Russian Studies Program

Proficiency Notation


The Proficiency in Russian Transcript Notation explicitly recognizes students who have demonstrated at least an Intermediate-High level of language proficiency and cultural understanding in Russian, beyond the Brandeis Core requirement. This Notation signals significant global competence in a language and culture beyond a student’s own background, or in a language and culture that are not their dominant ones. This Notation documents that students have acquired the cultural knowledge necessary not only to interact with communities that speak the Russian language, but also to synthesize cultural information from different perspectives. Students in any major or minor can earn the Notation.

The Global Engagement element of the Brandeis Core requires students to demonstrate at least an Intermediate-Low level of proficiency (as defined by the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines) in a world language. Students usually satisfy this requirement by completing either three semesters of language study at Brandeis or through a combination of prior study and coursework at Brandeis. Many students, however, continue their language study beyond the basic requirement. The Notation commends students on their efforts to expand and maintain their multilingualism.


To receive the Notation, students must 

  • study Russian at Brandeis beyond the Brandeis Core World Languages and Cultures requirement (three semesters or the equivalent) by taking at least two more courses. Only courses taught in Russian (designated as RUS) count for the Notation.
  • maintain an average GPA of 3.3 (B+) in the Russian language courses.
Several paths lead to completion of the Notation. 
  1. For students with no prior experience in the language (those who start from RUS 10):

The two additional courses may be a combination of the following:  RUS 40 and one 100-level RUS course OR two 100-level RUS courses (five courses taught in Russian in total). 

  1. For students with prior experience in the language:
  • Students who have fulfilled the World Languages and Cultures requirement need to continue their language study by taking at least two additional courses. For students who, upon entering Brandeis, place into a course above the 30 level, this course will count as the first of the two additional courses.
  • Heritage speakers or second language learners who place at the 30 level or below need to first complete the World Languages and Cultures requirement and then take at least two additional Russian language courses beyond RUS 30. Depending on the individual student, they may need to take three or four courses in total to earn the Notation. 
Important notes:
  • The Notation is available to undergraduate students only.
  • If students take more than the required number of courses, they may choose courses that apply for the Notation.
  • A four-credit Independent Study course may be substituted with the permission of the director of the Russian language program. 
  • Study abroad and intensive summer program credits may count toward the notation with the approval of the Russian language program director.
  • Students may take one language course with the Pass/Fail option and still receive the Notation, as long as the average grade of all remaining courses that count toward the Notation is B+ or higher.
  • Native speakers of Russian cannot receive the Notation in the Russian language. Contact the Russian language program director if you have questions about native speakerhood.
  • Students holding an International Baccalaureate should consult with the director of the Russian language program to determine their eligibility for the Notation.
  • Students who, after receiving the Notation, decide to become minors or majors in Russian Studies, may keep the Notation on their transcript.
Application and Approval Process
  1. A student submits an application for a Proficiency in Russian Transcript Notation to the Russian language program director.
  2. The director reviews all requirements and approves the application.
  3. The director notifies the Office of the Registrar that the student has completed the requirements for the Transcript Notation.