Placement in a specific level is determined by language proficiency. All students, except for complete beginners, take a language assessment prior to the start of the program. The language assessment is not part of the application process.
Explore our course catalog to see the courses offered in past years.
Level 1 Introductory Russian
For students with very little or no previous classroom instruction in Russian. Starting from scratch, with online and weekend "Survival Russian" courses before taking the Language Pledge, students learn the alphabet and learn to read and understand spoken Russian, learn to write and speak Russian in basic and predictable contexts (ordering a meal in a restaurant, asking directions on the street). Students master the basic grammatical structures of the language and acquire a beginning vocabulary, practiced in weekly compositions. Students completing this course typically have novice high or intermediate low language skills.
In order to help beginning students adapt to the intensive environment at Middlebury and be better prepared for the Language Pledge, Level 1 Russian will start online approximately one month before students arrive in Middlebury. Participation in the pre-arrival program, which will include group webinars and online exercises focused on alphabet learning and survival Russian phrases, is mandatory for Level 1 students. That is, students who apply to Level 1 Russian and enroll agree to complete all of the online exercises prior to their arrival at Middlebury as an academic requirement of the 8-week program. The group webinars will take place in June; dates and times will be announced in the spring.
Level 2 Advanced Introductory Russian
For students with approximately 100 hours of prior formal classroom instruction in Russian; students placing into this course have usually had between one semester and one year of college Russian (at three hours per week). Students typically complete this course with intermediate low to intermediate-mid language skills.
Level 3 Basic Intermediate Russian
For students with approximately 150 hours of prior formal classroom instruction in Russian. In this class, students review the basic grammatical and syntactical structures of the Russian language and improve their mastery of this foundation of the language while acquiring an active vocabulary of approximately 1,500 words. Students typically complete this course with intermediate-mid language skills.
Level 4 Enhanced Intermediate Russian
For students with approximately 200 hours of prior formal classroom instruction in Russian. In this class students review the basic grammatical and syntactical structures of the Russian language and improve their mastery of this foundation of the language while acquiring an active vocabulary of approximately 1,700 words. We expect students to complete this course with intermediate-mid to intermediate high language skills.
Level 5 Advanced Intermediate Russian
For students with 300 hours of prior formal classroom instruction in Russian. In this class students review the basic grammatical and syntactical structures of the Russian language and focus their attention on more challenging structures of the language such as participles, comparative forms, and verbs of motion. At the end of the summer most students have an active vocabulary approaching 2,000 words. Readings for the class include poetry, short stories, and longer prose works, as well as newspaper articles. During half the summer program significant time is devoted to watching television news reports and reading news items. Students typically complete this course with intermediate-mid to intermediate high language skills.
Level 6 Advanced Russian I
For students with at least 350 hours of prior formal instruction in Russian, or fewer hours of formal instruction but a semester or more in Russia. In this class, students already have a firm grasp of the grammatical problems in Russian, such as participles, verbal adverbs, quantitative expressions (measurements and other numeric expressions), and verbs of motion. Students work hard on expanding their vocabulary in this course, building up semantic fields in various topic areas related to both everyday and political/societal topics (active vocabulary of 2,250 words). Students watch Russian films, read short stories, poetry, and newspaper articles, complete listening and writing assignments on journalistic topics, and complete oral assignments including the preparation and delivery of short presentations. We expect students to complete this course with intermediate-high to advanced-low language skills.
Level 7 Advanced Russian II
For students with at least 400 hours of prior formal instruction in Russian, or fewer hours of formal instruction but a semester or more in Russia. In this class, students tackle the more complicated grammatical and syntactical structures of the Russian language and significantly increase their vocabulary by studying Russian root-based semantic groups, idioms, and synonyms. The course focuses a good deal of attention on the development of students' lexical competence (active vocabulary of 2,500 words) by acquainting them with prototypical models of the word formation and derivation processes of contemporary standard Russian. Much of the class's work is devoted to the detailed analysis of Russian films, as well as the reading of contemporary poems, short stories, and excerpts of longer prose works. Students give short presentations on the writers whose works they read. Students typically complete this course with advanced low to advanced mid language skills.