Approximately 260 million people speak Russian worldwide. Beyond Russia, the language is spoken in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and areas with large numbers of Russian immigrants, such as the United States and Israel, which both have almost 1 million Russian speakers.
The U.S. State Department classifies Russian as a "critical language." Russian is one of 15 languages deemed to be critical to America’s national security and economic prosperity. Developing proficiency in Russian language skills will give students access to in-demand fields of employment, both with the government and private sector. There are additional scholarship opportunities as well to study critical languages.
UTSA’s Russian program provides four levels of instruction from elementary to fourth-year Russian for students to build language proficiency skills. In all levels of language study, students will also gain an understanding of Russia’s cultural heritage, discuss Russia’s role in the world, as well as explore other cultures from Russian-speaking regions and countries. In addition to language classes, each semester we offer literature, film and culture courses offered in English under the classification Comparative Studies in the Humanities (CSH).
By majoring or minoring in a foreign language and culture, students will develop communication skills and critical thinking skills that will be useful across career fields. Our faculty closely advises Modern Language majors and Russian minors toward employment in fields where they can utilize their language skills. A degree in the humanities helps students develop:
· mutual understanding of other cultures and our interconnectedness
· intercultural competency and greater ability to work on diverse teams
· enhanced problem-solving skills through openness to alternative solutions
Students often simultaneously develop additional skills in areas of study in cyber security, global affairs, business and pre-medicine tracks. We encourage and advise our students to apply to national awards that promote language learning, such as the Critical Language Scholarship, the Boren Scholarship, and the Fulbright Student Program.
Taylor Helmcamp, Fulbright Student Program award recipient (Belarus) and acceptance to UT-Austin Law/MA in Russian and Eastern European Studies
Helmcamp plans to pursue a career in energy law as a foreign service officer.
Is Russian difficult?
No. In fact, many students claim it is easier than some of the more commonly taught languages. And the alphabet takes only a few hours to learn.
When should I start taking Russian?
Students should start taking courses as soon as possible. Elementary Russian I (RUS 1014) is offered each fall and continues with Elementary Russian II (RUS 1024) in the spring. After that, students can take up to two Russian classes per semester, depending on course offerings.
How does Russian fit in with my other coursework?
In addition to courses in your major, you will need both lower division and upper division electives. By taking Russian, you can concentrate your electives into a Minor in Russian.
What are the requirements for a Minor in Russian?
In addition to the elementary courses RUS 1014 and 1024, you need to take the intermediate classes RUS 2013 and 2023, plus 12 additional hours of Russian (9 upper division hours). Some of these classes can be taken concurrently with the intermediate classes.
What if I already know Russian or previously studied Russian elsewhere?
Students who are heritage speakers or have had prior study will be placed at the appropriate level. Students can also transfer in credits toward requirements from other universities or from the Defense Language Institute. Contact Dr. Chapman for advising.
Can I Study Abroad?
Yes! While right now, study abroad in Russia is not possible, students in the Russian program are currently studying abroad in countries where Russian is spoken. Examples in Baltic countries include Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Examples in the Caucasus region include Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. There are also study abroad programs that travel to Central Asia to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. Students can also attend domestic summer language programs in the US. Your coursework will apply toward the Minor in Russian or the major in Foreign Languages. For more information on programs, course credits, and study abroad scholarship opportunities, contact Dr. Chapman.
Are there other activities?
Yes, the UTSA Russian Club meets each semester to promote language and culture through a variety of activities. Please visit our Facebook Page for more details.
Russian Courses Offered at UTSA (please see the course catalog for full list)
Lower Division Courses
RUS 1014, 1024: Elementary Russian I & II: These courses give the students the basics of the Russian language by involving them in meaningful communication right from the beginning. The course also serve as a first look at Russia and its culture.
RUS 2013, 2023: Intermediate Russian I & II.
Upper Division Courses
RUS 2333: Russian Literature in English Translation. Major works of Russian literature across time, genres, and movements.
RUS 3033: Oral Communication Skills. Further development of speaking skills in a variety of contexts. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.
RUS 3143: Structure of Russian Language. This course review and expands the structure of the Russian language as introduced in lower division courses. Further development of speaking and writing skills. May be repeated for credit when topics vary.
RUS 3213: Advanced Russian. Opportunity to develop advanced-level oral and written communication skills in the Russian language, along with enhanced comprehension skills in listening and reading.
RUS 4213: Topics in Russian Culture. This course is offered every semester and varies by topic. Topics may include geopolitics, media, traditions, history, music, literature, art, or film.
Faculty Contact: Andrew Chapman, Assistant Professor of Teaching and Russian Program Director.
photos courtesy of UTSA Dept of Modern Languages & Literatures and wikimedia commons
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Dept of Modern Languages and Literatures
University of Texas at San Antonio
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