The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology was originally established on November 25, 1946 after a new school, known as the Department of Physics and Technology, was founded within Moscow State University (MSU).
This Department, which became known as PhysTech, was independent of MSU and was founded on a different set of principles to the established Soviet higher education system. These principles – which became known as the Phystech System and are still used today – are based on a highly competitive and selective admissions along with an individualised approach to teaching, so that students avoid being overburdened with unnecessary subjects and are instead educated in the country’s finest laboratories by leading scientists.
It quickly began to develop an enviable status as a leader in the fields of science and technology, which caused friction with the established higher education system and, following accusations of elitism, the PhysTech department at MSU was shut down in the summer of 1951.
However, influential supporters of PhysTech were quick to secure Stalin’s approval to reinstate the department as an independent institution and on September 17, 1951 PhysTech was re-established as the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT).
Today the main MIPT campus is situated in the north Moscow suburb of Dolgoprudny and is home to the vast majority of the university’s 12 departments, which cover a number of fields in applied and fundamental science. The only separate department is the Aeromechanics Department which is located in Zukovsky, a south-eastern Moscow suburb.
The desire to educate students alongside leaders in their respective fields means that many MIPT professors are accomplished scientists, and a number of former professors have been awarded Nobel Prizes. PhysTech alumni – known as phystechs – are a closely connected community and many hold faculty positions in the world’s top educational institutions.