Students in class.

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The Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies (GIRS) enables students with advanced Russian language skills to professionalize their interest in Russia and Eurasia. Given that the future of U.S.–Russian relations depends on a mutual understanding of concerns and priorities, it is imperative that the next generation of U.S. specialists on Eurasia learn not only from Western discourse, but directly from leading experts from the Russian Federation and other post-Soviet states. The Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey represents an important step in providing such an educational opportunity.

We provide experiential learning and international opportunities for students interested in careers with various agencies in the federal government, policymaking, security studies and conflict resolution, non-governmental organizations, high-level translation and interpretation, and global business, among others. GIRS combines elements of a traditional Russian language program while empowering students through access to unprecedented opportunities to learn from and collaborate with experts and scholars, engage in hands-on scholarship using primary sources, and to develop language skills within the context of students’ broader academic interests.

The Initiative comprises five main components:

  1. The Visiting Experts program
  2. The Monterey Summer Symposium on Russia (MSSR)
  3. Fully funded internship opportunities
  4. Russian - English translations of public opinion polls conducted weekly by Russia’s Levada Center
  5. The U.S.-Russian Dialogue Series

GIRS and MIIS Degree Programs

While the Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies is non degree-granting program, we offer learning opportunities for students who are enrolled in existing degree programs at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS). Students from various degree-granting programs at MIIS are eligible for GIRS opportunities. Many MIIS students with advanced Russian language skills pursue M.A. degrees in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies (NPTS), International Environmental Policy (IEP), or International Education Management (IEM).

Students have the opportunity to earn a Dual Degree in Nonproliferation Studies and earn both the M.A. in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies from the Middlebury Institute and the M.A. in International Affairs from Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO).

To find out more about our degree programs and how GIRS intersects with them, complete an inquiry form and an enrollment advisor will contact you.

Participating Organizations