Duke in St. Petersburg

Semester Program

An Intensive Study in Contemporary Russian Language and Culture

Based in St. Petersburg, the home of famous scientists and writers like Mendeleev, Pavlov, Dostoevsky, Blok, Zoshchenko, and Zamiatin, you will have the opportunity to come to know the city from a variety of cultural, intellectual, and social perspectives.

The program offers an excellent opportunity to study the rich Russian culture, civilization, and language of Tolstoy, Chekhov, Dostoyevsky, and Pushkin. This four-course, accredited program at St. Petersburg State University is available in both fall and spring. A summer program is available, as well.

The academic program consists of four intensive courses in Russian language, culture, history, and media taught by Russian faculty from St. Petersburg State University, one of Russia’s oldest and preeminent universities. Classes are held in the University’s Center for Russian Language and Culture, which is housed in the historic Smolny Institute.


St. Petersburg, the Venice of the North

St. Petersburg is Russia's second largest city, with a population of five million. It is home to palaces and churches that date to the era of the czars and is the setting for summer's White Nights, when the sun barely sets. The city's change in names reflects Russia's often turbulent history. It has been Petrograd and Leningrad and only recently, with the demise of Russia's communist system, has it reclaimed its original title. The story of Russia, from the czars through the totalitarianism of Stalin to the recent struggles toward democracy and a free-market economy, is embedded in the city. To visit it now is to observe firsthand a crucial period in Russian history.


Students in a wide range of disciplines and majors (history, political science, sociology, religion, for example), as well as Russian majors, will find this program especially interesting and useful.

A faculty member of St. Petersburg State University serves as resident director of the program and is available for assistance at any time. The university provides an array of services to students.




HISTORY 390A-06 (100J) (CCI, CZ): Perestroika in 19th and 20th Century Russia. Focuses on the era from the fall of Kiev to the reign of Catherine the Great and the developments in 19th- and 20th-century Russia. Taught in Russian. (One course credit)

RUSSIAN 221A (115) (CCI, FL): Russian Language Studies in St. Petersburg. Russian grammar, composition, and textual analysis. Explicit analysis of historical and contemporary cultural representations and texts in language, literature, and the verbal arts. (One course credit)

RUSSIAN 222A (131) (ALP, CCI): Language, Culture, and Myth: The Slavic Proverb. The sources of the Slavic proverb, the proverb as microtext of national stereotypes, and its function in modern literature and culture. West, South, and East Slavic proverbs contrasted with other Indo-European language families. Theoretical aspects include explications of the relationship of language and culture and problems of translation. (One course credit)

RUSSIAN 223A (135A) (CCI, EI, FL, SS): Contemporary Russian Media. Study of Russian language, stylistics, and culture through journals and newspapers; work will include TV and print research outside of class. (One course credit)

Estimated Costs

Fall 2017 or Spring 2018

Estimates are based on previous years’ programs and the current exchange rate. All costs are subject to change.

  Duke Students Non-Duke Students
Tuition $25,860 $25,860
Program Fee $1,000 $1,000
Transcript Fee N/A $40
Other Costs

Other Costs - Fall

Other Costs - Spring

Other Costs - Fall

Other Costs - Spring

TOTAL (Estimated) $30,190 $30,230

Included in Program Fee

The program fee for this program includes: 

Not Included in Program Fee

Use the following list to assist with budgeting for expenses outside the program fee. This list contains common examples but should not be considered exhaustive. 

The program fee does not include: 

  • Airfare
  • Airport transportation to/from program site
  • Local transportation
  • On-site accident and health insurance policy
  • Out-of-pocket medical expenses
  • Immunizations
  • Visa and/or residency permit
  • Passport
  • Textbooks and class materials
  • Internet usage
  • Mobile phone
  • Laundry
  • Independent travel and entertainment
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Incidentals

Personal Spending

Personal expenses can fluctuate greatly depending upon habits and preferences of the individual. It’s also wise to budget for unexpected expenses such as medical emergencies. 

Cost-of-living comparison

Payment Due Dates

Step 1: Within 3 weeks of acceptance to the program, confirm your enrollment by submitting the non-refundable $1,000 deposit. Deposits are payable by check or Student Account E-Check. If you receive Duke financial aid, submit the Deposit Waiver Form in lieu of the deposit. Log in to MyGlobalEd for remittance instructions or waiver form.

NOTE: If you withdraw after committing to the program, your deposit will be retained or $1,000 will be charged to your Bursar account. 

Step 2: Complete all post-acceptance items listed on your MyGlobalEd application, including the Participation Agreement, Pre-Departure Orientation, International Travel Registry, and any program-specific forms. 

Step 3: Semester invoices will be sent via email to your Duke email address and home email address. Remit payment to the Bursar per due date and address indicated on your online statement. All financial arrangements involving Duke University must be completed prior to departure for the program.

Duke Bursar’s Office

Financial Aid

Duke students receiving financial aid are eligible for aid for this program (work-study funds must be converted to loans). Students are individually responsible for making the necessary arrangements with the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid and the Bursar. Non-Duke students are not eligible to receive financial aid at Duke and should contact their home institutions for financial aid information. 

Duke Financial Aid Office

Duke Bursar’s Office


Fall semester

Early September - mid-December

Spring Semester

Late January - early to mid-May


See what students have to say about the program:

"St. Petersburg is an ASTONISHING city! The architecture, the monuments, the ballet, and museums were all terrific. It was the richest cultural experience I've ever had.” 

–Troy, Duke graduate student

"The teachers I had were excellent, but it's personal things you remember. I met a Russian girl on a bus one day. We struck up a conversation, and later she and I went to the circus together. Another person in the program had Russian friends in St. Petersburg, and they invited us to their home for dinner and, later, a birthday party. Those are small things, but it's that kind of contact that shows you what life is like somewhere else." 

–Stacy, Duke undergraduate student


The Duke in St. Petersburg academic program provides intensive study in contemporary Russian language and culture through a four-course, accredited program at St. Petersburg University.

Edna Andrews

Nancy and Jeffrey Marcus Humanities Professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies

Susan Pratt

GEO Asst. Director & Regional Manager


Apply Now

Eligible participants must have completed two years of college-level Russian or have an equivalent level of proficiency.

Submit the following to the Global Education Office by the application deadline:

  1. Online application
  2. Official transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended. First year students should wait for fall semester grades to be posted.
  3. Personal statement, no longer than one page, explaining why you would like to participate on this program. 
  4. Academic letter of recommendation (one), preferably from a language professor noting your linguistic and academic abilities


Apply Now