Central Europe

Central Europe has 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.

Course Requirements

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. All lower division courses are 4 units.

Lower Division

The required linguistic background of the major is Russian (12 units):

RUSS 120 Beginning Russian I

RUSS 150 Beginning Russian II

RUSS 220 Intermediate Russia I

Beyond RUSS 220, students must choose one of the following three foreign language options:

Two semesters of Russian (RUSS 250 and SLL 310 or SLL 340); or

Two semesters of German (GERM 101 and 102);or

Two semesters of Polish (SLL 122 and 152)

Upper Division

Two of the following three courses (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, including at least one 400-level course: 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).

With prior approval, IR 490x, Directed Research (4 units) or SLL 490x, Directed Research (4 units) may be substituted for one of the above elective courses.

Department Office

Deborah Russo

Department Director of Undergraduate Program

Prof. Evgeny Dengub

Department Director of Graduate Program

Prof. Kelsey Rubin-Detlev