Undergraduate Program


Panorama of St. Petersburg by Siobhán Seigne

Russia has long captivated the West as a land of golden onion-domed churches, vast expanses, despotic tsars, ruthless commissars, long-suffering but large-hearted people, great writers, and, of course, the mysterious Russian soul. It is also now a place where hundreds of US companies do business and where thousands of Americans work and study.

The Russian curriculum at Rochester offers students courses in beginning through advanced Russian language study, Russian literature of the last two centuries, Russian civilization, art, architecture, and film, as well as classes focusing on Tolstoy and Dostoevsky.

Students are also encouraged to take Russian studies courses that cover such topics as the analysis of ongoing events in Russia, the cult and culture of secrecy, and the politics of identity. In addition, Russian majors generally study abroad in Russia for a summer or a semester.

The University of Rochester offers degrees in both Russian and Russian studies. The Russian major, minor, and clusters are in the Humanities division. The Russian studies major, minor, and clusters can count in either the humanities or the social sciences.

Below is information on:

Russian Major Requirements

Language study in Russia is strongly recommended.

See a complete list of Russian courses >

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Russian Minor Requirements

Five courses in Russian language, literature, and culture, to be selected in consultation with the Russian advisor.

See a complete list of Russian courses>>

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Russian Clusters

There are four Russian clusters, all in the humanities academic division.

Russian Literature and Culture: Tradition & Trans (H1RUS001)
This cluster introduces student to Russian culture and identity.

Introduction to Russian Language and Culture (H1RUS004)
Students learn basic language skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) as well as the cultural context for Russian.

Intermediate Russian Language and Culture (H1RUS005)
Students develop Russian language skills while also exploring Russian culture.

Russian Language (H1RUS007)
This cluster introduces students to basic language skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension).

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Study Abroad

Summer Program in St. Petersburg, Russia

Explore the history, culture and language of Russia first-hand though the department’s Summer Program in St. Petersburg, Russia. This program is open to both experienced and beginner Russian speakers.

Study Abroad Programs

Students can also study abroad in Russia through programs coordinated through the Center for Study Abroad. Attend an information session or speak to a study abroad advisor to learn more.

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Language Placement

Advanced Placement (AP) scores or International Baccalaureate (IB) rankings assist departmental advisors in finding the right course level for you. Information on how you learned the language or languages you know will also help us advise you on the most appropriate courses for you in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures.

The first step is to take the online placement exam in Russian. You will receive a score that will be used along with the survey information you provide and with any AP or IB scores you have submitted. Together, the information will help determine your placement in a specific language course. For more information on the online placement test, and instructions for how to login, see our online placment exam instructions page.

The placement you receive with your online numerical test scores is not necessarily how you will be placed by MLC.

Students will receive a “Course planning, placement, and recommendations” sheet with their language placement information from Academic Advising during Orientation and via email.

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Contact Information

For more information about Russian contact Professor John Givens at (585) 275-4251 or john.givens@rochester.edu.


Kathleen Parthé, Professor of Russian and Director of the Russian Studies Program

John Givens, Department Chair, Russian Program Head, and Associate Professor of Russian

Laura Givens, Senior Lecturer in Russian

Anna Maslennikova, Senior Lecturer in Russian

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