The history of BSU dates back to 1876 ‒the year a Teachers' Training College was established in Belgorod. Later it was reorganized into a Pedagogical Institute and then into a Pedagogical University. In 1996 it was granted university status. Now it is one of the biggest institutions of higher learning in the Russian Federation.
The University comprises 5 buildings designed for educational and research activities, 4 dormitories, canteens, cafes, and snack-bars. Most faculties are now housed in new buildings in Pobeda Street. The University's main building, with its gorgeous fountains, sculptures and patios, is considered to be one of the most magnificent edifices in Belgorod. Next to the main building, on the river-bank, there is a beautiful small church. The University also has a healthcare center, two skiing centers, a shooting-gallery, an equestrian center, and a recreation center located out of town. A new University Sports Center named after S. Khorkina is now being erected not far from the main building, and it is expected to be opened in the end of the year.
The University library contains more than 550000 books, periodicals, microfilms, tapes, videos, compact discs, online services, and other materials. The University Publishing House publishes a wide range of text-books and training aids, as well as research papers, brochures, and leaflets. At the disposal of students and teachers there is a Museum of Forensic Medicine, a Museum of University History, an astronomical observatory,; and a Botanical Garden which houses exotic plants, fishes, reptiles and amphibia.
Each year many school-leavers apply to University. Admission is very competitive. Those who have taken and passed the entrance exams are admitted to the University and become first-year students or "freshers". About 21 000 students are trained in 57 professions by more than 3 000 teachers in 17 faculties of the University:
- The Faculty of Romance and Germanic Philology
- The Faculty of Physics and Mathematics
- The Faculty of Philology
- The Faculty of Natural Sciences
- The Faculty of Physical Training
- The Faculty of Pre-school Education
- The Faculty of History
- The Faculty of Law
- The Faculty of Medicine
- The Faculty of Economics
-The Faculty of Social Sciences and Psychology
- The International Faculty
- The Faculty of Social Sciences and Theology
- The Faculty of Computer Science and Telecommunications
- The Faculty of Geography
- The Faculty of Management and Business
- The Faculty of Journalism
There are also facilities for those who want to combine their work and study. These students usually take correspondence or extramural courses and attend their classes in the evening.
The University's curriculum places greatest emphasis on training teachers and researchers in the physical and social sciences. The students of 7 faculties are trained to be secondary and primary school teachers. The Faculty of Law trains specialists for law enforcement agencies, such as courts and police.
Those interested in medicine enter the Faculty of Medicine. It takes them 6 years to master the basics of theoretical and practical courses and beņome real professionals in treating future patients.
The Faculty of Economics trains specialists in finance, crediting, auditing and accounting. Its graduates can apply their skills and knowledge in various aspects of economics, such asbanking, marketing, trade, advertising etc.
School psychologists and specialists in administration and management are trained in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Psychology.
The International Faculty was established for students from different countries, including China, Algeria, India, Vietnam and many other countries of Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. Most of them come to Belgorod to learn Russian, medicine and law.
The University's curriculum includes humanities (law, literature, foreign languages, history, philosophy, etc.), natural sciences (geography, geology, biology, chemistry, etc.), physics and maths, economics and so on. The classrooms, auditoriums, laboratories, reading-halls, and conference-halls are equipped with computers, digital audio and video systems. The educational activities range from lectures and seminars to field-work and self-study training.
The academic programme in most faculties lasts 5 years. The academic year is divided into two terms each ending with an exam period. Those who pass their exams successfully get a scholarship (a government stipend). Those who fail are expelled from the University. When the whole 5-year academic programme is over, the undergraduates take their final state exams (finals) and, on passing them, get their diplomas, enabling them to find jobs in their professions. The graduates who want to carry out research work come back to the University and enroll in post-graduate courses.
The students of BSU participate in various extracurricular activities. They arrange song-and-dancecontests,stage plays and humorous performances, give amateur concerts and take part in local and regional sports competitions and tournaments. The University Youth Cultural Center makes its stage available to numerous student dance-groups, choirs, orchestras, as well as many theatre/companies on tour from other cities in Russia.
The University is establishing new contacts and extending its international relations-with universities and other educational institutions and organisations. The University has agreements for exchange of students and teachers with universities and colleges based in Germany, France, Poland and the USA.