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Undergraduate Program


Panorama of St. Petersburg by Siobhán Seigne
Photo credit: 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

  • Proficiency in Russian (coursework through RUS 152)
  • Two language courses at the 200 level
  • Two courses in Russian literature (one in the 19th century, one in the 20th)
  • Three more courses in Russian language, literature or culture
  • CLT 200 (Class of 2020 and beyond)
  • CLT 389: Major Seminar

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.

For students with previous experience with the Russian language, the first step is to take the online placement exam. You will receive a score that will be used along with the other information you provide to help determine your placement. For more information on the online placement test, and instructions for how to login, see our online placement exam instructions page. Students who have not studied Russian previously and who are not heritage speakers of Russian may register for RUS 101 without taking a placement exam.

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) 275-4253 or


John Givens, Associate Professor of Russian, Head for the Russian Program, Chair for the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures

Laura Givens, Associate Professor of Instruction in Russian

Nikita Maslennikov, Senior Lecturer in Russian

Anna Maslennikova, Professor of Instruction in Russian

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