Slavic and Eurasian Studies


Associate Professor
Timothy Sergay, Ph.D.
Yale University

Henryk Baran, Ph.D.
Harvard University

Adjuncts (estimated): 1

Russian and other Slavic languages and literatures are studied both for their intellectual and cultural significance and as a means toward understanding the present and the past of the Russian Federation, the former Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe. A minor in Russian is available. Courses offered through the Slavic and Eurasian Studies program lay a firm foundation for developing advanced communication skills in Russian which will be of benefit in postgraduate study in diverse fields and various occupations.

The Russian minor is valuable intellectually, academically, culturally, and as an adjunct to various vocational profiles as well. University-level study of Russian will make a resume stand out for transnational businesses, law firms, travel firms, banks, media outlets, healthcare organizations, government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations that interact with large numbers of Russian speakers, or that are looking to make inroads into the Russian and former Soviet-republic markets. In addition to careers in teaching and the language-services sector, students may find themselves dealing with commerce, democratization, cultural exchange and the development of civil society in Russia and other post-Soviet states, and in many other fields.

Courses in English Translation
To provide access to the riches of Russian literature and culture to all undergraduates, the Slavic and Eurasian Studies program offers several courses conducted in English that deal with Russian literature in translation, culture, politics, and film (with English subtitles). These courses assume no prior knowledge of the Russian language or of Russian culture and history, and are intended for all students. Students interested in these courses are advised to consult the program for current offerings and course descriptions.

Study in Russia
Opportunities to spend a semester in Russia are made possible through cooperation between SUNY and Moscow State University. Summer study-abroad options in both Moscow and Riga, Latvia, are available through cooperation between SUNY and the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences (MSSES) and the Baltic Center for Educational and Academic Development in Riga. (See below, Advanced Study in Russia.)

Language Placement
Experience indicates that students with one year of high-school Russian will usually place in A RUS 101 or 102, with two years in A RUS 102, with three years in A RUS 102 or 201, and with four years in A RUS 201. Placement is contingent upon an individual assessment of language skills by the instructor in the course no later than the second class session. Native speakers of Russian may not enroll in LLC's Russian-language courses, which are designed to introduce Russian to foreign speakers. Heritage speakers (children or grandchildren of Russian-speaking émigrés with clearly incomplete mastery of Russian grammar and vocabulary) may enroll at the instructor's discretion at the appropriate level. Heritage speakers will also be advised to enroll on a distance-learning, synchronous basis in a Russian language course specifically designed for heritage learners and administered by SUNY Stony Brook.

A student may not earn graduation credit for a course in a language sequence if it is a prerequisite to a course for which graduation credit has already been earned.

Students earning advanced-placement credits from high school will be expected to register for the next higher course in the language sequence. Students who have already earned credits and made progress in Russian equivalent to A RUS 202 in the University at Albany’s University in the High School Program will be advised to continue formal Russian language instruction at higher levels through study abroad options.

Transfer students are expected to register for the next higher course in the language sequence. Placement is contingent upon an individual assessment of language skills by the instructor in the course no later than the second class session.       

The Student-Initiated Interdisciplinary Major in Russian

Students wishing to go beyond the undergraduate minor in Russian may propose their own Student-Initiated Interdisciplinary Major by blending courses from the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures and other academic departments on campus. Several departments on campus offer courses relevant to Russia and Eastern Europe, including (but not limited to) Anthropology, Art, English, History, Linguistics, Music, Philosophy and Women’s Studies. See the guidelines for the Student-Initiated Interdisciplinary Major:

The Interdisciplinary Major must consist of at least 36 but not more than 66 credits. If the major includes fewer than 54 credits, the student will need a separate minor to meet graduation requirements. If the major includes 54 or more credits, the student will not need to declare a separate minor.

At least half of the total credits in the Interdisciplinary Major must be at the 300 level or above. The most likely route to a successful Russian Student-Initiated Interdisciplinary Major will involve study abroad in Russia (see below). Students considering such a major are advised not to presume the availability of independent-study courses in the Russian program.

The Interdisciplinary Major must have at least two faculty sponsors, one primary and one secondary, with the primary sponsor serving as the student’s major advisor. The two sponsors must be faculty members of academic rank (i.e., assistant professor, associate professor or professor) and must come from two different academic departments offering courses included in the proposed major.

Formal application to initiate an Interdisciplinary Major must be made through the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education located in Lecture Center 30 (442-3950). In order to apply, a student must have already completed at least 30 general credits toward graduation. Proposals will be reviewed by the Interdisciplinary Studies Committee of the Undergraduate Academic Council.

For further information and advising, please contact the Department of Languages, Literature, and Cultures (Humanities 235, phone 442-4100).

Advanced Study in Russia
Through cooperation with the State University of New York Office of International Education, Slavic and Eurasian Studies provides students with various opportunities to spend a semester studying in Russia. Students accepted for a program reside and study at Moscow State University (MSU) and follow a curriculum of advanced Russian language, Russian and Soviet literature and Russian culture.

Students with advanced Russian language skills, whether they are native/heritage speakers or have studied the language extensively before matriculating at UAlbany, are encouraged to participate in UAlbany’s exchange program with Moscow State University and enroll in courses in MSU’s Russian Area Studies Program at the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Area Studies. Besides instruction in Russian language, available courses taught entirely in Russian include Russian History, Russian Culture, Literature, and Religion, Russian Economics and Russian Economic Geography, Russian Society and Politics, Russian International Relations and Foreign Policy, Ethnology in Russia, and Russian Civilization. Adequate language proficiency is a requirement for this option, and application is subject to approval by the faculty of the Slavic and Eurasian Studies Program. Due to COVID-19 conditions, MSU has indefinitely suspended its study abroad program with UAlbany.

Students with only elementary Russian language skills are encouraged to consider additional programs offered through UAlbany’s exchange affiliation with Moscow State University in partnership with Knowledge Exchange Institute (KEI). These programs offer both language instruction and up to three Russian studies courses conducted in English. See Due to COVID-19 conditions, KEI, too, has indefinitely suspended its programs.