Major & Minor Requirements

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. 

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

Major in Russian and East European Studies

The BA in REES requires twelve courses, which fall into three categories: courses in the major language of study; courses that demonstrate a core competency in the major literature and culture of study; and elective courses. Students have flexibility to construct a course of study that accords with their interests.


Six language courses at the 20000 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.

Six elective courses in REES or in languages offered by 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.


Six courses in Russian or an East European language at the 20000 level or above* 600
Six elective courses 600
Total Units 1200

* 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 the additional quarters of language credit granted (i.e., if a student places out of four quarters of language study, one elective course must be substituted into the major. If five quarters of credit are granted, two electives must be substituted, etc.) For purposes of this requirement, introductory courses in another Slavic or East European language can be substituted as electives.

Minor in Russia & 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.

Students choose courses in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies. The approval of the director of undergraduate studies for the minor program should be submitted to a student's College adviser by the deadline above on a form obtained from the College adviser.

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.


Three second-year courses in a Russian or East European language* 300
Four elective courses (including at least two REES courses) 400
Total Units 700

*Credit may be granted by examination.

Further Information


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, Erik Houle.

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.