What’s special about Russian at UMBC?
At UMBC the study of Russian is part of the major and minor programs of the department of Modern Languages, Linguistics & Intercultural Communication (MLLI). The MLLI faculty, which includes a unique combination of specialists in linguistics, sociology, cultural and literary studies, and language pedagogy, have been pioneers in developing an interdisciplinary curriculum. Most university language programs focus almost exclusively on language and literature.
But in UMBC’s interdisciplinary MLLI program, students of Russian participate with students of other languages in a common core of three courses that stress linguistic and cultural analysis. So aside from acquiring a proficiency in Russian and a knowledge of the culture of Russia and the former Soviet Union, they also learn about the dynamics of languages and cultures in general.
UMBC’s Russian courses address an exciting variety of themes: in our classes, students follow developments in the ever-changing (and ever-challenging!)cultural, social, and political environment of today’s Russia, using authentic print media, video, and the Internet. Most of our classes are small, with the opportunity for individual interaction with professors. We often work one-on-one with students in independent study courses, where they can pursue topics of special interest. Students benefit from interaction with the Russian native-speaker population on campus.
Is Russian Difficult?
Russian has had the reputation of being a difficult language to learn. The reason most often given for a reluctance to study Russian is apprehension about the different alphabet. But the alphabet is related to the Greek and Latin alphabets, and takes only a few days to learn. Students who have studied other languages(French, Spanish, German) do well in Russian—they find it fun, and different. We also welcome Russian-heritage students, who may speak Russian at home, but not quite natively.
Major Track OptionsStudents select either a one-language (Russian) or the Language and Literary Studies option.
One-Language Option (40 credits)
• 9 credits: MLL/LING/ENGL 190, MLL/LING 230, MLL 301 (Note: All core courses must be taken at UMBC)
• 10 credits: RUSS 202, 301, 302
• 3 credits: RUSS 321
• 3 credits: RUSS 332
• 6 credits: RUSS 401, 402
• 9 credits of elective RUSS courses at the 300 or 400 level; up to two 200- or 300-level MLL courses, chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor, may substitute for RUSS electives
Minor Program (22 credits)
Students are encouraged to consider combining a minor in Russian with a major in History, Economics, or Political Science, or a minor in International Affairs. Required courses are:
• 3 credits: one MLL core course: MLL/LING/ENGL 190, MLL/LING/ENGL 191, MLL/LING 230, MLL 301 (Note: All core courses must be taken at UMBC)
• 10 credits: RUSS 202, 301, 302
• 9 credits of RUSS courses at the 300 or 400 level; up to two 200- or 300-level MLL courses, chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor, may substitute for RUSS electives
Certificate in Russian Studies (17 credits)
Required courses (14 credits, 4 courses):
• RUSS 201
• RUSS 202
• RUSS 301
• RUSS 321
Electives (3 credits, 1 course):
• Any RUSS course at the 300- or 400-level. One 300- or 400-level cognate course in another discipline (such as POLI 475, HIST 485, or HIST 486) may be used as a substitute for the RUSS elective, with the approval of the student’s academic advisor.
NOTE: : At least three courses must be taken at UMBC in order to complete the certificate.
All courses in fulfillment of the Certificate in Language Studies must be completed with a grade of B or higher. The certificate cannot be combined with an MLLI-RUSS major or minor.
And students are encouraged to join our very active Russian Club. Visit us on Instagram, username: Umbc_russian_club, password: RussianUmbc.
Here is a link to a panel discussion on life in the former Soviet Union, organized by Russian Club member Matthew Kelbaugh, held on November 9, 2021: https://umbc.webex.com/webappng/sites/umbc/recording/767bf4b223d6103abadf0050568116ea/playback