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Saratov State University: Past and Present

Saratov State University: from Imperial University to National Research University

Saratov State University was founded in June, 1909 and named after Emperor of Russia Nicholas II. First university buildings were designed by architect Karl L. Miufke. Vasiliy I. Razumovsky, a famous scientist, doctor and public person became the first rector of Saratov University.

Initially, the University consisted of just one school - the Faculty of Medicine. Faculties of Physics and Mathematics, History and Philology, as well as the Law School were founded in 1917. Leading scientists worked at the university. For example, philosopher Semen L. Frank, one of the outstanding XX-century scholars, was the Dean of the Faculty of History and Philology. Soon other Faculties were opened. Also, the founder of Russian genetics Nikolai I. Vavilov worked at the Faculty of Agronomics.

In the 1920-1930s, several faculties broke away from the university. They gave rise to separate institutes, namely the Institute of Medicine, Education, Agriculture, Economics, and Law. During the Great Patriotic War, SSU accommodated Leningrad State University that was evacuated to Saratov.

Many famous scientists and outstanding academicians worked at Saratov State University. Among them were the Nobel Prize winner N.N. Semyonov, President of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences A.N. Bakulev, Rector of Moscow State University I.G. Petrovsky, literary critic V.M Zhirmunsky, plant physiologists N.A. Maksimov, corresponding member of the RAS, Obninsk Atomic Power Station founder and director D.I. Blokhintsev, and others.

Over the years, Saratov State University has become one of the largest universities in Russia. In 1998 Saratov Pedagogical Institute, Balashov Pedagogical Institute, College of Radioelectronics, and Polytechnicum were merged with Saratov State University. Being one of the oldest universities in Russia, today it is a large and quickly growing university complex that has great educational, research and innovation potential. SSU has a long tradition of research and a wide range of international contacts.

On May 20, 2010 Saratov State University got the status of National Research University.

The University encompasses 15 faculties, 6 educational institutes and 2 colleges. They embrace 166 departments, including 12 corporate chairs. Saratov State University offers continuous education: pre-university training - vocational secondary education – higher professional education – postgraduate studies – advanced training.


Saratov State University is a large information center. It includes regional Scientific Library named after V.A. Artisevich; Volga Region Center of New Information Technologies; Computer Center; SSU Publishing House.  Saratov State University is a member of the Federal network of universities having supercomputers. The University is on the list of 42 nano-industrial centers included in the National nano-technological network.

Research and Education institutions, centers and laboratories, museums and innovation departments form an important part of the University. They include Research Institute of Nanostructures and Biosystems, Natural Science Research Institute, Institute of Archeology and Cultural Heritage, Botanical Garden, Regional Center of Computer Technologies in Industry, Technopark innovation Center, 3 Technology Transfer Centers, Multi-access Centers, and a Business Incubator.

Saratov State University implements projects under prestigious grants and scholarships of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, as well as large foundations (Carnegie Corporation, MacArthur Foundation, CRDF). The University works in cooperation with Saratov Research Center of RAS and other academic organizations. The University has established 12 corporate chairs, opened branches of RAS Institutes in the departments, joint laboratories and centers.

Saratov State University pursues the mission of fundamental and applied research in 38 research areas, including all priority research areas named by the Russian Government Commission. The developments of university scientists are implementedin defense, electronics, engineering, transport, chemical and oil-refining industries, in agriculture, geology and other areas.

SSU students are well-known in the world. Over the last ten years, the University student team won World and European Championships in IT Programming. In 2006, Saratov University team became the all-round champion of World Championship in programming in the USA; in 2007, they were the second in World Championship in Japan. In 2008, the team of student programmers won the Russian Championship, in 2009 – the World Championship in Stockholm.

Saratov State University has long-established relations with foreign universities in Europe, Asia and America. Since 2006, the Center for the Turkish language and Culture, the largest of its kind in Russia, has been operating at SSU. In 2008, University of Colorado (USA) and SSU signed an agreement of strategic partnership with SSU. Under this agreement, Saratov University opened its representative office in Colorado University, which allowed SSU the opportunity to take part in joined research programs in alternative energy, ecology, genetic engineering and other research areas.

Also, the Joint Research Center for Technology and Nanostructures Measurement has been working since 2007 under the agreement between SSU and Queen Mary University of London. In cooperation with Brunel University (London), the Institute of Risks was founded in 2009. Apart from risk studies, the Institute offers Master’s educational programs.

In 2008, Saratov State University signed a contract with “MI SWAKO”. The University is also part of the Oxford-Russian Foundation scholarship program. SSU professors give lectures at universities of Germany, Great Britain, the USA, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Turkey, Chile and other countries. Also, they take part in international conferences. Their research is well-known all over the world.

As a National Research University, SSU has a special mission: to contribute to increasing national security, human potential development, to preserve Russian spiritual and cultural values by development of students’ professional, social and cultural skills. Saratov State University has established its priority research areas. They include Mathematics and Information Technologies, Fundamental and Applied Research in High-Tech Industry, Living Systems, and Social Systems Risks.