Duke in St. Petersburg

Semester Program

An Intensive Study in Contemporary Russian Language and Culture

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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. 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.

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.


Location: St. Petersburg, Russia

Term: Fall, Spring, or Academic Year

Dates: Early September - Late November; Late January - early to mid-May (Spring)

Application Deadline: March 1 (Fall and Academic Year), October 1 (Spring)

Academic Theme(s): Russian Language and Culture

Credit Type: Duke Credit

Eligibility: Students in a wide range of disciplines and majors, as well as Russian majors, are welcome to apply. Non-Duke students are also welcome to apply.

Duke Affiliation: Department of Slavic & Eurasian Studies

GEO Advising: Request an appointment

  • St. Petersburg Cathedral

  • Neva River

  • Peter the Great Statue

  • The Grand Palace

  • The Hermitage Museum


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.


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.



Perestroika in 19th and 20th Century Russia

(CCI, CZ) 1.0 credit

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. 

Russian Language Studies in St. Petersburg

(CCI, FL) 1.0 credit

Russian grammar, composition, and textual analysis. Explicit analysis of historical and contemporary cultural representations and texts in language, literature, and the verbal arts. 

Language, Culture, and Myth: The Slavic Proverb

(ALP, CCI) 1.0 credit

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. 

Contemporary Russian Media

CCI, EI, FL, SS) 1.0 credit

Study of Russian language, stylistics, and culture through journals and newspapers; work will include TV and print research outside of class. 

Estimated Costs

Fall 2020 or Spring 2021

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

  Duke Students Non-Duke Students
Tuition $29,042.50 $29,042.50
Program Fee $1,000 $1,000
Transcript Fee N/A $120
Other Costs

Other Costs - Fall

Other Costs - Spring

Other Costs - Fall

Other Costs - Spring

TOTAL (Estimated) $35,422.50 $35,542.50

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 MyExperientialEd for remittance instructions or waiver form.

NOTE: If you withdraw after committing to the program, there may be financial consequences.

Step 2: Complete all post-acceptance items listed on your MyExperientialEd 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 - Late November

Spring Semester

Late January - early to mid-May


The faculty director can assist with questions related to program academics, admissions, on-site needs, etc. For all other inquiries, please contact the GEO representative listed.

A faculty member of St. Petersburg State University serves as resident director of the program and is available onsite for assistance at any time. Contact information will be issued upon enrollment in the program.

Edna Andrews

Nancy and Jeffrey Marcus Humanities Professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies

Amy Bowes

Operations Director


Deadline: March 1 (Fall semester) or October 1 (Spring semester)

Eligibility: Applicants must have completed two years of college-level Russian or have an equivalent level of proficiency.

This program has rolling admission. Applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis until the program fills; after that, qualified students are added to a waitlist and notified of openings. Applications must be received by the deadline to be considered.

Priority: Priority will be given to juniors and seniors having an overall GPA of 3.0. Priority is also given to applicants who apply early.

Minimum GPA: The minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) required for Duke students wishing to study away during the semester is 2.7 (3.0 for Pratt students) on a scale of 4.0. See Academics section for details.

Non-Duke students: Non-Duke students are welcome to apply for this program. You must be a degree-seeking student in good standing at an accredited college or university. Consult your university’s registrar and/or study away advisor for assistance with transfer credit. Students who are not matriculated at a college or university are not eligible to participate in Duke’s study away programs.


Start your application early to ensure that it is complete by the deadline! Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the program directors for consideration.

Submit the following items using MyExperientialEd

  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 before submitting their transcript.
  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


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