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Degree: BA

Campus: Columbus

College: Arts and Sciences

Russian is the sixth most spoken language in the world, with 164 million native speakers and 114 million second-language speakers in Russia, in other countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and in communities across the globe. It is the language of one of the world’s leading cultures, whose achievements in literature, art, music, science, technology and sports have won worldwide acclaim, and whose history, internal politics and foreign policy have a significant impact on global events. For these reasons, Russian is classified as a critical-needs language by the U.S. government.

The Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures offers an undergraduate major in Russian with two tracks: Russian language and Russian literature, culture and film. Both tracks offer students training in skills to communicate in Russian, to foster an understanding of Russian culture and society, and to develop critical-reasoning, reading and writing skills.

Upon admission to the university, students can declare a major in Russian within the College of Arts and Sciences. Interested students should contact the undergraduate coordinating advisor in the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures.

The program offers five years of Russian language plus a large variety of electives (many taught in English) in Russian culture, literature, film and linguistics. Additionally, education abroad, internships and individual research projects all can be counted toward the Russian major. Students can also draw on the many courses in Russian art, geography, history, music and politics as well as courses in other regional languages and cultures. 

The Russian major has two tracks: (1) Russian language and (2) Russian literature, culture and film. All students take second-year Russian, third-year Russian (with different courses required for each track), a capstone course, and electives drawn from the many courses offered in advanced Russian language, culture, literature, film and linguistics. 

Students in the Russian language track take advanced language classes, plus one additional elective in literature, culture or film. Students in the Russian literature, culture and film track choose two courses in literature, two in culture and one in film for their electives. In both tracks, substitutions may be made in the course work with permission of the advisor.

Students may choose to study abroad as a continuation of Russian 2335: Magnificence, Mayhem and Mafia—Russian Culture (taught in class and online). Ohio State students can also study in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities throughout Russia and Eastern Europe through a number of different programs. For more information, please contact the Russian language program coordinator, Dr. Larysa Stepanova.

The Russian Club hosts celebrations of Russian holidays, Tetris contests and cuisine nights. The Center for Slavic and East European Studies sponsors guest speakers, conferences and other events focusing on Russia. The department organizes screenings of Russian and Eastern European films each semester. At the weekly Russian Table, students of all levels can practice their conversational skills and get free tutoring. Russian TV programs are broadcast twice a week in the Crane Cafe on the first floor of Hagerty Hall. 

Additionally, University Libraries owns hundreds of thousands of Russian books and periodicals, while the Center for Slavic and East European Studies offers students free rentals of over one thousand Russian films and documentaries. There is a growing community of Russians on campus and in the Columbus area, so students of Russian have many opportunities to practice their language and learn about Russian culture in informal settings. 

A G8 country, Russia has rich natural resources and one of the world’s largest economies. Over the past decade, Russia has been undergoing a wave of resurgent nationalism; its government continues to exert considerable influence in international affairs and has recently pursued policies that have put it in contention with the United States and Europe. For this reason, the U.S. government has classified Russian as a critical-needs language vital for national security interests and stresses the need for professionals with Russian expertise.

Recently, Ohio State graduates with Russian degrees have gained rewarding employment in federal agencies. Graduates in Russian have also pursued careers in fields such as international business, secondary and postsecondary education, economics, law enforcement, and translating/interpreting. In addition, qualified graduates have had opportunities to teach English in Russia and Eastern Europe.