Irkutsk is one the famous cities in Russia. Located in Eastern Siberia not far from the western shore of Lake Baikal, less than 70 kilometers, almost on the half way between Moscow and the Pacific Ocean.
In 1661 a small cossack settlement was replaced by a wooden fortress or the Irkutsk ostrog. 100 years later Irkutsk became the main administrative, commercial and cultural center of Eastern Siberia. Irkutsk was not only the place where the trade routs connecting Europe and Asia crossed, but also as the center of defining the strategy of economic and cultural development of the whole Siberian region.
At that time the prominent people of Siberia dreamed of setting up the university in Irkutsk. The University was supposed to be the center of education, science, business and culture on the vast territory. That is why the idea of establishing the University had a great number of supporters.
And the University was founded in October 27, 1918. When the University was opened there were only two faculties history — philological and law ones. Professors and private-docents of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan and other universities — people, remarkable for their excellent education, cultural awareness and brilliant personalities, — worked at Irkutsk State University from the very beginning.
Irkutsk State University is an institution of higher learning run by the Ministry of Higher Education of Russian Federation.
Irkutsk University is a member of the International Association of Universities. Irkutsk State University is included in the top ten — university list of Russia.
For the years of its existence Irkutsk University has trained more than 50 thousand highly qualified specialists, 150 Dr.Sc. and 1000 Ph.D. The scientists of Irkutsk University are carrying out researches of great national and economic importance.
The researches are carried out by the professors and teachers, research workers, post graduate students and the students of the 11 main faculties of the University: biological, geological, geographical, historical, physical, philological, chemical, social sciences, service and advertising, international and the faculty of psychology. There are three academic institutes: Institute of Law, Institute of Mathematics and Economics, Baikal Institute of Business and International Management, three research institutes of: Biology, Oil and Coal- Chemical Synthesis, and Applied Physics, the Astronomical Observatory, the Baikal Biological Research Station, Botanical Garden. There is the Computer and Internet centers, Scientific Library with more than 3.000.000 units.
More than 9.000 students study at the University, 620 teachers work here, 120 of them are Dr.Sc. and professors, 357 — Ph.D. instructors. Three Academicians, two Associate Members of the Russian Academy of Sciences, more than 20 full members of various branches of the Academies of Sciences, 12 Honored Science Workers of Russian Federation.
Irkutsk State University is an active participant of the state program "State support of integration of higher education and fundamental science for 1997–2000 years", and it is one of the fifth Russian universities which has the greatest amount of grants. An extensive range of graduate and post graduate programs, both taught and research based, is offered by the University, including new methods of delivery such as distance learning.
Post graduate studies and doctoral program are opened on 58 specialties. Close links are maintained with industry, commerce and the professions, to promote the development of mutually beneficial graduate training and research. Full research training is provided in all subject areas, including both specific subject-based research skills and general lifetime skills, such as modern languages and information management.
Irkutsk State University offers a top quality educational, social and welfare environment for the staff and students. The University possesses excellent libraries and computing resources combined with outstanding sporting, cultural and leisure opportunities and a wide range of attractive student accommodation.
The university has wide international relations. Annually the faculties train more than 300 citizens of 27 countries. The university has close international connections with the universities of Germany, Spain, Belgium, France, England, Turkey, China, Mongolia, Japan, South Korea, USA, Canada. Every year the University invites tens of foreign teachers and specialists to teach and to do research, and hundreds to come on academic tours or for cooperation. For the last few years the university was the participant of TEMPUS — TACIS Program.
The University is loyal to its fundamental tradition — stable policy of educational process. Nowadays when in higher education exists the growing tendency to commercialize it, Irkutsk State University, not rejecting fee-paying education, actively supports talented young people, trying to preserve the number of places subsidized by the state.
The globalization of all processes in the society, the growing complexity of competition on local and world markets, and the development of information technologies are radically changing the requirements to the young generation. In these conditions educational institutions must provide students with a wider spectrum of opportunities to chose and to plan their education according to their aims, bents and capabilities.
The language of teaching at Irkutsk State University is Russian. The major qualifications provided by the University are: a four year Bachelor of Art and Sciences, a Diploma of Specialist (five year program).