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Majors and Minors

Explore and Discover. German, Russian and East European Studies takes you beyond the headlines to gain in-depth understanding of some of the world’s most influential nations and cultures. Our interdisciplinary curriculum provides a wide range of intellectual experiences, whether your primary interest is in art, culture, history, or politics.

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German Studies | Russian Studies | Joint Majors with European Studies | How to Declare

German Studies

The Major in German Studies

A major in German Studies offers deep engagement with the language, history, and culture of Germany and other German-speaking cultures. Students majoring in German Studies gain advanced proficiency in speaking and writing German, a detailed understanding of the complex and often haunting history of modern Germany, and rich insights into the unique work of German writers, filmmakers, artists, musicians, and thinkers. Students must complete a total of 30 credit hours of coursework beyond GER 1102: 

  • GER 2440, 2441 or 2443 (3 credit hours) 
  • German language in context: GER 2201, 2202, 3201, 3202W (12 credit hours) 
  • Electives in German culture and history taught in German: at least 9 credit hours of any course taught in German between GER 4551 and GER 4558 
  • Electives in German culture and history taught in English: at least 6 credit hours of any course taught in English above GER 2443 

The Minor in German Studies

The minor in German Studies provides basic competence in the German language and familiarity with German-speaking culture. The minor consists of a minimum of 18 hours of coursework: 

  • 3 credit hours from either GER 2440, 2441, or 2443  
  • 15 credit hours in the GER subject area (all language courses count toward the minor); 6 credit hours must be earned in courses taught in the German language. 

Honors in German Studies

The Honors degree allows students to explore a topic in-depth and produce a final project during the last year of undergraduate study. In addition to the requirements for the major, honors students must:

  • Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.30
  • Complete 3 credit hours beyond the basic course requirements
  • Complete 3 credit hours of 4999, during which they will finish their honors project. 

Russian Studies

The Major in Russian Studies

A major in Russian Studies entails deep and sustained engagement with the language, history, and culture of Russia and Russian-speaking communities around the world. As one of the most dynamic actors on the world stage, Russian culture has been at the forefront of the history of literature, film, and visual arts; has produced some of the world’s deepest aesthetic engagements with the human condition; and has been at the vanguard of politics both repressive and progressive. Courses in the Russian Studies major explore all these aspects of Russia and much more.  

To major in Russian Studies, students must complete 30 credit hours within the major (24 of which must be unique to the major), including: 

  • First-Year Russian II (RUSS 1102 – 4 credit hours) 
  • Second-Year Russian I and II (RUSS 2201 and 2202 – 8 credit hours) 
  • Introduction to Russian and East European Studies (RUSS 1500 – 3 credit hours) 
  • At least two courses of Russian Language in Context (RUSS 3303, 3305, 3306, 3307, 3308 –  3 credit hours each, 6 credit hours required) 
  • Three electives in Russian literature, culture, history, or related discipline taught in Russian or English (9 credit hours) 
  • Total: 30 credit hours 

The Russian Studies major is designed for flexibility, and students often combine it with other concentrations on campus, such as English; Law, History, and Society; Computer Science; and Economics. Deep engagement with the language, culture, and aesthetics of another culture enriches any course of study on campus and any future career path. 

The Minor in Russian Studies

Students interested in exploring Russia and Russian culture in all its richness and variety are invited to undertake the minor in Russian Studies. The minor requires a minimum of 17 credit hours of coursework: 

  • First-Year Russian I and II (RUSS 1101 and 1102 – 8 credits) 
  • One elective in Russian literature or culture (with RUSS course number – 3 credits) 
  • Two more electives in Russian literature, culture, history or related disciplines taught in Russian or in English (6 credit hours) 

Honors in Russian Studies

Students interested in pursuing an honors thesis in Russian Studies should ask their adviser about the possibility. As a small program, we offer honors study on a case-by-case basis.

Joint Majors with European Studies

The Major in German and European Studies

Offered by GREES and the Program in European Studies, this interdisciplinary major combines a focus on German language, literature, and culture with a study of the politics, economies, and cultures of modern Europe. Students must complete at least 30 credit hours of coursework. A semester of study abroad in a German-speaking country is recommended. 

The Major in European Studies: Russia and Eastern Europe

This joint major, offered in collaboration with the Program in European Studies, combines a focus on Russian and East European societies with a study of modern Europe’s political, economic, and cultural diversity. Students must complete 30 credit hours of coursework. A semester of study abroad in Russia or Eastern/Central Europe is recommended. 

How to Declare

To declare a major or minor in our department, complete the Undergraduate Major/Minor Declaration form and email it to Silke Schade (German Studies) or Denis Zhernokleyev (Russian Studies). Once your form has been processed, you will be assigned an academic adviser who will help you plan your major or minor.