Department Requirements

Requirements for the Major in Russian

Language, Literature, and Culture Track

The Russian Language, Literature, and Culture major consists of ten courses (eleven for honors):

  • Six Russian language courses, beginning at the appropriate placement levelKustodiev
  • Four content area courses, at least three of which must be chosen from regular course offerings in Bowdoin’s Russian department on topics in Russian literature and culture at the 2000 or 3000 level; one may be an advanced independent study in the department

Students are encouraged to choose courses dealing with a range of time periods, topics, and literary genres whenever possible. Advanced work is strongly encouraged for students majoring in Russian.

Area Studies Track

The Russian Area Studies major consists of ten courses (eleven for honors):

  • Four Russian language courses, beginning at the appropriate placement level
  • Two content area courses chosen from regular course offerings in Bowdoin’s Russian department on topics in Russian literature and culture at the 2000 or 3000 level
  • Two approved content area courses chosen from regular course offerings and taught by Russian department-affiliated faculty at Bowdoin in at least two additional departments (for example, History or Government and Legal Studies) at the 2000 or 3000 level
  • Two elective content area courses chosen from regular course offerings at Bowdoin or Russian language courses at the advanced level; one of the electives may be an advanced independent study on a topic in Russian literature, culture, history, politics, etc. or a rigorous content area course taken during study away (with approval)

Students are encouraged to choose courses dealing with a range of time periods, topics, and intellectual disciplines whenever possible. Advanced work is strongly encouraged for students majoring in Russian.

Suzdal

Requirements for the Minor in Russian

The Russian minor consists of five courses:

  • Three Russian language courses, beginning at the appropriate placement level
  • Two content area courses chosen from regular course offerings in Bowdoin’s Russian department on topics in Russian literature and culture at the 2000 or 3000 level

Additional Information

  • A first-year seminar on an approved topic may be counted toward the major or minor in place of a 2000-level course (limit of one non-language course at the 1000 level)
  • Courses must be taken for a letter grade (not Credit/D/Fail) and must receive a grade of at least C-
  • Russian language credits may be taken as independent studies or during study away in an approved intensive Russian language immersion program
  • Up to two courses for a semester-long study away program or three courses for a year-long program may be counted toward the major, while up to two courses may be counted toward the minor, provided all other stipulations of the major or minor requirements are fulfilled
  • One content area advanced independent study (two for honors) can count toward the Russian major, provided all other stipulations of the major requirements are fulfilled
  • One semester of honors work counts toward major requirements

Courses Taught in English Translation

The department offers courses in English that focus on Russian literature and culture, numbered in the 2000 range. These courses welcome non-majors and contain no prerequisites; no knowledge of Russian language is required.

Gzhel matryoshkas

Study Away

Students are encouraged to spend at least one semester in Russia or another Russian-speaking region. There are intensive Russian language immersion programs in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Irkutsk, Yaroslavl, and other cities that are open to students who have taken at least two semesters of college Russian. Programs and proposed coursework should be discussed with the Russian department. Russian majors returning from study away are expected to take two courses in the department unless exceptions are granted by the chair. Two of the four semester courses from a one-semester study abroad program may be counted toward the Russian major; three courses may be counted toward the major from a year-long program. Up to two courses from study away may be counted toward the minor. Students who wish to transfer credit from summer study abroad (limit: one credit) should gain approval of their plans in advance.

Advanced Independent Study

This is an option intended for students who wish to work on honors projects or who have taken advantage of all the available regular course offerings and wish to work more closely on a particular topic already studied. Independent study is not an alternative to regular course work, and no more than one content area advanced independent study (two for honors) can count toward the Russian major. Application should be made to a member of the department prior to the semester in which the project is to be undertaken.

Peterhof

Honors in Russian

Russian majors may elect to complete an honors project. Candidates for departmental honors must have an outstanding record in other courses for the major (minimum GPA of 3.5 in courses counting to the major) and must secure the agreement of a faculty member to serve as advisor; the advisor may be chosen from outside the Russian department with the chair’s approval. A research proposal outlining the project of study is due to the advisor and department chair by April 15 of the junior year. The proposal must be well focused and must address an area of study in which the student can already demonstrate basic knowledge; honors candidates completing a Russian Language, Literature, and Culture major will be required to choose a topic containing a strong literary, cinematic, or linguistic component. The bibliography should incorporate several primary and secondary sources in the original language; in most cases, the project itself will be written in English. Expected length and format will be determined in consultation with the faculty advisor on a project-specific basis. The honors project will be completed in the context of two semesters of advanced independent study in the senior year; one of these semesters may be counted toward major requirements. In addition, candidates for honors are required to take at least one regularly offered content area course in the Russian department in the senior year. A student must receive a grade of A- or higher on the completed honors project to receive departmental honors.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Post-Graduate Study

Students planning post-graduate study should note that they will present a stronger application if they take additional courses beyond what is strictly required to complete the Russian major. In particular, at least two courses on topics in Russian literature or culture at the 3000 level (taught entirely in Russian) are strongly recommended to all graduate-school bound Russian majors, regardless of major track. Students wishing to pursue graduate study in the field of Russian language and literature should take additional courses on literary topics at the 2000 or 3000 level covering a wide range of literary-historical periods and genres (at a minimum, at least one course each focused on 19th-century literature, 20th- and 21st-century literature, poetic genres, and prose genres). Students wishing to pursue graduate studies in an allied field (e.g., Russian politics, Russian history, Russian musicology, Russian cinema studies, and so on) are advised to take additional appropriate courses both in the Russian department and in their field(s) of interest. All students who intend to pursue a graduate degree in a Russian-related field are strongly advised to consult with faculty on the design of their major and discuss the options of research projects through advanced independent studies, honors projects, fellowship-funded summer research, and intensive Russian language immersion programs.