Courses in Moscow

During their first semester at the School in Russia, participants take four courses. For most students, this consists of two core courses and two electives.

One core course, "The Russian Language," includes Russian grammar and Russian oral speech practice. For the grammar component, students are divided into groups according to language levels.

The second core course is "Russian Culture and Civilization through the History and Culture of Moscow."

Middlebury Courses

For the spring 2017 semester, the following courses are offered:

I. Russian Language

The course consists of Advanced Russian Grammar classes twice a week at RGGU Russian as a Foreign Language Center (RFL) and Oral Speech Master Class at Shchukin Theatre Institute once a week.

Advanced Russian Grammar consists of intensive classes covering a wide range of grammar nuances. The classes allow students to polish their grammar skills and work on their writing. Classes of different language proficiency are offered for the students.

Requirements: no unexcused absences, all work submitted in a timely manner, active participation.

Oral Speech Master Class is taught by a leading Professor of Acting and Stage Speech at Shchukin Institute. This unique class is a combination of breathing exercises and techniques on phonetics, accent and improving pronunciation. Designed specifically for students on our program, it helps to develop fluency and overcome fear of speaking Russian in academic environment as well as other settings.

Requirements: no unexcused absences, fitness attire and training shoes for every class, active participation.

II. Moscow: Politics and Society

Moscow is the capital of the Russian Federation. The city encompasses a centuries-old history of Russian Government, making it the political and cultural center of contemporary Russia. The course aims to prove that the social structure of Moscow is key to understanding the great diversity of Russian society in general. Apart from lectures and class discussions, students will have to take part in excursions and lead their own projects while getting familiarized with the city and its residents.

Requirements: project submission at the end of the semester, active participation in class, no unexcused absences.

III. Heart of a dog by M. Bulgakov: Reading between the lines

A close reading of the novel, followed by detailed discussions, will allow students to understand the historical and literary contexts and thus to form their independent opinions on the main problems and ideas of Bulgakov’s work. The novel follows traditions of such literary works like Faust by Goethe and Frankenstein by M. Shelley. The course offers an in-depth look into Soviet ideology and propaganda and touches eternal philosophical questions of human nature, society and responsibility.   

Requirements: no unexcused absences, reading the novel, active participation, final essay.

IV. Analysis and discussion of XX century Russia historical texts

This history course focuses on key events of 20th century Russian history, linking them to the present political situation. Students will study 20th century Russia decade after decade, examining different artifacts and historical evidence accessible to the public. The class is supplemented by excursions, film screenings and museum tours.

Requirements: no unexcused absences, film screenings, active participation, final project.


The electives offered to students vary from semester to semester and are determined based on students' academic disciplines and interests for that specific term.Some examples of electives that have been offered in previous semesters, and may be offered in future semesters include:

History of the USSR
Aspects of History and Civilization
History of Russian Literature
Courses on the literary works of N. Gogol, A. Chechov, M. Bulgakov, V. Shukshin, V. Vysotsky, etc.
Poetry of the Silver Age Period
Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Russian Politics
Language of Mass Media
Business Russian

All courses are taught in Russian and are exclusive to School in Russia participants. Instructors are selected from various departments of the host university. For language courses, students are divided into language level groups based on the results of a language placement test given prior to arrival in Russia, and on the results of interviews and testing on site. Russian Culture & Civilization and спецкурсы are not divided according to language level, but are taught to the group as a whole. Each class meets for two пары (four academic hours) per week and includes written and oral graded exercises.

Mainstream Courses

Students of advanced-level Russian may choose to pursue one or more classes in the regular departments of RGGU, Higher School of Economics (HSE) or the Shchukin Theater Institute in place of any of the standard School in Russia courses.

RGGU and HSE offer a great variety of courses in the Humanities and Social Science, including History and Politics, International Relations, Journalism/Mass media,  Literature, Linguistics, Social and Economic Studies, Law, Psychology. 

HSE also offers courses in the area of Computer Science, Math, Finances; and RGGU has courses of Archival and Museum Studies.

The Shchukin Theater Institute has a set of professional acting and performing classes, but even those students who are not interested in pursuing a professional career in theater often take Stage Speech and Stage Movement classes.