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Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

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Why study Slavic languages and literatures?

Because Russia and the Slavs link the West and the East.

The undergraduate major in Slavic languages and literatures prepares students to pursue a range of careers connected with Russia and Central Europe, including those related to international work in business, government, nonprofit organizations, etc. The undergraduate major serves equally as solid preparation for graduate study in Slavic languages and literatures and related fields and for entrance to professional schools such as law or journalism. Students learn these languages to pursue careers with international dimensions; enhance job opportunities; connect with heritage, family, and communities; explore other literatures and cultures; and pursue personal interests.

The undergraduate program gives students solid functional language skills in speaking, reading, listening, and writing. Students develop the strategies and linguistic awareness to continue language study throughout their lives. The program acquaints undergraduates with the most significant works of the literature and culture of the Slavic region and gives them the tools and frameworks necessary to understand, analyze, and critique those works and place them in their cultural context. Students work with sources in English and in the original languages.

The department strongly encourages students to plan a substantial study abroad experience (at least a summer but preferably a semester or an academic year) as part of the major. Study abroad experience contributes to mastery of the language and facilitates students’ encounters with the people, practices, and attitudes of the culture in ways that can never be replicated on an American university campus.


Students may establish eligibility for enrollment in the second course in Polish, Russian, or Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian by having earned college credit in the first course in that language or by having studied the language in high school. Students with previous study should contact the department to arrange a consultation about enrollment at the appropriate level.

Retroactive Credit

Students with no prior college or university Russian course credit are eligible for retroactive credit according to this formula:

  • 3 hours of retroactive credit are awarded to a student with 2 or 3 years of high school Russian who enrolls initially at KU in a third-level Russian course (RUSS 204 or RUSS 212) and receives a grade of C or higher.
  • 6 hours of retroactive credit are awarded to a student with 3 or 4 years of high school Russian who enrolls initially at KU in a fourth-level Russian course (RUSS 208 or RUSS 216) and receives a grade of C or higher.
  • 9 hours of retroactive credit are awarded to a student with 4 years of high school Russian who enrolls initially at KU in a Russian course with a fourth-level course as a prerequisite and receives a grade of C or higher.

Courses for Nonmajors

Some courses in Slavic literatures and cultures are taught in English and fulfill general B.A. requirements in the humanities and non-Western culture.

Students may fulfill the College language requirement for the B.A. degree by taking 2 years in one of the following Slavic languages: Russian, Polish, or Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian.

Courses are available in Russian for special purposes (Russian for Reading, Russian for the Professions). RUSS 110 Intensive Elementary Russian (10 credit hours) frequently is offered in the summer.

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access,, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785)864-6414, 711 TTY.