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International relations of Sumy State University have been developing during its existence and became more systematic since 1991, when the Department for Work with Foreign Citizens was opened on the basis of the Preparatory Department for Foreign Citizens. The first foreign students that came to study at Sumy State University were citizens from Palestine, Syria and Jordan.

In April 2009, the Faculty for work with foreign citizens was reorganized into the Department of International Education.

Today about 1,400 foreign students including 290 full-time students from neighboring countries study at Sumy State University. At the present time, international students from more than 52 countries study at Sumy State University, in particular from Europe (UK, Norway, Romania, Poland), South America (Ecuador, Brazil), Asia (Turkey, Afghanistan, Bahrain, India, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, China, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mongolia, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Bangladesh, Israel), Africa (Burkina Faso, Ghana, DR Congo, Egypt, Zambia, Cameroon, Kenya, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia), the CIS (Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russian Federation, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan).

Today the university has launched the English-language projects in the specialties: "General Medicine", "Management of Organizations and Administration", "Informatics", "Marketing", "Physical and Biomedical Electronics", "Information Technologies of Design", "Economics of Environment and Natural Resources" (Master Programme), "Economics of Enterprise" (Master Programme), "Business Administration” (Master Programme). The total number of foreign students studying in English is about 600 people.

In July 2009, SSU Medical Institute entered the list of the higher education institutions of the World Health Organization Database (Avicenna Directories).

All specialties of the Faculty of Economics and Management are certificated by International Education Society Ltd (Great Britain). International certificate gives an opportunity to come up to better results in job searching at the international and native job markets, as well as to provide employers with relevant information, which is usually not included into appropriate certificates.

International students take an active part in academic competitions, are engaged into scientific work, make reports at the scientific and practical conferences of the University and other higher education establishments of Ukraine, publish their works in scientific journals. Foreign citizens, if desired, can continue their studies in post-graduate programmes (doctorate programme).

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