On May 28, 1878, Emperor Alexander II signed a decree on the establishment of the first and only higher education institution in the vast expanses from the Russian Urals to the Pacific Ocean – the Siberian Imperial University in Tomsk.

The idea of opening the first university in Siberia occurred to the best minds of Russia back in 1803, but only at the end of the 19th century did it begin to take shape.

Seven major cities in Siberia reasonably requested the honor of founding  a university. Tomsk won.


On 28 (16) May, 1878, Emperor Alexander II approved the decision of the State Council of  the Russian Empire on the establishment of the Imperial University in Tomsk, Siberia. This day ended the 75-year-old epic struggle for the foundation of a university in Tomsk and began the history of the building, opening and further development of Tomsk State University – the ninth in Russia and the first higher education institution in Siberia. 

The first classes for the first 72 students began on September 1, 1888. Classes were given by eight professors, aided by seven assistants and laboratory technicians. Professor Nikolai Gezekhus was appointed the first rector of the University.

It is important to note that the main library, meeting rooms, museums, botanical garden with a greenhouse and herbarium had been formed at the time of construction of the university.  

Professor V.M. Florinsky, in his speech at the openinghistory%201907[1].jpg
ceremony of the University said: “We would love to
see our teachers and scientists inspired by love for
the country, serving with equal fervor educational
and research purposes, showing greater academic independence at their classes and creating their own schools. Only the combining of the educational and research activities in our university will bring it to the height of its calling, and in spite of the direct utilitarian purposes it will bring forth the fruits of higher education.”

The university has been following these principles during all the stages of its development. Preparation of a research, educational and administrative elite based on the integration of the educational process and fundamental research has always been the strategic focus of Tomsk State University.

Professors gallery of Tomsk State University


Today, the alumni and staff of Tomsk State University lead many universities, academic institutions, research and industrial organizations in Russia, and occupy important government posts.
The Imperial, now Tomsk State University, has had a decisive influence on the formation of science, education and culture in the Asian part of Russia and is considered one of the nation’s leading universities.
Over the years, the university has produced more than 120,000 professionals, and it is hard to find a university or institution in Siberia, which has not worked with the graduates of Tomsk State University: they lead institutes and departments, laboratories and innovative companies. They become successful and extraordinary business leaders and employers offering work to future graduates of Tomsk State University.
The University actively cooperates with companies in various industries, developing training and re-training focused on the specific customer. Nowadays more than 750 companies and organizations are partners of the university, including major companies such as Gazprom Space Systems, the Siberian Chemical Factory, Gazprombank, Sberbank and others. Work-oriented education, combined with thorough preparation enables the graduates of TSU to be easily integrated into the production process, quickly adapt and offer their own engineering solutions.

  • By presidential decree, Tomsk State University is included in the State list of the most valuable objects of cultural heritage of the peoples of the Russian Federation.
  • 3rd place among Russian universities in the world ranking Webometrics after Moscow State University and St. Petersburg State University.
  • 6th place in the world ranking of Russian participants by Times Higher Education TOP-500.
  • 7th place in the national ranking of Interfax and Echo of Moscow.
  • In 2006, Tomsk State University became a member of the European University Association (EUA).

TSU is a territory of innovation

TSU is one of the first Russian higher education institutions that chose the path of innovative history[1].jpgactivity. Since opening its first innovation centre for Siberian higher education institutions in 1993 and participation in the establishment of the very first Technology Park, the university has continued its development in this direction. In 2010, TSU deservedly won “national research” status. Significant victories in Russian government competitions for the right to receive state funding for the development of innovation infrastructure, the implementation of three integrated projects to build high-technology production and to attract leading scientists to the university have only confirmed the high status of TSU as an innovation-active university. The best laboratories, equipped with the most modern equipment, world-renowned scientists who conduct research at the University and in cooperation with university teams, a belt of 30 small innovative enterprises. The launch of the first Russian import-substituting enterprise for the production of glyoxal was based on TSU scientists’ research in 2009.

history%204[1].jpg  Innovations in TSU develop on a high-tech
  base: education, research and innovation
  centres (48 research and educational centres,
  12 centres for collective use, the
  Inter-University Centre for Technical
  Innovation Zone Staff Training, etc.), the
  supercomputer SKIF Cyberia (62 TFlops),
  a  powerful transceiver and transmitting
  satellite communication station (Teleport), etc.

TSU’s opportunities in scientific and educational spheres attract partners from all over the globe. The University is firmly integrated into the global educational environment through the implementation of joint training and research programmes with leading universities and research centres in the world, because of the implementation of projects in the most prestigious grants from the largest funds and participation in TEMPUS TACIS international programmes (17 projects), etc.

Tomsk State University is based on a solid foundation of mutual penetration of the scientific and educational process, created during the years of its operation. The unique advantage of the university is the harmonious development of the whole range of humanitarian, physical, mathematical and natural sciences, which allows for expanding interdisciplinary research and the seeking of synergies in solving the most complex of theoretical and applied problems of modern economic and public life.



The establishment by decree of Emperor Alexander II of the Siberian Imperial University in Tomsk, the first university in Siberia.


Opening of Imperial Tomsk University, and the first enrollment of students conducted at the single, Medical Faculty.


 Opening of the Faculty of Law. 


Opening of the Physics and Mathematics Faculty and the History and Philology Faculties



Creation of the Siberian Physical and Technical Institute, the first major physics research center in Siberia.


 Awarding of the Order of the Red Banner of Labor to Tomsk State University for its merits in the development of science and training.


Opening of the Research Institute of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics and the Research Institute of Biology and Biophysics.


 Awarding of the Order of the October Revolution to TSU for its great contributions in training highly qualified specialists for the national economy, the development of science, and in connection with the 100th anniversary of the founding.


The inclusion of TSU in the State Code of Particularly Valuable Objects of Cultural Heritage of the Peoples of the Russian Federation.



Receiving from National Quality Assurance a certificate of TSU’s compliance with the Quality Management System to international standard ISO 9001: 2000


Acceptance into the European University Association (EUA).

Inclusion in the list of 17 universities that were winners of the first All-Russian Competition of Innovative Educational Programmes. Significant acceleration of its development as a university of the research type – a leading regional educational, scientific and innovative complex that is integrated into the real economy, the service sector, and society, as a result of the successful implementation of its innovative educational program (2006-2007)


The designation of Tomsk State University as a National Research University.


Renaming into the Federal State Educational Institution of Higher Professional Education as National Research Tomsk State University.


Start of the implementation of the Programme to Improve the Competitiveness of the University.