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Russian Language and Literature, B.A.

  • Application Deadline
  • 48 months
University rank #51 (BCR) Boston, MA, United States
The major in Russian Language and Literature offered by Boston University expects students to attain a high level of proficiency (ACTFL intermediate-high) in speaking, reading, writing, and listening comprehension in Russian; it trains them to work with primary sources in Russian and to navigate challenging real-life situations.
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It also provides them with a solid grounding in Russian literature, culture, history, and politics. Russian Language and Literature majors at Boston University are given the flexibility to follow their specific interests. While some will be drawn to the Russian literary and cultural tradition, others will choose to focus on the historical and political conditions that inform Russia’s place in the world today; yet others will prioritize advanced language proficiency. The Russian faculty is prepared to help students find the right pathway through the major to accommodate these various emphases. The Russian major works well on its own or as a double major with other disciplines, such as international relations, history, English, comparative literature, European studies, and political science.

Russian majors go on to careers in international business, academics, advocacy, politics, journalism, law, government, publishing, and the arts, among many other areas. Russian is spoken by more than 250 million people in the world today, including approximately 3 million people in the US. It remains the Lingua Franca of the vast geographical area that constituted the former Soviet Union. The Russian major is designed to open up access to these cultures and worlds. In today’s larger geopolitical context, where Russia plays a crucial role in world events, there is an urgent need for experts on Russian politics, history, and culture.

Like all World Languages & Literatures (WLL) majors, Russian Language & Literature majors begin with CAS XL 100 Leaving Home: Explorations in World Literature, a team-taught course in which students meet the WLL faculty through guest lectures and get oriented in the rich diversity of the world’s literary traditions. They begin Russian language study as early as possible and complete at least two language courses beyond the fifth-semester level (CAS LR 303). Classics of Russian Prose (CAS LR 250) introduces students to major texts in English translation and can be taken early in the student’s program. Four additional courses in Russian language, literature, and/or culture provide greater depth in areas of special interest to the student. One elective chosen, in consultation with the advisor, among all WLL courses on languages, literatures, and cultures other than Russian enhances understanding of Russia’s place in the world through regional, global, and/or historical comparison. Students wishing to explore more of WLL’s course offerings outside of Russia may substitute an additional elective for one of their four courses in Russian language, literature, or culture. Seniors majoring in WLL come back together in XL 479, the senior capstone seminar. Students use this course to produce a substantial project in their major and share their work with other WLL seniors working in other languages. The course provides students with structure and research guidance for developing and discussing their projects, while meetings with a faculty language mentor hone students’ advanced language skills as applied to the area of their research. Student presentations build oral communication skills and the ability to describe one’s work to others. Possible final projects could include a research paper on literature, film, or popular culture; an annotated translation or work of subtitling; a video essay; or a digital humanities project. Students producing excellent capstone projects will be encouraged to develop them into senior honors work.

Learning Outcomes

  • Advanced knowledge of major themes and genres in Russian literature and culture in their historical contexts, including links to other European and world literary traditions.
  • Critical thinking, communication, and writing skills within areas of content and cultural knowledge.
  • Familiarity with fundamental research skills for Russian studies, including use of traditional and electronic sources.
  • Proficiency in speaking, reading, writing, and listening comprehension in Russian at the intermediate-high level as measured by ACTFL guidelines.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 48 months
  • Credits
    120 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
    • Partially taught in Russian
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Courses included:

  • Introduction to Linguistics
  • Explorations in World Literature: Leaving Home
  • Introduction to Comparative Literature: Western Literature
  • Introduction to Comparative Literature: Middle Eastern Literature 
  • Introduction to Comparative Literature: East Asian Literature 
  • Introduction to Comparative Literature: South Asian Literature 
  • Third-Year Russian: Reading, Grammar Review, and Conversation
  • Third-Year Russian II: Reading, Grammar Review, and Conversation
  • Advanced Russian Grammar
  • Advanced Russian Conversation
  • Classics of Russian Prose 

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

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  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

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General Requirements


  • Common Application or Coalition Application     
  • High School Transcript
  • Senior Year Grades
  • Counselor Recommendation and School Report Form   
  • Teacher Evaluation
  • Standardized Tests
  • Secondary School Records
  • Documentation of Financial Support
  • Copy of Data Page of Passport

Tuition Fee

  • International

    54720 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 54720 USD per year and a duration of 48 months.
  • National

    54720 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 54720 USD per year and a duration of 48 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Boston

  • 1560 - 3240 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


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