Slavic Studies

Major Description

Russia, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet states of Eurasia form one of the most important, troubled, 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.

  • 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.
  • 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 or in any of the other languages of the region offered here. Students often go on to careers in government service or to work at NGOs.

Student may choose one of five concentrations.


Combines the study of Czech language (or Czech and Russian language) with broad study of Czech literary and cultural history in its Central and East European contexts. 

Combines advanced study of Polish language with broad study of Polish literary and cultural history in its Central and East European contexts.

Combines advanced study of Russian language with in-depth study of Russian literature, film, culture, and civilization.

Combines advanced study of Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian language with broad study of the literature and cultural history of the South Slavs in their Balkan and East European contexts.

Combines advanced study of Ukrainian language with broad study of Ukrainian literary and cultural history in its East European contexts.

Courses That Introduce the Major:
  • POL 115—Intro to Polish Culture
  • RUSS 101—First-Year Russian I
  • RUSS 102—First Year Russian II
  • RUSS 115—Intro to Russian Culture 
  • SLAV 117—Russ & East Euro Science Fiction
  • SLAV 120—Russian & East Euro Folktales
  • UKR 113—Ukrainian Culture

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, Teaching, and Business are the primary employers. 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.

The Slavic Department can supply additional information and offers career preparation.

  • Adaptability to different environments
  • Appreciation for other cultures
  • Communication
  • Critical reading
  • Education & Instructional Skills
  • Human Relations
  • Information analysis are skills strengthened through a foreign language major
  • Problem Solving
  • Research
  • Study abroad experience
  • Writing, editing and interpreting in foreign languages.
  • Analyst for Census Bureau
  • Attorney
  • Bilingual Administrative Assistant
  • Computer Instructional Designer
  • Consultant for the U.S. Dept. of Transportation
  • Defense Policy Analyst
  • Director of Human Resources 
  • Director of International Relations
  • Economic Consultant
  • Editorial Assistant
  • Film Researcher/Copywriter
  • Foreign Language Teacher
  • Foreign Service Interpreter
  • Historian
  • Journalist
  • Linguistics Professor
  • Naval Officer
  • Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
  • Physician
  • Purchasing Specialist
  • Social Worker
  • Teach English as a Foreign Language
  • Teacher
  • Technical Writer
  • Translator

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
  • Apply for a FLAS Fellowship to support your advanced language study.
  • Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSO) related to this major, such as:
    • Polish Club Zagloba: upholds the Polish identity through communicating in the Polish language, practicing of Polish traditions, and promoting the Polish culture on this campus.
    • 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.
Further Information:

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