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Slavic Languages and Literatures

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School of Humanities and Sciences

Coordinated study of Russian language, literature, literary and cultural history, as well as literary theory and criticism.

What You'll Study

The Department supports coordinated study of Russian language, literature, literary and cultural history, as well as literary theory and criticism.

Its programs may also be combined with the programs in Russian, East European and Eurasian history, Jewish Studies, Film Studies (Russian and East-European film), modern Russian theater, International Relations, Stanford’s Overseas Studies, the Special Languages Program, and the Honors Program in Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities.

A full undergraduate program provides a choice of several tracks leading to a B.A. (with a Major or a Minor), a B.A. Honors. The department offers a full graduate program leading to an M.A. in Russian and Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures. Stanford undergraduates are eligible to apply to the department for a co-terminal B.A./M.A. degree. Students in the department’s Ph.D. program are required to choose among Minor programs in other national literatures, linguistics, Russian, East European, and Eurasian history, Jewish Studies, art and music history, theater, or film studies; they may design their own Minor, choose the "related field" option, or participate in the Graduate Program in Humanities leading to the degree of Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures and Humanities.

The Department runs a colloquium series, which brings to Stanford distinguished speakers, and organizes international conferences and symposia; and since 1987 maintains, a continuing publication series, Stanford Slavic Studies. Along with the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, the department offers qualified undergraduates summer grants (on a competitive basis) for intensive Russian language instruction in accredited programs in Russia and the US.

Improving cultural understanding is a critical part of the department's mission, and we offer a full range of courses at all levels, from Frosh and Sophomore Seminars devoted to Russian literature, music and visual arts that do not require specialized knowledge to advanced research seminars for graduate students. The Slavic theme house, Slavianskii Dom, serves as an undergraduate residence for many students in the program and often hosts program-related activities. Undergraduates also choose to study in Moscow through the Stanford Overseas Studies Program.

Our undergraduate program has attracted students seeking careers in journalism, business, international relations, law, and human rights, as well as academia. Russian is still the lingua franca over the vast territory of the former Soviet Union, and a good command of this language offers a gateway to Eurasia’s diverse cultures, ethnicities, economies, and religions, including Buddhism, Judaism, and Islam.

Stanford students are in a privileged position in relation to Russian and, more broadly, East European and Eurasian Studies, because of Stanford's tremendous faculty resources that are without peer in the US. Green Library and the Hoover Institution libraries and archives possess the premiere Russian and East European collections, which our undergraduates and graduate students use in their research. Our students master a difficult language and a rich and challenging literature, and are rewarded by gaining entry into a unique, powerful, and diverse civilization that defined major trends in the past century and plays an increasingly significant role in the world today.

Degrees Offered 

  • BA
  • Minor
  • Honors
  • Coterm

More Information

Learn more about Slavic Languages and Literatures in the Stanford Bulletin

Exploratory Courses


Survey of Russian Literature: The Age of Experiment (SLAVIC 345)


The Great Russian Novel: Tolstoy and Dostoevsky: Anna Karenina/ The Brothers Karamazov (SLAVIC 346)


Philosophy and Literature (CLASSICS 42, COMPLIT 181, ENGLISH 81, FRENCH 181, GERMAN 181, ILAC 181, ITALIAN 181, PHIL 81)


Socialism vs. Capitalism: Russian and American Writers' Responses


Russia's Weird Classic: Nikolai Gogol