Undergraduate Degrees

The Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures offers a major and minor in Russian as well as a Minor in Russian Area Studies. These degree programs combine study of the Russian language with that of Russian literature, art and culture, with particular emphasis on developments in contemporary Russia.   To link directly with the USC Catalogue, click here.

Major in Russian

Students are required to study four semesters of Russian language as a prerequisite to the major. The major itself requires an additional three semesters of language study, three semesters of an advanced seminar on Russian culture (with varying content), and two elective courses, either in Russian literature and culture (in translation or Russian, depending on course scheduling) or in Russian area studies.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts in Russian

Note: all courses are 4 units.

Lower division:

SLL 120      Beginning Russian I
SLL 150      Beginning Russian II
SLL 220      Intermediate Russia I
SLL 250      Intermediate Russian II

Upper division:

SLL 310      Advanced Russian in Popular Culture
SLL 321      Russian Culture, or
SLL 330g    Russian Thought and Civilization
SLL 340      Intercultural Communication in Russian
SLL 465      Seminar in Russian Studies

(taken three times with varying content; 12 max units)

In addition, two elective courses are required that must be approved by the undergraduate advisor. For majors with a concentration in Russian language, literature and culture, these electives will be from Slavic Department courses on Russian literature and culture. For majors with a concentration in Russian studies, one or both electives may be taken, with prior departmental approval, from other related fields.

Minor in Russian

The minor in Russian requires two years of Russian language (the lower division requirements for the major) plus three upper division elective courses chosen from the following (at least two of the areas must be represented): upper division Russian language courses (SLL 320, 325, 420);
Russian literature and culture taught in Russian (SLL 321, 400, 430, 465);
Russian literature, art and culture taught in translation (SLL 330, 344, 345, 348, 378).

Minor in Russian Area Studies

The lower division requirements are three semesters of Russian language (SLL 120, 150 and 220), or its equivalent, and in the upper division:

The core course, SLL 330g (Russian Thought and Civilization);
One course outside the Slavic department, from among the following: HIST 320, 324, 328, 415, 416, 424; IR 345, 483; POSC 464; SOCI 462;
and two electives, to be chosen from among: any upper division SLL course in Russian literature, art or culture; or HIST 320, 324, 328, 415, 416, 424; IR 345, 483; POSC 464.

Note: the course taken to fulfill the requirement outside the Slavic department cannot also count as an elective.

Major in Central European Studies

The major in Central European studies combines background in relevant languages (Russian plus either German or Polish, or more intensive study of Russian) with course work in international relations and the history, culture and politics of the region.

No longer an imperial backwater, Central Europe has risen from its Cold War stasis to become one of the world’s most dynamic and important regions. Stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Balkan Peninsula, and from the Eastern lands of Germany to the Western regions of Russia, this onetime great-power battleground is now a vital trade and energy corridor, a mosaic of languages and cultures, a place of both successful state-building and persistent ethnic frictions, and a promising but still-precarious bridge between the former Soviet Union and the West. Central Europe rivals the Far East and Southwest Asia as one of the world’s most strategically important regions — now, and over the coming decades. Those who master its history and politics, its economic, cultural and linguistic diversity, will be well positioned for fellowships, graduate work, business or analytical careers centered on this fascinating region.

The objectives of this interdisciplinary major are to provide students with: 1) the historical background and linguistic-cultural skills necessary for in-depth study of Central Europe; 2) knowledge of its main post-Cold War political, ethnic, and economic trends; and 3) understanding of current issues from nationalism and immigration to trade, military-diplomatic and alliance politics.

Requirements for the Major in Central European Studies

All courses are 4 units.  The fundamental linguistic background of the major is Russian (12 units).   SLL 120, 150 and 220 are required.  Beyond the second year of Russian, students may choose from among three options: further work on Russian; or a year of German (GERM 101 and 102); or a year of Polish (SLL 122 and 152). (8 units).

Required upper-division courses in international relations: two courses must be chosen from among IR 345, 346 and 385 (8 units).



IR 345 Russian and Post-Soviet Foreign Policy  
IR 346 Communism and Post-Communism: Eastern Europe and the Balkans  
IR 385 European Foreign Policy and Security Issues  

In addition three electives are required from among the following. At least one course must be at the 400 level. With prior approval, IR 490x, Directed Research (4 units) or SLL 490x, Directed Research (4 units) may be substituted for one of these courses: HIS 320, 323, 324, 328, 365, 414, 416, 417, 422, 427; IR 369, 439, 468; POSC 366, 371, 463, 464; SLL 302, 303, 397, 465 (12 units).

Undergraduate courses

Alongside Russian language learning, Russian minors take courses taught by the professors in the Slavic department. They might study classic authors such as Dostoevsky, or more contemporary topics like Eastern European cinema. 


Above are some images from a visit with Professor John Bowlt at the Institute for Modern Russian Culture, where students got to learn about material culture.

  • Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
  • University of Southern California
  • College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
  • Taper Hall 255
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-4353