Saint Louis University


Our Interdisciplinary Program

Our undergraduate program in Russian Studies seeks to develop in our students an enthusiasm for pursuing knowledge of Russian language, literature, culture, history, and political science. Our industrious and talented students have enjoyed studying abroad in a number of cities, including Moscow, Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, and Saint Petersburg (the location of our SLU-sponsored program) Bard-Smolny program. They have earned prominent scholarships (including Fulbright and Critical Languages scholarships) and have advanced to leading graduate programs in Russian and East European studies, diplomacy, social work, medicine, and political science at such institutions as Columbia University, The Fletcher School at Tufts University, Washington University in St. Louis, George Washington University, and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Saint Louis University's interdisciplinary Russian program celebrated its fifty-year anniversary in 2012. Our current program emphasizes a communicative learner-centered approach to the language classroom, where students quickly immerse themselves in Russian language and culture by presenting on a wide range of topics, dining on Russian cuisine, singing Russian songs, exploring the internet for the latest political news, and even wearing costumes. We focus on Russian-related trends in language, literature, history, and politics from the beginning of the Romanov dynasty in the seventeenth century to Putin's Russia in the modern era. Students often pair their degrees in Russian studies with related areas such as computer science, international business, history, political science, social work, and international studies, but science majors, including those in chemistry and biology, have also pursued a degree in Russian, thereby making their applications to medical school more competitive.

Learning Outcomes

• Undergraduates majoring in Russian Studies will have a minimum level of Intermediate-Mid knowledge of the four skills of Russian according to the ACTFL guidelines. They will likewise have acquired an ability to comprehend how linguistic structures in Russian either differ from or parallel those in English and/or other languages.
• Undergraduate majors will be able to articulate distinctive characteristics of Russian culture in the fields of architecture, art, history, literature, music, philosophy, political science, and theology.
• Undergraduate majors will have a general knowledge of modern Russian culture and the great writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that will enable them to understand the general historical progression of major movements from the past three centuries and their links to world literary traditions.
• The deeper focus on a particular era's or author's texts in English and Russian will encourage undergraduate majors to analyze critically famous narratives and to generate in sophisticated prose insights into literary, historical, cultural, philosophical, or theological texts of traditional and emerging importance.
• Majors will have developed analytical skills through close critical reading and engaging primary and secondary sources (in Russian and English) to enhance their intercultural competence in preparation for their development as global leaders of contextual intelligence.

Career Advice

Faculty members work closely with undergraduates to help them integrate their study of Russian with other majors and interests so that they are prepared to succeed beyond graduation. If you choose to join the 250 million speaking Russian, you will come to know a country spanning 11 time zones, which is rich in natural resources, prominent on the world stage, and famous for its competitive sports, ballet, opera, music, art, and great works of literature. Armed with this knowledge, our graduates have successfully pursued careers in government agencies, the non-profit sector, the press, the military, and education.

Grateful Students

"Studying Russian changed my life. When I started my education at SLU, I was solely an English major. I only took Russian as a requirement. I also thought it would be fun to read Russian novels in their original language. The more I learned, the more I loved Russian culture. After my first semester at SLU, I added International Studies as my major. Following that, I added a Russian minor. International Studies and Russian Studies stood out with top universities. I was contacted by and accepted into many top-tier master degree programs. After completing a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy with The Fletcher School, I got a job working as a Knowledge and Communications Specialist with an international network of organizations that support children around the world who need care. My experience with Russian helps round out the network's Eastern European component. I feel grateful to the Russian program for their long-time support of my academic and professional career." --Katerina Canyon

"I would like to thank the Russian department for always being invested in me both personally and professionally. While other departments attempt to invest in each of its students, I feel that the Russian department has always taken the time to invest in us outside of class and truly care about us as individuals both during our time at SLU and during our time after SLU. I have always found our department to be very supportive as a community as a whole and am very grateful for all of the opportunities that I have been given as part of this unique community." --Ajay Chatrath