Russian Language and Culture

Russian Language and Culture

(Barnard equivalents: Russian Language and Literature, Russian Regional Studies*)

This major is intended for students who aim to attain maximal proficiency in the Russian language. Intensive language training is complemented by an array of elective courses in Russian culture that allow students to achieve critical understanding of contemporary Russian society and of Russian-speaking communities around the world. If your main interest is learning to speak Russian as well as you can -- including by learning about the cultural contexts that have shaped the Russian language -- this is the major for you.

Since this major emphasizes language acquisition, it is not appropriate for native Russian speakers.

You can also pursue a Concentration in Russian Language and Culture (see below). Students who wish to take more literature and culture courses and fewer language courses should consider the major track in Russian Literature and Culture or the Concentration in Russian Literature (non-language track).

*Barnard students please note: Although Barnard and Columbia Slavic majors share classes, professors, and many of the same requirements, they are subject to different requirements for the B.A. degree. Barnard students should consult the major and minor requirements listed on the website of the Barnard Slavic Department.
 

Degree Requirements

For a Major in Russian Language and Culture

The program consists of 15 courses, 8 of which meet language requirements. Of the remaining 7 courses, 2 are introductory surveys, and the other 5 are electives, chosen in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies. The course requirements are distributed as follows:

  • Eight semesters of coursework in Russian language (from First- through Fourth-year Russian) or the equivalent
     
  • Two of the following surveys: SLCL UN3001, Slavic Cultures;  RUSS UN3220, Literature and Empire: The Rise of the Novel in Russia (19th Century); RUSS UN3221, Literature and Revolution: Tradition, Innovation, and Politics in Russian Culture (20th Century); RUSS UN3223, Magical Mystery Tour: The Legacy of Old Rus’; CLRS GU4022, Russia and Asia: Orientialism, Eurasianism, and Internationalism; RUSS GU4107, Russian Literature and Culture in the New Millennium; RUSS GU4155, Intro to Russian and Soviet Film; HSSL GU4280, Religion in Russian: Culture, History. Institution.  (One of these should be a Russian literature survey [RUSS UN3220, UN3221]).

  • Five additional courses in Russian culture, history, literature, art, film, music, or in linguistics. At least one of the selected courses should be taught in Russian.

Thesis: There is no thesis requirement for Slavic Department majors in Columbia College or the School of General Studies. (All Barnard students, regardless of major, are required to write a senior thesis.) However, any student who wishes to be considered for Departmental honors (see below) must complete a thesis. Columbia students who wish to undertake a thesis project should confer with the director of undergraduate studies during the registration period in April of their junior year and register to take the Senior Seminar (RUSS UN3595x) fall term of their senior year. Those who opt to expand the thesis into a two-semester project register for Supervised Individual Research with their thesis advisor (RUSS UN3998y) in the spring. (Senior Seminar may be used to satisfy one elective requirement; the optional second semester of thesis work, however, is in addition to the 15 courses required for the major.)

NOTES:

  1. To complement these courses, students are urged to spend a semester, year, or summer studying abroad in Russia. The Russian Language Coordinator is available to help you choose a suitable program.
  2. Courses in which a grade of D has been received do not count toward major or concentration requirements.
  3. Students graduating in May 2008 or earlier should meet with the DUS to clarify how their existing coursework satisfies the newly reorganized requirements.
     
 

For a Concentration in Russian Language and Culture

The program consists of 10 courses, 6 of which meet language requirements. Of the remaining 4 courses, at least 1 is an introductory survey in either Russian culture or Russian literature, and the other 3 are electives, chosen in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies. The course requirements are distributed as follows:

  • Six semesters of coursework in Russian language (from First- through Third-year Russian) or the equivalent
     
  • One of the following surveys: SLCL UN3001, Slavic Cultures; RUSS UN3220, Literature and Empire: The Rise of the Novel in Russia (19th Century); RUSS UN3221, Literature and Revolution: Tradition, Innovation, and Politics in Russian Culture (20th Century); RUSS UN3223, Magical Mystery Tour: The Legacy of Old Rus’; CLRS GU4022, Russia and Asia: Orientalism, Eurasianism, Internationalism; RUSS GU4107, Russian Literature and Culture in the New Millennium; RUSS GU4155, Introduction to Russian and Soviet Film; HSSL GU4280 Religion in Russia: Culture, History, Institution. 
     
  • Three additional courses in Russian culture, history, literature, art, film, music, or in linguistics; at least one of the selected courses should be taught in Russian.

NOTE: Courses in which a grade of D has been received do not count toward major or concentration requirements.
 

Departmental Honors

Students who have a grade point average of at least 3.6 in courses taken for the major and who have submitted a senior thesis of outstanding quality will be considered for departmental honors. Normally no more than 10 percent of the graduating majors may be awarded departmental honors in any given year. For more information, consult the Director of Undergraduate Studies no later than the change-of-program period in the fall term of your senior year.