In the Department of German and Russian

The major emphasizes Russian language, literature, history, and film in order that students develop a broad understanding of Russian culture in the past and the present. Students are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities on campus, including guest lectures, film screenings, weekly Russian Table or Russian teas, the Russian Poetry Evening, the annual Colby-Bowdoin-Bates Russian Student Research Symposium, and a program of cultural events.

Students majoring in Russian language and culture are expected to study in Russia for at least one semester. Instructors advise beginning students carefully about January, summer, and semester programs.


Chair, Associate Professor Alicia E. Ellis (German)

Assistant Professors Elena Monastireva-Ansdell and Melissa Miller; Visiting Assistant Professor Peter Orte; Language Assistant Sofia Levina

Requirements +

Requirements for the Major in Russian Language and Culture

  1. A minimum of seven courses (three or four credits) numbered above Russian 127 in the Department of German and Russian, including Russian 426 or 428, and at least one course each in 19th- and 20th-century Russian literature or film in English translation (usually chosen from 231, 232, 237, 242).
  2. One course in pre-20th-century Russian history and one course in 20th-century Russian history (usually History 227 and 228).
  3. A seminar in Russian literature, conducted entirely in Russian (Russian 426, 428).

The point scale for retention of the major applies to all courses offered toward the major. No requirements for the major may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory.

Requirements for the Minor in Russian Language and Literature

  1. Four introductory Russian language courses: Russian 125, 126, 127, 128.
  2. Two courses in Russian culture in English translation: one course in 19th-century literature and one course in 20th-century literature or film (usually chosen from Russian 231, 232, 237, 242).
  3. One course studying Russian cultural texts in the original (chosen from Russian 325, 326, 425, 426, 428).

Note: In special circumstances, course substitutions for major and minor requirements may be made after documented consultation with Russian program staff.

Russian majors and minors who are unable to study in Russia for a semester are strongly encouraged to attend a summer language program or spend a Jan Plan in Russia.

Russian majors and minors should broaden their study through courses related to Russian in other departments, particularly courses in history and government.