Bachelor of Arts in Slavic Languages and Literatures

Why study Slavic languages and literatures?

If you have turned on a TV set or logged on Twitter lately, you probably have seen a news item on Russia or Ukraine, not to mention countries like Turkey and Iran. From Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, to Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian (BCMS), to Czech, Turkish, Persian/Tajik/Dar/Farsi, to Yiddish, our department offers only critical languages. In fact, the US government classifies these languages as critical for national security interests, and there are a number of federal scholarships that you can apply for to study them. 

Think about how Russia has become a power player even in just US politics the last few years through #hacking or other cybersecurity threats. With the end of the Cold War, the study of languages like Russian has considerably decreased in the US, and as this language has become more important to national security and the global economy, there are not nearly enough Americans who speak it. The US government and national and international employers needs individuals with specialized language skills. Some of these languages can be more challenging, but we commit to helping students advance in them. You do not need to have special language abilities to study a language like Russian, you just have to come to class and do the same things you would in any other class, just with a more fun alphabet. And if you consider how many people study more commonly taught languages like Spanish and French, statistically, studying a language like Russian really sets us apart with employers, because you bring in unique skills and expertise. And if you don't believe us, you can take a look at our success stories

Our department offers comprehensive undergraduate programs in Russian, Polish, and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Turkish, Persian/Tajik/Dar/Farsi. For each language, we offer core curricula emphasizing all four skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing. We also offer intensive introductory Russian in Lawrence during the summer. Because of how foundational to our identities and personal growth study abroad opportunities can be, we offer students multiple opportunities to learn these languages outside of Lawrence. Think about all the great selfies you could take in to these beautiful, off-the-beaten path places! You can go to Moscow, Russia and study at the Higher School of Economics for a semester. Or you can spend your summers in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, or Zadar, Croatia and Lviv, Ukraine.

And we don't just offer language learning. Our department is multi-disciplinary and we want our students to come out with strong cultural awareness of the region, but also core critical thinking and writing skills. So you can study a language, but also learn about vampires in Slavic and American culture, or robots and scifi writings, explore the linguistic reflections of identity, while reading about socialism, Marxism, and other varieties of Russian political thought.

We welcome applicants from all backgrounds to consider a Slavic major or minor in combination with another field of study.