Opening day at Smolny College's Bobrinsky Palace
In 1996 Bard and Saint Petersburg State University formed a partnership to establish Russia's first liberal arts college. Smolny College is located in one of Russia's culturally richest cities, the historic nexus of cultural encounters between Russia and the West. This first project to introduce liberal arts teaching and learning at a major university is a significant step forward in higher education reform in Russia.
The structure of Smolny's four-year B.A. curriculum resembles Bard's. Students attend First-Year Seminar, pass Moderation, and write Senior Projects. At the same time, Smolny's programs of concentration and courses have different emphases and strengths, reflecting Russian cultural and intellectual traditions and the interests of contemporary Russian faculty and students. Major programs of concentration are art history and architecture, cognitive studies, complex systems in nature and society, economics, foreign languages, history of civilizations, international relations, political science and human rights, literature, music, performing arts in theater and film, philosophy, and sociology and anthropology. Programs of minor concentration include American culture and civilization, computer science, Eastern culture and civilization, French culture and civilization, gender studies, human rights, religious studies, and Russian culture and civilization.
Smolny College opened in October 1999 with 78 students and now has a student body of 450. More than 65% of Smolny students are from outside of the St. Petersburg region. There is also a large presence of students from formerly Soviet republics and countries such as Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Graduates receive a dual B.A. in liberal arts and sciences from Bard College and Smolny College of Saint Petersburg State University.
Smolny’s classrooms and administrative offices are housed in the recently renovated Bobrinskiy Palace. In In a city of many palaces, the Bobrinskiy stands out by virtue of its park, courtyard, and charming, intimate interiors. Three wings of the palace, constructed more recently than the original structure, offer ample space for classrooms, faculty offices, and the faculty and student exchanges and activities that are important for liberal education.
Bard students with sufficient knowledge of Russian, including Russian studies majors, are encouraged to spend a semester or year studying at Smolny through the Bard-Smolny Study Abroad Program. The majority of Smolny’s courses are taught in Russian. Each semester, a handful of courses are also offered in English. Program participants typically enroll in three to nine credits of academic courses, and all participants enroll in nine credits of Russian as a Second Language coursework. The Bard-Smolny program also offers a Summer Language Intensive, with four- and eight-week program options. Bard’s Institute for International Liberal Education, located on campus in the Jim and Mary Ottaway Gatehouse, administers both the semester and summer Bard-Smolny programs.
Students from Bard and other U.S. colleges who attend Smolny for a semester or a year earn Bard College credit. Bard students attending Smolny pay Bard tuition and receive their normal aid package during their semester or year abroad.
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