St. Petersburg State University

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  • University Embankment, 7/9, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 199034

Welcome to St. Petersburg State University

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St. Petersburg State University

Information about St. Petersburg State University

For more than 290 years, St. Petersburg University has been committed to advancing science, generating knowledge and training outstanding professionals. The University is rich in history – it dates back to 1724, when Peter the Great founded the Academy of Sciences and Arts as well as the first Academic University in Russia.

The famous SPbU alumni are a source of pride and dignity, which inspires us to excel and maximise our potential in research and education. Among our alumni and staff, there is an extraordinary number of world-famous people, in particular, Nobel Prize winners: physiologist Ivan Pavlov, biologist Ilya Mechnikov, physical chemist Nikolay Semyonov, physicists Lev Landau and Aleksandr Prokhorov, philosopher and economist Leonid Kantorovich. SPbU is also an alma mater for outstanding researchers, scholars, academics, political and social leaders: Dmitry Mendeleev, Vladimir Vernadsky, and Dmitry Likhachev to name but a few. The world owes our University most prominent cultural leaders, writers and artists: Ivan Turgenev, Pavel Bryullov, Alexander Blok, Alexander Benois, Sergei Diaghilev and Igor Stravinsky. Among the University alumni, we are also proud to mention the leaders of the Russian Government: Boris Stürmer, Alexander Kerensky, Vladimir Lenin, Presidents of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev.

Today, three centuries after it was established, SPbU is striving, as before, to lead research and education on a national and global scale. By bringing together traditions and innovations, St. Petersburg University sets the pace for development of science, education and culture in Russia and across the world.

SPbU fully equips its students and staff for the best of the diverse range of opportunities for education, research and personal development: the richest Research Library named after M. Gorky, a state-of-the-art Research Park, laboratories headed by leading scientists, museums, a publishing house, sports clubs, a University choir, orchestras, drama and dance studios and so on.

In November 2009, President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev signed a law granting St. Petersburg University and Moscow State University the special status of ‘unique scientific and educational complexes, the oldest institutions of higher education in Russia being of great importance to the development of the Russian society’. SPbU was granted a privilege to set its own educational standards and award its own diplomas.

Discover the first Russian University now.

Welcome to SPbU!

Yours respectfully,
SPbU Rector
Nikolay Kropachev

Founded in 1724 by Peter the Great, Saint Petersburg University was to become the first institution of higher education in Russia. SPbU is a leading Russian university with teaching and research excellence ranked among the world’s top universities. We are open to cooperation and enjoy strong ties with the international research and academic community. SPbU scientists work in almost all fields of knowledge, providing expertise and consultation in close collaboration with Russian and international partners. Many outstanding scholars have been a part of the SPbU community, including nine Nobel Prize winners: the physiologist Ivan Pavlov, biologist Ilya Mechnikov, physicist and chemist Nikolay Semyonov, physicists Lev Landau and Aleksandr Prokhorov, philosopher and economist Wassily Leontief as well as mathematician and economist Leonid Kantorovich.

Among University alumni are the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, Prime-Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Director of the Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovskiy, President of the Russian Academy of Education Liudmila Verbitskaya, mathematicians Grigoriy Perelman and Sergey Smirnov as well as many others.

St. Petersburg University Today

  • 30,000 students
  • 6,000 staff members
  • 106 undergraduate programmes
  • 165 master programmes and areas of specialization
  • 263 doctoral degree programmes
  • 28 clinical residency programmes
  • international students from over 70 countries
  • over 3 000 international students on degree and non-degree programmes
  • more then 400 partner universities
  • the best university Research Park in Russia
  • 6,800,000 books in the collection of the University Research Library
  • diploma issued in Russian and English
  • 12,800 places in the halls of residence

 Education Benefits

  • active student participation in the educational process;
  • the best realization of a student’s individual potential;
  • ECTS – European Credit Transfer System;
  • academic disciplines are designed according to the modular principle;
  • student exchange programmes with partner universities
  • internships and work placements at leading Russian and international companies;
  • access to unique research facilities, technology and full-text electronic databases;
  • modern educational technologies;
  • state-of-the-art research equipment;
  • state scholarships for the best selected international applicants (free tuition and discounted accommodation);
  • opportunity to master Russian at the Institute of the Russian Language and Culture.

Core courses:

•             Area Studies Through Language

•             Peoples of Russia

•             Russian Culture and Art

•             Nature and Society in the History of Russia

•             Geography of Russia

•             History of Russia: Events and People

•             History of St Petersburg

•             History of Russian Literature

•             Mass Media Language

•             Spoken Russian


Internships at:

•             The Hermitage

•             State Museum of the History of St Petersburg

•             Russian Museum

•             Library of the Russian Academy of Sciences

•             Russian State Historical Archive

•             SPbU Research Library named after M. Gorky

Admission procedure into St. Petersburg State University

International applicants can apply for a main educational bachelor/master/specialist /medical residency/doctoral degree programmes on a fee-paying basis.

Non-Russian citizens may also apply for the Government Scholarship of the Russian Federation that fully covers the tuition fees, provides an academic scholarship and reduced dormitory fees.

Applying for Russian Government Scholarship

  1. Create a Personal Account
  2. Fill in an Application Form in your Personal Account
  3. Fill in a Scholarship Application Form
    Remember to upload your photograph along with the signed Scholarship Application Form.
  4. Create and Upload a Portfolio to your Personal Account
    An Applicant’s Portfolio includes a set of required documents, an essay on a given topic and a motivation letter.
    Required documents are listed on the official SPbU website:
    Essay topics:

    • for Bachelor & Specialist degree programmes
    • for Master degree programmes
  5. Applicants who have successfully passed the competition are recommended for the Russian Government Scholarship.

Applying on Fee-paying Basis

  1. Create a Personal Account
  2. Fill in an Application Form in your Personal Account
  3. Upload the required application documents to your Personal Account
    Required documents are listed on the official SPbU website
    You may also submit your application in person.
  4. Admission tests
    Tests are designed to evaluate your creative (professional) skills and/or knowledge. The tests are either written or oral; some educational programmes require portfolios with an essay and a motivation letter.
    All admission tests are held in Russian except for programmes taught in a foreign language.
    List and Types of 2017 Admission Tests:

    • for Bachelor & Specialist degree programmes.
    • for Master degree programmes.
      Please note that titles of admission tests are active links to the list of requirements, recommended literature, and, in some cases, sample tests.

In 2017 admission tests are held:

June 15 – 30;

July 13 – 22;

August 03 – 17.

Applicants enrolling in a programme taught in Russian are required to provide a test of Russian as a Foreign Language:

for Bachelor & Specialist degree courses – TORFL 1 (oral and written examination)

for Master courses – TORFL 2 (oral and written examination)

for PhD courses – TORFL 2/3 depending on the field of research

You do not have to provide evidence of Russian language proficiency if your educational certificates/diplomas are issued in Russian.


  1. If you have successfully completed the application process, sign the Agreement on Education.


Deadlines for Applications in 2017

For applicants enrolling in government-funded places:

February 1 – June 15

For applicants on fee-paying basis:

April 01 – August 10: for applicants not requiring an entry visa

April 01 – July 08: for applicants requiring an entry visa

Please note that all applicants are required to create their Personal Account.

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