Russian Language and Literature
The Russian program at Dickinson is designed to provide a well-balanced and highly intensive training in language, culture and literature. Classes are small, allowing faculty to pay close attention to students’ individual learning styles and help foster within the student a personal commitment to their studies. In the first three semesters of language courses (RUSS 101, 104 and 116), students cover fundamentals of Russian grammar, learn to communicate on a variety of topics, and are introduced to elements of Russian culture. RUSS 100, “Russia and the West,” a course taught in English, examines Russia as a civilization that has, at many points in history, defied categorization as either “East” or “West.” The course introduces students to Russian history, religions, philosophies, literature, art and music, as well as contemporary politics and business practices. The 200-level courses, which may be taught in either Russian or English, represent an advanced language study and systematic approach to Russian culture and literature.
After three or four semesters of language study, students of Russian typically join the Dickinson in Moscow program. In Moscow, students attend classes at the Russian State University for the Humanities, live with Russian host families, travel extensively throughout Russia, explore Moscow's museums and historical sites, and attend theater productions. This semester or year-long immersion significantly improves students’ linguistic and cultural competency and prepares them for more advanced studies such as research projects. Courses of the 300-level are always taught in Russian and deal with specific aspects of Russian culture and civilization, including Russian popular culture and a translation course. Special topics courses are also offered on a regular basis.
Students may major or minor in Russian. Russian combines well with a variety of other disciplines, including History, International Studies, International Business & Management, Political Science, as well as English or other foreign languages.
Introductory courses appropriate for prospective majors
RUSS 101 and RUSS 116 are offered in the fall semester, RUSS 104 is available in the spring. RUSS 100 is taught in English and is offered every spring.
If you have studied Russian in high school or if you are a heritage speaker of Russian (you speak Russian at home), you should plan to meet with a representative of the Russian department upon arrival on campus. He/she will interview you to determine which level of Russian is the most appropriate for you; temporarily, you should select RUSS 101. The department chairperson, Elena Duzs, is the contact person for setting up such an interview.
Students considering a Russian major or minor or who may be planning to choose Russia as the focus for majors as International Studies or International Business & Management, may also want to take a course taught in English about Russian literature (RUSS 223-260) or culture (RUSS 100). Russian History courses serve as elective courses for Russian Major and are appropriate for First-Year students.
To begin studying Russian, register for RUSS 101, offered every fall semester.
Students should consult with the department chairperson to determine course equivalencies and the number of course credits (maximum 5) you can receive toward the major.
Courses that fulfill distribution requirements
Successful completion of RUSS 116, Intermediate Russian, or a higher-level course.
Any Russian literature course taught in English (including RUSS 260, Topics in
Russian Studies) will satisfy the college requirement in literature.
RUSS 100, Russia and the West
For course descriptions and requirements for the major, refer to the Academic Bulletin: Russian.
Suggested curricular flow through the major
The Russian major was designed with the hope and expectation that all of our students would spend a year abroad. As a result, we developed the curriculum so that a student who did spend a year abroad could complete all the requirements for the major, as long as she or he followed a few guidelines.
The guidelines are written for the entering student who knows he or she wants to major in Russian. Rather than specify the courses that you “must” have in a given semester, the following are general guidelines regarding courses that we suggest you take during each year. You should think of these guidelines as giving you a fast track into the major – this provides maximum flexibility in your junior and senior year.
RUSS 101 (fall semester)
RUSS 104 (spring semester)
RUSS 100, Russia and the Western (spring semester)
RUSS 116 (fall semester)
RUSS 200 (spring semester)
Russian literature or culture course in English (200-level course)
RUSS electives, for example, a Russian history course
The majority of Russian majors study in Moscow during their Junior Year:
- In Moscow, you will take 4-9 courses (refer to the College Bulletin: Russian)
If you do not go abroad, take
- RUSS 231 (fall semester)
- RUSS 232 (spring semester)
- Russian literature or culture course in English (200-level course)
- RUSS electives, for example, a Russian history course
300-level RUSS course (fall semester)
300-level RUSS course (spring semester)
Finish your requirements for Russian literature/culture and your electives
For information regarding the suggested guidelines, please feel free to contact a Russian faculty member. Consult your advisor regarding writing an honors thesis in Russian.
Opportunities for off-campus study
Dickinson offers both semester- and year-long programs for study abroad. Participants study at the Russian State University for the Humanities in courses designed with the Dickinson student in mind. Majors are strongly encouraged to spend at least a semester abroad in Moscow. Depending on demand, Dickinson offers a five-week Russian Language Summer Immersion Program in Moscow. Students who have completed at least one year
(or the equivalent) of Russian language study are encouraged to participate in
Careers: Recent graduates are involved in a number of diverse activities, which include graduate study in business, law, Russian literature, journalism, political science, and medicine. Russian majors find career opportunities in government, business, non-profit organizations, teaching, publishing, sciences, and other fields.
Co-curricular activities: The college has an active Russian Club and a special Russian Meal Table, held weekly for students who want to speak or listen to Russian in an informal setting. Russian films and cultural events are featured regularly. The Russian
Department is a member of Dobro Slovo, the National Slavic Honor Society.
Students are nominated for membership on the basis of their academic standing.
Further information: Information on the major and minor, as well as on the particular courses being offered each semester, is available from the Russian Department Chairperson, Professor, Elena Duzs.