Russian Language Program

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Language placement (general information)

The Department offers the Russian placement test twice a year.  In the fall, the test is offered in August (remotely), a week-ten days before the first day of classes, and also in early December. The Placement test consists of two parts – written (grammar and essay—about two hours) and oral (a 20-minute long individual interview). Students who need a reading proficiency exam, or who have particular questions about placing into/out of Russian language courses including heritage courses, should contact Alla Smyslova Subject line: Placement Test

Next Russian Placement Test – August 2024

Dates will be posted in May, 2024

For the structure of the test, for the cover page and a sign-up sheet for an oral interview, check the links below.

Follow all the instructions below.
Questions? Contact Alla Smyslova [email protected]

Zoom meeting link for both -- written and oral parts:

Meeting ID 549 802 7826

Complete the cover page and email it as an attachment to Alla Smyslova  [email protected]  at least one day before the test date.

Written part: click here for instructions and structure (you can open it only with CU UNI)

Sign-up sheet for oral interviews is available here (you can open it only with CU UNI)   

Additional sign-up sheet is available here (you can open it only with CU UNI)

A score of 5 on the AP/NEWL Russian exam satisfies the foreign language requirement. Upon successful completion of a 3-point 3000-level (or higher) course at Columbia, the Department of Slavic Languages will award 3 points of AP credit, provided the grade in the course is a B or better. Courses taught in English may not be used to earn AP credit.  No credit or placement is given for the SAT II Subject Test. If you wish to continue with Russian at Columbia, you should take the departmental placement test and speak with the Russian program director prior to registration to ensure proper placement.

Heritage learners of Russian are students who are born to Russian-speaking parents (or might have one Russian-speaking parent) and get their education in a different language, in case of the U.S. it is English.

The two-semester course dedicated to Russian heritage speakers is designed for heritage speakers who were either born in or arrived at the USA at a pre-school age, and have not yet learned to read or write or have limited reading and writing skills in Russian. For more effective instruction, the course is based on utilizing heritage speaker strength—well-developed aural skills—to develop their much weaker—literacy--skills in a fast and effective way.

In 2017, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in its report Investing in Language Education for the 21st Century, identified the course Russian for Heritage Speakers at Columbia University as a pedagogical model that can be adopted elsewhere in the US and applied to the teaching of other heritage languages.

UN3430-3431 Russian for Heritage Speakers course meets a two-year foreign language requirement.

"Summer 2015: Exploring Brighton Neighborhood"
"Advanced Russian Group, July 2017"
"Students and instructors, summer 2019"

ACTR Post-Secondary Russian Scholar Award 

Barnard College and Columbia College ACTR Laureates

Eva Nikitovic, BC  2023
Talia Abrahamson, CC  2023
Rowan Shnir, BC  2022
Mason Smith, CC  2022
Maria Pondikos, BC  2021
Jiashi Yang, CC  2021
Greta Schatz, BC  2020
Perry Young, CC  2020
Anya Konstantinovsky, BC  2019
Stephanie Borgani, CC   2019
Noa Gur-Arie, BC  2018
Maria Matilde Morales, CC  2018
Nicole Edwards, BC  2017
Rebecca Mahany, CC  2017
Skyler Samuelson, BC  2016
Max Lawton, CC  2016
Alexandra (Sasha) Henriques, BC 2015
Cole Hickman, CC  2015
Jorja Knauer, BC  2014
James Reye, CCs  2014
Hyunhee (Esther) Shin, BC  2013
Jessica Tyler, CC  2013
Mariya Meshcheryakova, BC  2012
Philip Crandall, CC  2012
Kelly Knox, BC  2011
Michael Mirochnik, CC  2011
Micah Horwitz, BC  2010
Thomas M. Davis, CC  2010
Rebekah Kim, BC  2009
Sasha Lauren de Vogel, CC  2009
Jane Mikkelson, BC  2008 
John Tilden King, CC  2008
Paul Sonne, CC  2007

Our weekly Tea party gatherings for Columbia/Barnard students and faculty will take place every Thursday, from 5:00 to 6:00 pm, in 713 Hamilton, beginning from September 15. We will share not only tea, cookies and sweets, but most of all, our stories! All Russian language levels are welcome. Questions? Please contact Tatiana Mikhailova ([email protected])