The Department of Russian Language, Literature, and Culture offers a wide range of courses for both majors and non-majors. The department’s sequence of language classes seeks to provide students with extensive training in speaking, reading, and writing Russian and to develop their understanding of Russian culture. For the development of oral proficiency, classes are regularly divided into small conversation groups. Work in the language laboratory is emphasized in elementary and intermediate level courses. Course work in literature, both in the original and in translation, allows students to investigate representative works and significant literary genres of the major periods, as well as to acquire the critical methods needed to analyze them. Students especially interested in the interconnections between culture, history, and politics should consider the Russian and East European Area Studies Program.
A degree in Russian or Russian and East European Studies can lead to graduate work in Russian literature, linguistics, area studies, comparative literature, or a variety of related fields (e.g., library science, linguistics). Russian majors have gone on to careers in teaching at all levels, government work (e.g., State Department), medicine, law, international business, as well as in charitable or non-profit organizations.
Incoming students with previous training in Russian should take the Placement Test to determine the level at which study in Russian should be continued. Students beginning at Oberlin should note course sequences, some of which are prerequisite to the advanced level and the major. Participation in a Russian study abroad program is highly recommended, as is residency in the Russian House.
Suggested Course Sequence
New students considering a major should include a Russian language course in their first semester. New students with or without previous training are encouraged to take a related course in translation, such as Russian literature, culture, history or politics during their first year.
The department strongly encourages all students interested in Russian to spend a semester, year, or summer abroad. Students can apply to a number of Oberlin-affiliated programs in Russia, including the Council on International Educational Exchange’s programs in St. Petersburg, the ACM/GLCA fall semester in Krasnodar; the Middlebury College programs in Moscow, Yaroslavl, and Irkutsk; and the American Council of Teachers of Russian programs in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Vladimir. Some programs, including the one offered jointly by the Moscow Institute of Social and Political Studies and the International University of Moscow, accept students without previous language training. Students interested in drama can participate in the Moscow Art Theater program, sponsored by the National Theater Institute. For further information on these and other programs, contact Ms. Forman, Mr. Newlin, or Mr. Scholl.
Students on financial aid should consult the Director of Financial Aid before planning to participate in any of the aforementioned programs.