Russian: Language, Literature and Culture, 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, 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
Select one of the following:
Intermediate Russian II
Russian for Heritage Speakers II
Equivalent Proficiency
Literature & Culture Surveys 2
Select 1 course unit of Pre 19th & 19th C Lit & Culture1
Select 1 course unit of 20th and Post 20th C Lit & Culture1
Literature & Culture Seminars 3
Select 1 course unit of Medieval Literature & Culture1
Select 1 course unit of 19th & 19th C Lit & Culture1
Select 1 course unit of 20th and Post 20th C Lit & Culture1
Advanced Conversation & Composition
RUSS 311Russian Conversation and Composition (or 400-level taught in Russian)1
RUSS 312Russian Conversation and Composition II (or 400-level taught in Russian)1
Advanced Courses Taught in Russian
Select 2 course units of Seminars in Russian2
Select 3 course units of Electives3
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.


One unit may be satisfied by taking an alternate survey course covering two periods.


One unit may be satisfied by taking an alternate literature & culture seminar covering two periods.


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.