St. Petersburg Theological Academy accepts foreign students who are members of sister Local Orthodox Churches or members of parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church located outside of Russia for study at the Master’s or Bachelor’s program of the Faculty of Theology and Pastoral Studies (accredited programs in “Theology”), for study at the Bachelor’s program of the Faculty of Ecclesiastical Arts (an accredited program in “Theology” – “Choral Conducting”), or for study at the iconography program (a non-accredited vocational education program).
For students from countries with visa-free entry to Russia (Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Central Asian countries except Turkmenistan), admission rules are the same as for Russian citizens. See the section “General information about admission”.
Foreign students are provided with housing and meals at the Academy dormitory free of charge for the duration of their study.
Requirements for Foreign Applicants
The Faculty of Theology and Pastoral Studies accepts men of the Orthodox faith up to the age of 35, single or married in the first marriage. The Faculty of Ecclesiastical Arts accepts both male and female students.
Admission to the Master’s program requires previous completion of a theological seminary or a bachelor’s degree in theology (or equivalent) from an accredited educational institution.
Admission to the Bachelor’s program and the Faculty of Ecclesiastical Arts requires a diploma of secondary or higher education (high school / secondary school or equivalent).
Students are required to have knowledge of Russian at least at the B2 level. Students who do not have adequate knowledge of Russian are first admitted to the program of Russian as a Foreign Language.
By May 1 applicants must send a set of documents to the Secretariat of the Student Exchange Commission of the Moscow Patriarchate, addressed to Deacon Dimitri Serov:
- A petition completed in accordance with the provided example.
A scan of the petition, personally signed by the applicant, must be sent to the Secretariat of the Commission. The request should include the wording: “I kindly ask you for a reference letter to study at St. Petersburg Theological Academy in (the Master’s or Bachelor’s program of the Faculty of Theology and Pastoral Studies / Bachelor’s program or the iconography program of the Faculty of Ecclesiastical Arts / Program for Russian as a Foreign Language).”
- Copy of the first page of the applicant’s passport.
- Copies of all diplomas and transcripts, including high school.
- An autobiography in written form. The scan of the autobiography, signed by the applicant personally, needs to be sent to the Secretariat of the Commission.
- Curriculum Vitae in English, in accordance with the approved form. If relevant, the Applicant should specify the field of theological and research specialization and proposed topic of the master’s or doctoral thesis.
- A letter of recommendation from the ruling bishop, rector or professor.
- Color digital photo 35×45 mm in size.
- A marriage certificate (if applicable) and relevant certificates of tonsure (for readers), ordination (for clergy) or monastic tonsure (for monastics).
- Certificates of proficiency in foreign languages (if available).
Simultaneously with submitting their documents to the Commission, applicants should send the same package of documents to St. Petersburg Theological Academy to Nadezhda Vasilievna Kolesnikova, Director of the Office of Foreign Students, by e-mail or fax:
+7 (812) 717-86-11.
The following information should also be sent to the Office of Foreign Students:
- The city in which the applicant will apply for a Russian visa.
- The exact address to which the visa invitation should be sent (house number, street, city and region, postal code; since invitations are delivered by courier service, PO Boxes are not allowed).
- A current phone number.
The processing of the application by the Commission for Student Exchange takes 4 to 6 weeks. Once a positive decision from the Commission has been received, St. Petersburg Theological Academy will apply for an invitation for a Russian visa. The time for processing the invitation is about 4 weeks. After receiving the invitation, the applicant needs to apply at the relevant consular department for a visa to enter the Russian Federation. Please note that obtaining a visa may require additional documents and the payment of consular fees and usually takes 2 to 3 weeks. (For visa inquiries, contact the Consulate of the Russian Federation in your country of residence).
Applicants should bring with them legalized education documents (diploma and transcript). The procedure for legalization consists of the consular certification of the document, or, for countries that have signed the Apostille Convention, the issuance of an Apostille attached to the document or its notarized copy; legalization is not required for documents from countries with which the Russian Federation has signed a treaty governing the mutual recognition of documents. For information on the necessary legalization procedure for your country, see here. Please note that only translations of documents carried out in Russia by a certified translator are valid in Russia, so there is no need to translate your document into Russian in your home country.
All foreign nationals residing in Russia need to obtain valid medical insurance. An insurance policy may be purchased at the clinic at St. Petersburg Theological Academy.
Please address all questions to the Director of the Office of Foreign Students, Nadezhda Vasilievna Kolesnikova.
+7 (812) 717 86 11
Students who wish to enroll in the Faculty of Theology and Pastoral Studies or the Faculty of Ecclesiastical Arts, but do not have adequate knowledge of Russian, are accepted to the program of Russian as a Foreign Language at the Faculty of Theology and Pastoral Studies.
Upon the completion of the first year in the program of Russian as a Foreign Language, students who successfully pass Russian language testing at the B2 level are allowed to sit for entrance examinations for admission to the Faculty of Theology and Pastoral Studies or the Faculty of Ecclesiastical Arts. Students who do not achieve the B2 level continue their study of Russian and simultaneously enroll in the Preparatory Program.
Upon completion of the program of Russian as a Foreign Language, students undergo state-recognized proficiency testing in Russian at St. Petersburg State University and receive a certificate of proficiency in Russian at the B2 level.
Classes in Russian as a Foreign Language begin on September 1 and finish at the end of June. The course is divided into two semesters. Classes are held 4 times (16 hours) per week. During the year, there are opportunities to undertake pilgrimages and excursions to monasteries, churches, and museums in St. Petersburg and the surrounding region.
Members of the sister Local Orthodox Churches and representatives of other Christian confessions may also study Russian as a Foreign Language without subsequent admission to the Faculty of Theology and Pastoral Studies or the Faculty of Church Arts. During such case-by-case study, it is possible to attend lectures of individual professors on selected subjects, conduct research work in libraries, and consult with professors of the Theological Academy. Application for study in Russian as a Foreign Language takes place as described above.