Modern Languages and Literatures


  • Why study Russian?

    Russian is spoken:

    • by millions of people from Eastern Europe to the Pacific Ocean;
    • by those interested in international affairs and business opportunities in the East;
    • by those interested in science and mathematics where Russia still leads;
    • by those wanting to explore the Russian heritage in this country, particularly in Brooklyn and the neighborhood of Brighton Beach.

    Top Ten Reasons to Study Russia & Russian

    1. Russia is the world’s largest country. Stretching across two continents, it is almost double the size of either the United States or China. Found within that huge land mass is a wide diversity of peoples, religions, climatic and geographic conditions.
    2. There are an estimated 279 million speakers (native plus nonnative) of Russian. That puts Russian in fifth place on the list of languages spoken by the most people, trailing only Mandarin, English, Hindi, and Spanish. (Source: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 1998).
    3. Russia is home to some of the world's best composers such as Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff, etc.
    4. Russia is currently engaged in a grand experiment in political, social, and economic transformation. How it fares will help determine the character of the 21st century not only for Russia but for the world as a whole.
    5. Lots of Americans have seen the Eiffel Tower, visited Buckingham Palace, and toured the Vatican. A lot fewer have strolled within the Kremlin walls, experienced the “white nights” of St. Petersburg, or spent an afternoon sampling the treasures of the Hermitage. Studying Russia will not only give you the excuse and opportunity to engage in such adventures, but will insure that you more fully understand and appreciate them when you do.
    6. Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Rasputin, Lenin, Stalin, Gorbachev, Yeltsin, etc. Can you think of a more intriguing set of historical characters?
    7. Russia is in economic crisis. Yet its vast resources and highly educated population suggest that it is a country of great economic potential. Boom or bust, the size of Russia alone suggests that its economic course will have global repercussions.
    8. Since the end of the Cold War, the number of people studying Russian in the US has declined. That may mean less competition in the job market for those who do study and master the language– especially if the economic revitalization that some expect to see in Russia does in fact materialize.
    9. Russia remains a nuclear superpower armed with thousands of weapons of mass destruction. For this reason alone, the character of the Russian government and its ability to exercise command and control over its nuclear arsenal is a primary concern (perhaps the primary concern) of US national security policy.
    10. Some of the world’s most famous authors are Russian: Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Gogol, Pushkin, Solzhenitsyn, Nabokov, Pasternak, etc. Need one say more?
  • Courses & requirements
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  • Russian Table

    Tuesdays @ Common Lunch in Breazzano House
    Говорите по-русски? Нет? Каждый вторник мы приглашаем ВСЕХ
    на чашку чая. Приходите, будет весело!
    Interested in Russian culture? Want some help with your homework?
    Join us at the Russian Table for some games, and good chat

  • Study abroad

    Students can explore key historical and political sites in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Novgorod on a Union summer mini-term, titled "Russian and Soviet Empires: The Tsars, the Revolution and Beyond." This mini-term abroad examines the concept of empire in Russia before and after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution.

    A full term abroad to Irkutsk is offered every other year. A city of 600,000, Irkutsk offer a variety of entertainment, from traditional Buryat folk festivals to concerts at the Philharmonic, from strolls along the Angara River to experiencing the active night club scene. Students tour the Kremlin in Moscow and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg on their end of the term excursions to the present-day and former capital of Russia.

  • Career opportunities

    Knowledge of Russian has become a valuable asset, particularly when combined with business-related courses. Many American firms have offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Vladivostok, and the volume of American trade with Russia and Russian-speaking countries has grown rapidly. As a result, American businesses are showing increased interest in graduates with Russian knowledge, offering possible employment, both in the United States and abroad.

    Other careers open to students will a sound knowledge of Russian include work as Russian consultants (generally employed by the federal government), high school teachers, librarians, translators, and interpreters.

    Those students who do not attend graduate school generally enter such fields as business, especially foreign trade and the travel industry, or government service. Students are encouraged to take courses in business, economics, political science, etc., to prepare themselves for such careers. The knowledge of Russian enables them to enter these fields at a more international level.

    Many students who have advanced degrees in Russian (Master’s or Doctoral Degrees) eventually enter the teaching profession either at the high school or university level. An advanced degree also opens up high-level employment in the fields such as international law or various high-powered government positions in the State Department, U.S. Information Agency, National Security Agency, or the Central Intelligence Agency. The common notion that language majors can do nothing but teach is a misconception in a world that is becoming more internationally oriented.