Russian: Culture and History, BA

The major in Russian and East European Studies (12 c.u.) provides a program of study that enables a broad multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural understanding of the languages, literatures, cultures, histories, and societies of Russia, Central and Eastern European, and the Balkan and Baltic regions. For the language requirement, students can choose any regional language offered at Penn (i.e., Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian) or in which they can demonstrate an equivalent proficiency. In addition to linguistic flexibility, this major allows students to pursue their specific disciplinary interests through three concentrations: Language, Literature, and Culture; History, Politics, and Society; and Cinema, Arts, and Letters. Majors are encouraged to complete a summer or semester abroad to gain first-hand understanding of the communities they study and to advance their language competency. The major also offers an honors option.

Knowledge of Russian and East European languages and cultures is a marketable and impressive skill, whether you are in academia, arts, law, medicine, governmental service, public interest, business, or politics. Russian and East European majors and minors land jobs in a variety of settings. They go on to work in business as financial and policy analysts for American and foreign companies. They work for NGOs, publishing houses, or the media. They teach abroad and consult in marketing, advertising, aerospace, or computer engineering. And, of course, some work as educators in universities and schools and as employees of the US government.

The minimum total course units for graduation in this major is 32. Double majors may entail more course units.

For information about the General Education requirements, please visit the College of Arts & Sciences Curriculum page.

College General Education Requirements and Free Electives
Foundational Approaches + Sectors1 + Free Electives20
Major Requirements
Select one of the following:
Intermediate Russian II
Russian for Heritage Speakers II
Equivalent Proficiency
Russian History
HIST/RUSS 048The Rise and Fall of the Russian Empire, 1552-19171
HIST/RUSS 049The Soviet Century, 1917-19911
Russian Culture
RUSS 136/HIST 047Portraits of Russian Society: Art, Fiction, Drama1
RUSS 187/HIST 046Portraits of Soviet Society: Literature, Film, Drama1
Core Courses
Select 4 course units of Core Courses 24
Select 4 course units of Electives 34
Total Course Units32

You may count no more than one course toward both a Major and a Sector requirement. For Exceptions, check the Policy Statement.


Check Department website for list of suggested courses.


May include advanced language courses and any Russia related course offered by any Department.


Applicants must have a minimum overall 3.3 and a GPA of 3.5 in the Major.

RUSS 399Supervised Work1

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2017 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.