The roots of education are bitter, but the fruits is sweet ~ Aristotle

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world ~ Nelson Mandela

Education is not a preparation for life, Education is life itself ~ John Dewey


Saint-petersburg State University

Saint Petersburg State University (Russian: Санкт-Петербургский государственный университет, Sankt-Peterburgskiy gosudarstvenny universitet) is a Russian federal state-owned higher education institution based in Saint Petersburg and one of the oldest, largest and most prestigious universities in Russia.

It is made up of 20 specialized faculties, 13 research institutes, Canada College, Faculty of Military Studies, and a Chair of Physical Culture and Sports. As of 2004, the university had a teaching staff of 4,055. The university has two main campuses: on Vasilievsky Island and in Peterhof. During the Soviet period, it was known as Leningrad State University (Ленинградский государственный университет)

Brief History

In the period between 1803 and 1819, Saint Petersburg University officially did not exist; the institution founded by Peter the Great, the Saint Petersburg Academy, had already been disbanded, because the new 1803 charter of the Academy of Sciences stipulated that there should be no educational institutions affiliated with it. The Petersburg Pedagogical Institute, renamed the Main Pedagogical Institute in 1814, was established in 1804 and occupied a part of the Twelve Collegia building.

On February 8, 1819 (O.S.), Alexander I of Russia reorganized the Main Pedagogical Institute into Saint Petersburg University, which at that time consisted of three faculties: Faculty of Philosophy and Law, Faculty of History and Philology and Faculty of Physics and Mathematics, and enrolled several dozen students. Since there is some degree of continuity between the Academy, the Pedagogical Institute, and the University, Saint Petersburg State University may be considered the oldest university in Russia. In 1821 the university was renamed Saint Petersburg Imperial University. In 1823 most of the university moved from the Twelve Collegia to the southern part of the city beyond the Fontanka. In 1824 a version of the charter of Moscow University became the first charter of the Saint Petersburg Imperial University. In 1829 there were 19 full professors and 169 full-time and part-time students in the university. In 1830 Tsar Nicholas passed the entire building of the Twelve Collegia back to the university, and the courses returned there. In 1835 a new Charter of the Imperial Universities of Russia was approved. According to it during the following years the Faculty of Law was established and the Faculty of History and Philology and Faculty of Physics and Mathematics were merged into the Faculty of Philosophy as the 1st and 2nd Departments, respectively.

In 1849 after the Spring of Nations the Senate of the Russian Empire decreed that the Rector should be appointed by the Minister of National Enlightenment rather than elected by the Assembly of the university. However, Pyotr Pletnyov was reappointed Rector and ultimately became the longest-serving rector of Saint Petersburg University (1840–1861).
In 1850 the 1st and 2nd Departments of the Faculty of Philosophy were turned back into the Faculty of History and Philosophy and Faculty of Physics and Mathematics, respectively, the latter specializing not only in mathematics and physics, but also in other natural sciences, such as biology and chemistry. The Oriental studies were separated from the Faculty of History and Philology, and in 1855 the fourth faculty, Faculty of Oriental Languages, was opened.

In 1914 with the start of the First World War, the university was renamed Petrograd Imperial University after its namesake city. In 1915 a branch of the university was opened in Perm, which later became Perm State University. The Assembly of Petrograd Imperial University openly welcomed the February Revolution of 1917, which put an end to the Russian monarchy, and the university came to be known as just Petrograd University. However, after the October Revolution of 1917, the staff and administration of the university were initially vocally opposed to the Bolshevik takeover of power and reluctant to cooperate with the Narkompros. Later in 1917–1922 during the Russian Civil War some of the staff suspected of counter-revolutionary sympathies suffered imprisonment (e.g. Lev Shcherba in 1919), execution, or exile abroad on the so-called Philosophers' ships in 1922 (e.g. Nikolai Lossky). Furthermore, the entire staff suffered from hunger and extreme poverty during those years.

In 1918 the university was renamed 1st Petrograd State University, and in 1919 the Narkompros merged it with the 2nd PSU (former Psychoneurological Institute) and 3rd PSU (former Bestuzhev Higher Courses for Women) into Petrograd State University. In 1919 the Faculty of Social Science was established by the Narkompros instead of the Faculty of History and Philology, Faculty of Oriental Languages and Faculty of Law. Nicholas Marr became the first Dean of the new faculty. Chemist Alexey Favorsky became the Dean of the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics. Rabfaks and free university courses were opened on the basis of the university to provide mass education. In the fall of 1920, as observed by freshman student Alice Rosenbaum, enrollment was open and the majority of the students were anti-communist including, until removed, a few vocal opponents of the regime. Seeing that they were educating "class enemies", a purge was conducted in 1922 based on the class background of the students and all students, other than seniors, with a bourgeois background were expelled.

During the 1920s the university, like other higher education institutions in the Soviet Union, became subject to educational experimentation. The structure and status of the faculties and departments of the university underwent major changes. Many of them were merged, split or renamed, new subdivisions were established, independent institutes were merged into the university as faculties, sometimes only to be restored to their old status a few years later.

In 1949–1950 several professors died in prison during the investigation of the Leningrad Affair fabricated by the central Soviet leadership, and the Minister of Education of the RSFSR, former rector Alexander Voznesensky, was executed.

In 1961 the Faculty of Journalism split from the Faculty of Philology. In 1966 the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union decided to build a new suburban campus in Petrodvorets for most of the mathematics and natural science faculties. The relocation of the faculties had been completed by the 1990s.

The Faculty of Psychology split from the Faculty of Philosophy in 1966. In 1969 the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Soviet Union awarded the university with the Order of the Red Banner of Labour. The Faculty of Applied Mathematics and Control Processes was split from the Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics in 1969.

In 1989 the Faculty of Sociology was opened. In 1991 the university was renamed back to Saint Petersburg State University after its namesake city. During the 1990s three new faculties were opened: the Faculty of Management in 1993, the Faculty of International Relations in 1994 and the Faculty of Medicine in 1995.


SPbSU is made up of 20 specialized faculties (departments), which are:
• the Faculty of Applied Mathematics and Control Processes (*rus)
• the Faculty of Biology and Soil Studies (*rus)
• the Faculty of Chemistry (*rus)
• the Faculty of Economics (*rus)
• the Faculty of Geography and Geoecology (*rus)
• the Faculty of Geology (*rus)
• the Faculty of History (*rus)
• the Department of International Relations (*rus | *eng)
• the Faculty of Journalism (*rus | *eng)
• the Faculty of Law (*rus)
• the Faculty of Management (Graduate School of Management) (*eng)
• the Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics (*rus)
• the Faculty of Medicine
• the Faculty of Oriental Studies (*rus)
• the Faculty of Philology and Arts (*rus)
• the Faculty of Philosophy (*rus)
• the Faculty of Physics (*rus)
• the Faculty of Political Science
• the Faculty of Psychology (*rus)
• the Faculty of Sociology (*rus)

There is also a Faculty of Military Studies and a Chair of Physical Culture and Sports.
( Information taken from

St Petersburg state university ranked 168th in the 2009 THES-QS World University Ranking

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Background Image of this blog courtesy of Laura Furniss at Flickr. The author owes a million thanks to her.

Disclaimer: Most of The information obtained are from and the corresponding universities' websites.Images may be taken from the internet, and/or the corresponding universities' websites.The author does not have the rights to any of the images and thus request for information - if any- regarding the ownership of the pictures and/or images