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Russian Advising


The Russian program at Dickinson is designed to provide well-balanced and 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, 102 and 201), students cover fundamentals of Russian grammar, learn to communicate on a variety of topics, and are introduced to Russian-speaking cultures. RUSS 100, “Russia and the West,” a course taught in English, examines Russia's changing relationship to notions of “East” and “West.” The course introduces students to Russia through the lenses of history, religions, philosophies, literature, art, music and politics, with the goal of preparing students for interdisciplinary study of the region. The 200-level courses, which may be taught in either Russian or English, represent advanced language study and/or systematic approaches to topics in language, culture, history, and literature.

After three or four semesters of language study, students of Russian typically join the Dickinson in Georgia program. In Tbilisi, students attend classes at the School for Russian and Asian Studies, live with Russian-speaking host families, take courses with international faculty, including experts from Georgia, Ukraine and Russia, explore Tbilisi's museums and cultural sites, and travel extensively throughout Georgia and the region (including Armenia and Azerbaijan). This semester or year-long immersion significantly improves students’ linguistic and cultural competency and prepares them for more advanced studies such as senior research projects. Courses at the 300-level are always taught in Russian and focus on a range of topics including film and popular culture; a study of a single novel or play; Slavic food cultures; or workshop in translation. Special topics courses- are also offered regularly, depending on student interest.

Students may major or minor in Russian. Minors are available in Russian language and Russian Studies. Russian combines well with a variety of other disciplines, including History, International Studies, International Business & Management, Political Science, Security Studies, as well as English or other foreign languages.  The highly interdisciplinary nature of the program offers pathways to integrate the study of Russian with any other major.   

Courses appropriate for prospective majors

RUSS 101 and RUSS 201 are offered in the fall semester, RUSS 102 and RUSS 202 are available in the spring. RUSS 100 is taught in English and is offered every other 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 before your summer advising period. A faculty member will interview you over the phone to determine which level of Russian is most appropriate for you.  Before the summer advising period, please contact the department chairperson, Alyssa DeBlasio, in order to set up your summer language interview.

Students considering a Russian major or minor or who may be planning to choose Russia as the focus for majors in International Studies or International Business & Management, may also want to take a course taught in English about Russian literature, film, or culture (RUSS 100; RUSS 223-270). Russian History courses serve as elective courses for the Russian major and minor, and are also appropriate for First-Year students. 

To begin studying Russian, register for RUSS 101, offered every fall semester.

Transfer Credits
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.

For course descriptions and requirements for the major, refer to the Academic Bulletin: Russian.

Courses that fulfill distribution requirements

Language Requirement:
Successful completion of RUSS 201, 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.

Any course in Russian film or Soviet film (including RUSS 241, 243 and RUSS 335)

Social Sciences:
Any course in history or politics of the region; or PHIL/RUSS 270, Philosophy and Literature

RUSS 248, Russian Culture and the Environment

Global Diversity:
RUSS 100, Russia and the West

Suggested curricular flow through the major

The Russian major was designed with the hope that all of our students would spend time abroad on the Dickinson in Tbilisi, Georgia program. As a result, we developed the curriculum so that a student who did study abroad could complete all the requirements for the major, as long as they followed a few guidelines. The Russian major is also designed to accommodate students with double majors.

Rather than specify courses that you “must” have in a given semester, we have provided some general guidelines. You should think of these guidelines as giving you a fast track into the major – providing maximum flexibility in your junior and senior year.

First Year
RUSS 101 (fall semester); RUSS 102 (spring semester)
RUSS 100, Russia and the West (spring semester) 

Sophomore Year
RUSS 201 (fall semester); RUSS 202 (spring semester)
Russian literature or culture course in English (200-level course)
RUSS electives, for example, a Russian history course

Junior Year
The majority of Russian majors study in Tbilisi, Georgia during their Junior Year; In Tbilisi you will take 4-9 courses per semester (refer to the Courses section in the Academic 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 elective, for example, a Russian history course

Senior Year
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 these guidelines, please feel free to contact a Russian faculty member. Consult your advisor regarding writing an honors thesis in Russian.


A student who wishes to be considered for honors in the major must have an overall grade point average of 3.33 or higher. Each candidate for honors must write a thesis of exceptional merit; the thesis should be based on Russian-language research and should be written at least partially in Russian. The thesis will be approximately 25 pages in length and is usually developed from research conducted abroad and/or written during the senior year in a course numbered 300 or above. Students should reach out to a faculty member in the fall of their senior year to discuss the process. An oral examination will be conducted by members of the Russian department on those papers judged to be of honors quality.

Independent study and independent research

Independent study projects are an option open to motivated students who wish to pursue a topic in Russian or Slavic literatures and cultures not offered as part of the regular curriculum. Interested students must be willing to initiate their own study project and meet with their director on a weekly basis. Most projects are taken for half or full course credit.

Co-curricular activities/programs

The college has an active Russian Club, a Russian House, and a Russian Meal Table, held weekly for students who want to speak or listen to Russian in an informal setting. Russian-language films and cultural events are featured regularly, as well as events featuring cultures of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. 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.

Opportunities for off-campus study

Junior Year All students majoring or minoring in Russian are encouraged to spend one or two semesters on the Russian-language program in Tbilisi, Georgia during the junior year. Students will undergo intensive language training while also having the opportunity to take courses in Identity Studies and Conflict Studies by experts from the region. As part of their introduction to life in Tbilisi, all students will take a course in Georgian Language for Conversation. Russian-language internship opportunities are also available for motivated students.

Summer Immersion Opportunities Summer immersion opportunities are available in Russian language through our partner prorams in Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, and Latvia, and a Ukrainian language workshop in Poland.

Additional Remarks

Careers: Recent graduates have succesful careers in business, law, banking, government, tech, education and academia, publishing, journalism, medicine and the art world.  We have a large alumni base of students living and working in New York City, Washington DC, and abroad.  The department regularly hosts career events to connect current students with graduates in their fields of interest.

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, Alyssa DeBlasio.