modern and technologically advanced cities like Nur-Sultan (previously called Astana) are much more expensive than small and traditional cities.

If you use public transportation daily, you should budget around 25 USD per month. Eating out is also affordable. Going to a local restaurant can cost around 8 USD for one person and eating at a mid-range restaurant can cost about 25 USD for two people.


Cheap Universities in Kazakhstan

1. Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (KazNU)

The Al-Farabi Kazakh University (KazNU) is one of the oldest and biggest institutions in the country. It is also the best-ranked university, with 207th place in the 2020 QS World University Ranking and between the 801st and 1000th place in the Times Higher Education World University Ranking.

With more than 20,000 students, this cheap university in Kazakhstan has 16 faculties and schools. These are journalism, history, political science and philosophy, mechanics and mathematics, biology, philology, oriental studies, medicine,  international relations, foreign studies, physics, chemistry, and informational technology. Check the programs available here.

Admissions include an entrance exam and proving your language proficiency. The content of the exam will depend on the program you chose. Programs are available in French, English, and German, so make sure that the program you want is available in a language you can speak. Click here to learn more about the requirements and the process. They have a lot of additional information in their admissions section.

Regarding tuition fees, undergraduate degree programs cost 3,700 USD per year; master degree programs cost 6,143 USD per year; and doctorate degree programs cost 7,340 USD per year. In case you choose to study in Russian and Kazakh, they have language preparatory courses that cost 1,664 USD. Lastly, they have 16 buildings of student residences. Getting a room there costs between 250 and 450 USD per academic year.


2. L. N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University (ENU)

The L. N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University (ENU) was opened in 1996 after two institutes of pedagogy and engineering were merged together. It is ranked the 418th best university according to the QS World University Ranking and among the top 1000 universities in the Times Higher Education World University Ranking.

This cheap university in Kazakhstan is comprised of 13 schools that offer 65 undergraduate programs, 68 master programs, and 38 doctorate programs. It also has almost 30 research centers, institutes, and laboratories, and two museums.

To learn how to apply and the application requirements, check the admissions section and download their brochure. The process includes an entrance exam and an English test. Many of their programs are completely taught in English, especially for the bachelor’s and master’s degrees.  

Tuition fees depend on the program and on the year of studies. These go from 858,000 KZT (2,200 USD approx.) to 946,000 KZT (around 2,430 USD) for the first year of undergraduate programs.  


3. Satbayev Kazakh National Technical University

The next on our list of cheapest universities in Kazakhstan is the Satbayev Kazakh National Technical University, which was established in 1934 after the government decided that education in the technological field had to be a priority. It is ranked between the 561st and 570th best universities according to the 2020 QS World University Ranking.

Bachelor’s degree programs are available in the areas of geography, chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, architecture, and design. Some of them are fully taught in English.

It has 110 institutes and 9 laboratories and research and educational centers. It also has student residences with 4,000 places and is partnered with 450 companies to provide internships and employment to students.

Admissions include an entrance exam and the submission of a series of documents. Certain majors like design and architecture have a second exam that focuses on how creative the prospective student is.

Additionally, 2,000 grants are given to first-year students once admitted students are chosen. In fact, out of the 7,054 students of the university, 6,168 have received grants.

To get more information about programs and tuition fees, contact them through a phone call or via email.


4. Kazakh National Agrarian University (KazNAU)

Founded 90 years ago, in 1929, the Kazakh National Agrarian University (KazKAU) is a research university in the industry of agriculture. It is ranked among the 651st and 700th best universities in the 2020 QS World University Ranking.

Their programs divide into six main fields: agro-biology, veterinary science, engineering, bio-resources and technology, forest, land resources and phytosanitary, and hydro-technics, melioration, and business.

It has student residences with 2,500 places. You must apply to get a room once you are admitted.

KazNAU offers 41 undergraduate programs, 39 master programs, and 16 doctorate programs. It also has more than 40 research institutes and laboratories and innovation centers.

Visit the admissions section to learn more about the process and contact the admissions committee to get details about tuition fees.


5. Kazakh-British Technical University (KBTU)

Established less than 20 years ago, the Kazakh-British Technical University (KBTU) is a modern university that focuses on research. It specializes in the areas of telecommunications, information technology, oil and gas, banking and finance, and business administration.

This cheap university in Kazakhstan ranked between the 751st and 800th best universities in the QS World University Ranking.

KBTU has four faculties of oil and gas industry, geology and exploration, information technology, and chemical engineering. It also has three schools of business, economics, and applied mathematics, and a maritime academy.

They offer 17 bachelor’s degree programs, 14 master’s degree programs, and 11 doctorate degree programs. All of them are completely taught in English and are accredited internationally. In case you are interested in dual-degree programs, they are affiliated with four universities in the U.K, France, and Switzerland to offer them.

Applications are done online. The admissions process includes an entrance exam that focuses on mathematics and a language proficiency test. They also accept IELTS language proficiency certificates. Click here to get more information and here to see the programs that are open for international students.

Tuition fees go from 4,000 USD to 8,000 USD depending on the program. Student residences have 671 places available and rent per month varies from 35 to 53 USD depending on the type of room you choose.


6. E. A. Buketov Karaganda State University (KSU)

The E. A. Buketov Karaganda State University (KSU) was founded almost 50 years, in 1972, which makes it one of the first ones in the country. This university has also got a place in the international rankings. It ranked among the 801st and 1000th best universities in the 2020 QS World University Ranking.

It has 12 faculties of mathematics and information technology, physical education and sports, physics and technology, philosophy and psychology, biology and geography, economics, law, history, pedagogy, philology, chemistry, and foreign languages.

They offer 85 bachelor’s degree programs, 53 master’s degree programs, and 12 doctorate degree programs. It also has 12 research institutes and laboratories.

If you’d like to study here, visit their admissions sections. There they have information about the requirements, programs, scholarships, entrance exams, and much more. Student residences are also available, with 2,200 places.


7. Kazakh Ablai Khan University of International Relations and World Languages 

The Kazakh Ablai Khan University of International Relations and World Languages started educating students in 1941 and specialize in the areas of languages, education, translation, and international relations.

It has six faculties of foreign languages, international relations, management, and international communications, economics and law, Asian studies, and translation and philology.

The admissions process includes an entrance exam called the Complex Test. This exam includes four subjects which are mathematics, history, Russian or Kazakh language, and one elective. Visit the admissions section to learn how to apply and get additional information depending on the level of studies you’d like to pursue at this cheap university in Kazakhstan.

Tuition fees for undergraduate programs go from 450,000 KZT (1,200 USD approx.) to 650,000 KZT (1,700 USD approx.). In case you need financial aid, they give a number of scholarships to international students each year: 25 for bachelor degree programs, 125 for master degree programs, and 10 for doctorate degree programs.


8. Almaty Management University (AlmaU)

Our last candidate in our list of cheapest universities in Kazakhstan for international students is AlmaU. Founded in 1988, the Almaty Management University (AlmaU) specializes in business administration and management education.

It has three undergraduate schools of public policy and law, entrepreneurship and innovation, and engineering management. Along with these, it has to graduate schools of business and management. Programs are taught in English, Kazakh, and Russian.

The admission process only consists of submitting documents and having an interview. Student residences with 215 places are available. Rent per month is 30,000 KZT (around 80 USD). Contact them to get more information about tuition fees and programs.


I hope that this article on cheap universities in Kazakhstan was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs for International Students!