St. Petersburg (State) University (SPbU) is a leading classical university in Russia, one of the two universities in the country, which have the right to develop and implement their own educational standards. Throughout the years, the university became an alma mater for Lev Landau, Alexander Blok, Nikolai Gogol, Nicholas Roerich and many other scientists, writers, and statesmen. Two Presidents of the Russian Federation graduated from St. Petersburg University: Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev.

Saint Petersburg, Russia
Establishment year
International students
Rating QS
History of Saint Petersburg University

St. Petersburg University is the oldest university in Russia, founded by Peter the Great’s orders in 1724. The opening of the first secular university took place as part of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences. Over the next decades, until 1819, the institution defended its university status.
Since 1804, the university has been located on the embankment of Vasilievsky Island in the building of 12 colleges, which has since been the hallmark of the institution. It houses part of the faculties and Gorky’s library — the largest scientific library in Russia.
Until 1819, students were taught at four faculties: historical and philological, legal, physical and mathematical, and the faculty of oriental languages. The turning point in the development of the university was the allocation of specializations: departments appeared in the faculties that offered training with a narrower focus.
In the middle of the 19th century, world-famous scientific schools and communities were born in the university, the founders of which were outstanding scientists D. I. Mendeleev, P. L. Chebyshev, I. M. Sechenov and I.I. Mechnikov. It was here that A. S. Popov presented the world's first wireless telegraph[1].
Over the years, St. Petersburg University has changed more than ten names, the modern name was set only in 1991. The contribution of St. Petersburg State University to the development of education was marked by a presidential decree in 2009: the university was given the special status of "a unique scientific and educational complex, the country's oldest university, which is of great importance for the development of Russian society". The scientific and educational center received the right to develop its own education standards, to issue students with their own diplomas with the emblem of the university.
The scientific and educational center includes 24 faculties and institutes, a university-wide department of physical education and sports. A military department operates on the basis of St. Petersburg State University, a medical college and the D.K. Faddeev Academic Gymnasium were opened.

Tuition costs of bachelor’s programs

ProgramCost per yearSeats, state-fundedSeats, paidSeats, paid for international
Mathematics3,330 USD5571
Applied Mathematics and Informatics3,242 USD4551
Applied Mathematics, Fundamental
Informatics and Programming
2,627 USD144161
Modern Programming2,627 USD3081
Mechanics and Mathematical Modeling3,206 USD2051
Mathematics and Computer Sciences3,242 USD20101
Mathematics, Algorithms and Data Analysis2,945 USD3071

Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence

Programming and Information Technology2,663 USD45151
Programming Technologies3,242 USD60101
Engineering-Oriented Physics3,475 USD10151
Applied Physics and Mathematics3,568 USD2551
Physics3,290 USD5551
Electromagnetic and Acoustic Processes3,260 USD1051
Chemistry3,292 USD50101
Chemistry, Physics and Material Mechanics3,292 USD1051
Geology3,379 USD5052
Geography3,032 USD4052
Cartography and Geoinformatics3,011 USD1552
Hydrometeorology3,011 USD1552
Ecology and Nature Management3,108 USD2052
Biology3,170 USD65451
Engineering of Living SystemsTBD-151
Soil Science3,108 USD1021
Applied Informatics in Arts
and Humanities
3,823 USD1051
Software Engineering3,342 USD20105
Petroleum Engineering3,527 USD10106
Real Estate Cadastre: Assessment and Information Support4,243 USD1051
Applied Computer Technology2,663 USD1571
Psychology2,960 USD40253
Conflictology3,108 USD1052
Economics3,982 USD649020
Economics (with Advanced Studies in
Chinese Economy and Language)
4,221 USD7435
Economic and Mathematical Methods3,982 USD10205
Management5,493 USD677510
International Management (with European and Oriental Language Training)6,146 USD-4010
Personnel Management4,119 USD7131
Public Administration4,406 USD10101
Business Informatics4,156 USD12151
Sociology2,663 USD354515
Sociological Research in Digital Society2,663 USD15151
Social Work2,517 USD1551
Law4,143 USD601105
Law (with Advanced Studies in Chinese
Language and Law / with Advanced Studies in Japanese Language and Law)
4,543 USD / 4,461 USD20705 / 5
Russian Studies2,640 USD-1010
Political Science3,047 USD40501
International Relations3,896 USD7014020
Advertising and Public Relations4,033 USD20305
Journalism3,737 USD157530
International Journalism3,860 USD107530
Tourism / Organisation of Tourist Activities (with
Advanced Chinese Language Training)
2,640 USD / 3,403 USD17105 / 2
Philology (English Language and Literature / other programs)3,773 USD351040 / 3
Linguistics (Russian as a Foreign Language / other programs)3,848 USD10514040 / 25
History2,640 USD70405
Archeology2,640 USD1051
Philosophy3,108 USD25153
Applied Ethics2,795 USD105-
Religious Studies3,108 USD1011
Physical Training and Sports2,640 USD11101
Liberal Arts and Sciences3,906 USD45901
History of Arts2,578 USD10101
Italian Culture3,108 USD1551
Museology and Conservation of
Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites
2,640 USD1251
Instrumental Performance (Organ, Harpsichord and Carillon / Violin)3,342 USD-5 / 51 / 5
Academic Singing3,737 USD-51
Graphic Design3,773 USD375
Environmental Design3,773 USD3710
Applied Art3,342 USD-51
Restoration of Fine
and Applied Art Objects
3,564 USD641
Asian and African Studies4,603 USD577014
Tuition for specialty programs

ProgramCost per yearSeats, state-fundedSeats, paidSeats, paid for international
Fundamental Mathematics2,996 USD1051
Fundamental Mechanics2,996 USD1051
Astronomy3,047 USD2051
General Medicine3,586 USD503015
Dental Medicine3,527 USD151510
Clinical Psychology2,837 USD34152
Employment Psychology2,910 USD-151
Stage and Film Actor3,452 USD-201
Easel Painting3,242 USD5110
Film and TV Costume Designer3,427 USD-51

The advantages of studying at SPBU

  • Prestige of the University. SPBU takes 2nd place among Russian universities in the ARWU academic ranking[2], in 2016 it entered the top 100 world reputation ranking of universities, taking a position in the group 81–90[3]. The Higher School of Management of St. Petersburg State University received the highest international recognition by entering the top 100 business schools in the world with five “palm trees” (52nd for Executive MBA and 20th for Master’s in Management)[4].
  • Demand for graduates. The university actively interacts with potential employers (Russian and international companies and governments), involves its partners in the formation of training programs, defining the themes of diplomas and dissertations, participation in examination commissions and career days[5]. Thanks to these efforts, as a rule, graduates of St. Petersburg State University do not experience problems with employment.
  • Applicants’ performance and teaching staff. St. Petersburg University is among the top 5 universities in terms of the quality of admissions to the state-funded seats[6]. 24 academicians and 30 corresponding members of the RAS and the Russian Academy of Education, more than a thousand doctors of sciences work and teach at the university[7].
  • The international cooperation. SPBU is actively integrating into the international educational environment: it participates in world associations, collaborates with leading universities in the framework of academic exchange, and accepts foreign students and teachers. Most students by the time they graduate from SPBU have experience of international internships or exchange studies at foreign partner universities.
  • Online courses. The university participates in the project "National Platform for Open Education"[8]. Students can receive free training in the format of online courses in various disciplines and areas. For example, listen to the course "Effective Leader", "Mathematical Game Theory" or "Three-Dimensional Visualization." After passing the final exam, a state certificate is issued.

Requirements for admission

In order to enter SPBU for bachelor's, specialty or master’s programs, foreign citizens must submit to the admission committee the results of admission tests held in the form of competitive selection of documents, or portfolio. All the requirements, evaluation criteria and minimum points are indicated on the official website for those applying on fee-paying basis and within the state-funded quota.

The application procedure consists of the following steps:

  1. Register for a Personal Account through the SPbU Admissions Committee website;
  2. Fill in print and sign your application for the chosen programs (no more than three);
  3. Submit the required documents online, including the competitive selection of documents (portfolio);
  4. Wait until the results are announced;
  5. Sign a student contract (for those accepted on a fee-paying basis).

The order of admission to state-funded seats

Start of the application processFebruary 17
Deadline for submitting applications and portfoliosMay 11
Ranked lists of applicants indicating approved candidates are publishedJune 11
Deadline for informing the university on your interest to study in SPbUJuly 28
Deadline for submitting original documents to SPbUOctober 1

The order of admission on fee-paying basis

Start of the application processFebruary 3
Deadline for submitting applications and portfoliosJune 16
Ranked lists of applicants indicating approved candidates are publishedJuly 6
Final acceptance of foreign nationalsAugust 31
Deadline for submitting original documents to SPbUOctober 1
Document for foreign citizens

The list of documents required from international applicants includes:

  • Signed application (uploaded through the Personal Account);
  • A questionnaire filled in block letters and provided with a colour photo (for those participating in the competition for state-funded seats);
  • A copy of identification document;
  • A copy of education certificate with a transcript of subjects studied and grades obtained (prepared according to the special rules);
  • An application form for visa invitation (if applicable it should be submitted to the Personal Account);
  • Photo;
  • Competitive selections of documents (Portfolio).
  • Medical certificate proving the absence of contraindications for training in the Russian Federation;
  • Negative HIV and AIDS test.

Please note that portfolio requirements usually include a motivational letter and some references, as well as additional tasks for certain programs. Check with the official website.

How to prepare for admission to SPBU

St. Petersburg State university gives applicants from other countries the opportunity to prepare for admission in the Russian language and other subjects, depending on the chosen field of study (natural sciences, engineering, humanities, economics, medicine and biology). The duration of the preparatory course is 39 weeks, the cost of training is 2,973 USD.

Documents and tuition payments are accepted from mid-December to early July. To submit documents you should:

  • Register your account;
  • Fill in a questionnaire and an application form, print and sign the application;
  • Upload documents to your account in PDF format (application, copy of identification document, copy of education certificate with supplements, photo 3*4).
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International cooperation

The university participates in student and teacher exchange programs Campus Europae, Santander University, Erasmus+. Annually, more than 2000 foreign students study at St. Petersburg State University. Partnership agreements were signed with rating educational institutions in Europe, America and Asia (about 450 partner universities in total). The University is a member of major international associations, including the World League of Universities, the Association of European Businesses, the Global Education Management Alliance.

Double degree programs

Educational programs, after which a graduate can immediately receive 2 diplomas (St. Petersburg University’s and a partner university’s ones), are implemented only for master’s students. The first year of study takes place at St. Petersburg University, the second at a partner university. Training is possible both on a state-funded and paid basis.

One of the most popular double-degree programs of St. Petersburg University is Master in Management (MIM) takes 37th position in the international ranking of the best master's programs in management[9]. Several foreign educational centers are partners of St. Petersburg State University in this program:

In addition to the Management program, the university offers to undergo training with a double diploma in several areas:

Some specific programs appear each year. Check with the website.

Academic mobility programs. Selection process

St. Petersburg University cooperates with rating partner universities from Europe, the USA and China for its student exchange programs. Students have the opportunity to study at a foreign educational institution for 1 or 2 semesters without interrupting their studies at SPBU.

You can take part in several programs:

To participate in student mobility programs, bachelor’s, specialty or master’s students are allowed, with the exception of those who have to study at a foreign university for the final semester at St. Petersburg University. GPA 4+ for the entire training period is required.

The competition is held by the department of international educational cooperation. The participant must submit the following to the Commission:

  • Application form, filled out on the site;
  • Application form established by the university sample;
  • Language certificate or other document proving the language proficiency in the language of study;
  • Documents, certificates, scientific publications and other materials confirming the individual achievements of the participant.

Winners of the selection process should inquire instructions from the department of international cooperation, prepare a package of documents for admission to a foreign university and provide a curriculum form. The host university does not charge students with tuition and in some cases provide dormitory accommodation and monthly allowance. Program participants independently pay the costs associated with obtaining a visa, insurance, flight.

Student Life at the SPBU

Petropolitan Science (Re)Search Contest. To encourage talented students, SPBU organized an open international competition in 17 areas of science. Prize-winning places in the competition provide an opportunity to get 50-100 credits, which are accounted for when entering the master's program. In addition, the best works are published in the scientific archive of St. Petersburg State University. Students and graduates of St. Petersburg University and other universities, including foreign ones, can participate in the competition.

Student initiatives

  • Ecology. Thanks to the initiative of SPBU students, on the territory of the hostels and buildings of the university there are "eco-points" — separate garbage collection points. As part of the environmental program "Green University" in 2017-2018 100 tons of recyclables (waste paper, glass, plastic, metal) were collected and sent for recycling.
  • Volunteering and blood donations. Several times a year, the university holds donor days. Each action involves up to 60 students and employees who donate 350–450 ml of blood, thereby saving someone’s life. Volunteer programs involve active participation in forums (St. Petersburg International Economic, Legal and Cultural ones) and social projects (assistance to WWII veterans, performances for children with cancer).
Creative teams

  • KVN. The university comedy club is open for cheerful, resourceful, courageous and creative students who want to participate in the university league and be a part of the SPBU team in the main student competition.
  • Theatre studio. The history of the oldest student theater in Russia began during the Second World War. At different times, Sergei Yursky, Ivan Krasko, Boris Smolkin and other famous actors performed on stage. The studio held more than 70 theater seasons, became a laureate of international competitions. Read More
  • Vocal and dance schools. The university has several dance studios, the Early Music Ensemble “Musica universalis”, a vocal studio, an academic and folk choirs.

University infrastructure

The area of ​​all buildings and facilities of St. Petersburg State University covers approximately 280 hectares. On this territory there are educational buildings, dormitories, palace and park ensembles, a science park of the university. For training sessions and scientific research 2.5 thousand classrooms are reserved.

Dormitories. SPBU has 21 dorms that can hold up to 12000 people located in the Vasileostrovsky, Nevsky districts of the city and Peterhof. Accommodations are provided to nonresident and foreign full-time students, as well as students in remote programs for the certification period. In the Petrodvorets district of Peterhof, 12 dormitories are concentrated, 10 of which are part of the campus. Campus infrastructure includes everything you need. The main disadvantage is the distance from the main buildings of the university: the road takes about 2 hours one way. The minimum cost of living for students of the state-funded department is 3 USD, for a paid student — 34 USD.

Scientific library named after Gorky. The library has more than 7 million printed volumes and an electronic catalog including 82 million sources. Students can register on the site and get access to all online resources or visit the building on University Embankment. The library is open on weekdays from 10:00 to 21:00, and on Saturday from 10:00 to 18:00.

Sports and recreation facilities. Students' sports training takes place at 30 university sports facilities. For practicing various sports, there is a swimming pool, games and fitness courts, 2 stadiums and a climbing wall. Year-round vacations are available in 3 health centers:

  • Horizon, located on the Black Sea coast, near Tuapse.
  • The Universitetskiy complex is located in the Leningrad Region (Semiozerye district). Students enjoy sports facilities, table tennis, billiards, ski / roller tracks all year round.
  • Sanatorium on the territory of old Peterhof.
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Interesting facts about St. Petersburg University

  • Mendeleev’s periodic system was created during the scientist’s work at St. Petersburg University[10].
  • Grigori Perelman, a graduate of the Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics of St. Petersburg University, was awarded the Fields Medal for solving the Poincaré conjecture[11]. Also, this award was given to another university graduate, S.K. Smirnov[12].
  • The first indoor sports facility in Russia, built in 1793, is located in the university courtyard and is called "jeu-de-Pom", in honor of the game of the same name (literally the translation is a ball game). Until the mid-19th century, this game was part of the system of sports education of the cadets, and was popular in the royal family.
  • There is a traditional sport festival “Peterhof Olympic” at the university, the program of which includes futsal, volleyball, streetball, table tennis and arm wrestling. Also, a futsal championship is held at St. Petersburg University.

Famous graduates

  • Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin — President of the Russian Federation from 2000 to 2008 and from 2012 to the present day. In 1975 he graduated from the Law Faculty of St. Petersburg University.
  • German Oskarovich Gref — statesman, president and chairman of the board of Sberbank of Russia. Member of the Board of Directors of Yandex.
  • Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev — statesman and politician, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia from 2020 to the present day. President of the Russian Federation (2008-2012), Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation from (2012-2020).
  • Pavel Durov is a Russian entrepreneur, programmer, one of the founders of the social network VKontakte and Telegram.
  • Konstantin Lvovich Ernst — Director General of Channel One (1999 — present), producer, screenwriter.
  • Sergey Donatovich Dovlatov was a Soviet and American writer and journalist. He was an editor-in-chief of the New American weekly paper before he died in 1990.

Student reviews

Pros. Students note the almost complete absence of corruption (they can expel an attempt to "buy" an exam), strong teachers with fundamental training and practical experience, the opportunity to gain work experience or an internship in a large company already in the 3rd or 4th year of study. Almost every faculty has a separate building, so there are no problems with the lack of classrooms, there is no need to spend time moving to classes.

Cons. A huge competition for state-funded seats and, accordingly, high passing scores. A complex training program, especially during the first 2 years (classes take all day, with a lot of homework and tight deadlines). The dorms are located far from the faculties, so the road takes a lot of time.

Professor rating3.63205
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