Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies

Major Description

Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia (or the former Soviet Union) form one of the most important, dynamic, and interesting parts of the world today. It is also an area steeped in rich history and culture.  Russian is spoken by some 250 million people. It is the language of one of the world's great literatures, as well as a valuable tool within communication and scientific research. Eurasia, geographically situated between the East and the West, encompasses 11 time zones and is home to over 100 different ethnic groups and 120 different languages. Its multicultural complexity and political diversity over recent centuries have made it a rich source for the study of political, economic, and social change.

  • Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies has a multidisciplinary area studies focus. Students take courses in a variety of disciplines (history, sociology, political science) and develop a broad expertise in the history, politics, and culture of the region that includes Russia, but also many other countries, from the Czech Republic to Estonia to Uzbekistan. Language study can be in Russian, Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian, Czech, Polish, Ukrainian or in any of the other languages of the region offered here. Students often go on to careers in government service, NGOS, translation, health care, library and information science, media, or pursue graduate-level education.
  • Slavic Studies enables students to specialize in one of five concentrations: Russian Language, Literature, and Culture; Polish Studies; South Slavic Studies; Czech Studies; Ukrainian Studies. It emphasizes the study of language, literature, and culture in their historical context. Students develop intensive cultural literacy and communication skills through humanities-oriented training, and many go on to careers in writing and editing, media, or work with international cultural foundations and organizations. The major is an excellent preparation for law school, business school, or other graduate study, as well as careers in the N.G.O. world, teaching, or research.
Courses That Introduce the Major:
  • REES 200—Intro to Russia and Eurasia
  • REES 201—Introduction to Eastern Europe

Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period.

Possible Career Opportunities:

Graduates are prepared for work in international affairs with a specialized area. Government, education, and business are the primary avenues. Representative employers include: U. S. government (including the State Department, Defense Department, Defense Intelligence Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, International Communications Agency), multinational corporations, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations. Graduates are prepared for work in many other fields, including international affairs, translation, health care, library and information science, media, cyber security, and to pursue graduate degrees and professional schools.

  • Appreciation for the culture, economy, history and society specific to that region
  • Communication skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening) 
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Critical Thinking
  • Knowledge of international issues
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • Import/Export Trade Specialist
  • Intelligence Specialist
  • Journalist
  • Teacher
  • Translator
  • Librarian
  • Information Specialist

Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree.

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:
  • Participating in undergraduate research
  • Applying for a study abroad experience
  • Utilizing resources of The Career Center
  • Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSO) related to this major, such as:
    • Russian Heritage Association: promotes Russian culture and language by providing children and families of the UIUC and Champaign-Urbana communities Russian language learning and cultural experience.
    • Russian Student Organization: unites those interested in experiencing Russian culture on campus, along with providing students with Russian roots an opportunity to meet each other and celebrate Russian culture.
    • Albanian Student Association
    • Armenian Association
    • Baltic Club
    • Eastern European Illini
    • Kazakh Student Association
    • Russian Speakers Union
    • South Slavic Student Organization
    • Turkish Student Association
    • Ukrainian Student Association
Further Information:

There are several professional organizations dedicated to Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies.  Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies.  These organizations include American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages and Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies.

Students who have reached an advanced level in a language of the region are eligible to compete for the academic year and summer Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship.

To learn more about events, programs, and funding opportunities related to REEES, sign up for the REEEC listserv