Requirements

Alyssa Dinega Gillespie, Department Chair
Sandra Kauffman, Department Coordinator

Associate Professor: Alyssa Dinega Gillespie
Fellow: Nicholas Kupensky
Visiting Faculty: Nathan Klausner

Requirements for the Major in Russian: Language, Literature, and Culture Concentration

The Russian language, literature, and culture major consists of ten courses:

  • six Russian language courses, beginning at the appropriate placement level
  • four courses on topics in Russian literature and culture, at least three of which must be chosen from regular course offerings in Bowdoin’s Russian department at the 2000 or 3000 level
  • One course may be an advanced independent study in the department.
  • Students pursuing honors projects complete two semesters of advanced independent study; only one of these may count toward the major, and the second semester is an eleventh course, taken in addition to the ten required for the major.
  • In this concentration, students may only count study away courses to the language requirement; see details in the study away section.

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.

Requirements for the Major in Russian: Area Studies Concentration

The Russian area studies major consists of ten courses:

  • four Russian language courses, beginning at the appropriate placement level
  • two courses on topics in Russian literature and culture, chosen from regular course offerings in Bowdoin’s Russian department at the 2000 or 3000 level
  • two approved 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 courses on Russian topics or Russian language courses at the advanced level; at least one of the electives must be an approved course chosen from regular course offerings and taught by Russian department faculty or department-affiliated faculty at Bowdoin at the 2000 or 3000 level
  • One elective may be an advanced independent study on a topic in Russian literature, culture, history, politics, etc., or a rigorous topics course taken during study away (with approval).
  • In this concentration, students may count study away courses to either the language or the elective requirements; see details in the study away section.

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.

Requirements for the Minor in Russian

The Russian minor consists of five courses:

  • three Russian language courses, beginning at the appropriate placement level
  • two courses on topics in Russian literature and culture, chosen from regular course offerings in Bowdoin’s Russian department at the 2000 or 3000 level
  • Students may count up to two study away courses toward the language requirement only.

Courses Taught in English Translation

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

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 course work should be discussed with the Russian department. Russian majors returning from study away are expected to take two regularly offered courses in the department unless exceptions are granted by the chair. Two courses from a one-semester study away program may be counted toward the Russian major; three courses may be counted toward the major from a yearlong program. Up to a total of three courses from study away may be counted toward the major. Up to a total of two courses from study away may be counted toward the minor. Students who wish to transfer credit from summer study away (limit: one course per semester) should gain approval of their plans in advance; refer to Transfer of Credit from Other Institutions.

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 normally not an alternative to regular course work, and no more than one advanced independent study counts toward the Russian major. Application should be made to a member of the department prior to the semester in which the project is undertaken.

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 grade point average of 3.5 in courses counting toward 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 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 concentration in the major are 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 is written in English. Expected length and format are determined in consultation with the faculty advisor on a project-specific basis. The honors project is 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 course in the Russian department in the senior year. The student must receive a grade of A- or higher on the completed honors project to receive departmental honors.

Post-Graduate Study

Students planning post-graduate study should note that they 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 concentration. 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 nineteenth-, twentieth-, and twenty-first-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 relevant 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 or subfield 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.

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.
  • To be counted toward the Russian major or minor, courses must be taken for a letter grade (not Credit/D/Fail) and must receive a grade of at least C-.