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The Russian Program at Colby is a small, particularly active and close-knit group of students and faculty. The major emphasizes Russian language, literature, history, and film in order that students develop a broad understanding of Russia and its extraordinarily rich culture in the past and the present. Grammar study and practice of communicative topics in the first two semesters prepares students to read adapted texts and acquire communicative skills necessary to live and study in Russia, with progression to in-depth analysis of short stories, literary and historical documents, and novels. Students majoring in Russian language and culture are encouraged to study in Russia for at least one semester.  Study abroad options include St. Petersburg, Moscow, Irkutsk and Yaroslavl.  The major requires four years of Russian-language study (including content courses in Russian literature and film at the advanced level) and four courses taught in English: two semesters of Russian history, and two semesters of Russian literature and/or film.

Many of our students double major in Russian and other disciplines, ranging from history and global studies to music, sociology and economics, but students interested in studying Russian in conjunction with another major may also elect a minor in Russian language and culture. The minor requires seven courses in language and literature that offer a basic foundation in grammar and an introduction to 19th-century Russian literature and 20th-century Russian film.