Undergraduate Program



  • The Slavic Department aspires to develop in its majors a critically informed appreciation for the literature and culture of Russia and the Slavic world.
  • Majors should develop comprehensive knowledge of those historical trajectories, artistic trends, and intellectual currents that have shaped in a unique way the literary tradition they have chosen as their object of study.
  • Slavic majors should be critically equipped and discerning readers of texts. Apart from intimate acquaintance with primary sources in their area of interest, they are expected to acquire knowledge of theoretical paradigms and productive critical approaches to literature and culture.
  • As linguistic competence is an indispensable prerequisite in the learning process, the Department expects students to attain a level of proficiency that will allow them to work with both primary and secondary sources in the target language. The student’s competence in the chosen Slavic language should enable him/her to appreciate the subtleties of artistic expression in literary works, as well as navigate the intricacies of critical/theoretical texts.
  • Majors are expected to perfect their writing skills, so as to produce work that is solidly structured, rhetorically appealing, and logically sustained.



The department gives its own placement test to all incoming students who have studied Russian. On the basis of this test and background, the students are placed in an appropriate course. Successful completion of 107 or immediate assignment to a higher course satisfies the A.B. foreign language requirement.

A minimum of eight departmental courses is required. Four upper-level (200 and above) courses must be within the department; the other four courses may be from cognate areas depending on the student's particular interests. For example, if the major field of concentration is 19th-century prose, the program might include courses from French or German literature. If the student’s primary interests lie in the study of language, the program might include courses from theoretical and cognitive linguistics and from other cognate areas (psychology, computer science, history). Students with a strong interest in Russian and Soviet studies might take area courses in the Program in Russian and Eurasian Studies such as Russian history or politics, sociology, or economics. These are only sample suggestions. The program is flexible and strives to satisfy as wide a range of interests as possible.

Concentrators are required to complete RUS 207 and RUS 208.  Concentrators are urged to take three of the four literature survey courses (SLA 219, 220, 221, 222) in preparation for the departmental examination.

Courses must be taken for letter-grade credit to qualify.

Departmental concentrators who are considering pursuing graduate studies in Slavic are reminded that most graduate schools require a reading knowledge of a second modern foreign language. French and German are important for Russian literature, and German is valuable for Slavic linguistics. Graduate programs in Russian literature often require another Slavic language, and programs in Slavic linguistics often require two. Students should think about preparing themselves while still undergraduates to meet these requirements.



First two weeks of Fall semester: majors meet with Undergraduate Representative

First four weeks of Fall semester: majors meet with JP or thesis adviser

January 5: English JP due

January 13: Partial draft of Senior Thesis due

April 10: Seniors submit to the Undergraduate Representative list of literary works for the Departmental Examination

April 18: Draft of Russian JP due

April 28: Certificate Papers due

April 18: Senior Thesis due

May 3: Revised Russian JP due

May 11: First day of Senior Departmental examination

May 12: Second day of Senior Departmental examination


Guide to Independent Work in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures