There are a lot of good reasons for studying Russian. Here are some reservations you might have for not taking the plunge. Let us help you decide…

  • Russian doesn’t even have an alphabet like mine.How can I possibly learn it?
    You can. It takes about one week to learn the entire Russian alphabet and after another week you’ll be able to read and write in Cyrillic. After all, about 18 of the letters should at least look familiar to you already, and if you can read the Greek names of the fraternities and sororities at Rutgers you already have a head start. Can you read these words? Атом, танк, Америка, факт, гамбургер, папа, мама.

  • Russian is too difficult and I’ll never be able to learn it.
    It’s true that Russian takes longer to learn than many other commonly taught languages. But it takes less time than Japanese, Chinese, or Arabic, to take a few examples. You don't need special abilities in order to learn Russian. People of average language abilities learn Russian all the time. You can too. You can also speed up your progress in Russian by taking our summer program in St. Petersburg. It’s worth 9 credits. Click here for more information.

  • What can I do after I major in Russian?
    A major in Russian prepares you for many of the same things that a major in other humanities disciplines does, and sometimes better. You learn to write and express yourself well in more than one language. You gain a broader perspective on American culture and your own history as well as specialized knowledge of another culture, both of which are of enormous value in the current global economy. In fact, that's why Russian in combination with another major can give you a real edge. Here the prejudice that Russian is difficult plays in your favor. Russian on your resume shows that you believe in your abilities, that you accept challenges, that you can work hard, and that you are not afraid to go off the beaten path. You’re a winner!

  • I can always study it later.
    This may be true but Russian is not offered just everywhere. At Rutgers we are proud of our language program: our instructors are well-qualified teachers with advanced degrees and many years of experience teaching Russian to American Students. Classes are small and you can expect a lot of individual attention. Exploit the resources that Rutgers offers you!

The Russian Language...

  • is the primary language of the 150 million citizens of the Russian Federation, as the Russian state calls itself, and is the native language of approximately 30 million people living in the other states which were formed after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
  • is the key that opens up one of the most important economic, political, and cultural areas of the world. It opens up the largest country of the world and one of the largest produces of natural gas and oil in the world.
  • is the means to understand one of the major European literatures.


  • has some of the most spectacular cities and cultural sites in the world
  • has some of the most spectacular natural beauty in the world
  • is a major player on the global scene
  • has one of the most highly educated populations in the world
  • is a leader in computer technology and new media

Russian is a Critical Language!

  • Critical Language Scholarships (CLS) institutes provide fully-funded group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences for seven to ten weeks for U.S. citizen undergraduate, Master’s and Ph.D. students. Levels available for Russian: Intermediate or advanced level.
  • The CLS Program is part of a U.S. government interagency effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical need foreign languages. Students of diverse disciplines and majors are encouraged to apply. Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period, and later apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

Today, Russian Majors...

  • have the opportunity to use their language and culture skills in a broad variety of settings in both Russia and the United States.
  • go on to work in business as financial and policy analysts for American and Russian companies
  • work for non-governmental organizations, for publishing houses, for the print and broadcast media.
  • teach in Russian schools, and consult in fields such as marketing, advertising,
    aerospace, and computer engineering.
  • continue to go on to work as teachers in universities and schools, and as employees of the United States government.

Hear from Current Russian Majors and Minors!

Are you thinking about a Russian major or minor?  Do you wonder why other Rutgers students have chosen this path? Then check out this video with testimonials from several of our wonderful students! You'll also find out what they like most about the program, how they combine their Russian studies with other subjects, and what you can expect from your classes and the program in general.

Russian and Interdisciplinary Studies

Sam Vladimirsky graduated from SAS in 2019, and completed an Interdisciplinary Senior Honors Thesis under the direction of Prof. Emily Van Buskirk (Russian) and Prof. Andres Zervigon (Art History). His thesis was titled "Second-Hand Vision: Postmemory and Photographic Play."

Click here to see Sam talk about his experience completing this interdisciplinary research project!