From literature, art and film, to technology, politics, economics, and sports, Russia’s influence on the world has been significant. By far the world’s largest country boasting untold resources, Russia remains an intriguing land of potential. By unraveling the meaning of its art, history, and politics, students can better understand how Russia helps shape the contours of world culture. The Russian Major and Minor at Holy Cross aim to develop students’ speaking skills and also to ensure broad literacy in Russian history and culture. In addition to all levels of language study, the Russian Program offers a wide array of literature and culture courses in different centuries (early Russia, 19th century, 20th century, contemporary Russian), genres (drama, poetry, prose, film), and geographical focus (Kievan Rus, European Russia, Siberia). Students should take advantage of the variety of offerings to familiarize themselves with the many different aspects of Russian cultural history.
In the U.S., Russian is a “critical need” language. The National Security Language Initiative (NDLI) was launched in 2006 to dramatically increase the number of Americans learning critical need foreign languages such as Russian. At Holy Cross, students can attain advanced levels of speaking, reading and writing Russian during their undergraduate years. Courses are also available for native speakers. The Holy Cross Summer Program in Moscow runs from mid-June to mid-July at the Russian state University for the Humanities (RGGU). RGGU is a top-flight university located near the vibrant center of Moscow. The Moscow program offers students the opportunity to dramatically improve their Russian language skills while they immerse themselves in the everyday life, the arts and culture, and the history and political life of today’s Russia. The Moscow Program gives students one Holy Cross credit toward the Russian major or minor and allows them to advance a language level.
Russian major requirements: Russian majors take a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 14 courses at the intermediate level or above. Majors must successfully complete Russian 201, 202 (Intermediate Russian) and Russian 301 (Composition and Conversation) or their equivalent, although major are encouraged to continue language study throughout their college careers. Majors are also required to take a minimum of four literature and/or culture courses. Of these four courses, at least one must be selected from those conducted in Russian. It is recommended that majors take at least one course in each of the following categories: 1) historical period (19th Century Russian Literature, 20th and 21st Century Russian Literature, Russian Revolution and the Arts, Soviet Art & Literature, Writing Under Stalin); 2) genre (Russian Short Story, Russian Drama and the West, Fairytale: Russia and the World, Russian Cinema); 3) thematic (Madness in Russian Literature, Fire and Ice: Siberia in Fiction, Russian Tales of Desire). Students may count toward the major one of the regularly offered courses on Russia in the Political Science or History Departments. These latter courses may not be taken in lieu of literature and culture courses conducted in Russian for a summer term, semester, or academic year. Majors are strongly encouraged to study abroad in Russia for a summer term, semester, or academic year. Majors who study abroad are required to take at least two courses at Holy Cross in their fourth year.
Russian minor requirements: Russian minors take a minimum of six courses on the intermediate level or above. Minors are required to successfully complete Russian 201, 202 (Intermediate Russian) and Russian 301 (Composition and Conversation). Students select at least three additional courses in Russian language, literature, or culture. Students’ personal interests will dictate the distribution of these remaining courses. Students may count toward the major one of the regularly offered courses on Russia in the Political Science or History Departments. Minors who study abroad are required to take at least three courses at Holy Cross, including at least one in their fourth year.
Consult with Russian Program faculty on matters of placement and minor credit. Majors and minors who spend time in Russia on study programs may participate in academic and work internship programs offered by those programs for major and minor credit.