On October 21, (November 1), 1773 Empress Catherine the Great signed a decree on the establishment of the first in Russia higher technical school: the Mining School. The new institution was intentionally called a school so that not only noblemen could be admitted there. This date in the annals of Russian higher education is also regarded as the date of birth of the entire higher technical education in Russia. Initially, the School was located in two buildings on the corner of the 22nd Line of Basil Island and the Neva River Embankment.
The first students of the School were enrolled in June 1774: nineteen students of Moscow University and ten young adolescents with some basic education in chemistry and other essential disciplines. Thanks to their good basic training, the first group of mining engineers graduated from the School in 1776. By the late 18th century, the Mining School already had 108 students.
In 1804, the School was reorganized into the Mining Cadet Corps, structured like a military cadet corps. In 1811, a complex of new buildings was erected for the Mining Corpse by the design of A.N. Voronikhin: a grand architectural ensemble with the façade facing the Neva.
By 1824, the Corpse had more than 500 students. The level of training and scope of disciplines taught brought it to the university level: besides engineering and mining disciplines, the program included law, history, logics, dancing, fencing, music, singing, and theater arts.
In 1817, the Russian Mineralogical Society was established in affiliation with the Mining Cadet Corps. In 1818, a museum integrating collections of the mineral, physical, and modeling shops was founded. It laid foundation to the famous Mining Museum.
Under the Charter of 1866 the Mining Institute became an open technical higher educational institution of the first rank, where mining and fundamental disciplines were taught in the course of five years of studying. Institute students mostly belonged to privileged social groups with a small amount of commoners and countrymen. The Charter remained in force till 1896, when the institute was renamed into Catherine II Mining Institute.
In the late 19th century, the concept of the mineral and raw materials complex as the cornerstone of economic prosperity of Russia was finally shaped by joint efforts of the teaching staff of the Mining Institute. Their input in the discovery of numerous deposits and establishment of metallurgic and other enterprises in Russia could hardly be overestimated.
- 1773 — Mining School
- 1804 — Mining Cadet Corps
- 1833 — Mining Institute
- 1834 — Institute of the Corps of Mining Engineers
- 1866 — St. Petersburg Mining Institute
- 1896 — Empress Catherine II Mining Institute
- 1917 — Mining Institute
- 1921 — Petrograd Mining Institute
- 1930 — Leningrad Higher Geological Prospecting School
- 1930 — Leningrad Geological Prospecting Institute and Training School
- 1931 — Leningrad Mining Institute
- 1956 — Plekhanov Leningrad Mining Institute
- 1992 — Plekhanov St. Petersburg State Mining Institute
- 2000 — Plekhanov St. Petersburg State Mining Institute (Technical University)
- 2011 — St. Petersburg State Mining University (allied with the Northwest Extramural Technical University)
- 2012 — National Mineral Mining University
- 2016 — Saint-Petersburg Mining University