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The Slavic Studies Major

The Slavic Department offers students the opportunity to study the languages, literatures, and cultures of Russia and Eastern Europe, including Poland, Ukraine, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Serbia and Croatia.  During  Fall and Spring terms, the department offers courses in Russian, Polish, Slovak, and Ukrainian, with Serbian available through the Less Commonly Taught Languages division of the Linguistics Department.  In addition, the Summer Language Institute, a well-established and popular program of intensive language study, which attracts students from across the country, offers the opportunity to cover two semesters of first- through fourth-year Russian, first- through third-year Serbian and Croatian, first- and second-year Polish, Slovak and Bulgarian, and first-year Ukrainian during a period of six to eight weeks. SLI also offers a study-abroad component where students may study for five weeks in Pittsburgh and five weeks in Moscow, or six weeks in Pittsburgh and four weeks in either Poland or Bulgaria.  Deserving special mention is the department’s program in Slovak language, literature, and culture – the only such program in the United States.  The Russian Club, Polish Student’s Club, the Pitt Student Slovak Club and the Ukrainian Student Organization are active clubs within the Slavic Department.  Currently the Department offers a Russian major, Slavic Studies major, and a Polish major.  A minor in Slovak language and culture is also offered.

Prospective Slavic Studies majors include students whose primary interest is language or literature, students who wish to enhance their career opportunities, students who have an interest in Central and East European politics and culture, and students with a desire to explore their ethnic heritage. Slavic Studies majors may choose to double-major in another discipline in A & S.  They may continue their studies in graduate or professional school, or go on to careers in law, engineering, business and government.  The study of Russian and other Slavic languages is particularly valuable when working in local institutions, politics, business, health-related professions, and the media because of the great number of people who trace their roots to the various Slavic nations of Central and Eastern Europe.

The Slavic Studies Major


Option 1

 1. Two years of a Slavic language above the intermediate level
one of the following:
    a.  Two terms of Advanced Russian [0400-0410]
         and two terms of Fourth Year Russian [1420-1430]
    b.   Two terms of Advanced Polish [0400-0410]
         and Fourth Year Polish [Independent Polish 1903]
    c.       Two terms of Advanced Slovak [0400-0410]
         and Fourth year Slovak [Independent Slovak 1901]
    d.      Two terms of Advanced Serbian/Croation [in LAI]
         and Fourth year Serbian/Croation [LAI or Study Abroad]
12 credits
2.      18 credits of designated Slavic department courses in literature, film, and culture.  Students must take 3 literature courses, 1 film course, and 2 courses in Slavic cultureOne of the above must be a W-course.
18 credits
3.      6 credits of Arts and Sciences courses with a strong Slavic component (courses found in the Russian and East European Studies listings) may be substituted, with the advisor’s approval, for 6 credits in #2, above.
(6 credits)
4. 6 credits of Study Abroad or designated Slavic courses in any of the categories above.  If students choose a language course, the number of credits may be 6 – 10.

6 - 10 credits
Total 36 - 40 credits

Option 2

1.  One year of primary Slavic language above the intermediate level 
       This can be Russian, Polish, Slovak, or Serbian/Croatian
6 credits
     Plus one year of a second Slavic Language at any level  
       This can be Russian, Polish, Slovak, Serbian/Croatian, Ukrainian [only offered during the academic year] or Bulgarian, Macedonian, Or Czech [summer program only]
8 - 10 credits

Students in this option must also fulfill #2 - #4 as stated above in order to complete the major.



38 - 40 credits

Note: The first two years of language study do not count as credits towards the major, unless the first year language course is taken as part of Option 2.

You can view an appendix of courses by category here.

The core literature and culture courses are offered in English and, in addition to fulfilling Department major requirements, satisfy one or more University general-education requirements (non-western foreign culture, writing, etc.). Language courses (including the 0420 and 0430 reading courses) should be taken in the sequence shown here.

Related area: In addition to the core courses, students may take two Slavic-related courses in other departments (e.g. political science, art, history, economics).  Such courses also count toward the REES Certificate.  Elective courses in the Department include Polish, Slovak and Russian film courses, Slovak and Russian culture courses, Russian, Polish and Slovak literature courses, and cross-cultural courses such as Science Fiction East and West and Vampire:  Blood and Empire.

Grade Requirements in Major:  A “C” or better in language courses is required to advance to the next level and in other courses in the major as well.

Program W Requirement:  RUSS 0080, 0810 (Masterpieces of Russian Literature I and II), and  RUSS 0870, History of Russian Film are frequently offered as W courses.

Departmental Honors: Junior who maintain an A- (3.75) QPA in the departmental courses and a B+ (3.25) overall, may apply through their advisor for consideration for graduation with departmental honors.  Requirements include:  at least one additional 1000-level course; the submission of a 20-page research paper, the writing of which involves the use of primary Russian source; and a 2-3 page summary of the paper in Russian.

Satisfactory/Audit Option:  Not allowed for courses counting toward the major

Certificate Programs

Slavic Studies majors are strongly encouraged to earn an interdepartmental Russian and East European Studies Certificate, many of the requirements for which overlap with the requirements for majoring in Russian

For more information please visit the CREES homepage.

Advanced Placement and Credit by Exam
Contact the Slavic Department office (412-624-5906; slavic@pitt.edu).   Language courses are available for credit by examination with the consent of the instructor and the department chair.  Students may not test for an elementary language level if the language was required for admission to CAS.  Heritage speakers of Slavic languages are admitted to classes at the discretion of the department.

Study Abroad

The Slavic Studies major is strongly encouraged to study abroad for a summer or for an academic term.  Majors often apply for Nationality Room Scholarships for summer study.  The Summer Language Institute offers generous scholarships as well.  Study abroad opportunities include:

·        Summer Study in Moscow, Poland, and Bulgaria:  The Slavic Department currently sponsors a ten credit summer-study programs as part of the Summer Language Institute in Pittsburgh (5 weeks) and Moscow (5 weeks) at the Moscow State University, in Pittsburgh (6 weeks) and Poland and Bulgaria (4 weeks).  Students may study first- through fourth-year Russian, or first- and second-year Polish and Bulgarian, covering one full year of language study in ten weeks.  The Slovak Studies Program also provides access to a summer program in Bratislava which follows the Intensive Slovak courses during the summer. A departmental scholarship, the Thomas Kukucka Memorial Award is a possible source of funding for study in Slovakia.   Contact the Slavic Department at 412-624-5906; slavic@pitt.edu.

·        The University of Pittsburgh is affiliated with a number of other organizations holding both summer and semester or year-long study in Central and East Europe. Contact the Study Abroad Office, 802 WPU, 412-647-7413

·        The Russian and East European Study Center regularly organizes summer study courses in both language and social science in such locations as the Czech Republic and Slovakia, among others.  REES has scholarships available for summer study abroad.  Contact Nadia Kirkov, REES undergraduate advisor, for more information at 412-648-7418.

·        The Nationality Rooms Program offers a vide variety of competitive scholarships for summer study abroad in many parts of the world, including Central and East Europe.  Applications are generally due in January.  Contact the Nationality Rooms Programs at 1209 Cathedral of Learning, 412-624-6510

Undergraduate Advisor      

Jane G. Harris
1420 Cathedral of Learning