The BA program in Russian trains students in both written and spoken Russian and in Russian literature, culture, and civilization. 

Russian is the 10th most widely spoken language (of 322 overall) in the United States. One in every 372 Americans over age 5 uses Russian in the home. 

Russian is currently the fifth most widely used language in the world, reportedly spoken by 278 million people. With 164 million native speakers, it is the largest native language in Europe.

Russian is one of six official languages of the United Nations, (along with Arabic, Chinese, English, French, and Spanish), and the Cyrillic alphabet is now one of three official alphabets of the United Nations. One-fourth of the scientific literature published worldwide is published in Russian. 

Why Iowa?

You will take courses from experienced teachers, most of whom are native speakers of Russian. Studying Russian in Iowa's Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literature gives students the opportunity to learn about all aspects of Slavic culture while learning the Russian language.

All language instruction is offered in the cultural context, introducing students to Russia's long and eventful history and culture, and exposing them to the masterpieces of Russian music, literature, visual arts, and cinema. 

Admission Requirements

Students interested in this major must meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


Russian and Eastern European Studies
  Teaching Licensure
  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
Admission Process

Careers and Outcomes

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. Our  Pomerantz Career Center  offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs. 

Russian training can help students seeking careers in medicine, engineering, business, journalism, library and information science, natural and physical sciences, and the social and military sciences. Studying Russian also may be helpful for students interested in law or international relations.

Some government agencies seek job candidates with advanced training in Russian and give preference to applicants who combine language proficiency with a well-rounded background in area studies. Exceptional students may pursue careers as interpreters or in literary or technical translation.

Student Opportunities

In addition to more than 500  student organizations, Iowa students choose from more than 100  study abroad  programs and multiple  undergraduate research opportunities

Russian majors stage Russian plays; hold festivals, traditional dinners, and open houses; and present Russian Kapustnik, a talent show held each semester. There is a Russian Circle student group as well as a Russian conversation hour.  

Study Abroad

There are many opportunities for students to learn Russian during summer intensive courses in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Vladimir, Russia. These direct institutional programs with Russia’s leading universities offer intensive study programs for the summer, semester, and academic year.

Scholarships are available, and student financial aid packages through Iowa may be applied directly toward the program costs in Russia.

Visit the Study Abroad Programs website for more information. 


The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college. 

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.


Course work for the BA degree in Russian includes:

  • Beginning Composition and Conversation I or II
  • Third-Year Russian I–II
  • Fourth-Year Russian I–II
  • Four courses on Russian/Eastern European Culture

Russian majors also must complete the requirements of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences GE CLAS Core.

Students often use the Russian major to complement broad-based training and are encouraged to choose electives that will develop their interests in related or complementary fields.

The department encourages students to pursue a double major and develop skills in fields such as international studies, history, communication, journalism, political science, and global health. Those interested in focusing on a broader interdisciplinary understanding of the region often choose to double major in International Studies. 

Review Asian and Slavic Languages and Literature in the UI General Catalog  to learn about required course work and graduating with honors.

Teaching Licensure in Russian

Students interested in earning licensure to teach in elementary and/or secondary schools must complete the College of Education's Teacher Education Program (TEP) in addition to the requirements for their major and all requirements for graduation. The Teacher Education Program requires several College of Education courses and one semester of student teaching. 

Minor in Russian and/or Russian and European Studies

Review Asian and Slavic Languages and Literature in the UI General Catalog for information about earning a minor in these areas.