Undergraduate Program

Why Study Russian at William and Mary?

There are as many reasons for studying Russian language and culture as there are students of Russian. Beyond the high culture of Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Tolstoy, Eisenstein, and many, many others, Russia continues to play an important role in the world community. And while the political and military threat of the Soviet Union is a thing of the past, a democratizing Post-Soviet Russia presents significant challenges and opportunities to the rest of the world in the areas of global security, nuclear non-proliferation, organized crime, international terrorism, to name just a few critical issues of the twenty-first century. 

As Post-Soviet Russia continues to develop economically and politically, the number and variety of career paths available to college graduates with a knowledge of Russian language and culture are constantly expanding. While the U.S. government remains the largest employer of Russian majors, high-tech computer, energy, and communications companies, law firms, consulting agencies and accounting groups are all in need of Russian-speakers to staff new offices in Russia. In addition, an increasing number of NGOs, including charitable, religious, academic, and political organizations, have begun to operate or expanded their operations in Russia.

We offer four full years of language training as well as a variety of courses in Russian literature, cinema and culture that are taught in English. Many of our literature and culture courses in translation fulfill General Education requirements and can be used as part of a concentration in Literary and Cultural Studies and Film Studies. At the present, students may choose between an interdisciplinary major and a minor in Russian Studies through the Global Studies and a minor in Russian Language and Literature. Study abroad is an important component of the Russian program. In addition to our own faculty-directed six-week intensive summer program at St. Petersburg University, students are encouraged to spend a semester or full academic year studying at Russian universities.