Belarusian State University
Беларускі дзяржаўны ўніверсітэт
|Established||October 31, 1921|
|Students||44 877 (incl. 2365 international)|
Belarusian State University (BSU) (Belarusian: Белару́скі дзяржа́ўны ўніверсітэ́т, Belarusian pronunciation: [bʲɛlaˈruskʲi d͡zʲarˈʒawnɨ wnʲivʲɛrsʲiˈtɛt]; Russian: Белору́сский госуда́рственный университе́т) is a university in Minsk, Belarus. It was founded on October 30, 1921.
On February 25, 1919, the Central Executive Committee of the Belorussian SSR resolved to establish the first national university in Belarus. However, the occupation of Minsk by the Polish army delayed these plans, and the university was actually opened on October 30, 1921. The historian and slavist Uładzimier Pičeta became its first rector.
Initially the university comprised three faculties (Workers, Medicine, and Humanities) that enrolled a total of 1,390 students. The faculty included 14 professors, 49 lecturers and 10 teaching assistants, most of whom were transferred from the universities of Moscow, Kazan and Kiev. In 1922, the Pedagogical Faculty was established. The first class that counted 34 economists and 26 lawyers graduated in 1925. The university started offering post-graduate programs in 1927. Construction of the campus was started in the fall of the same year. In 1928, the university actively participated in the creation of the Institute of Belarusian Culture that was later reorganized into the Belarusian Academy of Sciences.
By 1930, the university consisted of six faculties: Workers, Medicine, Pedagogical, National Economy, Law and Soviet Development, Chemical Technology. The faculty and staff has expanded to include 49 professors, 51 assistant professors, 44 lecturers, and over 300 research personnel. In May 1931, the People's Commissariat for Education of the Byelorussian SSR decided to reorganize some faculties of Belarusian State University into new establishments of higher education: the Minsk Medical Institute, the Higher Pedagogical Institute, the Institute of National Economy, the Belarusian Polytechnic Institute, and the Minsk Institute of Law (reintegrated into Belarusian State University as the Faculty of Law in 1955).
In 1941 the university consisted of six Faculties: Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics, Biology, History, Geography, and Languages. There was also a Workers Faculty that provided part-time education to full-time employees of factories and plants, as well as special part-time Polish- and Yiddish-language sections. The university enrolled 1337 undergraduate and 60 graduate students; the faculty included 17 professors, 41 assistant professors, and over 90 lecturers. After Minsk was occupied by Nazi Germany in June 1941, some students and academic staff were evacuated to the east, but over 450 joined the Soviet Army or partisan brigades. During World War II several university buildings were destroyed, while others were used by the Germans as hospitals and offices. In May 1943, Belarusian State University was re-opened in the town of Skhodnya, 12 km northwest of Moscow. Equipment, textbooks, teaching aids, and around 18,000 volumes of scientific literature were donated to the university by the higher education establishments of Moscow. In October 1943, around 300 students were enrolled. The university relocated back to Minsk in the summer of 1944 and classes resumed. A monument to the students, faculty, and staff who died in World War II was opened on campus in 1975.
In 1949, the university was named after Vladimir Lenin to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Byelorussian SSR. The pre-war research facilities were mostly restored by the early 1950s. By 1957, the university consisted of seven faculties; the faculty counted 29 professors, 160 assistant professors, and 150 lecturers.
In 1957, the prominent spectroscopist Anton Sieŭčanka was appointed rector of Belarusian State University. He led the university for the next 15 years and oversaw its significant expansion. In 1958, the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics was split into two, the Faculties of Physics and Mathematics. The Faculties of Journalism and Applied Mathematics were opened in 1967 and 1970, respectively. The university-operated Research Institute for Applied Physics Problems was founded in 1971. Enrollment increased rapidly, from 8,000 in 1962 to 15,000 in 1970. Construction of a new main building for the university was undertaken in 1958-1962, and new buildings of the Physics and Chemistry faculties were opened in 1966 and 1969, respectively. In 1967, the university was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour.
The expansion of Belarusian State University continued after Sevchenko's retirement. In 1975 the Faculty of Radiophysics and Electronics was split off from the Faculty of Physics, and in 1989 the Faculty of Philosophy and Economics was established. The research institutes for physico-chemical problems and nuclear problems were opened in 1978 and 1986, respectively. In 1980, a second campus was constructed on the outskirts of Minsk, near the village of Shchomyslitsa.
After Belarus gained independence from the USSR in 1991, Belarusian State University was officially recognized as a leading establishment of higher education in the new nation. New faculties and institutes were created: the Faculty of International Relations (1995), the State Institute of Management and Social Technologies (2003), the Military Faculty (2003), the St. Methodius and Cyril Theological Institute (2004), the Humanities Faculty (2004); the Institute of Business and Technology Management (2006), the Confucius Institute for Sinology (2007). In 2008 the Faculty of Journalism was reorganized into the Institute of Journalism. The university also established university preparation and continuous education centers. Several new research centers were founded as well: the Centers for Particle and High Energy Physics (1993), Ozonosphere Monitoring (1997), Applied Problems in Mathematics and Informatics (2000), and Human Problems (2000). New buildings were constructed for the Faculties of Biology, Philosophy and Social Sciences, and International Relations, the Institute of Journalism, and the university television center. In the first decade of the 21st century, monuments to a number of prominent Belarusian historical figures - Francysk Skaryna, Mikołaj Hussowczyk, Euphrosyne of Polotsk, Cyril of Turaw, Symon Budny and Wasyl Ciapiński - were erected on campus.
Belarusian State University owns dozens of buildings at various locations within the city of Minsk. The main campus is located in the city center, between Independence Square and the Central Railway Station. The main building of the university that houses the Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics, Faculty of Applied Mathematics and Informatics, the central university library, the International Office, and several other units is situated on Independence Square, across from the House of Government. The buildings that house the Faculties of Physics, Chemistry, Geography, International Relations, and Law, the Research Institute for Nuclear Problems, the Office of the Rector, and the university administration surround the main campus. In the middle of campus is a small park with statues of Belarusian historical figures. The campus is adjacent to that of the Maxim Tank Belarusian State Pedagogical University. The Central Train Station, Central Bus Station, an underground station, as well as multiple bus, trolleybus, and trolley routes are near the main campus. So it is easily accessible by public transport from almost anywhere in Minsk and its suburbs. However, parking on and near campus is limited.
The second campus of Belarusian State University is located on the Southwestern outskirts of Minsk, just beyond the Minsk Beltway, close to the village of Shchomyslitsa. This campus houses the Faculties of Biology, Humanities, and Radiophysics and Computer Technology, as well as the Sevchenko Institute for Applied Physics Problems, the Human Problems Research Center, the university botanical gardens, and two dormitories. Several other university buildings, such as those that house the Faculties of Philology, Philosophy and Social Sciences, Economics, History, the Military Faculty, and the Institute of Journalism are scattered around the city center (mostly within walking distance of the main campus).
The BSU is an integral complex of academic, research, production, social and cultural, administrative, auxiliary and other units. There are 16 Faculties within the university structure.
BSU has 4 Educational Institutes that provide training on undergraduate and post-graduate levels of education.
Scientific research institutes
- Research Institute of Nuclear Problems
- Research Institute of physics-chemistry problems
- Research Institute of applied physics problems
- Research Institute of applied problems of Mathematics and informatics
National research centres
- National Research Centre of Ozonosphere monitoring
- National Scientific and Educational Centre of Particles and High-Energy Physics Republican Research Centres
- Republican Centre for Human Studies
- Inter-departmental Centre of national parks and preserves
- Inter-departmental Centre research center «Life safety»
Centers of sharing use of unique research equipment
- Belarusian inter-university center of research facilities
- Centre of sharing use of devices and equipment of faculty of biology
- Laboratory of physical-and-chemical methods of research RI PCP
- Centre of nanotechnologies and physical electronics
BSU research centers
- Centre of Applied Problems of Mathematics and Informatics
- Education Development Centre
- Centre for youth studies
- Centre of Sociological and Political studies
- Centre for international studies
- Centre for international technologies
- Centre of informational resources and communications]
- Centre of IT security
- Childhood development Centre
- Centre for Olympic training
The research activity is conducted on the basis of 25 Research Centres and 115 Scientific Laboratories. University has 4 Research Institutes in its structure:
- Research Institute of Applied Physical Problems named after A.N. Sieŭčanka
- Research Institute for Nuclear Problems of Belarusian State University
- Research Institute Of Physical And Chemical Problems
- Research Institute of Applied Mathematics and Informatics
The BSU complex also includes 12 unitary scientific-productional enterprises, among them are the following:
- Unitehprom BSU (Small-scale chemical and equipment production of various purpose);
- Unihimprom BSU (Development of the technology of diesel biofuel production from vegetable oils and other accompanying products);
- Unidragmet BSU (treatment of man-caused waste containing precious and non-ferrous metals treatment);
- Adamas BSU (Production of diamond monocrystals and instruments made of them);
- Engineering department of BSU (Production of computers, traffic controllers and systems of traffic control, software&hardware for medical experts);
- Active BSU (production of training devices for physical experiment, vacuum engineering and forage additives;
- Sand BSU (production of tests systems for drug detection).
The core of the BSU is made of the academic community of teachers, researches, students and postgraduate students. Today at the BSU near 7400 employees carry out their duties and 2500 of them occupy full-time teaching positions within university's major faculties and institutes. The BSU teaching staff includes 6 academicians, 7 Corresponding Members of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, 291 Doctors of Science and 1350 PhD degree holders. In total more than 10,7% of teaching staff are professors, and holders of Doctor of Science degree. There are 618 research workers involved in caring out academic research, experimental and design work, innovative and production activities to solve most actual problems of science, technologies and industrial production.
The BSU student's community consists of nearly 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 663 postgraduate (doctoral) and 11 postdoctoral students. Full-time students, who successfully pass exams, receive scholarships and study free of charge.
The University annual enrollment exceeds 5000 students. In 2009 approximately 60% of the secondary school graduates from the country’s regions were accepted for the full-time budget form of education. Vitebsk region — 10%, Mogilev region — 7,3%, Gomel region – 6,4%, Grodno region 9,9%, Brest region — 9,6%, Minsk — 16,4%. In 2009 university accepted 813 international students. Today more than 1700 international students from 53 countries of world are pursuing their education at the BSU.
Many students of the University gained successes in national and international scientific competitions and contests. 104 BSU students gained prize places at the Olympiads and competitions in 2007-2009, among them 49 in 2009. On the XVI International Students Mathematics Olympiad (Hungary, July 2009) the BSU team gained 3 gold and 3 silver medals. Bronze medal was gained by the BSU student on the III International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics. On the VI International Economic and Financial Disciplines and Management Aspects Olympiad gained 1st and 2nd place. The International Olympiad for Informatics and Programming (November 2009, Russia) BSU students managed to get a I degree Diploma. On the selection tours of the World Programming Championship BSU team always reaches the finals and gets into the top-20 teams of world.
The BSU offers a variety of educational programs at all levels of education.
The Higher Education Program is organised at the BSU major Faculties and Educational Institutes through 56 specialities and more than 250 specialisations and aimed at preparing specialist with fundamental and special knowledge and skills. For the last two years several new specialties were created in order to comply with existing demands of national economy. These are Nuclear Physics, Logistics, Management of innovations, Contemporary Foreign Languages and many others. The duration of studies is 4-5 academic years. Classes last from 1 September - until 30 June. Upon successful completion of the programmes students are awarded the Diploma of Higher Education which is considered as superior to the bachelor's degree and gives the rights to pursue further education at the post-graduate level. Language of studies is Russian or Belarusian.
Training along the Magister’s Degree Program is conducted through 48 specialities. The program's goal is to form comprehensive knowledge and special skills for scientific, pedagogical and research activity. Duration of studies 1-2 academic years. But in some cases there is a possibility for international students to study according to the individual curriculum without a fixed dates of studies. Upon successful completion and thesis defense students receive Diploma of Magister.
The PhD Program is aimed to prepare highly qualified researchers holding a candidate of science degree (equivalent of PhD). Training is provided through 142 specialities of different branches of science. Duration of studies is 3-4 academic years. Classes last from 1 November until 31 October. International students have the opportunity to study according to the individual curriculum without a fixed dates enrollment. Upon successful completion graduates receive a Certificate on Graduation and in case if dissertation was presented and defended the student confers the Candidate if Science degree. The BSU has 22 Scientific Councils which conduct evaluations of theses presented for defence.
There is a number of educational establishments which provide students with comprehensive educational training, vocational training, retraining, advanced and refreshment courses.
In order to train international students in Russian language and learning strategies and skills that would enable them to study professional disciplines and to be admitted to a degree programmes the BSU provides pre-university education programme. The program comprises studying the Russian language, literature, and subjects on future specialty. Teaching is organised along five profiles: the humanities, economics, natural sciences, technical disciplines, medicine and biology. The period of study is approximately ten months (one academic year). Upon successful completion Students receive a Graduation Certificate. This document is an official confirmation of student’s eligibility to continue studies at the BSU and other higher educational establishments in the Republic of Belarus and CIS countries.
Domestic and international students may benefit from a variety of Non-degree Programs, such as Student internships, Research internships, Study-and-travel tours, Russian \ Belarusian as a Foreign Language Courses. The following Russian Language Programs are available for international students:
- Long / Short Term Courses (1–10 months) designed to provide students with basic vocabulary and grammar, speaking and understanding skills needed for fluent communication;
- Intensive / Super Intensive Courses focused on professional vocabulary and speech;
- Short Term Courses of Russian for Specific Purposes aimed at providing attendees with the professional terminology and communication skills in Sciences, Humanities, Economics, Philology, Medicine-Biology and Engineering;
- Summer courses designed to equip students with basics of Russian for everyday use;
- Individual studies could be organized in the framework of abovementioned curricula in the one-to-one manner of studies;
As a part of the system of training highly qualified staff holding scientific degrees within the University there are 22 Scientific Councils which conduct evaluations of scientific papers presented for defence.
In late 1950s BSU became an international university with hundreds of international students. More than 4,000 students from over 102 countries of the world have studied at the BSU during Soviet times until the late 1990s. Today BSU is a leader in the Republic of Belarus in teaching foreign students. It provides training to more than 1800 international students from more than 30 countries of the world.
Academic exchanges, common research and joint educational programmes are carried out in the framework of more than 200 international agreements with Institutions from Europe, Asia and America.
The Belarusian State University takes active part in many international university networks and associations. The BSU is among the founders of the Eurasian Association of Universities (EAU), It is an individual full member of the European University Association and a national coordinator of the University Network of Central European Initiative (CEI UniNet). The BSU participates in the work of Belarusian UN Association, International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE), Inter-university Centre of Researches and Cooperation in East And South-East Europe (CERCEOS), International Association of Teachers of Russian language as a Foreign (MAPRYL) and others.
The BSU is the largest international cooperation center in field of education and science in the country. A number of centers work under the university, among them:
- Informational Center of European Union
- Informational Point of European Union
- Center on UN Studies
- Center for International Studies
- Center of Academic Mobility
Each of the University study buildings are equipped with well-furnished classrooms, seminar rooms and reading lounges. There are 70 computer laboratories and 4 media classrooms.
Information Resources of the University Network include web-server, web-servers of the faculties and subdivisions of the BSU and Intranet-Server of BSU. Students are thought on the basis of with the best methods and the latest technologies of knowledge acquisition with use of distant training technologies, such as eUniversity, Moodle and eLearning systems. Computer-Aided Network Information System «University» enables effective administrative procedures for staff and students through electronic registration and issue of the personal documents. The BSU Lyceum uses the distant training system for publishing electronic training materials on the Internet. International students who study Russian as a Foreign Language at the Faculty of Pre-University Education are able to use a specially designed electronic software “Study Russian”.
In February 2010, Supercomputer SKIF was mounted in the BSU. It allows to run tasks simultaneously on the 288 CPUs. It is one of the centers of the national scientific and educational GRID-network. Access to the Supercomputer resources within the university network is granted to the faculty members, scientific collaborators, undergraduates, Master and doctoral students.
The BSU Fundamental Library‘s (BSU FL) funds consist of above 2 million volumes of Belarusian, Russian and other languages’ literature. The Library has 820 readers’ places, 140 workers, 9 home loan departments, 17 departmental and specialised reading rooms, above 26,000 registered users, and provides 1,851,000 book loans annually. The annual library acquisitions is about 50,000 new editions. Annually it subscribes to above 1,070 titles of Belarusian and foreign periodicals, conducts international book exchange with 136 research and educational institutions located in 24 countries of the world. The following digital recourses are available for students and faculty members:
- The Open Public Access Catalog (OPAC) of the Belarusian State University Fundamental Library - It includes 9 bibliographic databases, modified by types of editions (in May 2019 it contains about 1 million records).
- Electronic Document Delivery Service - Gives opportunity to search, order and delivery of electronic copies of documents (articles, chapters, sections, items from magazines and books) that are contained in the funds of BSU FL and also in funds of its partners-libraries.
- Databases. Access to the network (local and utter by licenses) databases is given to users within the BSU network.
- Digitized collections. Educational and research information materials, publications and BSU conferences’ proceedings. Documents are put on the network in accordance with the copyright law acting on the territory of the Republic of Belarus.
- Virtual exhibitions. Information resources that give a possibility to get acquainted with documents from the funds of BSU FL.
The BSU Digital Library is the best in Europe among institutional repositories. It includes more than 160 thousand educational and scientific documents. According to the international rating - TRANSPARENT RANKING: Institutional Repositories by Google Scholar, BSU Digital Library (9th Edition, April 2020) ranks 3rd in the world among university repositories.
The BSU has 11 student dormitories. International students who study at the Faculty of Pre-University Education are offered accommodation in the dormitories № 3 and 5. When transferred to the undergraduate / graduate and post-graduate programmes students receive accommodation in the dormitories of the corresponding faculty.
About 65% of housing provided by the university consists of rooms shared by 3-4 persons with a common kitchen and sanitary arrangements. There are also dorms of block type with kitchen and toilets common for two rooms. Set of furniture includes a bed, a chair, a desk, built-in wardrobe, book shelves. Pricing depends on the type of accommodation and varies from $20 – to $40 per month.
Sport and leisure
The BSU has created sports and recreation facilities for its students and staff. Training and health-improving complexes, swimming pools, gymnasiums, sport grounds are available. Over 1300 students attend 24 specialised sports sections on a regular basis. About 50 of them are members of National teams participating in Olympic games, World and European Championships. The University annually holds students contests in 21 kinds of sport (arm-wrestling, weight-lifting, power-lifting, basketball, volleyball, mini-football, Greek-Roman wrestling, judo, table tennis, skis, swimming, chess, orienteering, sport aerobics, cross-country race, karate, track and field athletics). The BSU students are often prize-winners in the Republican Students’ Olympiad and other contests. University holds more than 90 sport events annually. There is a specialised unit - the Department for Physical Training which is aimed at studying the relevant issues and designing strategy in health development of the young people.
The university's cultural life is rich and diverse. Concerts, disco parties, other cultural and entertaining events are organised by faculties and in students hostels. The Preparatory Department has a tradition of hosting national cuisine and national dance parties for overseas students. Among annually held festivities are the International students theatrical festival «Teatralny Kufar», festival of variety arts, open songs contest «Fest–А», fashion and photo show-contest «Melnitsa Mody», students chorus forum «Paparats-kvetka».
- Uładzimier Pičeta (1921–1929)
- Jazep Karanieŭski (1929–1931)
- Ivan Jermakoŭ (1931–1934)
- Anani Dziakaŭ (1934–1935)
- Alaksiej Kučynski (1936–1937)
- Ničypar Bładyka (1937)
- Uładzimier Babraŭnicki (1938)
- Parfion Savicki (1938–1944)
- Uładzimier Tamaševič (1946–1949)
- Ivan Čymburh (1949–1952)
- Kanstancin Łukašoŭ (1952–1957)
- Anton Sieŭčanka (1957–1972)
- Usievaład Sikorski (1972–1978)
- Uładzimier Bieły (1978–1983)
- Leanid Kisialeŭski (1983–1989)
- Fiodar Kapucki (1990–1995)
- Alaksandar Kazulin (1996–2003)
- Vasil Stražaŭ (2003–2008)
- Siarhiej Abłamiejka (2008-2017)
- Andrei Karol (from 2017)
Criticism and political controversies
In 2008, the activist Franak Viačorka, member of Partyja BPF, was expelled from the Journalism Faculty of the Belarusian State University and forced into military service. In the same year, Michaił Paškievič, member of the United Civic Party and leader of the party's youth wing, was expelled from the BSU History Faculty for political activity.
As part of the international sanctions against the regime in Belarus following a crackdown of the opposition following the 2010 Belarusian presidential election, Siarhiej Abłamiejka, at that time rector of the Belarusian State University, was banned from entering the European Union. In its decision, the EU Council accused him of being "responsible for the expulsion of several students from the University because they participated in the demonstrations on 19 December 2010 and in other peaceful demonstrations in 2011."  It has been reported that students have been expelled from the Belarusian State University for participating in the protests in 2010 and 2011.
According to reports by human rights organizations, politically motivated expulsions from the Belarusian State University continued also after the EU lifted most of its sanctions against Belarus in 2014.
According to reports by media and human rights organizations, many students of the Belarusian State University are being forced to vote early at elections and referenda, which is considered an essential part of centralized electoral fraud in Belarus. No election or referendum in Belarus has been recognized by the United States, the European Union or the OSCE as free and fair since the mid 1990s.
- Svetlana Alexievich, journalist and author, winner of The Nobel Prize in Literature 2015
- Ivan Chigrinov, writer
- Stanisłaŭ Šuškievič, politician and scientist, the first leader and head of state of independent Belarus after the dissolution of the Soviet Union
- Ivan Mielež, writer of fiction and drama
- Hienadź Buraŭkin, diplomat and poet
- Aleś Adamovič, writer and critic
- Uładzimier Arłoŭ, historian, writer, politician, and poet
- Miečysłaŭ Hryb, politician, Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Belarus
- Fiodar Fiodaraŭ, physicist, predicted Imbert–Fiodaraŭ effect
- Anatol Hryckievič, historian
- Natalla Piatkievič, politician and stateswoman
- Pavał Sieviaryniec, politician
- Iryna Chalip, journalist
- Sunday Adelaja, journalist, pastor
- Volha Čuprys, academic, first female vice rector of this University
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