Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies

Director of undergraduate studies: Constantine Muravnik; language coordinator: Irina Dolgova, HQ 538, 320 York St.;

The major in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, administered by the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of a broad region: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Caucasus, and central Asia; Poland, Hungary, the Czech and Slovak Republics, and other areas in east central Europe; and the Balkans. Students majoring in RSEE may concentrate exclusively on Russian Studies, or on East European or Eurasian Studies. The major is appropriate for students considering careers in international public policy, diplomacy, or business, and is also suited to students wishing to continue academic work. 

Placement Procedures

Students who have previously studied Russian formally or informally are required to take the Russian placement exam. This brief oral exam helps determine which Russian course best fits each student’s background. Contact the Russian language coordinator, Irina Dolgova, to schedule the oral placement exam or for information about preregistration. She may be reached via email or at 432-1307. Entering first-year students who have some knowledge of Czech or Polish should contact Krystyna Illakowicz (Polish) or Karen von Kunes (Czech) to arrange to take a brief placement examination.

Students in the Class of 2022 and 2023 With approval from the director of undergraduate studies (DUS), the following changes to the prerequisites and requirements of the major may be fulfilled by students who declared their major under previous requirements. 

Students in the Class of 2024 and subsequent classes follow the requirements as indicated.


Russian Studies concentration Completion of Second-Year Russian (RUSS 140, 142, 145 or S140) or placement exam. 

East European Studies or Eurasian Studies concentration Two semesters of the first-year sequence in an East European or an Eurasian language or a placement exam.

Requirements of the Major

Students select one of three concentrations to complete the requirements for the major in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. A full understanding of these areas demands knowledge of its languages and so students are encouraged to learn more than one language.

Russian Studies concentration Twelve term courses are required for the Russian Studies concentration. Students must take two courses in Russian, East European, or Eurasian history; one RSEE-area focused course in the social sciences, such as those found in anthropology, economics, sociology, political science, global affairs, and other disciplines of social science; one course in Russian, East European, or Eurasian literature or culture, selected in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies (DUS); and the Senior Essay (RSEE 490 or 491). To fulfill the language requirement students must demonstrate a proficiency in Russian by completing RUSS 150 and 151 or by passing an equivalency exam. A maximum of five language courses may be counted toward the major. If language proficiency is met without course work, the course requirements must be fulfilled through additional term courses to bring the overall total to twelve courses. Electives are selected in consultation with the DUS and may include RUSS 160 and 161, a content course taught in Russian at the 170–190 level, or courses in other East European or Eurasian languages at the second-year level or above.

East European Studies or Eurasian concentration Eleven term courses are required for the East European and the Eurasian concentrations. The requirements are the same as for the Russian Studies concentration, excluding the language requirements. To fulfill the language requirement students must demonstrate a proficiency in either an East European or Eurasian language (such as Czech, Polish, Romanian, Bosnian-Serbian-Croatian, Hungarian, Finnish, Ukrainian, or those languages taught through the Shared Course Initiative) by completing the third-year level (4 term courses) of the chosen language or by passing an equivalency exam. The remaining two courses are chosen in consultation with the DUS. If language proficiency is met without course work, the course requirements must be fulfilled through additional term courses to bring the overall total to eleven courses. 

Credit/D/Fail Course taken Credit/D/Fail may not be counted toward the requirements of the major.

Senior Requirement

Every major must write a one-term senior essay in RSEE 490 or 491. By the end of the junior year, students should declare their general topic and confirm a faculty adviser, in consultation with the DUS. Students planning to conduct summer research for the senior essay, especially if abroad, should contact the DUS early in the spring semester of the junior year and apply for fellowships. With the permission of the DUS and senior essay adviser, a student may choose a two-semester senior essay project in the RSEE major, which must be approved by the end of the Junior year.

The senior essay takes the form of a substantial article, no longer than 13,000 words, excluding footnotes and bibliography. Students present to their senior essay adviser a detailed prospectus of the essay, with bibliography, prior to midterm in the semester before the essay is due and a draft of at least ten pages, or a detailed outline of the entire essay, by the last day of reading period in the semester before they enroll in RSEE 490 or 491. A member of the faculty other than the adviser grades the essay.

Students pursing a double major need to fulfill the senior requirement of both majors. If the second major allows, students may enroll in both RSEE 490 and 491 and write a longer essay than for the single-term essay. In this case, students count the second term of the RSEE senior essay as their 13th (Russian Studies concentration) or 12th (East European or Eurasian concentration) course in RSEE. 


Qualified students may elect pertinent courses in the Graduate School with the permission of the instructor, the director of graduate studies, and the DUS.

Graduate work The European and Russian Studies program does not offer the simultaneous award of the B.A. and M.A. However, students in Yale College are eligible to complete the M.A. in European and Russian Studies (with concentration in Russia and eastern Europe) in one year of graduate work. Students interested in this option must complete eight graduate courses in the area by the time they complete the bachelor's degree. Only two courses may be counted toward both the graduate degree and the undergraduate major. Successful completion of graduate courses while still an undergraduate does not guarantee admission into the M.A. program. Students must submit the standard application for admission to the M.A. program.

Study Abroad

Students should be aware of opportunities for study and travel in Russia, eastern Europe, and Eurasia. The DUS can provide information on these programs and facilitate enrollment. Students who spend all or part of the academic year in the region participating in established academic programs usually receive Yale College credit, and are strongly encouraged to take advantage of study abroad opportunities during summers or through the Year or Term Abroad program. Students wishing to travel abroad as part of the major should consult the DUS.


PrerequisitesRussian Studies concentration—RUSS 140, 142, 145 or S140; East European and Eurasian concentrations—two courses of first-year sequence in East European or Eurasian language 

Number of courses Russian Studies concentration—12 term courses beyond prereqs (incl senior req); East European and Eurasian concentrations—11 term courses beyond prereqs (incl senior req)

Specific courses required Russian Studies concentration—RUSS 150 and 151 or equivalency exam

Distribution of courses All concentrations—2 courses in Russian, East European, or Eurasian history; 1 RSEE-area focused course in the social sciences, as specified; 1 course in Russian, East European, or Eurasian literature or culture, in consultation with DUS; Russian Studies concentration—up to 5 language courses and/or electives in consultation with DUS to fulfill total course requirement; East European Studies and Eurasian Studies concentrations—third-year level in East European or Eurasian language or equivalency exam; remaining electives in consultation with DUS to fulfill total course requirement

Senior requirement Senior essay (RSEE 490 or 491)

Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies encompasses the history, literature, politics, economics, social organization, and culture of Russia, the non-Russian portions of the former Soviet Union, eastern Europe, and Eurasia. Majors design individual courses of study that reflect the interdisciplinary nature of Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies.

Courses taught in English and suitable for first-year students include:

  • RSEE 225 Russia from the Ninth Century to 1801
  • RSEE 241 Government, Law, and Society in Modern Russia, 1853-1953
  • RSEE 271 European Intellectual History since Nietzsche
  • RSEE 337 The Invention of Tradition in Post-Soviet Nation States
  • RSEE 350 Internet Cultures, Histories, Networks, and Practices
  • RUSS 220 Russian and Soviet Art, 1757 to the Present

Students who plan to focus on Russia and the former Soviet Union should take RUSS 110 and RUSS 120, or RUSS 125 as first-year students and RUSS 145 as sophomores. Those specializing in eastern Europe or Eurasia should take introductory Czech, Polish, Romanian, Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, or Ukrainian as early as possible. Students interested in taking another East European language should contact the director of undergraduate studies (DUS) regarding availability.

Every major takes at least one course in Russian or East European history and at least one in a social science. Majors are encouraged to study in Russia, eastern Europe, or Eurasia, and they should consult the DUS in the fall about programs for study abroad. See the Center for Language Study website for information about placement examinations.


Professors Sergei Antonov (History), Edyta Bojanowska (Slavic Languages & Literatures), Paul Bushkovitch (History), Katerina Clark (Comparative Literature, Slavic Languages & Literatures), John Gaddis (History), John MacKay (Slavic Languages & Literatures, Film & Media Studies), Timothy Snyder (History)

Associate Professors Molly Brunson (Slavic Languages & Literatures), Jason Lyall (Political Science), Douglas Rogers (Anthropology), Marci Shore (History)

Assistant Professors Marijeta Bozovic (Slavic Languages & Literatures, Film and Media Studies, Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies), Jinyi Chu (Slavic Languages & Literatures), Marta Figlerowicz (Comparative Literature, English), Claire Roosien (Slavic Languages & Literatures)

Senior Lectors II Irina Dolgova, Constantine Muravnik

Senior Lectors Krystyna Illakowicz, Julia Titus, Karen von Kunes