Russian Studies

Saint Louis University’s interdisciplinary Russian studies program draws on the expertise of professors specializing in Russian, history, philosophy and political science to immerse you in the language, literature, culture, history and politics of Russia’s 1000-year history.

Many students spend a summer or semester abroad in Russia.

Major in Russian Studies

SLU’s major in Russian studies requires 30 credit hours of upper-division courses, including those in history, politics, literature, and theology or philosophy. Outside of the 12 hours of required language instruction, students must select nine more hours of upper-division Russian electives.  SLU's Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures cooperates with the Center for Intercultural Studies, the Center for International Studies, and the Russian and East European Area Studies program to support lectures, exhibits, conferences and other cultural events on campus.  The Russian Club sponsors holiday parties, film viewings and honors society inductions every year.

Many students spend a summer or semester abroad in Russia’s vast landscape to master this language identified as critical by the U.S. government.


To enroll in the core courses for the major or minor, first you will need either to pass an oral and written Russian proficiency examination at the intermediate level or to take the Russian proficiency sequence of courses:  (1) “RUSS 1010: Communicating in Russian I”; (2) “RUSS 1020: Communicating in Russian II”; (3) “RUSS 2010: Intermediate Russian: Language and Culture.”

Students may transfer credits from another undergraduate Russian program (including an intensive summer program) or a study abroad program (including SLU’s program through Bard College at Smolny College).  

  • RUSS 3010: Oral and Written Proficiency in Russian I
  • RUSS 3020: Oral and Written Proficiency in Russian II
  • RUSS 3250: Russian Culture and Civilization
  • RUSS 4010: Fluency in Russian
  • RUSS 4890: Senior Inquiry: Written Composition and Grammar Exam
  • HIST 3290: History of Russia Since 1905
  • POLI 2530: Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics
  • THEO 4490: The Russian Orthodox
  • PHIL 4740: Philosophy of Karl Marx
Internships and Careers

Recent graduates with a degree in Russian studies from Saint Louis University work with government agencies such as the U.S. Armed Forces, NASA, the NSA and the CIA, and with nonprofit organizations such as Amnesty International, Green Cross, the Peace Corps, and Mother and Child.

Other career paths for Russian studies majors include journalism, education and business.


SLU’s Russian studies faculty members work closely with students and can help you determine how Russian can complement your additional academic interests as you prepare for your future career.

They also support innovative undergraduate research projects guided by the students' own interests. Undergraduate students majoring in Russian studies at SLU have presented their research at regional and national conferences.

Our students also work closely with related faculty in other departments, such as history and political science.

  • David T. Murphy, Ph.D.
  • Yelena Belyaeva-Standen, Ph.D.
  • Elizabeth Blake, Ph.D.

Minor in Russian Studies

SLU’s Russian studies minor requires 15 credit hours of upper-division coursework, including:

  • RUSS 3010: Oral and Written Proficiency in Russian I
  • RUSS 3020: Oral and Written Proficiency in Russian II
  • One Russian literature elective
  • One 3000- or 4000-level Russian elective
  • One 4000-level Russian elective

Immerse Yourself

Master the Russian Language 

SLU’s Student Success Center offers a peer tutor in Russian who can help students of all levels as they study this challenging language. Students and faculty go on trips to local stores, churches and restaurants to share their common interest in Russian cultural immersion.

Russian studies students at SLU also participate in intensive summer Russian programs in the United States and study abroad opportunities that include a SLU-sponsored program at Smolny College through Bard College, allowing them to further improve their fluency.