Degrees offered

  • Russian major: Emphasizes language and literature and provides the most courses in Russian of the three degree options
  • Russian minor: Abbreviated form of the Russian major that includes at least one literature course in Russian
  • Russian studies major: Interdepartmental major that includes courses in history, politics and philosophy, as well as Russian language and literature

Most students who study Russian at Cornell College start from scratch with RUS 101, which is generally offered in February each year. By the end of the first week of the block students know the alphabet and are able to make simple statements and conduct very basic conversations. The focus in the first several courses is on practical vocabulary so that students can handle everyday situations, such as talking about self, family, interests, and daily activities.

Learning languages on the block plan

Benefits of One Course At A Time

Studying languages at Cornell is a unique experience. Language courses taught on the One Course At A Time curriculum provide an intensive learning environment that gives you the chance to make rapid progress in a short period of time. You can focus on the Russian language for three and a half weeks without interference from the demands of other courses. 

Class sizes are small so you will receive a lot of individual attention and have many opportunities to practice your skills in class. 

Study abroad

We encourage our students to study abroad for a semester during their junior or senior year. Russia Today is also frequently taught in Russia, offering students an opportunity to study abroad for a block without impacting other coursework.

Cornell has an institutional affiliation with the American Institute for Foreign Study, which offers summer, semester, and yearlong programs in St. Petersburg. Or you might consider a program through American Councils for International Education or through the Council on International Education Exchange. 

Internships and fellowships

We also encourage our students to pursue internships abroad through Cornell Fellowships or other programs.


As a major, you'll complete a capstone project, in which you will conduct research, write, and present on the topic you have developed.