Russian and East European Studies: Language, Literature and Culture, BA

The major in Russian and East European Studies 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, the 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 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
Russian and East European Studies Core
REES 0010Central and Eastern Europe: Cultures, Histories, Societies1
Concentration Requirements 2
Select 2 courses to fulfill the Advanced Language Requirement 32
Select 5 Literature and Culture courses 45
Select 4 Electives 4,54
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.


Students take seven REES courses* with language, literature, and cultural studies content.  * Note that some REES courses (defined as those with RUSS and EEUR course numbers) are offered through Penn Language Center (PLC)


Students must complete the advanced language program in any regional language approved by the Undergraduate Chair or demonstrate equivalent proficiency.  In most cases, students fulfill this requirement by taking two advanced 4000-level or 5000-level language courses or their equivalent in any regional language approved by the Undergraduate Chair.


Chronological, Disciplinary, and Distribution requirements must be met with Literature & Culture and free elective courses.


Students must take at least one broad survey course that covers the period before 1800, one that covers the period before 1900 and one that covers the period after 1900 to fulfill the Chronological Distribution requirement.  


Applicants must have a minimum overall 3.3 and a GPA of 3.6 in the major.

REES 4998Honors Thesis1


The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2023 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.