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Russian Studies Major | Russian Studies Minor

General Distribution Requirement

All courses in the Russian Studies department count toward the general distribution requirement in humanities except for elementary and intermediate language courses and RUSS 250 (counts for fine arts distribution).

General Education Requirements

Courses that meet the general education requirements in writing, quantitative thinking, internationalism and U.S. identities and differences will be posted on the Registrar's web page in advance of registration for each semester.

Additional information regarding the general distribution requirement and the general education requirements can be found in the graduation requirements section of this catalog.

Honors Program

The Russian department participates in the Honors Program. Eligibility requirements, application procedures and specific project expectations for the department are available from either the department office or the Academic Programs and Advising Office.

Topics Courses

RUSS 194, RUSS 294, RUSS 394, RUSS 494 

The subject matter of these courses will vary: departmental and interdisciplinary topics such as "Food, Science and Technology (1914-1939): A Transatlantic Perspective," "Art against the State in the Communist and Post-Communist World," and "Culture and Science in the Cold War."  Most topics courses are taught in English. Every year. (4 credits)

Independent Study

The department offers independent study options in the form of tutorials, independent projects, internships, preceptorships and Honors independent projects. For more information contact the department and review the Curriculum section of the catalog.

Russian Studies Major

Major Requirements

The Russian Studies major prepares students for meaningful personal and professional interactions with Russian speakers all over the globe. Russian majors achieve advanced proficiencyt in one of the world's most widely spoken languages; in addition, they gain a profound understanding of Russian culture as well as the historical and political contexts in which it has developed.

In consultation with an advisor from within the department, students will develop a major plan with a focus on language and the interdisciplinary study of Russia. All majors will include no fewer than 9 courses (36 credits), with the following requirements:

  1. Language Proficiency

    Sustained language study is essential for obtaining advanced proficiency in Russian. Russian Studies majors must take at least four Russian language courses. These may include RUSS 203, RUSS 204, RUSS 305, and RUSS 488. RUSS 305 and RUSS 488 may be repeated for credit toward the major, with the consent of the instructor, as topics change from year to year. RUSS 101 and RUSS 102 do not count toward the major. Students with prior study or knowledge of Russian may place out of these introductory courses. Content courses taught in Russian and courses taken on study away that are conducted in Russian may also count toward the language proficiency portion of the major. Students with significant language background when they come to Macalester (such as heritage speakers) should consult with their advisor in the Russian Studies department about achieving the language proficiency required for the major through coursework and/or by working as preceptors in lower-level language courses.
  2. Russian Studies Content Courses

    Russian Studies majors must take a minimum of four Russian Studies content courses. Examples include courses on Russian art, literature, film, folklore, history, theater, and translation, courses cross-listed with other departments such as English, History, and International Studies, and courses taught in other departments that provide significant coverage of Russia and the region. Content courses may be taught in English or Russian. Content courses taught in Russian may apply to either the language proficiency portion or the content course portion of the major, but a single course cannot count for both.

    In consultation with an advisor from within the department, majors will design a course of study that includes coverage of nineteenth-century, twentieth-century and contemporary Russia, combining a) courses on literature and culture with b) courses on other topics. Russian Studies majors must take at least one course in both a) and b).

    Content courses on literature and culture include: RUSS 151, RUSS 245, RUSS 250, RUSS 251, RUSS 252, RUSS 256, RUSS 257, RUSS 261, RUSS 265, RUSS 270, RUSS 305, RUSS 363 and RUSS 367. Content courses on topics beyond literature and culture include: RUSS 272, RUSS 364, ECON 225, ECON 325, HIST 260, HIST 262, INTL 285, and INTL 317. SOCI 280 may count toward the major if the final project concerns an indigenous group of Russia or other parts of the former Soviet Union. Topics courses (194/294/394) will be considered with departmental approval.
  3. Study Away

    Update regarding the Pandemic:
    As a temporary matter, so long as study away is unavailable due to the consequences of Covid, our major requirement for study away is suspended. Russian Studies majors should consult with department faculty regarding alternatives that will support the linguistic, cultural, experiential, and curricular objectives of the major.

    All Russian Studies majors are required to study away for one semester at an approved institution in Russia or other countries of the post-Soviet sphere. We recommend that majors study away in the spring semester after completion of RUSS 204 and RUSS 305, the latter of which is offered only in the fall semester. With department chair approval, some of the courses taken as part of the study away program may count toward major requirements. In exceptional circumstances, the department may approve an alterative to studying away for a semester that still provides rigorous language training. Students who are unable to study away for a semester must consult with Russian Studies faculty about an appropriate program of study that will help them to achieve advanced proficiency in Russian.
  4. Capstone Course

    The capstone course, RUSS 488, must be taken at Macalester.

Russian Studies Minor

Minor Requirements

A minor in Russian Studies consists of five courses from the Russian Studies curriculum, including at least two language courses beyond RUSS 102.