Major Requirements

To declare a major in Russian, students should contact the chair of the department or a faculty member. 

Normally, majors must complete the following courses:

  • Second-year Russian (RUSS0201 and RUSS0202)
  • The Russian Mind (RUSS0122); may be substituted for HIST0247 AND HIST0248. 
  • The Golden Age of Russian Literature (RUSS0151)
  • Four other courses, including at least one mainstream course abroad
  • Senior seminar (RUSS0704). 

Each student’s program is planned individually with the department chair. Students who wish to pursue careers in government, business, or law may also consider a major in the Russian and East European studies track of the International and Global Studies program.

Russian majors also frequently combine their language study with a minor in economics, geography, history, or political science, or do a joint or double major with one of these subjects.

Minor Requirements 

The Russian department offers two minor programs: 

The Russian language minor (RULN) includes the following:

  • First-year Russian (RUSS0101 - RUSS0103)
  • Second-year Russian (RUSS0201 and RUSS0202)
  • Third-year Russian (RUSS 0311 and RUSS 0312)

The Russian literature and culture minor (RULC) includes the following:

  • Any two of RUSS0122, RUSS0151, RUSS0152
  • Three additional content courses in the Russian department (RUSS/FMMC0245, RUSS0217, RUSS0219, RUSS0241, RUSS0351, RUSS0352, RUSS0354, RUSS0355, and RUSS/ENAM0359, or other appropriate courses pending approval of the chair. A first-year seminar may, on occasion, be substituted for one of these courses.  

Departmental Honors

Majors with a B+ average in Russian courses and a B average overall are encouraged to prepare an honors thesis, the final copy of which is due May 1 of the year of graduation. Departmental honors are determined by a combination of thesis grade and grade point average in courses taken in the Russian Department, the Russian School and Middlebury’s programs abroad. 

  • Highest honors will be awarded for a GPA of 3.75 plus A on the thesis. 
  • High honors will be awarded for a GPA of 3.5 and A- or better on the thesis. 
  • Honors will be awarded for a GPA of 3.35 and a grade of B+ or better on the thesis.

Junior Year Abroad

All Russian majors and language minors are encouraged to study abroad for a year. Middlebury’s Schools Abroad runs three programs in the Russian Federation, in Irkutsk, Moscow, and Yaroslavl, but their operations have been suspended as a result of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. 

In the spring of 2023 Schools Abroad opened a new site in Astana, Kazakhstan, based at Nazarbayev University, one of the premier institutions of higher learning in Central Asia. Russian is one of Kazakhstan’s official languages, alongside Kazakh, and it remains a primary means of communication among its citizens. Students will take Russian language courses and Middlebury-organized electives designed for language learners at Nazarbayev University, with the chance to take mainstream courses alongside Kazakh students at our other partner institutions in Astana, KAZGUU University and Eurasian National University. All coursework will be in Russian under the Middlebury Language Pledge.

In their first semester, all students will take conversation, composition, and culture/civilization courses organized exclusively for our students; students who have completed third-year-level Russian will also take one mainstream course with Kazakh students, either one offered at NU or selected from the university curriculum at our other partner institutions in Astana.

In the second semester, students who have not yet taken a mainstream course will take one, and students who have already taken one may take two or more, in addition to the courses organized for Middlebury. Majors are expected to take at least one mainstream course while abroad. Students unable to attend for a full year may study for one semester, preferably in the fall. The following courses are among those offered for our students at NU in recent semesters. While we cannot guarantee that each of these courses will be available on a regular basis, they are representative of the kinds of offerings students may expect:

  • International Relations of Eurasia
  • Anthropology of Islam
  • Social Problems and Issues of Eurasia
  • Orientalism and Soviet Culture
  • History and Culture of Kazakhstan
  • Russian Literature in the Context of Eurasia
  • History of Kazakh Music
  • Introduction to the Politics of Central Asia
  • Russian Intellectual History from the Enlightenment to Eurasianism

See more detailed course descriptions.