Russian Studies

Why Study Russian?

WHY RUSSIAN? Ranked the fifth most prevalent language globally, 300 million people worldwide speak Russian, 160 million of whom consider it their native language. The Russian Federation spans nine time zones and covers about one-eighth of the world's land surface. The importance of understanding the governments and political structures of Russia and Central Europe is readily apparent by observing the role they play in current events. In addition, Russia's rich culture and its contributions to the world's literature, arts, and sciences are subjects of great value.  

JOB OPPORTUNITIES. The Biden administration again mentioned the lack of specialists in the Russian language and culture in the U.S. Administration. "The government is having trouble developing a corps of Russia specialists. It's inevitable that until the U.S. make up for lost time and build back up a corps of Russian experts, the United States is going to be at a strategic disadvantage".  

Over the last ten years, resulting from several geopolitical events, the list of Russian-related jobs has been steadily increasing. currently offers around 4,000 listings related to Russian language skills in the U.S. They range from Foreign Language, Open Source, Security and Intelligence Collection analytics at government agencies to teaching and interpreting, marketing executives, and Russian Language tech consultants in the private sector. The Federal Government is in dire need to create and sustain a highly capable, Russia-focused workforce. Federal agencies have identified Russian as a priority language of national need. These agencies are hiring and need specialists with Russian language skills. Many also provide scholarships to Russian language students.

Other career possibilities include Russian specialists generally employed by the federal government: high school teachers, librarians, translators, and interpreters.

RUSSIA IS AN IMPORTANT MARKET FOR U.S. GOODS AND SERVICES. Multinationals such as Pfizer, Apple, Microsoft, Boeing, Morgan Stanley, Ford, PepsiCo, McDonald's, Alcoa, Johnson & Johnson, and Starbucks are just a few of the American companies operating in Russia for years.   

RUSSIAN MAJOR IS UNIQUE. In 2013, only about 22,000 students were enrolled in Russian language programs. Compare that to the almost 800,000 studying Spanish or approximately 198,000 learning French, and you'll appreciate how special Russian becomes on a resume—and how coveted it is by employers. 

RUSSIAN IS NOT AS HARD TO LEARN AS YOU THINK. Many things make Russian easier to learn than other languages: Russian has letters (not symbols like Chinese); students learn the entire Russian alphabet in the first week of class and write and read it well by the third week. After all, about 18 of the letters (out of 33) should at least look familiar to students already –– М А К О Е Д С T У Х, мама, атом, космос

SDSU IS THE ONLY CSU UNIVERSITY TO OFFER A RUSSIAN MAJOR. Please don't overlook this opportunity for students. Our rigorous, proficiency-oriented curriculum is taught by established U.S. scholars who are native speakers of Russian. 

ABOUT OUR PROGRAM. Our program offers a variety of courses in the Russian language, literature, and culture. Students can pursue a major or minor in Russian. A major or minor in Russian is excellent preparation for careers in law, government, international relations, business, education, and medicine. National research has shown that students who study Russian have a much higher acceptance rate into graduate and professional programs of study. For careers in international business, students may choose the International Business Major with an emphasis on Russian. Students may select a double major from many other subjects such as political science, international security and conflict resolution, history, geography, etc.

The Russian program offers a wide range of courses, including specialized courses in literature and linguistics. This major is useful preparation for graduate programs in international trade, international law, librarianship, public administration, and journalism. This program requires intensive scholarly investigation and may prepare students for careers in which fluency in Russian is essential.

We are committed to working with all students who want to learn Russian.

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