Concentration-Only Tracks

Russian Literature (for non-Russian speakers) 

This concentration is for serious literature students who would like to pursue Russian literature but have no language training in Russian. It allows students to explore the Russian literary tradition, while perfecting their critical skills and their techniques of close reading in a variety of challenging courses where the literature is taught in translation. If you are majoring in English or Comparative Literature, or in another non-English literature such as Spanish or Arabic, and you would like to add Russian literature to your studies but don't have time to learn Russian, this is the concentration for you.

This concentration is only available to Columbia undergraduates. However, Barnard students who have completed (or are eligible to place out of) the language requirement in Russian may like to consider a minor in Russian literature (5 courses). Consult any Barnard Slavic professor for more information.

The Concentration in Russian Literature consists of 8 courses and has no language requirements. It requires 2 introductory surveys of Russian literature. The remaining courses should focus primarily on Russian literature in translation, but may include also courses in Russian culture, history, or in other Slavic literatures, as well as relevant literature courses from other departments, if approved by the director of undergraduate studies. The course requirements are distributed as follows:

  • Two Russian literature surveys (in translation): RUSS UN3220x Literature and Empire: The Rise of the Novel in Russia (19th Century); RUSS UN3221y Literature and Revolution: Tradition, Innovation, and Politics in Russian Culture (20th Century); RUSS GU4107x Russian Literature and Culture in the new Millennium.
  • Six additional courses, focused primarily on Russian literature, culture, and history, though courses in other Slavic literatures are also acceptable


NOTE: Relevant literature courses from other departments may count toward the requirements for the concentration only if approved by the director of undergraduate studies

Slavic Language and Culture

This program is intended for students who aim to attain proficiency in a Slavic language other than Russian. Intensive language training is complemented by an array of elective courses in Slavic cultures that allow students to achieve critical understanding of the communities that are shaped by the Slavic language of their choice.

Since this concentration emphasizes language acquisition, it is not appropriate for native speakers of the target language.

The program consists of 10 courses, 6 of which meet language requirements. The 4 others are electives, chosen in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies. The course requirements are distributed as follows:

  • Six semesters of coursework in one Slavic language (from Elementary through Advanced Czech, Polish, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, or Ukrainian) or the equivalent
  • Four additional courses in Slavic literature, culture or history, or in linguistics; at least two should be directly related to the target language of study.


(Note: This concentration is not available to Barnard students. However, Barnard students may pursue a major in Slavic and East European Literature and Culture or in Slavic and East European Regional Studies. See the website of the Barnard Slavic Department for details.)