Oct 2, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes


From its affordable, high-quality universities to its breathtaking architecture and rich culture,  there are many reasons to study in Russia. One university, in particular, offers a number of uniquely appealing benefits. Read on for a roundup of reasons to make Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, AKA “SPbPU,” your destination for international studies in Russia.

1. You can do your studies in English.

As a cosmopolitan university committed to the belief that “knowledge is global,” SPbPU is gaining ground on the global scene. As part of its commitment to internationalization, SPbPU offers English language coursework across variety of levels, program types and fields, including Engineering, Natural Sciences, Economics and Management, IT, Design, and the Humanities. The school has also expanded its international and English-speaking faculty.

Says SPbPU vice-rector for international relations Dmitry Arseniev of the opportunities at the master’s degree level, “There are about 20 competitive master’s degree programs in English, which are very popular among international students seeking the opportunity to gain knowledge from SPbPU lecturers and professors of overseas leading universities, get practice at the university’s labs, earn 120 ECTS and have an opportunity to study in a partner university abroad for a semester. Young people can study Civil Engineering, Building Services Engineering, Environmental Engineering, International Management, International Business and International Economics. And what is exceptionally important over nearly half of the programs are backed by a double degree diploma option.”

2. You’ll have the opportunity to learn Russian.

Russia is a rising star on the global economic stage, and is expected to become a dominant supplier of raw materials by the year 2050. Due to the country’s up and coming status, Russian language skills can give you a serious inside edge when it comes to job marketability. Because of this, many international students prioritize Russian language coursework while at SPbPU. SPbPU is so welcoming to all of its international students, in fact, that they are even welcome to participate in an optional Russian language course – this particular course is even free for exchange students participating in English-taught studies.

3.  You’ll have access to a solid infrastructure for international students.

SPbPU’s wide range of international education programs and cutting edge projects, top-notch teaching and research, and sterling reputation has earned the university a top 10 spot on the RUR Reputation Rankings in Russia. Because internationalization is an important part of its success, the university is committed to welcoming the contributions of international students and supporting their satisfaction.

SPbPU’s consolidated campus consists of many modern facilities all within walking distance of each other, as well as green space and a premiere location between four metro stations. Says Maria Vrublevskaya, head of the international marketing and recruitment department, “The international campus of SPbPU is an accessible and understandable bilingual navigation system designed to create a comfortable environment for international students. Its structure composed of five key sectors: the information office, advertising center, international student admission office, expert center for credential evaluation and visa office.”

Continues Maria, “In their free time, Polytechnic students take part in different extracurricular activities. They have opportunities to participate in exciting events and creative projects, to meet interesting people from different countries, and to gain new experiences and hobbies. Students can use the swimming pool, skiing center, weight lifting gym or climbing wall; play basketball, volleyball, football or tennis; and join different clubs, centers, theatres or laboratories.”

4. You’ll get a major education for a minor cost.

According to Vrublevskaya, “The significant advantage of getting an education at SPbPU for international students is tuition fees for educational programs, which are quite competitive to universities in Europe, Great Britain and the USA.”

Factor in St. Petersburg’s affordable living costs, and the financial benefits of choosing SPbPU become even more apparent.

5. It boasts an international environment.

“The main features of SPbPU are its international atmosphere, many international students from all over the world, visiting professors from leading world universities, and a large number of educational offerings, including Foundation programs, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in Russian and English, PhD programs, and Russian language courses” says Arseniev. He continues, “Also, its international campus is one of Russia’s biggest, which makes the adaptation process easier for international students.”

One example of the diverse nature of SPbPU programs? The Department of Engineering Graphics and Design at the Institute of Metallurgy, Mechanical Engineering and Transport (IMMET). In addition to on campus studies in St. Petersburg, travel abroad opportunities also vastly enrich opportunities for learning. In a recent interview about how her SPbPU training is helping her reach her goals in the in-demand field of design, Elizabeth Prilutskaya cites participating in the International Industrial Trade Fair in Yekaterinburg and a semester abroad at France at l’Ecole de design Nantes Atlantique as formative experiences during her studies. According to the second year Master’s student from China Lee Zingchen from Guangdong University of Foreign Studies he came for a Master’s degree in English after he completed an international exchange student experience.  Zingchen found that “speaking one language made it easier [to get] accustomed to living in Russia.” Zinchen now plans to pursue a PhD in Political and Regions Science, and credits his experience at SPbPU with his career prospects in Russian-Chinese relations.

6. You’ll discover the amazing city of St Petersburg.

Lonely Planet heralds the peaceful and multicultural city of St. Petersburg as an “artistic powerhouse,” a “city of the Tsars,” “the Venice of the North,” and an “all seasons city.” Concludes writer Simon Richmond, “The sheer grandeur and history of Russia's imperial capital never fails to amaze, but this is also a city with a revolutionary spirit...I will never tire of exploring the amazing art collections of the Hermitage and the Russian Museum nor be bored by the grand facades and the reflections of palaces in the canals. Over time it's just got better and better with a brilliant restaurant, bar and cafe scene and exciting creative design clusters.”

“Students love walking in the streets of the city, admire its embankments, sculptures, palaces and cathedrals; visiting museums, galleries and concert halls; and going to different cafés, restaurants and clubs. The cultural life in St. Petersburg completes the educational process, and makes it full and well-rounded,” Adds Vrublevskaya.

Getting to SPbPU

All of which begs the question: How can you make SPbPU your destination for international studies?

It all starts with filling out an application form, after which you will be contacted by the school’s admission manager. In order to receive an invitation letter from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, you will also be expected to provide supporting document and materials, including your transcripts and any previous certificates or diplomas.

A few other important things to note? International students must confirm their arrivals approximately two weeks before the start of their programs or risk losing their spots. You must also complete a migration card at customs, and carry the card with you during your time in Russia. Within three days of entering Russia, all international students must also submit their passports with visa, migration cards, and university contract (and letter of invitation) for registration to the visa department. You will also need to provide these and other supporting materials to the SPbPU Admissions Office.

Think language requirements will interfere with your dreams of studying in SPbPU? Think again. If you are planning on studying in English, the Russian language exam is not necessary. If you hope to study in Russian at the bachelor’s, master’s or PhD levels, SPbPU’s year-long Foundation program offers the language training you’ll need to enter a bachelor’s or master’s degree program.

Given all of the upsides of SPbPU, it’s hardly a surprise that so many international students are flocking to St. Petersburg to take advantage of its innovative and welcoming programming. In fact, over the last eight months, the school received more than 3,500 applications from across the globe with more rolling in every day. Will you be adding your application to the pile?

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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