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Program in Russian and Eurasian Studies


Michael D. Gordin

Acting Director

Serguei Alex. Oushakine (fall/spring)

Executive Committee

Mark R. Beissinger, Politics

Ellen B. Chances, Slavic Languages and Literatures

Caryl G. Emerson, Slavic Languages and Literatures, Comparative Literature

Michael D. Gordin, History

Jan T. Gross, History

Stephen M. Kotkin, History, Woodrow Wilson School

Serguei Alex. Oushakine, Slavic Languages and Literatures

Michael A. Reynolds, Near Eastern Studies

Gilbert F. Rozman, Sociology

Michael A. Wachtel, Slavic Languages and Literatures

Associated Faculty

Leonard H. Babby, Slavic Languages and Literatures

Devin A. Fore, German

M. Şükrü Hanioğlu, Near Eastern Studies

Olga P. Hasty, Slavic Languages and Literatures

Simon A. Morrison, Music

Petre M. Petrov, Slavic Languages and Literatures

Grigore Pop-Eleches, Woodrow Wilson School, Politics

Ekaterina Pravilova, History

Kim Lane Scheppele, Woodrow Wilson School, University Center for Human Values, Sociology

Frank N. von Hippel, Woodrow Wilson School

Sits with Committee

Margaret H. Beissinger, Slavic Languages and Literatures

Ksana Blank, Slavic Languages and Literatures

Erika H. Gilson, Near Eastern Studies

Irena Grudzinska Gross, Slavic Languages and Literatures

Stanislav Shvabrin, Slavic Languages and Literatures

The Program in Russian and Eurasian Studies, an affiliate of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, is an interdepartmental plan of study focused on the languages, cultures, societies, politics, and histories of the many countries, including Russia, located between Central Europe and East Asia, north of the Middle East. Russian and Eurasian studies is combined with and subsidiary to the program of study for a concentration in a department, including but not limited to anthropology, art and archaeology, comparative literature, economics, history, music, Near Eastern studies, politics, religion, Slavic languages and literatures, and sociology, as well as the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Russian and Eurasian studies may also be combined with a major in engineering or the natural sciences.

The program's purpose is to provide undergraduates with expertise in a core language of Eurasia--for most students, that would be Russian--and a scholarly grounding in the study of the region. Other languages applicable toward the certificate include Polish, the languages of Southeastern Europe (Romanian, Bulgarian, and Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian), and Turkish, the last being the basis for most Central Asian languages as well as some in the Caucasus and in Russia.

Russian and Eurasian studies offers preparation for government service, international business and finance, law, media, science, teaching, nongovernmental organizations, and other aspects of global affairs. As such, courses from many departments count toward the certificate. The program is compatible with all majors.

Program of Study

Course Requirements. Students choosing to pursue a certificate in Russian and Eurasian studies must complete the normal requirements in their home department as well as the following requirements of the program (see below). The proposed course of study must be approved each term by the program director.

History. One upper-level course on the history of the Russian empire, the Soviet Union, or Eurasia.

Literature. One upper-level course in the literatures of Russia and/or Eurasia.

Social Sciences. One course in the anthropology, sociology, politics, and/or economics of Russia and/or Eurasia.

One additional course from the three main subject areas or from a list of preapproved specialty courses.

Language. Advanced proficiency in the target language of study (Russian, Turkish, Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, or Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian).

Independent Work. Senior thesis or junior paper in the student's home department related to Russian and Eurasian studies.

Independent Work. When feasible, students will submit senior theses on a Russian or Eurasian topic within their departmental concentration using the program's languages. Alternatively, the topic may fall under comparative studies relating to Eurasia. Students majoring in one of the sciences, mathematics, or engineering whose senior thesis does not deal with a Russian or Eurasian subject may complete the independent work requirement of the program either by submitting an original piece of research dealing with Russia or Eurasia, or by writing a junior paper on a topic dealing with Russia or Eurasia. Students should consult with the director of the Program in Russian and Eurasian Studies for approval of their independent work plans.


Expertise in a core language of Eurasia is central to the program. Applicable languages include Russian, Turkish, Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, and Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian. Students whose primary language is Russian must successfully complete one Russian-language course beyond 207, or otherwise achieve this level of competence. Students in the program whose focus is Turkish, Polish, or the Southeastern European languages must complete the equivalent of the second year in that language. Native speakers and students with previous training in any of the languages of Eurasia can fulfill the language requirement by demonstrating intermediate proficiency on a placement examination.

Study and Work Abroad

Students pursuing the Russian and Eurasian studies certificate are expected to combine classwork with study abroad for a semester or a summer to sharpen their language skills, conduct independent research, and, in general, gain a better appreciation of at least one country and culture in Eurasia. Summer internships abroad, partly subsidized by the program or the University, are also highly encouraged.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill the requirements of the program receive a certificate of proficiency in Russian and Eurasian studies upon graduation.