Russian Language and Culture
(Barnard equivalents: Russian Language and Literature, Russian Regional Studies*)
This major is intended for students who aim to attain maximal proficiency in the Russian language. Intensive language training is complemented by an array of elective courses in Russian culture that allow students to achieve critical understanding of contemporary Russian society and of Russian-speaking communities around the world. If your main interest is learning to speak Russian as well as you can -- including by learning about the cultural contexts that have shaped the Russian language -- this is the major for you.
Since this major emphasizes language acquisition, it is not appropriate for native Russian speakers.
You can also pursue a Concentration in Russian Language and Culture (see below). Students who wish to take more literature and culture courses and fewer language courses should consider the major track in Russian Literature and Culture or the Concentration in Russian Literature (non-language track).
*Barnard students please note: Although Barnard and Columbia Slavic majors share classes, professors, and many of the same requirements, they are subject to different requirements for the B.A. degree. Barnard students should consult the major and minor requirements listed on the website of the Barnard Slavic Department.
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For a Major in Russian Language and CultureThe program consists of 15 courses, 8 of which meet language requirements. Of the remaining 7 courses, 2 are introductory surveys in either Russian culture or Russian literature (in translation), and the other 5 are electives, chosen in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies. The course requirements are distributed as follows:
Thesis: There is no thesis requirement for Slavic Department majors in Columbia College or the School of General Studies. (All Barnard students, regardless of major, are required to write a senior thesis.) However, any student who wishes to be considered for Departmental honors (see below) must complete a thesis. Columbia students who wish to undertake a thesis project should confer with the director of undergraduate studies during the registration period in April of their junior year and register to take the Senior Seminar (RUSS V3595x) fall term of their senior year. Those who opt to expand the thesis into a two-semester project register for Supervised Individual Research with their thesis advisor (RUSS V3998y) in the spring. (Senior Seminar may be used to satisfy one elective requirement; the optional second semester of thesis work, however, is in addition to the 15 courses required for the major.)
Eight semesters of coursework in Russian language (from First- through Fourth-year Russian) or the equivalent
Two of the following surveys: RUSS V3223x Magical Mystery Tour: The Legacy of Old Rus’; RUSS V3227y The Making of Modern Russian Culture; RUSS V3220x Literature and Empire: The Rise of the Novel in Russia (19th Century); RUSS V3221y Literature and Revolution: Tradition, Innovation, and Politics in Russian Culture (20th Century); HSSL W4280x Religion in Russian: Culture, History. Institution; CLRS W4431y Theatricality & Spectacle in the History of Russia. At least one of these should be a Russian culture survey (RUSS V3223x, V3227y, W4280x, or W4431y).
Five additional courses in Russian culture, history, literature, art, film, music, or in linguistics. At least one of the selected courses should be taught in Russian.
To complement these courses, students are urged to spend a semester, year, or summer studying abroad in Russia. The Russian Language Coordinator is available to help you choose a suitable program.
Courses in which a grade of D has been received do not count toward major or concentration requirements.
Students graduating in May 2008 or earlier should meet with the DUS to clarify how their existing coursework satisfies the newly reorganized requirements.
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For a Concentration in Russian Language and Culture
The program consists of 10 courses, 6 of which meet language requirements. Of the remaining 4 courses, at least 1 is an introductory survey in either Russian culture or Russian literature, and the other 3 are electives, chosen in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies. The course requirements are distributed as follows:
NOTE: Courses in which a grade of D has been received do not count toward major or concentration requirements.
Six semesters of coursework in Russian language (from First- through Third-year Russian) or the equivalent
One of the following surveys: RUSS V3223x Magical Mystery Tour: The Legacy of Old Rus’; RUSS V3227y The Making of Modern Russian Culture; HSSL W4280 Religion in Russia: Culture, History, Institution; CLRS W4431 Theatricality & Spectacle in the History of Russian Culture.
Three additional courses in Russian culture, history, literature, art, film, music, or in linguistics; at least one of the selected courses should be taught in Russian.
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Students who have a grade point average of at least 3.6 in courses taken for
the major and who have submitted a senior thesis of
outstanding quality will be considered for departmental honors. Normally no
more than 10 percent of the graduating majors may be awarded departmental
honors in any given year. For more information, consult the Director of
Undergraduate Studies no later than the change-of-program period in the fall
term of your senior year.
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