Undergraduate Program

Program of Study

The Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures offers courses in the Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Czech, Polish, and Russian languages and literatures, and other Slavic and East European cultures, leading to a BA in Russian and East European Studies. The BA degree program is designed to provide students with skills and facility in the languages and cultures of the region.  It is intended for students preparing for graduate work, those planning a career in government or industry, and those whose primary aim is to master Russian and East European cultures in the original languages. Students interested in the program are encouraged to consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS).  The contact information for the current DUS may be obtained by consulting the Departmental website.

Students who are majoring in other fields of study may also complete a minor in Russian and East European Studies.

General Education

Depending on the language(s) of concentration, it is recommended that students majoring in REES satisfy the Civilization Studies requirement with SOSC 24000-24100 Introduction to Russian Civilization I-II or HIST 13100-13200-13300 History of Western Civilization I-II-III.


Students who are majoring or minoring in Russian and East European Studies must receive a quality grade in all courses taken to meet requirements in the major or minor. Nonmajors and nonminors have the option of taking courses on a P/F basis at the discretion of the instructor (except for language courses, which must be taken for quality grades).  For the major a minimum of seven courses must bear University of Chicago course numbers and be completed for quality grades.


To be eligible for honors in Russian and East European Studies, students must maintain an overall college GPA of 3.25 or higher and of 3.5 or higher in the major. Students must indicate their intention to pursue honors to the director of undergraduare studies no later than the end of the first week of the first quarter of their fouth year. 

In addition, students pursuing honors must write an acceptable BA paper in their final year under the supervision of a faculty member in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.  Students must submit the BA paper to the BA supervisor no later than Friday of fifth week in Spring Quarter of their fourth year.

At the latest by the Autumn Quarter, students should begin the BA process by consulting with the director of undergraduate studies.  Students may register for the BA Paper seminar (REES 29900 BA Paper Workshop) with the approval of the BA supervisor.  This course will confer general College elective credit, but it will not count toward the major.  If the completed bachelor's paper is judged by the supervisor and a second faculty member to be a distinguished example of original research or criticism, the student is recommended to the College for graduation with honors in Russian and East European Studies.  The final decision regarding the granting of any degree with honors rests with the Collegiate divisional master.


Students wishing to declare the major should meet with the director of undergraduate studies. Further information on the undergraduate program is available in the departmental office (Foster 406, 702-8033). Questions about placement, competency, and proficiency examinations Russian should be directed to the coordinator of Russian language courses.

Study Abroad

Several study abroad opportunities are offered in subjects and geographic areas of interest to students who are majoring in Russian and East European Studies, including those described below. For more information, students should consult with the study abroad advisers or visit study-abroad.uchicago.edu.

  1. Smolny College  The University of Chicago sponsors summer, semester-long, and year-long programs at Smolny College a joint Russian-American college in St. Petersburg. College-level courses are taught in Russian and English on a broad range of subjects, as well as language courses.
  2. Russian Civilization in Paris: A three-part sequence of courses is taught by University of Chicago faculty at the Chicago Center in Paris. The program includes an extended excursion to a Russian city.  This program satisfies the College General Education requirement for a Civilization sequence.
  3. FLAG study  Students who wish to do a summer study abroad program can apply for a Foreign Language Acquisition Grant (FLAG) that is administered by the College and provides support for a minimum of eight weeks of study at a recognized summer program abroad. Students must have completed RUSS 10300 First-Year Russian III or its equivalent to be eligible for FLAG support for the study of Russian. For more information, visit study-abroad.uchicago.edu/programs/byType/summer-grants.

Program Requirements

Major in Russian and East European Studies (REES). The BA in REES requires twelve courses, which fall into three categories: courses in the major language of study and elective courses.  In this way students have the flexibility to construct a course of study that accords with their interests.

Major in Russian and East European Studies

1. Six courses in languages at the 200-level or beyond.  In exceptional circumstances students may petition to substitute three courses in a concentrated area of study for three quarters of study in the major language.

This requirement may be satisfied in whole or in part by examination credit based on a University placement exam.  Students who fulfill the language requirement with fewer than three quarters of study must substitute elective courses offered in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.

2. Six elective courses in REES or in languages offered by the Slavic Languages and Literatures.  This requirement is designed to allow students to tailor their program to their intended goals and career track.

A maximum of one Reading and Research course (REES 29700) Reading/Research: Russian and Eastern European Studies) may be counted as an elective course.

Courses in the major may not be double-counted with general education requirements.  A minimum of seven courses in the major must be completed for quality grades at the University of Chicago.

Note: Students who entered the University prior to Autumn 2015 may choose to fulfill the requirements here or those that were in place when they entered the University.  For questions about course eligibility, contact the director of undergraduate studies.


Summary of Requirements for the Major in Russian and East European Studies

Six courses in Russian or an East European language at the 20000 level or above*


Six elective courses


Total Units


*Credit may be granted by examination. Up to three quarters worth of placement credit can be counted toward the major.  When more than half of the language requirement (the equivalent of four to six quarters of study) is met by examination, electives in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures must be substituted for additional quarters of language credit granted (i.e., if a student places out of four quarters of the language study, one elective course must be substituted into the major.   If five quarters of credit are granted, two electives must be substituted, etc.)  Introductory courses in another Slavic or East European language can be used as electives.

Minor Program in Russian and East European Studies

The minor in Russian and East European Studies requires seven courses, including at least three language courses at the 200 level or higher and at least two REES courses.

Courses in the minor (1) may not be double counted with the student’s major(s) or with other minors and (2) may not be counted toward general education requirements. Courses in the minor must be taken for quality grades, and more than half of the requirements for the minor must be met by registering for courses bearing University of Chicago course numbers.

Summary of Requirements for the Minor in Russian and East European Studies

Three second-year courses in Russian or East European language*


Four elective courses (including at least two REES courses)


Total Units


*Credit may be granted by examination.