Humanities education at the Polytechnic Institute began as early as 1902, when the Economics faculty of the Institute included legal sciences, general history, foreign languages, theology, political economy, philosophy, and sociology in its curriculum. Later a compulsory study of modern history of Russia and the West was introduced.
Between 1918 and 1928, the history of socialist doctrines and modern socialism were introduced into the educational programs and became part of the mandatory social science series. Later this series included political economy, historical materialism, history of the proletarian revolution, history of Russia and the West in the XIX - XX centuries, and economic policy.
Between 1934 and 1964, the Polytechnic Institute established the main departments of humanitarian orientation. These are the Department of Foreign Languages, the Department of Marxist History of Technology, and the Departments of Political Economy, Dialectical and Historical Materialism. In 1938 the Department of Marxism-Leninism was founded, in 1950 - the Department of Russian for Foreign Students. In 1957 the Department of History of the CPSU was formed, and in 1963 the Department of Scientific Communism was established. 1970 saw the creation of the Council of Social Science Departments (SSD), chaired by the Rector of M. I. Kalinin Leningrad Polytechnic Institute.
In 1985 Professor M.A. Vasilik established the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS), which included the Department of History of the CPSU, Marxist-Leninist Philosophy, Political Economy, Scientific Communism, and in 1988 the Department of National and International Culture was set up in this faculty. In 1989, with the beginning of Perestroika, the Department of History of the CPSU was renamed into the Department of History; the Department of Marxist-Leninist Philosophy was renamed into the Department of Philosophy; and the Department of Scientific Communism became the Department of Political Science.
The 1990s can be considered the beginning of the newest history of the Institute of Humanities at the Polytechnic University. On November 26, 1990, the Faculty of Social Sciences was renamed into the Faculty of Humanities with the following departments: History, Philosophy, Political Science, Political Economy, Foreign Languages, Russian Language, Physical Culture, National and International Culture, Engineering Pedagogy and Psychology. The first Dean of the Faculty of Humanities was Professor M.A. Vasilik (1990-2005), then Professors V.A. Levankov (2005-2010) and I.E. Timermanis (2010-2012).
In 2012 the Faculties of Humanities and Law were merged into the Institute of Humanities Education (IHE) under the leadership of the Institute's Director, Professor I.E. Timermanis (2012-2014).
In 2005 the Department of Foreign Languages turned into the Faculty of Foreign Languages (FFL); it was headed by the Dean, Professor M.A. Akopova (2006-2012). In 2012 the Faculty of Foreign Languages was renamed to the Institute of Applied Linguistics (IAL), which existed from 2012 to 2014.
In 2014 the Institute of Humanities Education and the Institute of Applied Linguistics created a unified Institute of Humanities. Professor M.A. Akopova became the first director of the Institute of Humanities (2014-2015). Currently, the Institute of Humanities is headed by Professor N.I. Almazova.
The current Institute of Humanities has two departments, five graduate schools, and the center for additional educational programs:
- Graduate School of Applied Linguistics, Translation and Interpreting
- Graduate School of Engineering Pedagogy, Psychology and Applied Linguistics
- Graduate School of International Relations
- Graduate School of Media Communications and Public Relations
- Graduate School of Legal Studies and Forensic Engineering
- Department of Social Sciences
- Department of Foreign Languages
- Center for Additional Educational Programs