Russian-Speaking Students

The department also accommodates the language needs of heritage speakers of Russian—students who grew up in Russian-speaking families or bilingual households.

For more information, please see Russian-Speaking Students.

Undergraduate Program


Language Courses

Our language courses focus on the development of all four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing), and emphasize the learning of contemporary Russian communicative norms. We prepare our students for communication with Russians in Russia and in the greater Boston area, which has a large population of Russian-speaking immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

The department offers a four-semester sequence of Russian language courses which allows students to reach intermediate level of proficiency. These classes are followed by content courses in the third and fourth years of language study which teach language through various aspects of Russian culture (i.e., Russian through the study of Russian and Soviet films, Russian language and contemporary Russian culture, Russian through the study of Russian literature of the 19th and 20th centuries).  

All of our language courses have a built-in culture component designed to introduce students not only to the products of "high culture" (literary works, film, ballet and opera, fine art, etc.), but also to the social culture as expressed in the often unspoken rules for social conduct (i.e., gift-giving, phone etiquette, being a guest in someone’s home). 

Both the language and culture components of our courses aim at giving our students a greater understanding of the diversity and complexity of human thought and world views, and enabling them to apply the Russian perspectives to understanding texts and ideas relevant to disciplines other than language and literature.

For more information about language courses, please contact Program Director Irina Dubinina.

Russian Studies Electives

Electives can be chosen from among rich offerings in Russian and comparative literature, film and culture, as well as history, politics and Judaic studies.

Literature courses focus on the classics of the 19th and 20th centuries, both prose and poetry. In these courses, students examine the major writers and works that represent Russia in world culture, including Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov and Nabokov. A special course on Russian Modernism covers highlights of early 20th century Russian cultural achievements across a wide range of arts and media, including literature, film, theater, painting, architecture and fashion, as well as philosophy, religious and political thought and popular culture.

Most literature electives are taught in English to make them accessible to a broad range of students. However, bilingual students and advanced students of Russian are encouraged to do as much of the course readings as possible in Russian.

For more information about literature courses, please contact professors Robin Feuer Miller or David Powelstock.

For more information on courses in Russian and Soviet history, please contact professors ChaeRan Freeze and Greg Freeze.