Why study Slavic languages and literatures?

Because Russia and the Slavs link the West and the East; studying their languages and cultures broadens your horizons and helps you to better understand the world around you.

The Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures offers comprehensive undergraduate programs in Russian, Polish, and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian and their literatures, and cultures. For each language, we offer a core curriculum of 3+ years of language study emphasizing all four skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing), supplemented by courses in culture, literature and linguistics. We also offer intensive Russian in the summer. For study abroad, we offer summer and semester options at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia, as well as a summer study abroad programs in Zadar, Croatia and Lviv, Ukraine, and a summer Russian-language internship program in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The major prepares students for a variety of careers in teaching or in graduate studies, as well as in fields such as interpreting, international business, art, art history, and travel. A Slavic degree allows a student focus on Russian and Slavic languages as a career path or to add a unique global aspect to another career choice. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds to consider a Slavic major or minor in combination with another field of study.

The M.A. degree in Slavic Languages and Literatures gives students a well-rounded knowledge of Russian language and literature, provides students interested in working professionally with Russian in government or other areas with solid language skills and well-rounded training in the field, and allows them to continue on to specialized doctoral study in Slavic studies. The Ph.D. degree can be tailored to the student’s interests and future research plans. Doctoral study allows students to pursue a knowledge of a second Slavic language and literature, a minor field, as well as in-depth preparation leading to the doctoral dissertation. Qualified candidates are supported through teaching assistantships and receive extensive training and guidance in language instruction. We pride ourselves on our advising and preparation of students for careers in academia and the professional world.

Undergraduate Admission

Admission to KU

All students applying for admission must send high school and college transcripts to the Office of Admissions. Unless they are college transfer students with at least 24 hours of credit, prospective students must send ACT or SAT scores to the Office of Admissions. Prospective first-year students should be aware that KU has qualified admission requirements that all new first-year students must meet to be admitted. Consult the Office of Admissions for application deadlines and specific admission requirements.

Visit the Office of International Student and Scholar Services for information about international admissions.

Students considering transferring to KU may see how their college-level course work will transfer on the Office of Admissions website.

Admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Admission to the College is a different process from admission to a major field. Some CLAS departments have admission requirements. See individual department/program sections for departmental admission requirements.

Requirements for the B.A. Major

The student completes a minimum of 30 hours of study (29 hours for Russian emphasis) in one of 3 emphases: Polish, Russian, or South Slavic (Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian). The department encourages students to fulfill general education requirements from courses in the SLAV 140/SLAV 141, SLAV 144/SLAV 145, and SLAV 148/SLAV 149 series. Beyond the minimum 27 hours, students are strongly encouraged to take additional courses in the Slavic department and appropriate background courses in the history, philosophy, and political science of the Slavic regions.

Polish Studies Emphasis

Majors choosing this option must complete courses as indicated in following areas:

Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills (13)
The following courses provide fundamental skills for the major, but do not contribute to the minimum required hours for the major.
Elementary Polish I. Satisfied by:
PLSH 104Elementary Polish I5
Elementary Polish II. Satisfied by:
PLSH 108Elementary Polish II5
Intermediate Polish I. Satisfied by:
PLSH 204Intermediate Polish I3
Polish Studies Emphasis Core Knowledge and Skills (12)
Intermediate Polish II. Satisfied by:
PLSH 208Intermediate Polish II3
Advanced Polish I. Satisfied by:
PLSH 504Advanced Polish I3
Advanced Polish II. Satisfied by:
PLSH 508Advanced Polish II3
Readings in Polish Language and Literature. Satisfied by:
West Slavic Literature and Civilization (Polish and Czech). Satisfied by:
SLAV 506Masterworks of Polish and Czech Literature3
Required Electives (12)
Satisfied by 4 courses (12 hours) chosen from the following:12
Readings in Polish Language and Literature
Survey of Russian Literature in Translation
Jews and Slavs in Eastern Europe
Introduction to the Languages and Peoples of Russia and East-Central Europe
Introduction to East-Central European Culture and Society: _____
Totalitarianism and Literature in Central Europe
Love, Lust and Liberty: Polish and Czech Film Adapations
Language, Culture and Ethnicity in Prehistoric Eastern Europe
Economic Systems
Everyday Communism in Eastern Europe
Nationalism and Communism in East Central Europe from 1772 to the Present
Marxism (or other relevant course in philosophy)
Senior Capstone Seminar. Satisfied by: (3)
SLAV 495Senior Capstone Seminar3

Majors are strongly encouraged to study abroad. Please see your advisor about this opportunity.

Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses (above), majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade-point average minimum standards:

Major Hours
Satisfied by 30 hours of major courses.

Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours of KU resident credit in the major. 

Major Junior/Senior (300+) Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 12 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior (300+) Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

Russian Emphasis

Majors choosing this option must complete courses as indicated in following areas:

Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills (15)
The following courses provide fundamental skills for the major, but do not contribute to the minimum required hours for the major.
Elementary Russian I. Satisfied by:
RUSS 104Elementary Russian I5
or RUSS 110 Intensive Elementary Russian
Elementary Russian II. Satisfied by:
RUSS 108Elementary Russian II5
or RUSS 110 Intensive Elementary Russian
Intermediate Russian I. Satisfied by:
RUSS 204Intermediate Russian I5
Russian Emphasis Core Knowledge and Skills (26)
Intermediate Russian II. Satisfied by:
RUSS 208Intermediate Russian II5
Advanced Russian Language. Satisfied by one of the following:6
Advanced Russian I
and Advanced Russian II
Russian for the Professions I
and Russian for the Professions II
Russian Linguistics. Satisfied by one one course (3 hours, 200+) chosen from:3
Introduction to the Languages and Peoples of Russia and East-Central Europe
Introduction to the Languages and Peoples of Russia and East-Central Europe, Honors
Russian Phonetics, Phonology, and Inflectional Morphology
The Grammatical Categories of Russian: Linguistic Units, Functions and Meanings
Russian Since the Revolution
The Pragmatics of Slavic Languages
Language and Identity in East-Central Europe and the Former Soviet Union
Russian Literature. Satisfied by 1 course (3 hours, 400+) chosen from:3
The Russian Literary Genius
Introduction to Russian Poetry
Dostoevsky
Tolstoy
Turgenev
Russian Theatre and Drama from Stanislavski and Chekhov to the Present
The "Woman Question" in Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature
The Devil in Russian Literature
Biblical Themes in Modern Russian Literature
Russian and East European Science Fiction
Introduction to Russian Literature of the Nineteenth Century
Russian Literature in Translation: _____
Introduction to Russian Literature of the Twentieth Century
Pushkin and Evgenij Onegin
The Russian Short Story
Russian Literature of the Eighteenth Century
The Russian Novel in the Age of Realism
Russian Literary Modernism: 1880-1930
Soviet Russian Literature: 1930-1990
Post-Soviet Literature
Nabokov
Required Electives
Satisfied by 3 courses (9 hours) in Russian literature, linguistics, culture, or advanced language chosen in consultation with the major advisor. Note that only one (1) 100-level course (either SLAV 140/SLAV 141, SLAV 144/SLAV 145, or SLAV 148/SLAV 149) may count as a required elective for the Russian emphasis major.9
Language
Russian for the Professions I
Russian for the Professions II
Problems in Translating Russian into English I
Problems in Translating Russian into English II
Classics of Russian Culture
Contemporary Russian Culture
Russian Phonetics and Grammar
Introduction to Russian Literature
Stylistics
Linguistics
Introduction to the Languages and Peoples of Russia and East-Central Europe
Introduction to the Languages and Peoples of Russia and East-Central Europe, Honors
Russian Phonetics, Phonology, and Inflectional Morphology
The Grammatical Categories of Russian: Linguistic Units, Functions and Meanings
Russian Since the Revolution
The Pragmatics of Slavic Languages
Language and Identity in East-Central Europe and the Former Soviet Union
Culture
Russian Business Culture
Soviet and Post-Soviet Russian Cinema
Russia Today
Introduction to Russian Culture and Society: _____
Post-Soviet Communication
Biography of a City: _____
Soviet and Post-Soviet Russian Cinema
Main Currents of Russian Thought I
Main Currents of Russian Thought II
Literature
The Russian Literary Genius
Introduction to Russian Poetry
Dostoevsky
Tolstoy
Turgenev
Russian Theatre and Drama from Stanislavski and Chekhov to the Present
The "Woman Question" in Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature
The Devil in Russian Literature
Biblical Themes in Modern Russian Literature
Russian and East European Science Fiction
Introduction to Russian Literature of the Nineteenth Century
Russian Literature in Translation: _____
Introduction to Russian Literature of the Twentieth Century
Pushkin and Evgenij Onegin
The Russian Short Story
Russian Literature of the Eighteenth Century
The Russian Novel in the Age of Realism
Russian Literary Modernism: 1880-1930
Soviet Russian Literature: 1930-1990
Post-Soviet Literature
Nabokov
Senior Capstone Seminar. Satisfied by: (3)
SLAV 495Senior Capstone Seminar3

Majors are strongly encouraged to study abroad. Please see your advisor about this opportunity.

Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses (above), majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade-point average minimum standards:

Major Hours
Satisfied by 29 hours of major courses.

Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours of KU resident credit in the major. 

Major Junior/Senior (300+) Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 12 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior (300+) Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

South Slavic Studies Emphasis

Majors choosing this option must complete courses as indicated in following areas:

Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills (13)
The following courses provide fundamental skills for the major, but do not contribute to the minimum required hours for the major.
Elementary Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian I. Satisfied by:
BCRS 104Elementary Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian I5
Elementary Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian II. Satisfied by:
BCRS 108Elementary Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian II5
Intermediate Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian I. Satisfied by:
BCRS 204Intermediate Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian I3
Slavic Studies Emphasis Core Knowledge and Skills (27)
Intermediate Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian II. Satisfied by:
BCRS 208Intermediate Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian II3
Advanced Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian I. Satisfied by:
BCRS 504Advanced Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian I3
Advanced Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian II. Satisfied by:
BCRS 508Advanced Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian II3
South Slavic Literature and Civilization. Satisfied by:
SLAV 508South Slavic Literature and Civilization3
Required Electives
Satisfied by 5 courses (15 hours) chosen from the following: 15
Intensive Croatian
Readings in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian
Economic Systems
Everyday Communism in Eastern Europe
Nationalism and Communism in East Central Europe from 1772 to the Present
Marxism
Survey of Russian Literature in Translation
The Peoples and Cultures of Southeastern Europe Through Film
Introduction to the Languages and Peoples of Russia and East-Central Europe
Readings in Slovene
The Cultural Impact of Ottoman Empire on the South Slavs
Slavic Folklore
Language, Culture and Ethnicity in Prehistoric Eastern Europe
Topics in: _____
Senior Capstone Seminar. Satisfied by: (3)
SLAV 495Senior Capstone Seminar3

Majors are strongly encouraged to study abroad. Please see your advisor about this opportunity.

Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses (above), majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade-point average minimum standards:

Major Hours
Satisfied by 30 hours of major courses.

Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours of KU resident credit in the major. 

Major Junior/Senior (300+) Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 12 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior (300+) Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

Sample 4-year plans for the BA degree in Slavic Languages and Literatures with concentrations in the following can be found here: Polish, Russian, South Slavic Studies or by using the left-side navigation.

Departmental Honors

Undergraduates with grade-point averages of 3.25 overall and of 3.5 in Slavic courses are eligible for the honors program. Before enrolling, students must consult an undergraduate advisor to formulate an appropriate topic. Students complete SLAV 499 Honors Thesis (3 hours above the major requirements) during 1 semester of the senior year. The honors thesis is evaluated by a committee of 3 faculty members. The candidate makes an oral defense before this committee.

Study Abroad

The department, in conjunction with the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, conducts summer institutes at universities in

  • L’viv, Ukraine; and
  • Zadar, Croatia.
  • Almaty, Kazakhstan (internship program)

Arrangements can be made for students to study for one semester or a full academic year at these or other universities. Some scholarship support is available.

Consult the Slavic department office or the Office of Study Abroad. Credit for non-KU programs is not automatic and is evaluated in consultation with the Slavic department undergraduate director.

Undergraduate and graduate students at KU are encouraged to spend a summer, semester, and/or year studying and conducting research in their country of interest.

Slavic Language Programs in Russia and Eastern Europe

KU students may take intermediate or advanced Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian at a 6-week summer institute in Croatia or attend a summer language program in Poland.

Graduate students at KU are encouraged to spend a summer, semester, and/or year studying and conducting research in their country of interest.