Goal of the Major program - The Russian major allows students to become proficient in conversational and written Russian, to immerse themselves in Russian literature and culture, and to develop a comprehensive understanding of the historical and political contexts.
One major, many options – The major is flexible to accommodate the complexity of the subject and our students' diverse interests. Students balance courses in language, literature, and culture with courses in history, economics, and politics. They can weight their major toward area studies or the humanities, and still be able to take complementary courses in international studies, environmental studies, anthropology, political science, geography, and Humanities, Media and Cultural Studies.
Foundations - Our students graduate with practical skills (e.g., writing, public speaking, research) and valuable critical, analytical, and creative thinking skills. Students typically major in Russian in preparation for a wide range of careers, including law, journalism, business, foreign service, marketing, public health, scientific research, ecology, translation, teaching, and graduate work in the humanities or social sciences. See what our alumni are doing.
Russian Major Requirements – All our majors learn Russian, one of the world’s most widely spoken languages, by completing the equivalent of three years of Russian language in courses taken on campus or abroad. In addition, majors will complete:
- Four courses in Russian literature and culture
- Two courses in Russian, Central, and Eastern European Area Studies, which may include courses in International Studies, as approved by the department
Students who are already fluent in Russian can take additional literature and culture classes in place of the language classes. Upon completing the language requirement and an approved study abroad plan, Russian majors are eligible to take the Russian Senior Seminar, an integrated, capstone experience.
For complete details on academic requirements, policies, and procedures, visit our official program description.
Russian Minor – Students can also minor in Russian, as the program’s coursework is a strong complement to studies in the humanities and social sciences. The minor concentration consists of any five courses offered by the department beyond Elementary Russian II (Russian 102), and must include Intermediate Russian I and II (Russian 203 and 204).
Study Abroad – As there is no better way to understand Russia’s culture and society than to study abroad, the program incorporates a semester in Russia, typically in the junior year. Most Russian majors meet the requirement to study abroad during the fall semester following the completion of Russian 204. Macalester will give academic credit for the successful completion of courses taken abroad, as long as the program has been approved by the department and by the Macalester Study Abroad office. Learn more...
Departmental honors - To qualify for honors or high honors in Russian, a student must write a senior thesis to be submitted for evaluation to a committee consisting of the advisor, a second reader with expertise in Russian literature or history, and one additional faculty reader. This committee makes the final decision on departmental honors.
Building Leaders - Russian majors play an important leadership role in the Russian program's mission of advancing Russian studies. Majors help organize an annual conference, network with academics and prominent thinkers in the field, develop and promote cultural events, take initiative with outreach activities, and participate in internships.
Learn more - The best way to learn if the Russian major is right for you is to drop by and talk to one of the Russian faculty, who can also put you in touch with our current majors. Prospective students are also welcome to contact us with any questions about the specifics of our program.