A guide to the New East




Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, St Petersburg State University


The Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Smolny College) is the first department in Russia to be founded upon the principles of liberal education. A joint partnership of St Petersburg State University (SPSU) and Bard College, the department has a multidisciplinary curriculum and a diverse, highly trained faculty that serve a student body of approximately 500. Most classes are small, affording students individualized instruction and the opportunity to work closely with professors. The principle language of instruction is Russian, with a substantial number of courses taught in English each semester. Many of the College’s faculty members have earned PhDs at American or western European universities.

Smolny College offers Russian-speaking students the opportunity to construct their own curriculum. Students are encouraged to develop their minds freely and to think critically. Courses are offered in 14 ВА major and 6 masters’ programs encompassing a wide variety of disciplines in the arts, humanities,and sciences. Students develop a broad general knowledge along with specific skills in research and expression.

Smolny College places particular emphasis on constructing an individual academic plan in accordance with students’ interests, the requirements of the chosen program of concentration, and the curriculum as a whole, combining discipline-oriented and interdisciplinary programs and utilising a mixture of theoretical and practical training. Instruction takes place in small groups (no larger than 15–20 students) and focuses focusing on the critical discussion of texts. Graduates receive two diplomas — a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bard College and a Bachelor of Arts and Humanities from St Petersburg State University.

About 50% of Smolny College students are from outside of the St. Petersburg region. There is also a large presence of students from former Soviet republics such as Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine, as well as visiting and matriculated students from the United States, Europe and Asia.

Students of Smolny College have various academic mobility programs available to them, including summer and semester study at Bard College, and exchanges with universities in Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Poland, and Estonia among others.

Smolny College is housed in the Bobrinsky Palace, an important architectural monument in the heart of St Petersburg, Russia’s second capital, a vibrant modern European city, with breathtaking historic architecture and an internationally renowned cultural scene.