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The Institute for International Liberal Education

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Smolny College (Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences)

Website: http://artesliberales.spbu.ru/about-en

Smolny College (Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences)

What is Smolny?

The Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences of St. Petersburg State University (Smolny College) is Russia's first liberal arts institution, and it is the only college in Russia to offer visiting North American students a broad range of courses along with a unique, nine-credit Russian as a Second Language program (RSL). The Bard-Smolny program is not a traditional study abroad program; it is an opportunity for visiting students to directly enroll in a college with a rich curriculum.

About the Bard-Smolny Program

Designed to meet the demands of those who have completed two years of college-level Russian or more (including heritage speakers), the Bard-Smolny Program in St. Petersburg offers a rich academic environment for students from North American colleges and universities who wish to study in Russia for a semester or full academic year.
The Bard-Smolny program enables students to advance their language skills through a comprehensive Russian as a Second Language (RSL) program and through direct enrollment in Smolny's academic courses, the majority of which are taught in Russian. Bard-Smolny students have the unique opportunity to sit alongside Russian students in academic courses that meet requirements for their B.A. degree. 

The long-standing partnership between St. Petersburg State University and Bard College offers students innumerable opportunities for meaningful cross-cultural exchange. Beyond coursework, students from North American institutions join Russian students in the College's clubs and organizations and engage with the local St. Petersburg community through volunteer and internship opportunities. Students are challenged academically, linguistically, and culturally in our rigorous and rewarding program.

Click here to view the most recent Bard-Smolny Program Brochure

About Smolny College

Located in St. Petersburg, Russia, the new Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences of St. Petersburg State University (Smolny College) is the leading liberal education program in Russia.  Founded in 1997, it is a young program created by two institutions that have long and venerable histories.

Smolny has a multidisciplinary curriculum and a diverse, highly trained faculty that serve a student body of approximately 450. Most classes are small seminars, affording students individualized instruction and the opportunity to work closely with professors.

Russian students enrolled at Smolny College belong to a diverse and motivated group.  More than 65% of Smolny students are from outside of the St. Petersburg region. There is also a large presence of students from formerly Soviet republics and countries such as Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

Smolny College is unique in offering young Russians - as well as exchange students from around the world - an opportunity to construct their own curriculum. Students are encouraged to develop their minds freely, to think critically, and to love the arts. Courses are offered in 12 major and six minor programs encompassing a wide variety of disciplines in the arts and humanities. Students are expected to develop broad knowledge along with specific skills in research and expression.

For more detailed information about Smolny College, visit http://artesliberales.spbu.ru/about-en.

Smolny's History

The Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences of St. Petersburg State University is the first Faculty in Russia to be founded on the principles of liberal education. The partnership between Bard College and Saint Petersburg State University began with an exchange program. Then, In the 1980s, a group of creatively minded scholars from Saint Petersburg State University began collaborating with representatives of Bard College. The Russian scholars' interest in reforming the social sciences and humanities coincided with Bard's interest in curricular innovation and new forms of international education.

Their combined efforts resulted in the establishment of the University’s Smolny Center. In fall 1997, the center announced a program of courses that were attended by a considerable number of students and professors. In view of the interest in liberal education, the center was transformed into the “Arts and Humanities” Program (Smolny College of Liberal Arts and Sciences), and accepted its first class in 1999.

In 2000, Smolny College  received accreditation from the Russian Ministry of Education as an experimental B.A. program within St. Petersburg State University, and in 2003, the first cohort of students graduated. In 2005, the program was awarded full accreditation, and Bard agreed to grant its B.A. degree to Smolny students who successfully completed the four-year curriculum. Thus, Smolny graduates simultaneously earn B.A. in Liberal Arts and Sciences from Bard College, and a B.A. in Arts and Humanities from St. Petersburg State University.

On February 28, 2011, the Academic Council of Saint Petersburg State University voted to create the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

About Saint Petersburg State University

Founded by Peter the Great in 1724, Saint Petersburg State University (also referred to as SPbGU) is one of Russia’s oldest universities. It boasts an impressive history, having been led throughout by eminent scholars of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including Mikhail Lomonosov and Dmitri Mendeleev. After a number of significant transformations more recent times, the university is one of the leading institutions of higher education in Russia today. With 24 faculties and research institutes, over 25,000 students from countries all over the world, and nearly 5,000 professors, lecturers, and researchers, Saint Petersburg State University is a major Russian centre of science, education, and culture. A number of important universities in Europe, America, and Asia have maintained an academic exchange with St. Petersburg State University. Eight graduates of the University went on to become Nobel Prize laureates, among them Ivan Pavlov and the poet Joseph Brodsky.

Since 1838, the University has been renowned for its landmark location, the “Twelve Colleges” building on Vasilievsky Island, which was once the longest continuous façade in Europe. The building, designed by the Italian architect Trezzini, remains an emblem of the University.

Institute for International Liberal Education
Bard College, Jim and Mary Ottaway Gatehouse, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504
Tel.: 845-758-7835, Fax: 845-758-7040, E-mail: iile@bard.edu