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Russian Studies

Vanderbilt's Russian Studies 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).


RUSS 1101: First-Year Russian I
RUSS 1102: First-Year Russian II
RUSS 1111: First-Year Writing Seminars include Classic Russian Short Novel, 19th Century Russian Literature, Russia Between East and West, Between Stalin and Hitler
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 2460: Yiddeish Literature in Translation
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 2900: Viewing Communism in Eastern Europe
RUSS 3303: Advanced Grammar and Reading
RUSS 3305: Advanced Conversation and Composition

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate research is possible through independent study courses with individual faculty and, depending on language requirements, as assistants in faculty research. Honors options are available through related disciplines like English, History, Political Science, or Art History. The department is creating a new honors option this year. Kristin Rose (2015) received High Honors in English for her honors thesis entitled “Locating the Russian Hero: Genre, Gender, and National Identity in Mikhail Lermontov’s A Hero of Our Time.” 

Study Abroad Opportunities and Immersion Vanderbilt

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.  We are developing Immersion options that encourage our students to acquire international experience via study abroad.    

The Russian Hall at McTyeire International House

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. 

After Vanderbilt University

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.


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, as well as a small cohort of excellent graduate students, allow students at all levels of study to pursue individually-tailored major or minor programs. Current faculty are:

  • Emily Greble, Associate Professor of History and East European Studies
  • Allison Schacter, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and English, and Program Director of Jewish Studies
  • Frank Wcislo,  Associate Professor of History and German, Russian, and East European Studies
  • Bradley Gorski,  Assistant Professor of German, Russian, and East European Studies
  • Irina Denischenko,  Mellon Assistant Professor of German, Russian, and East European Studies
  • Denis Zhernokleyev, Senior Lecturer in Russian
  • David Johnson,  Lecturer in Russian; Coordinator, Russian Hall, McTyeire International House; Coordinator, Service-Learning Maymester in Vladimir, Russian Federation


Frank Wcislo
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Russian and East European Studies
Office: 202 Benson Hall
Phone: 615-343-4849

Russian Studies Website