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Russian Area Studies, St. Petersburg

Study Abroad Program Overview

Dive into Russian history and culture while studying Russian language in St. Petersburg, one of the world’s most beautiful historic cities. The program, offered through the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), provides courses taught in English on Russian history, culture, and civilization as well as intensive Russian language study. A rich program of cultural activities supplements your classes, including local and regional excursions and visits to museums and historical sites. You can also choose to participate in volunteer projects that help you integrate into Russian society. The program offers three overnight field trips each semester to places like Moscow, Novgorod, and Tallinn, Estonia (fall) or the Pskov region (spring).
At the beginning of the program, you will participate in an intensive two-day introduction to Russia, the culture, the academic program, and health and safety issues.
Check out the CIEE Newsletters from St. Petersburg!
Students attend classes with international students.

Language of Instruction

English; Russian
  Elective courses are taught in English.

Language Study

Russian language study continues throughout the term.


Go to the Participants section to see current or past calendars.

Fall :  
late August to mid-December​

Spring :  
mid-January to mid-May ​







Due to the Russian visa application process, do not plan any international travel prior to the start of the program. ​


Most students will live with a Russian family in a private apartment and have their own room. Homestays are a great way to meet Russians, learn about their culture and daily life, and practice speaking Russian. ​
A limited number of single-occupancy rooms at two separate hostels in downtown St. Petersburg are also available. More information on housing

Extracurricular Activities

Taking part in student activities is a great way to meet Russian students. Signs announcing student activities are posted throughout university buildings and the Resident Staff can assist you in contacting a particular club, group, or organization.
Activities available to students in St. Petersburg include:
  • Cooking classes
  • Matryoshka doll painting class
  • Discussion groups
  • Conversation Partner Program Sobesedniki
  • Choir (CIEE and University)
  • Folk dancing
  • University orchestra
  • Sports (pickup soccer games, hockey, lacrosse)
There are also many volunteer opportunities available in St. Petersburg. In addition to teaching English, past students have volunteered with the following organizations:
  • Hermitage
  • International Red Cross
  • Salvation Army
  • Soldiers' Mothers NGO
  • Memorial NGO

On-site Support

UCEAP students are supported by UC’s network of study abroad offices at every UC campus and partnerships with UCEAP host universities throughout the world. CIEE resident staff abroad help students integrate into the culture and provide assistance with academics, housing, safety, and other issues.

Course Opportunities

This program offers lower-division Russian language study at the beginning to intermediate levels. In addition to language courses, you will take upper-division area studies courses, taught in English, on the history, culture, and society of Russia. You will be in classes with other US students.
You will take the following courses on this program (CIEE provides full syllabi for their courses. Scroll down to the section titled "Curriculum."):
  • Russian Grammar- 6 quarter/4 semester UC units   
  • Russian Conversation- 6 quarter/4 semester UC units  
  • Three area studies courses- 4.5 quarter/3 semester UC units each. Exact offerings may vary slightly depending on enrollment and instructor availability:
    • Russian History: Rise & Progress, Tragedies & Revolutions
    • Russian Fairy Tales
    • Contemporary Russian Politics & Governance
    • Russian Civilization: Popular Stereotypes and Social Behavior
    • Ethnic Studies: National & Ethnic Issues in Modern Russia  
    • Intercultural Communication & Leadership
    • Directed Independent Research
Use the following resources to learn about courses on UCEAP:
This program is affiliated with the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) and St. Petersburg State University. Program participants take courses with other US students offered through CIEE and taught by St. Petersburg State University faculty.​


You are required to take a full-time course of study while abroad. 25.5 quarter/17 semester UC units per semester are required​; five courses.

Internships, Research, and Independent Study

You have the option of enrolling in INDR 3901 RASP: Directed Independent Research (4.5 quarter/3 semester UC units). Prior to enrolling in the course, you are required to submit a research proposal indicating your proposed topic, the significance of your research topic to the local culture, the methodology, a literature review, and a schedule of research milestones.
Independent research topics will be approved by the CIEE Academic Coordinator. ​You will then meet with a faculty advisor throughout the semester who assists you in completing your research.
Directed Independent Research will count toward the program requirements of 5 courses.
Internships are not available on this program.

    St. Petersburg State University

    st petersburg state university
    While participating in this program, you will be taking courses through CIEE (Council on International Education Exchange).  CIEE programs are housed at the Smolny Complex of St. Petersburg State University. The majestic buildings of the Smolny ensemble were commissioned by the Empress Elizabeth in 1744 as a nunnery to house orphans, and eventually grew to include Catherine the Great's Institute for the Education of Well-born Young Ladies.  Even though your classes are physically held on the historic Russian campus, you will be taking courses with other study abroad students, not Russian students, taught by local professors with many years of experience teaching American students. The courses will not only provide you with a unique look into Russian history, culture, and society, but will also include guest lecturers, field trips to important sites within St. Petersburg, and an interactive, discussion-based classroom.
    Founded in the 18th century, St. Petersburg State University is one of Russia’s leading institutions of higher learning. The university’s 16 departments provide instruction for more than 20,000 students. The campus has expanded from its original site on the Neva River, and now includes over 400 buildings around the city center and the suburb of Peterhoff.
Participation in UCEAP is a great value! The cost of studying abroad on UCEAP programs is typically less than that of non-UC study abroad programs. The dollar figures listed in the chart below represent an estimate of: 1) the UCEAP fees for the current year, and 2) the additional amount needed to cover your living expenses in this location. Estimates for personal travel, entertainment and Non-Resident (out of state) Fees are not included.
Keep in mind that on UCEAP you take your financial aid with you. The amount of your financial aid package will take into account the total estimated costs of this experience. One advantage of selecting UCEAP for study abroad is that we facilitate the process by working with your UC Financial Aid Office (FAO), informing them of your UCEAP participation and providing them with your UCEAP budget. Just like your UC Campus billing office, we receive your financial aid and scholarships from your FAO, apply it to cover the UCEAP program fees, and disburse any remaining aid on a set schedule.

Estimated EAP Costs *

OptionWeeksUnits (Qtr)Units (Sem)UCEAP Fees 1Additional Costs 2
* Estimates do not include Miscellaneous Campus Fees or, if applicable, Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition, Graduate or Professional Fees. If you are subject to out-of-state tuition at your UC campus, you will pay Non-Resident Fees on UCEAP.

1 UCEAP Fees: This represents an estimate of UCEAP fees for the current year. Actual amounts will vary due to potential changes to UC fees, exchange rate fluctuation, etc. This figure includes UC tuition and fees for undergraduate, in-state residents. For a detailed breakdown of what’s included in this estimate, visit the Participants Portal and select the appropriate program. Non-Resident Fees apply: If you are subject to out-of-state tuition at your UC campus, you will pay non-resident fees on UCEAP.

2 Additional Costs: Average living expenses include but are not limited to room and board, transportation, books, supplies, and other incidentals and do not include recreational travel or entertainment. The total cost will vary depending on your personal expenses, exchange rate fluctuation, and the program you attend. For a detailed breakdown of the estimate, visit the “Cost” tab of the appropriate program.

All fees are subject to change without notice.

These expenses are estimated for 2017-18. Actual amounts will vary due to potential changes to UC fees, exchange rate fluctuation, etc. For a more detailed breakdown of 2017-18 payment information, visit the Participants Portal and select the appropriate program. Estimates do not include non-resident supplemental tuition. If you are subject to out-of-state tuition at your UC campus, you will pay non-resident fees on UCEAP.
Here’s what is included in the estimate:
  • Predeparture expenses (student visa, health clearance etc.)
  • Round-trip airfare
  • UC fees
  • Tuition at host institution  
  • On-site orientation
  • Room and board
  • Program excursions and activities
  • Books and other incidental expenses
  • Local transportation
  • Automatic transfer of credits and grades to your UC transcript  
While on UCEAP, you are covered by UC’s accident and medical insurance, including non-medical benefits, and 24/7 travel assistance anywhere in the world.​


UCEAP scholarships are available. Please visit our scholarships overview page for general information and details  regarding eligibility requirements and application deadlines.
Pell Grant recipients may be eligible for a Gilman Scholarship! The Gilman program gives additional funding for students who will study in Russia. Application information can be found at
Study abroad scholarships through the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE)
CIEE offers scholarships for students attending CIEE-affiliated UCEAP programs, based on academic merit and/or need-based scholarships. Find out more.


Class Level:

Sophomore, Junior, Senior

Language Prerequisites:

- The University-level language requirement is: minimum 0 quarters / 0 semesters and maximum 5 quarters / 3 semesters.


2.50 cumulative GPA at the time of application and maintained through the end of the last term prior to departure.

All applicants must also have:

  • Serious academic goals and a clear plan for integrating EAP studies into the student's UC degree program.
  • Social, interpersonal, and cross-cultural sensitivity; maturity; willingness to adapt successfully to different living and academic environments; appropriate behavior in a variety of situations.
  • A willingness to abide by program regulations.
  • Completed all campus- and program-specific requirements and be in good academic and disciplinary standing.

Application Information and Deadlines

Important: If you are planning to participate in back to back study abroad programs (with UCEAP or any other organization), you must notify your campus study abroad office. There are important things to consider when participating in consecutive programs, such as program dates and visa requirements. Not all program combinations are possible.

Application deadlines and information on the application process are available through your Campus EAP Office. Supplemental pre-departure materials will be required for many programs, including, but not limited to, host institution applications, visa and housing applications, medical clearances, etc.

For participation in the program, you must meet all deadlines and submit complete application materials.

These are minimum requirements. After selection by your UC Campus EAP Office, final admission is determined by CIEE.

Visit your Campus Study Abroad website for program-specific deadlines: