Phystech's unique educational approach was built into the Russian educational system by its founding fathers . The main objective was to provide future specialists with a broad and deep fundamental education during for the first two or three years and then assign them to the leading research institutions of Moscow to work on diploma projects. Such institutes were named 'base institutes, and the educational system itself was called the 'System of Bases'. The list of Phystech's Base Institutes is very long and includes, among others, the Institute of Space Research, the Institute of Problems of Medicine and Biology, the Computer Science Center of Academy of Science, the Institute of High-Energy Physics and the Center for Nuclear Research in Dubna. Each of them becomes a home for a few student groups of 5 to 15 people each. Some students join the research teams at the base institutes after their graduation. The standard six-year program of study includes a four-year Bachelor of Science program and then a two-year Master of Science program. Students must complete the full six-year education cycle to qualify for the State Diploma of Engineer in Applied Physics and Mathematics in their respective specialties. We do not measure the number of credit hours in our practice.
However, the coursework at MIPT matches or exceeds that at the world's leading institutions of the same scientific orientation. During the first three years the students attend the required classes full-time from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. or even 8:00 p.m. with one 105-minute break, five days a week. Later, students begin to participate in research projects, which take from 20 percent of their time in the fourth year to up to 100 percent of the time in the sixth year. The research counts towards both course work and full-time work for the diploma project in the sixth year. Every student takes at least 10 courses each year during the first three years of study. Phystech runs a number of important programs for advanced high school students. These include numerous olympiads in Physics and Mathematics and a Distance Learning School which has been in existence for 30 years.