(For information on a major in Russian language and literature, Russian language and civilization, or Polish language and literature, see Slavic Languages and Literature.)

The undergraduate certificate program in Russian, East European, and Central Asian studies seeks to provide undergraduate students with area knowledge of the societies and cultures of the peoples of Eastern Europe and Eurasia, drawing on the disciplines of anthropology, communication arts, economics, folklore, geography, history, language and literature, law, political science, and sociology. The certificate can be a valuable addition to a major in business, economics, education, geography, history, international studies, political science, Slavic languages and literature, and other departments.

Applicants must fulfill the UW–Madison requirements for an established major in their school or college and achieve a minimum GPA of 2.5 in all courses they wish to count toward the certificate. Courses may not be taken on a pass/fail basis. At least two years of a Slavic, East European, or Central Asian language are strongly recommended for the certificate, but are not formally required.

Students interested in declaring the undergraduate certificate should contact the advisor.

certificate requirements

Seven courses are required, at least one from each of the following three groups. 2

Interdisciplinary courses (group 1)

Complete at least one course:

HISTORY/POLI SCI/GEOG/SLAVIC 253 Russia: An Interdisciplinary Survey4
HISTORY/POLI SCI/GEOG/SLAVIC 254 Eastern Europe: An Interdisciplinary Survey4

History and the Social Sciences (group 2):

Complete at least one course from any of these areas:

Agricultural and Applied Economics

A A E/​ENVIR ST  244 The Environment and the Global Economy4
A A E/​INTL ST  373 Globalization, Poverty and Development3
A A E/​INTL ST  374 The Growth and Development of Nations in the Global Economy3
A A E/​ECON  474 Economic Problems of Developing Areas3


ANTHRO 606 Ethnicity, Nations, and Nationalism 13-4


ECON 364 Survey of International Economics 13-4
ECON 464 International Trade3-4


GEOG 318 Introduction to Geopolitics 13
GEOG 353 Russia and the NIS-Topical Analysis3


HISTORY 200 Historical Studies 13
HISTORY 201 The Historian's Craft 13-4
HISTORY 223 Explorations in European History (H) 13-4
HISTORY/​MEDIEVAL  313 Introduction to Byzantine History and Civilization3-4
HISTORY 350 The First World War and the Shaping of Twentieth-Century Europe3-4
HISTORY 357 The Second World War3-4
HISTORY 359 History of Europe Since 19453-4
HISTORY/​JEWISH  374 Modern Political History of the Jews: Era of Mass Movements, 1870-19704
HISTORY 417 History of Russia3-4
HISTORY 418 History of Russia3-4
HISTORY 419 History of Soviet Russia3-4
HISTORY 420 Russian Social and Intellectual History3-4
HISTORY 424 The Soviet Union and the World, 1917-19913-4
HISTORY 425 History of Poland and the Baltic Area3-4
HISTORY 434 American Foreign Relations, 1901 to the Present3-4
HISTORY/​RELIG ST  439 Islamic History From the Origin of Islam to the Ottoman Empire3-4
HISTORY 475 European Social History, 1914-Present3-4
HISTORY 500 Reading Seminar in History 13
HISTORY/​CURRIC/​JEWISH  515 Holocaust: History, Memory and Education3
HISTORY/​HIST SCI/​MED HIST/​MEDIEVAL/​S&A PHM  562 Byzantine Medicine and Pharmacy3
HISTORY 600 Advanced Seminar in History 13
HISTORY 270 Eastern Europe since 19003-4

Jewish Studies

JEWISH 490 Topics in Jewish Studies 13

Journalism and Mass Communication

JOURN 620 International Communication 14
JOURN 621 Mass Communication in Developing Nations 14

Gender & Women's Studies

GEN&WS/​AFROAMER  624 African American Women's Activism (19th & 20th Centuries)3

 Legal Studies

LEGAL ST 450 Topics in Legal Studies and the Humanities (Introduction to Islamic Law)3-4

Political Science

POLI SCI 120 Politics Around the World4
POLI SCI 323 Islam and World Politics3-4
POLI SCI 340 The European Union: Politics and Political Economy3-4
POLI SCI 351 Politics of the World Economy3-4
POLI SCI 401 Selected Topics in Political Science 13-4
POLI SCI/​INTL ST  439 The Comparative Study of Genocide3-4
POLI SCI 421 The Challenge of Democratization3-4
POLI SCI 534 Socialism and Transitions to the Market3-4
POLI SCI 432 Comparative Legal Institutions3-4
POLI SCI 618 13-4
POLI SCI 334 Russian Politics3-4
POLI SCI 659 Politics and Society: Contemporary Eastern Europe3-4


SOC 496 Topics in Sociology 11-3
SOC 621 Class, State and Ideology: an Introduction to Marxist Social Science3
SOC/​ECON  663 Population and Society 13

Literature and the Arts (group 3)

Complete at least one course from any of these areas:

Asian Langauge & Culture

ASIAN/​RELIG ST  236 Asia Enchanted: Ghosts, Gods, and Monsters3
ASIAN/​AFRICAN/​RELIG ST  370 Islam: Religion and Culture3-4

Communication Arts

COM ARTS 456 Russian and Soviet Film3
COM ARTS 463 Avant-Garde Film3

Comparative Literature

COMP LIT 202 Introduction to Modern and Contemporary Literature 13
COMP LIT 350 Problems in Comparative Literatures and Cultures3-4


ENGL/​LITTRANS  223 Vladimir Nabokov: Russian and American Writings3


FOLKLORE/​LITTRANS  347 In Translation: Kalevala and Finnish Folk-Lore3-4
FOLKLORE/​RELIG ST  352 Shamanism3
FOLKLORE/​SCAND ST  443 Sami Culture, Yesterday and Today4
FOLKLORE/​SLAVIC  444 Slavic and East European Folklore3
FOLKLORE 460 Folk Epics 13

Jewish Studies

JEWISH/​GERMAN/​LITTRANS  269 Yiddish Literature and Culture in Europe3

Literature in Translation

LITTRANS 201 Survey of 19th and 20th Century Russian Literature in Translation I3
LITTRANS 202 Survey of 19th and 20th Century Russian Literature in Translation II3
LITTRANS 203 Survey of 19th and 20th Century Russian Literature in Translation I4
LITTRANS 204 Survey of 19th and 20th Century Russian Literature in Translation II4
LITTRANS/​GEN&WS  205 Women in Russian Literature in Translation3-4
LITTRANS 207 Slavic Science Fiction through Literature and Film3
LITTRANS 208 The Writings of Vaclav Havel: Crtitique of Modern Society3
LITTRANS 214 Literatures of Central Asia in Translation3
LITTRANS 215 Polish Literature in Translation: 14th to the Mid-19th Century3
LITTRANS 218 Polish Literature in Translation: Late 19th and 20th Centuries3
LITTRANS 220 Chekhov in Translation3-4
LITTRANS 221 Gogol in Translation3-4
LITTRANS 222 Dostoevsky in Translation3-4
LITTRANS/​ENGL  223 Vladimir Nabokov: Russian and American Writings3
LITTRANS 224 Tolstoy in Translation3-4
LITTRANS 229 Representation of the Jew in Eastern European Cultures3
LITTRANS 233 Russian Life and Culture Through Literature and Art (to 1917)3-4
LITTRANS 234 Soviet Life and Culture Through Literature and Art (from 1917)3-4
LITTRANS 236 Bascom Course-In Translation 13
LITTRANS 240 Soviet Literature in Translation3-4
LITTRANS 241 Literatures and Cultures of Eastern Europe3
LITTRANS 247 Topics in Slavic Literatures in Translation3
LITTRANS/​RELIG ST  257 Literatures of Muslim Societies in Translation 13
LITTRANS/​GERMAN/​JEWISH  269 Yiddish Literature and Culture in Europe3
LITTRANS 329 The Vampire in Literature and Film3
LITTRANS/​FOLKLORE  347 In Translation: Kalevala and Finnish Folk-Lore3-4
LITTRANS/​THEATRE  423 In Translation: Slavic Drama in Context3
LITTRANS 454 History of Serbian and Croatian Literature3
LITTRANS 455 Modern Serbian and Croatian Literature in Translation3
LITTRANS 471 Polish Literature (in Translation), Middle Ages to 18633
LITTRANS 473 Polish Literature (in Translation) since 18633

Scandinavian Studies

SCAND ST/​FOLKLORE  443 Sami Culture, Yesterday and Today4
SCAND ST/​MEDIEVAL  444 Kalevala and Finnish Folk-Lore4

Slavic Languages and Literature

SLAVIC 242 Literatures and Cultures of Eastern Europe3
SLAVIC 245 Topics in Slavic Literatures3
SLAVIC 285 Slavic Culture in Context: An Honors Course3
SLAVIC 302 Zarys historii literatury polskiej3
SLAVIC 342 Uvod u srpsku i hrvatsku literaturu3
SLAVIC 350 Special Topics in Russian Language, Literature, and Culture3
SLAVIC 405 Women in Russian Literature3-4
SLAVIC 420 Chekhov3-4
SLAVIC 421 Gogol3-4
SLAVIC 422 Dostoevsky3-4
SLAVIC 424 Tolstoy3-4
SLAVIC 433 History of Russian Culture3
SLAVIC 434 Contemporary Russian Culture3
SLAVIC/​FOLKLORE  444 Slavic and East European Folklore3
SLAVIC 440 Soviet Literature3-4
SLAVIC 449 Istorija srpske i hrvatske literature3
SLAVIC 454 Moderna srpska i hrvatska literatura3
SLAVIC 470 Historia literatury polskiej do roku 18633
SLAVIC 472 Historia literatury polskiej po roku 18633
SLAVIC/​THEATRE  532 History of Russian Theatre3
SLAVIC 560 Capstone Seminar in Russian Literature and Culture3
SLAVIC 699 Directed Study 11-6

 Theatre & Drama

THEATRE/​SLAVIC  532 History of Russian Theatre3

residence and quality of work

  • Minimum 2.500 GPA for all coursework approved for the certificate
  • 11 credits, counting toward the certificate, taken in residence


This undergraduate certificate must be completed concurrently with the student’s undergraduate degree. Students cannot delay degree completion to complete the certificate.

  1. (Regional Understanding) Demonstrate an understanding of the cultural, political, economic, social, and historical factors that have shaped the development of societies in Eurasia, Russia, and East and Central Europe.
  2. (Multi-disciplinarity) Analyze the historical, political, economic, social, and cultural realities in the region from at least two disciplinary perspectives, including both humanities and social sciences approaches.

Advising for the certificate is administered by the Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS). The IRIS assistant director for students and curriculum can assist you in developing your plan of study for the certificate, track progress toward your certificate, explore study abroad and international internship options, and begin the career-exploration process. We offer walk-in advising, advising workshops, and scheduled appointments. We strongly encourage students to begin career exploration early on and to make use of the many resources available on campus.


L&S career resources

SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students leverage the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and liberal arts degree; explore and try out different career paths; participate in internships; prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications; and network with professionals in the field (alumni and employers). In short, SuccessWorks helps students in the College of Letters & Science discover themselves, find opportunities, and develop the skills they need for success after graduation.

SuccessWorks can also assist students in career advising, résumé and cover letter writing, networking opportunities, and interview skills, as well as course offerings for undergraduates to begin their career exploration early in their undergraduate career. 

Students should set up their profiles in Handshake to take care of everything they need to explore career events, manage their campus interviews, and apply to jobs and internships from 200,000+ employers around the country.

Faculty: Belodubrovskaya, Brenner, Chamberlain, Ciancia, Dale, Danaher, Derin, DuBois, Erkan, Evans-Romaine, Filipowicz, Gehlbach (director), Gerber, Glowacki, Hanukai, Hendley, Herrera, Hirsch, Kaiser, Karpukhin, Livanos, Longinovic, McDonald, Michels, Miernowska, Neville, Ospovat, Radeloff, Reynolds, Shevelenko, Tishler, Tumarkin, van de Water, Wink, Yudkoff, Zilbergerts.

As a regional center within the Institute for Regional and International Studies, we support and enhance international and global awareness in our student communities and inspire informed thinking about the complexities of our world. We encourage our students to connect to international networks and our regional communities through our program’s lecture series, film screenings, and varied outreach events and activities. We encourage our students to study abroad, do international internships, learn foreign languages, and expect them to gain an interdisciplinary grounding in global and regional affairs. We provide resources and expertise on our world area to students, and prospective students, and more broadly to K–12 teachers and students, postsecondary educators and graduate students, businesses, the media, the military, the community at large, and anyone else who is interested.

Information about resources, scholarships, and other funding through the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia is available from our website on the Resources tab. We also encourage our students to explore funding options available through the Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS) Awards Office.