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  • Locations: St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
  • Program Terms: Academic Year, Fall, Summer, Winter-Spring
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: Bard Abroad 
  • Restrictions: W&L applicants only
  • Dates / Deadlines
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Type of Program: Study Abroad Housing Options: Homestay, Residence Hall
Area of Study: Anthropology, Architectural History, Architecture, Art History, Arts, Culture, economics, Film, Gender Studies, History, Humanities, International Relations, International Studies, Linguistics, Literature, Media Studies, Music, Peace & Conflict Studies, Political Science, Religion/Theology, Russian, Sociology, Studio Art Language of Instruction: English, Russian
Minimum GPA: 3.0 Class Eligibility: 1 First Year, 2 Sophomore, 3 Junior, 4 Senior
Program Description:
Smolny College Logo

Overview of the Bard-Smolny Study Abroad Program

Designed to meet the needs of students who have two years of college-level Russian or more – including heritage speakers – the Bard-Smolny Program in St. Petersburg, Russia offers an academically rich environment for students from North American colleges and universities wishing to study in Russia for a single semester or for the full semester.


Students enroll side by side with Russian students in classes at Smolny College, the first liberal arts college in Russia. The program enables students to advance their level of competency in the Russian language through Russian as a Second Language (RSL) while simultaneously taking other academic courses that meet requirements for their B.A. degree at their home college or university.

Smolny College has 12 academic programs (majors) and 8 areas of concentration (minors), offering over 130 courses each semester. While some courses are offered in English (5-7 each semester), the majority of courses are taught in Russian. A list of recent course offerings is available on our website.

Academic Programs (Majors)

  • Art and Architecture
  • Cognitive Studies
  • Complex Systems in Nature and Society
  • Economics
  • Foreign Languages (Arabic, English, French,
  • German, Italian)
  • History of Civilizations
  • International Relations, Political Science and
  • Human Rights
  • Literature
  • Music
  • Performing Arts (Theater, Film)
  • Sociology and Anthropology

Areas of Concentration (Minors)

  • American Culture and Civilization
  • Computer Science
  • Eastern Culture and Civilization
  • French Culture and Civilization
  • Gender Studies
  • Human Rights
  • Religious Studies
  • Russian Culture and Civilization

Russian as a Second Language (RSL)

The main objective of the RSL program is to boost and balance the development of students' listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing skills, while facilitating their adjustment to everyday life in Russia and to the Smolny academic environment. During the semester students take three 3-credit Russian language courses which meet twice per week for one and on-half hours per session. Students also enroll in an additional one and one-half hours per week of phonetics. The RSL course of study includes such diverse language components as grammar, phonetics, conversational Russian, academic reading, and composition.

Prior to the start of the semester, a two-week Russian Language Intensive offers 20 academic hours of language instruction per week, and has the dual focus of improving students' conversational skills and preparing them for exposure to academic Russian.

Heritage speakers and other high proficiency speakers may have the RSL requirement reduced or waived. A specialized RSL program designed to meet the needs of heritage speakers is also available to qualified students.

Additional Bard-Smolny Program Highlights

  • Students have the option of living either in a St. Petersburg State University dormitory or with a host family.
  • The Bard-Smolny Program also offers students a cultural program designed to introduce students to Russian history and culture. Excursions typically take place every two weeks and include visits to museums as well as the opera, ballet and theater, social activities such as bowling and dinners, and several weekend excursions outside of St. Petersburg.
  • Students are encouraged to pursue volunteer service and/or internships during their time in St. Petersburg. (No course credit is given for internships.)

Who Should Apply?

The Bard-Smolny Program is not only for Russian majors. Heritage speakers and current students with an intermediate-high or advanced Russian language proficiency possessing an interest in Russian area studies should consider studying at Smolny. Students from different fields – art, history, film, music, sociology, political science, or literature – will find many exciting academic opportunities at Smolny.

Program Dates & Cost

Fall semester courses usually begin in the first week of September and continue for 15 weeks. The 15-week semester is followed by a week of oral exams, a short break and then an examination period that lasts until the last week of January. The spring semester starts in early to mid-February, covers 15 weeks and usually ends in the last week of May. This is followed by a week of oral exams and exam period, usually lasting until the third week of June.

Both semesters are preceded by a pre-departure workshop at Bard, an orientation program in St. Petersburg and a 2-week RSL intensive.

Information on program costs, fees and scholarship opportunities can be found on our website.

Application Deadlines

Applications are competitive and processed on a rolling basis.

  • March 1st -- Summer Language Intensive (SLI)
  • April 1st -- Fall Semester / Academic Year
  • October 1st -- Spring Semester

For More Information

Institute for International Liberal Education / Bard College, Tel: (845) 758-7081, E-mail:, Website:

This program is not approved by W&L and requires a petition to the International Education Committee.  Please see Cindy Irby in the Center for International Education for more information.

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Winter-Spring 2023 10/15/2022 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.