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Vanderbilt's Russian Program is committed to immersion in language and culture, with the purpose of optimally preparing students to use their expertise in Russian for the 21st century job market. In addition to courses on classic writers such as Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Vladimir Nabokov, the program offers broadly interdisciplinary courses such as "Russian Fairy Tales," “Russian Cinema,” “Stories of Siberia,” “Russian Science Fiction,” “Russian Crime Fiction,” “Russia at War” and “The Russian Avant-Garde.” Both the major and minor in Russian are designed to be extremely flexible. Alongside study of Russian language and culture, students may choose to focus their degree on fields such as history, political science and economics as they pertain to the Russian context.


RUSS 1101: First-Year Russian I
RUSS 1102: First-Year Russian II
RUSS 1111: First-Year Writing Seminar: Classic Short Works of Russian Literature
RUSS 1111: First-Year Writing Seminar: 19th Century Russian Literature
RUSS 1874: Russian Fairy Tales
RUSS 1910W: 19th Century Russian Literature
RUSS 1911W: 20th Century Russian Literature
RUSS 2201: Second-Year Russian I
RUSS 2202: Second-Year Russian II
RUSS 2210: Russia Today: Politics, Economics, and Culture
RUSS 2230: Russia at War
RUSS 2273: Russian Science Fiction
RUSS 2434: Russian Cinema
RUSS 2435: Tolstoy’s War and Peace
RUSS 2438: Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov
RUSS 2485: Russian Crime Fiction
RUSS 2537: Beyond Lolita: The Novels of Vladimir Nabokov
RUSS 2639: "From the House of the Dead": Stories of Siberia
RUSS 2745: Art After Zero: The Russian Avant-Garde
RUSS 3303: Advanced Grammar and Reading
RUSS 3305: Advanced Conversation and Composition

Undergraduate Research

The Russian Program is currently developing a system of overseeing undergraduate research and granting honors. In the meantime, we encourage our majors to pursue honors programs in other disciplines and we offer independent studies to facilitate their research. Most recently, Kristin Rose (2015) defended an honors thesis entitled “Locating the Russian Hero: Genre, Gender, and National Identity in Mikhail Lermontov’s A Hero of Our Time” within the English Department and received the department’s highest honors.

Other Study Opportunities

Students have several possibilities for studying abroad in Russia, including summer-, semester- and year-long programs in Moscow and St. Petersburg (where they have the option of studying history, politics, economics and/or culture alongside the Russian language). We also offer the popular Maymester service program in Vladimir. In order to further develop their language skills while on the Vanderbilt campus, students may choose to live in the Russian hall at the McTyeire International House, where they can practice Russian in everyday situations with an international group of undergraduate and graduate students from many disciplines.

After Vanderbilt

A Russian degree at Vanderbilt prepares students for academic careers (in literature, culture, or area studies), as well as for the use of their Russian skills and culture knowledge in business and politics (for example, jobs in the Foreign Service). Several of our majors have chosen to pursue graduate degrees in and related to Russian, including Noorie Bajaj (Stanford), Destiny Cargill (Georgetown University) and Giulia Goletti (University of Helsinki, Finland). Others such as Stu Detmer, John Nutter, Jon Lauritzen and Page Odam have pursued business careers either in Russia or with firms whose interests require close dealings with Russia.


The Russian Program is small, which allows for close contact with students at all levels of study and close advising on student projects. The current faculty members are:

  • Jason Strudler, Mellon Assistant Professor of Russian; Director of Undergraduate Studies (Russian)
  • Denis Zhernokleyev, Lecturer in Russian
  • David Johnson, Lecturer in Russian; Coordinator, Russian Hall, McTyeire International House

In terms of both research and course offerings, our faculty covers the  medieval period through the early 21st century in Russian literature and culture with a particular focus on period between the 19th century and the present.


Jason Strudler
Director of Undergraduate Studies (Russian)
Office: 009 Furman Hall
Phone: (615) 322-1579
E-mail: jason.strudler@vanderbilt.edu

Russian Website