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Russian is a National Security Education Program Critical Language. Students in the Russian major not only learn the language but become familiar with the treasure of Russian cultural heritage in literature, visual art, theater, and music.

The Russian major is designed to meet the needs of students who begin to study the language in college, as well as those who began to study the language in high school. With a major in Russian you will be able to converse with ease in most common situations at work, school, social events, and everyday duties, as well as read and write at an advanced level. In addition, you will gain an appreciation and understanding of Russian culture and politics, past and present, and the literary and artistic traditions that Russian society holds dear. 

To declare a major in Russian, students should make an appointment with the Russian undergraduate advisor.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Letters & Science Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

Students pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in the College of Letters & Science must complete all of the requirements below. The College of Letters & Science allows this major to be paired with either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science curriculum.

Bachelor of Arts degree requirements

Mathematics Complete the University General Education Requirements for Quantitative Reasoning A (QR-A) and Quantitative Reasoning B (QR-B) coursework.
Foreign Language
  • Complete the fourth unit of a foreign language; OR
  • Complete the third unit of a foreign language and the second unit of an additional foreign language.
L&S Breadth
  • 12 credits of Humanities, which must include 6 credits of literature; and
  • 12 credits of Social Science; and
  • 12 credits of Natural Science, which must include one 3+ credit Biological Science course and one 3+ credit Physical Science course.
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework Complete at least 108 credits.
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced work Complete at least 60 credits at the intermediate or advanced level.
Major Declare and complete at least one major.
Total Credits Complete at least 120 credits.
UW-Madison Experience
  • 30 credits in residence, overall; and
  • 30 credits in residence after the 86th credit.
Quality of Work
  • 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
  • 2.000 in Intermediate/Advanced level coursework at UW–Madison

Non–L&S students pursuing an L&S major

Non–L&S students who have permission from their school/college to pursue an additional major within L&S only need to fulfill the major requirements. They do not need to complete the L&S Degree Requirements above.

Requirements for the Major

Russian Language:15
Third Year Russian I
and Third Year Russian II
Intensive Third Year Russian
Russian Language and Culture I
Russian Language and Culture II
Fourth Year Russian I
Foundations in Russian Literature & Culture (complete three distinct courses):
Literature Survey (complete one):4
Survey of 19th and 20th Century Russian Literature in Translation I
Survey of 19th and 20th Century Russian Literature in Translation II
Literature & Culture (complete two):6
Survey of 19th and 20th Century Russian Literature in Translation I
Survey of 19th and 20th Century Russian Literature in Translation I
Survey of 19th and 20th Century Russian Literature in Translation II
Survey of 19th and 20th Century Russian Literature in Translation II
Russian Life and Culture Through Literature and Art (to 1917)
Soviet Life and Culture Through Literature and Art (from 1917)
SLAVIC 465 Advanced Readings in Russian Literature & Culture3
or SLAVIC 560 Capstone Seminar in Russian Literature and Culture
Intermediate or Advanced Elective (complete one):3
Russian Area Studies on Study Abroad
Topics in Russian: Study Abroad
Intermediate Special Topics in Russian Literature & Culture
History of Russian Culture
Contemporary Russian Culture
Slavic and East European Folklore
Advanced Special Topics in Slavic Languages and Literatures
History of Russian Theatre
Advanced Russian Listening & Speaking
Women in Russian Literature in Translation
Chekhov: The Drama of Modern Life
Russia's Greatest Enigma: Nikolai Gogol
Dostoevsky in Translation
Vladimir Nabokov: Russian and American Writings
Tolstoy in Translation
Soviet Literature in Translation
In Translation: Slavic Drama in Context
Additional Elective (complete one):3
Any Intermediate or Advanced-level course from the list above, or:
Russia: An Interdisciplinary Survey
Literatures and Cultures of Eastern Europe
Elementary Special Topics in Russian Literature & Culture
Slavic Science Fiction through Literature and Film
Total Credits34

Residence and Quality of Work

  • Minimum 2.000 GPA in all major courses
  • Minimum 2.000 GPA on at least 15 credits of upper-level work in the major, in residence
  • At least 15 credits in the major, taken on campus

Upper-Level Courses in the Major

The following courses are upper-level in the Russian major:

Third Year Russian I
Third Year Russian II
Russian Area Studies on Study Abroad
Topics in Russian: Study Abroad
Russian Language and Culture I
Russian Language and Culture II
Fourth Year Russian I
Fourth Year Russian II
Women in Russian Literature
Soviet Literature
Slavic and East European Folklore
Advanced Readings in Russian Literature & Culture
History of Russian Theatre
Advanced Russian Listening & Speaking
Capstone Seminar in Russian Literature and Culture
Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
Directed Study

Honors in the Major

Students may declare Honors in the Major in consultation with the Russian advisor.

To earn Honors in the Major, students must satisfy both the requirements for the major (above) and the following additional requirements:

University Degree Requirements 

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.
  1. (Russian language proficiency) Develop speaking, listening, writing, and reading skills and integrate these skills to communicate in Russian in a variety of social situations.
  2. Develop and apply writing skills and oral communication skills appropriate to liberal arts education in the context of Slavic studies.
  3. Develop and apply critical thinking skills inherent in the liberal arts tradition in the context of Slavic studies.
  4. Analyze and interpret works of literature in themselves and in the context of specific historical and cultural conditions.
  5. Demonstrate insight into Russian culture and civilization and apply this knowledge across disciplines such as history, political science, the arts, geography, business, economics, sociology, the sciences, gender studies, philosophy, law, folklore.

Sample Four-Year Plan

This Sample Four-Year Plan is a tool to assist students and their advisor(s). Students should use it—along with their DARS report, the Degree Planner, and Course Search & Enroll tools—to make their own four-year plan based on their placement scores, credit for transferred courses and approved examinations, and individual interests. As students become involved in athletics, honors, research, student organizations, study abroad, volunteer experiences, and/or work, they might adjust the order of their courses to accommodate these experiences. Students will likely revise their own four-year plan several times during college.

First Year
LITTRANS 233 or 2343LITTRANS 2343
Communication A3Quantitative Reasoning A3
Science Breadth3Social Science Breadth3
 13 16
Second Year
INTER-LS 2101LITTRANS 202 or 204 (204 meets Comm B requirement)3
LITTRANS 201 or 203 (203 meets Comm B requirement)3LITTRANS/​GERMAN/​JEWISH  279 (meets Ethnic Studies requirement)3
Quantitative Reasoning B3I/A COMP SCI, MATH, or STAT (if BS)4
Biological Science Breadth3 
 14 14
Third Year
SLAVIC 275 (meets Humanities requirement)3SLAVIC 276 (meets Humanities requirement)3
Physical Science Breadth3Science Breadth3
Electives5Social Science Breadth3
 14 18
Fourth Year
SLAVIC 3213Russian Capstone3
Russian Elective3Russian Elective3
Social Science Breadth3Social Science Breadth3
 16 15
Total Credits 120

One unit (year) of high school coursework is roughly equivalent to one semester of college work; however, all incoming students who want to continue their study of Russian are assigned to courses on the basis of placement tests. These tests may admit a student to a more advanced course, but give no credit toward graduation. However, retroactive credits can be granted in recognition of previous language study. Students should speak with their instructor regarding retroactive credits during the first week of class.

Language placement tests are advised for any student with previous knowledge or experience with Russian. The test consists of a one-on-one appointment with a professor, with written, oral, and reading comprehension components. 

The Placement Advisor for Russian is Anna Tumarkin. Please contact the Undergraduate Advisor to request placement.

Students might also want to consider the Russian Flagship program, a federally-funded intensive language learning program open to students of all majors. The Flagship program is a separate application and students can complete it in addition to the Russian major, or may complete it alongside another major entirely. 

For other undergraduate concerns or to declare the major, please contact our undergraduate coordinator:

Joanna Schuth, Undergraduate Advisor
836 Van Hise
Make an appointment through Starfish

L&S career resources

Every L&S major opens a world of possibilities.  SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students turn the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and other coursework into fulfilling lives after graduation, whether that means jobs, public service, graduate school or other career pursuits.

In addition to providing basic support like resume reviews and interview practice, SuccessWorks offers ways to explore interests and build career skills from their very first semester/term at UW all the way through graduation and beyond.

Students can explore careers in one-on-one advising, try out different career paths, complete internships, prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications, and connect with supportive alumni and even employers in the fields that inspire them.


David Danaher*
Karen Evans-Romaine
Irina Shevelenko

Associate Professors

Andrew Reynolds

Assistant Professors

Maksim Hanukai
Kirill Ospovat
Marina Zilbergerts

Faculty Associates

Jennifer Tishler
Anna Tumarkin


S.A. Karpukhin
Alexandra Walter

*unit head