St. Petersburg: Smolny College

Final App Deadline: 
Monday, February 15, 2021
Language Requirement: 
Kylie Poulin
Academic Year

The University of Chicago’s program at Smolny College in St. Petersburg, Russia provides Chicago students with an opportunity to take both language and disciplinary courses in one of Russia’s culturally richest cities, the historic nexus of cultural encounters between Russia and the West. This program grows out of the University of Chicago’s affiliation with Bard College, which has joined with St. Petersburg State University to create Smolny College as the first liberal arts college in Russia. Because most students at Smolny are Russian (earning a joint BA from Bard and St. Petersburg State University) participants will be in a unique Russian liberal arts environment.

Students may participate in this program for the full academic year or for either of its two semesters. Each semester begins with an intensive two-week course in Russian as a Second Language (RSL) and continues with courses in various subjects (as well as continuing Russian language). The subject-oriented courses—in history, literature, music, philosophy and so forth—are open to both Russian and American students, and some will be taught in Russian. The RSL courses are staffed by faculty who have extensive experience teaching American students and are familiar with American teaching methods. Smolny College also offers a Summer term intensive language course which students are encouraged to take as preparation for the coming academic year.


Participants in the St. Petersburg program may choose to live with a host family or in a residence hall. While the residence hall may offer more independence, living with a local family provides students with a valuable opportunity to observe Russian domestic life as well as to practice Russian in a comfortable, supportive setting. For more information on housing, visit the Student Life section of the Bard–Smolny Study Abroad Program website.

Note: The homestay option in this program includes most meals (daily breakfast and dinner). The residence hall option does not include meals. For this reason, students who choose the residence hall option will be assessed a lower program fee. 

Credits and Registration

Study abroad students remain registered as full-time students in the College. They receive a full credit for their work at Smolny College. Normally, students who participate for the full academic year receive ten to twelve (maximum) credits. Students studying for a semester receive five or six (maximum) credits. Participants will be expected to take at least one RLS course during their time at Smolny. Course titles, units of credit and grades are placed on the College transcript. Since the use of these credits in a specific degree program is variable, students should consult with their academic adviser and program chair to determine the exact distribution of credits.


Students who participate in the program for the full academic year pay regular Chicago tuition for the year. Students who participate for one semester will pay one-half of Chicago’s annual tuition. The tuition is paid in conformity with the home campus payment schedule. All participants pay the nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee when accepting a place in a program. Finally, program participants pay a program fee directly to Bard College that covers housing (and board for homestay students) and airfare. Precise figures for the St. Petersburg program for the 2021-2022 year are listed below:

Academic year tuition*: as set by the Bursar’s Office

Study abroad administrative fee: $675

St. Petersburg program fee: Set by and paid directly to Bard College

*Semester participants will pay one half of the academic year’s tuition.


Out-of-pocket expenses include:
transportation on site
course materials
personal entertainment and travel
communications (most students bring or buy a cell phone)
health insurance and upfront payments for care
other miscellaneous expenses

Study abroad students retain their financial aid eligibility. For more information about financial aid resources, please see our Tuition, Fees, and Funding section. 

Eligibility and Application

The St. Petersburg program is open to University of Chicago undergraduate students only. Applications from outside the University are not accepted.

This program is designed for undergraduates in good academic standing who are beyond their second year in the College. Students are expected to have, by the beginning of the program, two full years of university-level Russian. Apart from this specific language requirement, students must also present an academic record that evinces the sort of scholarly seriousness and resourcefulness demanded by this program.

Applications are available online and are normally due in early March for the academic year and the Autumn semester, early October for the Spring semester.

Further Information

To discuss the St. Petersburg: Smolny College program and the possibility of participating in it, please contact Kylie Poulin.

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