Russian Studies at The College of Wooster

Russian Studies at Wooster is an interdisciplinary program, offering courses in Russian language, literature, culture and film. Students focus on Russia and Eurasia in their cultural, historical, and political contexts, developing proficiency in the Russian language in connection with their other academic and professional interests. Russian majors and minors also take courses in the History department, and majors receive guidance from both Russian Studies and History department faculty. Our students have successfully pursued double majors with programs like Global and International Studies, Political Science, Mathematics, and English, among others.

Faculty and students in Russian Studies form a close and lively community. Faculty are always available for conversations about courses, life in Russia, and are glad to practice the Russian language informally outside of class. Often students live in the Russian House, a suite in Luce Hall. Wooster’s Russian language assistant, a graduate student from Russia, lives on campus and organizes informal events in Luce (Russian Tea, Russian Movie Night, Masterclass in Russian cookery). The department also organizes outings to Russian-related cultural events in Cleveland and other nearby cities.

What are the careers or graduate school paths for students who major in Russian Studies at The College of Wooster?

Russian Studies majors and minors pursue a wide range of careers. Our alumni have worked in areas as diverse as education, law, information technology, the military, real estate, social work and journalism. Some go on to graduate school, ultimately to teach at the university or secondary school level; others have gone to law school or study library science. Several have found work with not-for-profit organizations. Our alumni hold jobs as diverse as attorney, consultant, court clerk, designer, marine corps pilot, operations and research coordinator, social worker, college professor.

Over the past 10 years four of our graduates have received prestigious Fulbright awards to spend a year in Russia on teaching and research fellowships. In addition, our students have received full scholarships to participate in the Russian Summer Workshop at Indiana University (Bloomington), and have been awarded the Critical Language Scholarship to study in Moscow. Most students take advantage of study abroad opportunities facilitated by The College of Wooster and all students at Wooster complete Independent Study, which involves writing a senior thesis. This experience gives students a strong foundation in research that prepares them well for a variety of careers.

Why Study Russian?

  • Russian is spoken by 260,000,000 people, with just under one million speakers in the United States.
  • A regional power in Eurasia, Russia is returning to the world arena as an important player in this globalized world. It controls natural gas and oil delivery to many European countries, and is a major player in space exploration, arms manufacturing, aerospace production and electrical engineering.
  • Russian opens a window into the rich culture of literary giants Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, the enchanting musical spectacle of Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky, avant-garde art of Kandinsky and Malevich and extraordinary cinematic experiments of Eisenstein and Tarkovsky.
  • Russian is strategically important in scientific spheres such as aerospace engineering, information technology, and nuclear technology, among others.
  • Russian is classified as a “critical needs language” by the US government, and Russian specialists are regularly recruited by government agencies.
  • With knowledge of Russian, your resume will stand out among those of your peers, especially when applying to graduate programs like law school, medical school and business school.
  • Students of Russian at the College of Wooster have a record of success: they have been awarded the prestigious Fulbright research and teaching scholarships to Russia and Kyrgyzstan and won the competitive Critical Language Scholarship to Moscow, funded by the US government. Our students have been accepted to graduate programs in well-respected institutions, including Princeton University, University of Michigan, University of Pittsburgh, and Stony Brook University, among others.
  • Russian Studies can productively accommodate a variety of double majors. Former students have combined a Russian major with English, German, Global and International Studies, History, Mathematics and Political Science, among others.
  • Russian culture courses (taught in English) allow you to deepen your interest in Russian literature, film and history while satisfying General Education requirements like Arts and Humanities [AH], Global Engagement [G], Diversity [D], Social Justice [SJ] and Writing [W].

Off-Campus Study

Students typically spend the fall semester of their junior year studying in Russia. Recently students have spent a semester abroad in St. Petersburg, Irkutsk, Moscow and Yaroslavl’. St. Petersburg and Moscow offer students the opportunity to study at Russia’s oldest universities, live with a Russian family or in an international dormitory, and explore the rich cultural offerings of a big city and an imperial capital. Programs in Irkutsk and Yaroslavl’ offer students a chance to experience authentic Russia first-hand, see Lake Baikal, Siberia’s ecological wonder, or sail the historical stretches of the River Volga in central Russia. Students have the opportunity to explore programs in Russophone countries other than Russia, such as Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Ukraine, Georgia and Kazakhstan.

Luce Language Labs and Global Cafe

Luce Residential Hall houses five language suites (Chinese, French, German, Spanish & Russian), which provide students with a living/learning environment focused on developing foreign language skills.

The Global Cafe, located in the lower level of Luce, is a place for socializing, learning about other cultures, and enjoying the company of other language learners.

Learn more about Luce Hall


Tatiana Filimonova

Tatiana Filimonova

Assistant Professor of Russian Studies


Mareike Herrmann

Mareike Herrmann

Professor of German and Russian Studies


Sofia Iakunina

Sofia Iakunina

Russian Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant 2021-22


gray silhouette outline of a person

Natalie McCoy

Administrative Coordinator of Kauke, English, French and Francophone Studies, German, Spanish, Russian Studies


Peter Pozefsky

Peter Pozefsky

Michael O. Fisher Professor of History, Global and International Studies; Russian Studies


Ellen Vayner

Ellen Vayner

Adjunct Professor of Russian Studies


Latest News

group of four people pose for photo in black polo shirts at The College of Wooster

AMRE | Wayne County Dog Shelter and Adoption Center

Sarah Brunot ’22 | Environmental Studies Kate Yordy ’22 | Russian Studies & Economics Special thanks to the following sponsors: Laura B. Frick Charitable […]

Sydney (Maureen) Hanes ’21

Fulbright awards English Teaching Assistantship to Wooster global and international studies major

Sydney (Maureen) Hanes ’21 will teach English in Kyrgyzstan during the next academic year.

Professor Beth Muellner gives virtual lecture on Empress Elisabeth at Cologne’s Museum Ludwig

German and Russian studies professor lectures on royal photograph collection

Beth Muellner gives virtual lecture on Empress Elisabeth at Cologne’s Museum Ludwig

Beth Muellner standing in front of the Berliner Dom in Berlin Germany

German and Russian studies professor to give virtual lecture at Museum Ludwig

Beth Muellner will discuss photograph collection of Empress Elisabeth of Austria


Students who major in Russian Studies complete 11 courses, including courses on the Russian language, literature, culture, and history. Students interested in Russian and East Central European literature and culture can take advantage of several interdepartmental programs in which the Department of Russian Studies cooperates: Global & International Studies, Comparative Literature, and Global Media & Digital Studies.

We encourage our majors to study in Russia or other Russophone country for the duration of a semester or summer program, or to attend a summer intensive program in one of the US-based institutions. Our majors have received full scholarships to pursue the study of Russian at programs like the Indiana University Summer Language Workshop and the Critical Language Scholarship program in Moscow, Russia.

View Courses 


Students who minor in Russian Studies complete six language, history, literature and culture courses focused on Russia and Eastern Europe. Students interested in Russian and East Central European literature and culture can take advantage of several interdepartmental programs in which the Department of Russian Studies cooperates: Global & International Studies, Comparative Literature, and Global Media & Digital Studies.

View Courses

Independent Study

All majors complete a one-semester Independent Study project in the junior year and a two-semester senior I.S. thesis. Working closely with a faculty advisor, each senior has the opportunity to develop his or her interests through the process of writing an undergraduate capstone thesis then defending it in an oral exam with the advisor and a second faculty member.
For their junior and senior I.S. projects, majors have worked on topics as diverse as the environmental movement in Siberia, feminine literary perceptions of Stalin’s purges, and Dostoevsky’s novels and the literary theory of Bakhtin, Fashion & Femininity in Soviet Union, and the Space Race.

Previous I.S. projects from Russian Studies students include:

  • Make Some Noize: Rap as a Form of Political Protest in Russia
  • The Song of Siros
  • Kindred Ideologies: Fascism and Communism in Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate
  • What it means to be Lithuanian in America and what Russia’s got to do with it: ethnic identity formation among later generations in a diasporic community
  • Sputnik: The Beep-Beep-Beep Heard Around the World – An Analysis of the Orbital Trajectory of Sputnik and its Reception in the Soviet Union
  • The Memorialization and Legacy of the Soviet Playwright Aleksandr Vampilov in the Irkutsk Region
  • The First Spacewalk: An Exploration of the Mathematical and Cultural Implications of the Space Race (double major with mathematics)
  • The Babushka: Between Past and Future in Contemporary Russian Literature
  • Once upon a Regime: Nazi and Soviet Propaganda in Children’s Literature in the 1930s and 40s (double major with German)

View the 2021 Russian Studies Independent Study Guide



Search the I.S. Database

Student Year I.S. Title Major 1 Major 2 Advisor
Please search to view results

Related Articles

The Song of Siros

Student: John-Paul Richard Majors: English, Russian Studies Advisors: Dr. Bourne, Dr. Filimonova The Song of Siros is an original epic poem written about Siros, […]

Daphne Letherer

Make Some Noize: Rap as a Form of Political Protest in Russia

Student: Daphne Letherer Majors: Global and International Studies (History), Russian Studies Advisors: Dr. Peter Pozefsky, Dr. Tatiana Filimonova Within the last few years, opposition […]


After a year of fully-funded research in Irkutsk, Siberia with a Fulbright grant (cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic), Erin Tumpan ‘19 is working toward a doctorate in Slavic Languages and Literatures at Princeton University.

Gillian Gregory ‘19, a Mathematics and Russian Studies double major, is enthusiastically starting a graduate program in Computational Linguistics at Stony Brook University.

Graduating in the middle of the pandemic, Daphne Letherer ‘20, a double major in Russian and Global and International Studies, served with AmeriCorps, working at the non-profit Ascend Indiana as Operations and Research Coordinator and subsequently stayed with the organization full-time.

Russian minor and Global and International Studies major Maureen Hanes ‘21 is excited about a year of teaching English in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan through a Fulbright fellowship.


Related Articles

Sydney (Maureen) Hanes ’21

Fulbright awards English Teaching Assistantship to Wooster global and international studies major

Sydney (Maureen) Hanes ’21 will teach English in Kyrgyzstan during the next academic year.

Marija Cyvas ’19 Wins Award for Undergraduate Paper on Baltic Studies

Recent graduate’s Independent Study on Lithuanian-Americans receives recognition

Two More Fulbright Awards Go to Wooster Students, Bringing Total to Four This Year

Joe Besl ’09, Erin Tupman ’19 are Fulbright research grantees headed to Canada and Russia, respectively

Faculty Emeriti

gray silhouette outline of a person

Elena Sokol

Professor Emerita, Russian Studies