Study Abroad in St. Petersburg: Academics

Students are required to take a 4-credit Russian language course and may also select one 2-credit course plus a 1-credit course taught in English for a maximum total of 7 credits. Elective courses must be confirmed one month before departure and cannot be changed.

Required Russian language courses cover phonetics, grammar and everyday language. All levels are accepted, including beginners who are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Cyrillic alphabet before arrival. Classes are taught in small groups of up to 12 students after a placement test which is given the first day.

To achieve maximum benefit from instruction, language teaching is in Russian. Language classes meet 14 academic hours a week, Monday through Friday mornings (an academic hour is 45 minutes of class). Contemporary Life in Russia, History of Russian Art, and St. Petersburg’s Role in Russian History and Culture courses are optional and taught in English. A minimum enrollment of 10 students is required for these courses to run.


Attendance is required to receive full credit. Students exceeding the permitted number of unexcused absences may lose all or partial credit.


No AIFS participant is permitted to take a course without receiving a letter grade. Pass/Fail grade options are not available.


St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University issues transcripts. Students should obtain prior approval from their home institution for transfer credit detailing courses, class hours and grades. Transcripts do not indicate the credits recommended by AIFS.

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