Russian Studies Degree and Certificate Program Summaries

Oct 14, 2019

Russian studies is an interdisciplinary program combining Russian history, politics, economics and language. Individuals can pursue courses available in different levels depending on their needs and interests.

Essential Information

Students may pursue bachelor's and master's degrees in Russian studies, as well as related certificate programs. Courses in the Russian language are required, regardless of level. For instance, bachelor's degree students learn to speak, read, and write in Russian, while master's degree students must usually pass a comprehension and proficiency exam in Russian language.

Master's degrees programs in Russian studies generally require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree in a related field. These degrees typically have an extensive research component and many programs require students to choose an area of expertise and write a thesis.

Bachelor's Degree Programs in Russian Studies

In a bachelor's degree program in Russian studies, a standard liberal arts course load is typical during the start of the program. Then, students can expect to learn about all aspects of Russian culture, ranging from music to literature to folk art. The political and economic history of the region is also studied in order to gain a true understanding of Russia's place in world history.

A few classes students might expect are:

  • Early Russian history
  • Modern Russian politics
  • Classical and contemporary Russian literature
  • Beginning and intermediate Russian
  • Cold War history

Master's Degree Programs in Russian and Slavic Studies

Different Russian studies master's degree programs offer different focuses. For example, one program may be better suited for a student interested in modern Russian economics, while another may be better for a student interested in Slavic literature.

Possible coursework includes:

  • Advanced Russian
  • Russian and Slavic linguistics
  • Russian art
  • Folklore and Russian culture
  • 19th and 20th-century Russian authors

Certificate Programs in Russian Studies

Certificate programs in Russian studies are most commonly combined with other fields, such as Eastern European studies. While these programs are usually available to students majoring in any given field, they are typically for bachelor's or master's degree students with majors in related disciplines, such as history, political science or international studies.

In a certificate program in Russian studies, the courses are typically coordinated with the student's field of study in order to create a specialized program.

One might expect to take classes such as:

  • Imperial Russian history
  • Russian film
  • Christianity in Russia and Eastern Europe
  • Regional analysis of the former Soviet Union
  • Women in the Soviet Union

Popular Careers

Because students from a wide variety of educational backgrounds might choose to earn a certificate in Russian studies, the career possibilities are vast. A few job options directly related to Russian studies are:

  • International government professional
  • International business professional
  • Non-profit organizer

Graduates of a bachelor's program in Russian studies can expect to find entry-level positions in a variety of careers. Some examples are:

  • Educator
  • Translator
  • Russian historian

Employment Outlook

Many students with a master's or doctorate degree in Russian studies choose a career in academia. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a faster-than-average 11% growth in employment is expected for postsecondary school professors from 2018-2028 ( The BLS reported a median annual salary of $74,440 for area, ethnic and cultural studies teachers at the postsecondary level as of May 2018.

Continuing Education

Many master's degree graduates in Russian studies will go on to earn their doctorate degree in Russian studies or related disciplines, such as Russian history or art. For doctorate graduates, employment options in academia can increase greatly, as can the opportunity for tenure. Doctorate students are required to research and complete a dissertation for review, which, on the average, can take 5-7 years.

Programs in Russian studies are available either as a certificate or part of a bachelor's or master's degree. Graduates often choose to pursue careers in education and government.

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