Carnegie Mellon University

Undergraduate Program in Russian Studies

The relationship between Russia and the West was central to the history of the twentieth century and now exercises its power over the twenty-first. Beginning with the Russian Revolution in 1917, the West’s response to communism has shaped relations between America, Europe, and the Third World. The Treaty of Versailles, the rise of fascism, World War II, the postwar settlement, the Cold War, and the war in Vietnam cannot be understood apart from the West’s relationship with the former Soviet Union. The current wars in the Middle East are demanding a finer U.S. understanding of the new Russia.

Within the past three decades, enormous changes have occurred in Russia, once again shaking the global order to its foundations. The disintegration of the USSR, the emergence of more democratic forms of government, and the development of new "free market" economies have led not only to greater openness and stronger ties with the West, but also to a host of emerging questions in the areas of business, science, technology, national defense and international security. The end of the Cold War has allowed for exploration of new issues in fascinating ways that were formerly forbidden. The proliferation of exchange programs, the increased accessibility of libraries, archives, and information, and the development of a free press all open untried and exciting possibilities and opportunities for students and scholars. Young, talented people with a broadly-based knowledge of Russian history, language and culture are needed to fill jobs in international law, education, diplomacy, business, journalism and computing, as well as in economic, scientific and technical consulting.

Russian Studies aims to give students a solid background in the fields of Russian history, language, culture and politics by offering a major and minor specialization to interested students. It is jointly administered by the Departments of History and Modern Languages in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. It is designed for students from all the Carnegie Mellon undergraduate colleges. It may be taken as either a primary major, additional major, or minor.

View a detailed listing of curriculum requirements for the Major in Russian Studies and Minor in Russian Studies programs.