Undergraduate Program

Undergraduate program of study

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. The contact information for the current director of undergraduate studies may be obtained by consulting the Departmental website at slavic.uchicago.edu.

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).


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 undergraduate studies no later than the end of the first week of the first quarter of their fourth 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 of their fourth year, 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 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, 773.702.8033). Questions about placement, competency, and proficiency examinations in 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.