School and college shootings are rare in Russia which has strict gun laws, and it was not immediately clear what the shooter’s motive was.
Investigators said the student opened fire with a hunting rifle at the college, which is located in the city of Blagoveshchensk, around 3,500 miles (5,600 km) east of Moscow near Russia’s border with China.
He shot dead another 19-year-old male student, and three other students had been taken to hospital after receiving gunshot wounds, investigators said.
One of the wounded was in a serious condition and was being operated on, the RIA news agency reported.
Russia’s Investigative Committee opened a criminal case.
Vasily Orlov, the governor of the Amur Region, described the incident as a tragedy.
“I express my deep condolences to the relatives of the victims,” Orlov said in a statement on social media.
“We will give them all necessary assistance. And I promise that from our side we will make sure we investigate why such an incident was possible in an educational institution.”
In 2018, a teenager killed 19 people in another college shooting, in the Black Sea region of Crimea which Russia annexed from Ukraine, before also killing himself.
And in October, a Russian conscript shot dead eight fellow soldiers in Russia’s Far East.