Russian Department

Studying Russian at Wesleyan


All students are welcome in our courses on Russian Literature in translation. These courses, which have unlimited enrollment, provide an introduction to literary history and theory and are writing-intensive (all work is done in English). Consider a Russian literature-in-translation course as an alternative to an English course. We also offer First-Year Initiative courses (small discussion courses with lots of writing).

Start Russian in your first year and you can be ready to spend a semester in Russia the following semester on the Trinity program in Moscow or in your Junior year (by taking the intensive second-year Russian course, mid-May to mid-June).  We also offer a year-long program through the American Collegiate Consortium. 

Choose a major in Russian language and literature (a literary and cultural orientation) or Russian and East European Studies (an interdisciplinary major that combines literature, history, politics, and economics). Our majors have gone on to careers in academia, business, law, the foreign service, and with philanthropic organizations like the Soros Foundation.

Live (or hang out) at the Russian House, site of lectures, Russian co-op dinners, movies, art exhibits, cooking lessons with Yuz Aleshkovsky (an emigre writer who is a legend in the former Soviet Union).

Take advantage of our seminars conducted in Russian, often taught by distinguished visitors from Russia.

Russian is different because it is neither a Germanic nor a Romance, but a Slavic language and therefore has fewer immediately recognizable roots with English. But then, that is the adventure--entering a culture almost entirely new to you.

Some of our graduates

Lindsay Ceballos, Slavic Languages and Literatures Ph.D. program, Princeton

Emily Wang, Slavic Languages and Literatures Ph.D. program, Princeton

Lyuba Azbel, Fulbright fellow in Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan

Katlin Martin, Senior Associate, Human Rights Watch

Joshua Walker, Russian teacher, Buckingham, Brown and Nichols, Cambridge

Juliya Arbisman, Solicitor, Amsterdam & Partners

Jessica Sharzer, Co-executive producer and writer, “American Horror Story”

Lauren McCarthy, Political Science, UMass, Amherst

Danielle Lussier, Chair, Russian, Central and Eastern European Studies, Grinnell College

Amy Randall, History, Santa Clara University

Ilya Vinkovetsky, History, Simon Fraser University

Monica White, Russian and Slavonic Studies, University of Nottingham, UK

Julia Chadaga, Russian Studies, Macalester College

Elizabeth M. Papazian, Russian, University of Maryland

Alexandra Lewis-Reisen, Senior Staff Attorney, Matrimonial & Family Law, NY, Legal Assistance Group

Douglas Herbert, International Affairs Editor, France 24, Paris

Tierney Sutton, Singer

David Abramson, Analyst, State Department

Anthony Richter, Soros Foundation, NYC

Lisa Finder, Librarian, Hunter College

Stedman Hinckley, Senior Analyst, CIA

Nancy Herzog, National Endowment for Democracy

Steve Young, Department of State, foreign service


Graduates: please let us know what you’re doing so we can update and/or add you to this list.


If you're interested in finding out more about studying Russian at Wesleyan, contact the department office or speak to any of the professors in the department.