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Vanderbilt's Russian program, which is part of an expanding Department of German, Russian and East European Studies, offers an immersive experience in Russian language and culture studies. It aims to provide students the fluency in reading, speaking, and writing Russian required to go on to advanced degree study or careers in government, public, and corporate professions. Both the major and minor in Russian are designed to be flexible. A small program assures close advising and mentoring of undergraduate majors and students. Study of Russian language occurs together with study of culture, including courses in literature, cultural studies, film, history, and political science. Our program encourages students to study abroad in Russia as their Vanderbilt Immersion Project. Students may also couple their Russian language study with a joint major program in European Studies (see EUS).


First-Year Russian I and II
Second-Year Russian I and II
3rd-Yr Grammar and Reading / Conversation and Composition
Advanced Russian through film / literature / society
First-Year Writing Seminars: Classic Russian Short Novel, 19th Century Russian Literature, Russia Between East and West, Between Stalin and Hitler
Russian Fairy Tales
19th Century Russian Literature
20th Century Russian Literature
Russia at War
Russian Science Fiction
Russian Cinema
Tolstoy’s War and Peace
Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov
Yiddish Literature in Translation
Russian Crime Fiction
Beyond Lolita: The Novels of Vladimir Nabokov
"From the House of the Dead": Stories of Siberia
Radical Art: The Avant-Garde Revolution
Viewing Communism in Eastern Europe

After Vanderbilt

A Russian degree at Vanderbilt prepares students for a wide range of careers in law, business, government, intelligence, the Foreign Service, journalism, museum curatorship, and higher education. Several of our recent majors have pursued graduate degrees, including Noorie Bajaj (Stanford), Destiny Cargill (Georgetown University) and Giulia Goletti (University of Helsinki, Finland). Others have pursued business careers either in Russia or with firms whose interests require close dealings with Russia, such as Stu Detmer, John Nutter, Jon Lauritzen and Page Odam. Still others have built successful corporate careers. Mark Asbury is Senior Vice-President and General Counsel of ZS Pharma in San Francisco.

Immersive Learning

Students are encouraged to study abroad in Russia. Options include summer-, semester- and year-long programs in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other cities of the Russian Federation. Vanderbilt also sponsors study abroad programs in Eastern Europe. Students study language at varying levels of fluency and live and learn in that language. Students also study history, politics, economics, culture, and other subjects. Our department coordinates a Maymester service-learning program in Vladimir, Russia. To further develop language skills while on the Vanderbilt campus, students can transition from the Commons to the Russian Hall at McTyeire International House, where they can practice Russian in everyday situations and in the language dining hall with other students and professors.


The Russian and East European Studies faculty brings its diverse experience to studying and teaching about Russia and Eastern Europe. Its small classes and close mentoring by professors known for their scholarship and teaching allow students at all levels of study to pursue individually-tailored major or minor programs. Current faculty are:

  • Irina Denischenko, Mellon Assistant Professor of German, Russian, and East European Studies
  • Bradley Gorski, Assistant Professor of German, Russian, and East European Studies
  • Emily Greble, Associate Professor of History and East European Studies
  • David Johnson, Lecturer in Russian; Coordinator, Russian Hall, McTyeire International House
  • Frank Wcislo, Associate Professor of History and German, Russian, and East European Studies
  • Denis Zhernokleyev, Senior Lecturer in Russian


Bradley Gorski
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Russian and East European Studies
Office: 009 Furman Hall
Phone: 615.322.1579

Russian Website