Why our Faculty

Our Faculty is the first educational establishment in Russia to be based on the principles of liberal arts education. Students have the unique possibility to independently choose their personal educational path. During the process of instruction, students construct their academic career in accordance with their interests and plans for the future. As a result, our alumni become specialists who are nevertheless capable of adapting to different professional spheres and responding to any challenge of the day.

The Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Smolny College) is a completely novel academic institution in Russia. The curriculum is founded on the principles of liberal education, of which the most important may be the fact that students have the individual freedom and responsibility to decide an educational route for themselves.

These principles aren't just an empty declaration: the individual freedom and responsibility to decide an educational route for themselves—entire our educational system is directed towards achieving this goal.

Students at the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences attend small classes and form their academic plan independently. A broad selection of courses is offered in both academic and creative disciplines. The curriculum has been laid out to include a balanced combination of specialized and interdisciplinary courses, lectures on cutting-edge scientific theory, and practical courses of modern information technology.

If you’d like to study more than just a narrow specialization, receive a broad education in the arts and humanities, learn to think critically, and be able to adapt easily to the needs of contemporary society, then the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences is for you.

The following principles are the foundation of the Faculty's curriculum:

  • the combination of discipline-oriented and interdisciplinary programs
  • student's freedom to choose their own educational path—each student constructs an individual academic plan in accordance with his or her interests, the requirements of the chosen program of concentration and the curriculum as a whole
  • instruction in small groups (usually no larger than 15–20 people) with primary attention focused on the critical discussion of texts
  • the combination of a broad education and a the student's in-depth mastery of his or her chosen program of concentration
  • the combination of theoretical disciplines and practical training

There is a number of required disciplines for all the students of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, for example, are mandatory, and constitute the foundations of general humanities-related knowledge and skills. In the 1st year of study, the introductory seminar "Thinking and Writing" and the 1st year seminar "Introduction to the Humanities" are mandatory. In the 4th year, students attend the course "Logics and Methodology of the Humanities," which generalizes knowledge obtained during the period of study at the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences and helps to prepare them for the general-theoretical part of the state examination.

The foreign language program at the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences provides an opportunity to attend the courses of English, German, French, Italian and Arabic languages. Mandatory study of a foreign language at the 1st year is a part of the curriculum for all the students. At the 2nd–4th years the students have an opportunity to continue studying a language chosen at the 1st year or to study another language. Language instruction is based on original programs applying authentic education materials and modern technical devices in the specially equipped rooms. The classes are held in small groups, and students are distributed among groups according to the test results. The Concept of European Language Portfolio and academic standards, put forth by this document, constitutes the basis of the foreign language program.

Student exchange programs and international research projects are an essential part of contemporary university education and academics. The Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences was initially designed as an international educational project and it has been actively cooperating with many foreign universities, research and cultural institutions and organizations since its foundation.

The number of students who enroll in the Faculty from other countries is growing every year as well as the number of students participating in the academic exchange programs with our partner universities. Foreign researchers and experts, scholars and businessmen participate in the Faculty's numerous events and activities—international conferences, regular seminars, roundtables, and presentations.

There are student exchange programs based on bilateral agreements between SPbU and foreign universities. These programs are open to students from all of the University's faculties and departments. The University also provides students with the opportunity to participate in major international student exchanges such as Campus Europae, Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window, FIRST, Santander Universities, and other regional programs. For more information on student exchange opportunities contact Student Mobility Office: Ekaterina Borisova (58–60 Galernaya Street, room 340); e-mail: e.b.borisova@spbu.ru; tel.: 7 (812) 324–07–72.

Graduates of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Smolny College) receive a Bachelor degree from both St. Petersburg University and Bard College (New York, USA). The St. Petersburg University diploma confers the qualification of "Bachelor" and the Bard College diploma "Bachelor of Arts."

In order to receive a diploma indicating graduation from the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences a student must complete the following requirements:

  • study at the Faculty for no less than two years, allowing for the  transfer of no more than 60 credits (or 120 ECTS credits received in a another institution of higher education)
  • completion of requirements of both the program of concentration (majors) and the overall curriculum