East European and Russian Studies

  • Degree Type Bachelor of Arts
  • Department East European and Russian Studies Interdisciplinary
  • Academic Division The College
  • Offerings Major Russian Language and Culture minor

Students on a stage watch a video on a screen Students on a stage watch a video on a screen

East European and Russian Studies offers students, through its academic major and co-curricular offerings, an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to studying Russian civilization. Students may pursue a major in East European and Russian Studies or a minor in Russian Language and Culture.

East European and Russian Studies at W&L

East European and Russian Studies are as vast as Russia itself. To study Russia is to explore a rich history, culture and politics that examine the best and worst of humankind. Contemporary Russia is an energy and military superpower that aspires to expand its influence around the world. Events in Russia need to be understood against the dramatic background of a millennium-long history, perhaps most dramatically the 20th century experiment with Marxism.

The East European and Russian Studies Program offers students, through its academic major and co-curricular offerings, an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to studying Russian civilization. The EERS Department has been designed to provide the theoretical and practical background needed for either post-graduate study in a number of fields or for successful pursuit of a career immediately upon graduation.


Want an exciting course of study? We run a vibrant program with small classes offering plenty of one-on-one attention.

Looking for a fascinating extracurricular activity? We offer conversational tables with native Russian-language speakers, Russian Theater, Culture Fridays, journalism projects in Russian, movie nights, guest speakers, Borsch Party, and more.

Curious about politics? In this case, you are certainly aware of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, their exploits in Syria and the Mueller investigation. Russia will be a serious political player for the foreseeable future.

Thinking of a career in international law? Russia’s troubled history when it comes to human rights and international treaties on the conduct of war and trade will be of interest, and knowledge of the Russian language will be of use.

Interested in economics? Russia, as a major world supplier of gas and oil, will pique your interest.

Do you love art and literature? Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, Chekhov and Nabokov will forever shine above political and historical turmoil. Avant-garde artists and filmmakers in early 20th century Russia are still undeniably, inspirationally cool.

Options for study abroad include:

  • The Spring Term Abroad: Russian Language and Culture Study in Latvia program is designed to introduce Russian language and culture to students with previous Russian language background.
  • Students will spend four weeks in Latvia and will stay with Russian-speaking host families. They will experience full linguistic immersion and undergo an amazing cultural experience.
  • The U.S. State Department: Critical Languages Scholarships for summer study in Russia is fully funded, including travel, a room with a host family, and three meals a day.
  • American Councils for International Education: Russian Flagship Overseas Program is funded by the United States government.
  • Boren Scholarship (Study Abroad, U.S. Government Service Requirement).
  • Gilman International Scholarship (Study Abroad, Pell Grant-Eligible Students).
  • W&L’s Russian Program partners with the College of William & Mary for the six-week summer language intensive in St. Petersburg.
After W&L

Graduates can pursue varied careers in areas such as international journalism, business, law, nonprofit work, film and Slavic studies. 

The East European and Russian Studies Program provides vital scholarship support for prestigious programs like the Fulbright research or teaching assistantship program.

Anna Brodsky

Department Head

Jacque Bruce

Administrative Assistant

Sample Courses

At W&L, we believe education and experience go hand-in-hand. You’ll be encouraged to dive in, explore and discover connections that will broaden your perspective.

RUSS 111-112

Elementary Russian

A basic course in Russian which includes the spoken language, fundamental grammar and reading.

RUSS 261-2

Intermediate Russian

Study of Russian language, fundamental grammar and reading, as well as some Russian literature and culture.

RUSS 301-2

Advanced Russian

Speaking, reading and writing of Russian with increased attention to Russian literature and advanced grammar.

LIT 263 01

19th-Century Russian Literature

A study of major works by Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Chekhov.

RUSS 316

20th Century Russian Literature

The novels, plays, poetry and literary movements of the 20th century. Solzhenitsyn, Babel, Platonov, Mandelshtam, and Tsvetaeva are examples of authors examined. Conducted in Russian.

RUSS 395

Topics in Russian Literature

Various iterations of this course each tackle a particular author, period or genre. Recent topics have included Russian War Stories, Russian Childhood, The Art and Craft of Propaganda, and The Caucasus.

Meet the Faculty

At W&L, students enjoy small classes and close relationships with professors who educate and nurture.

Anna Brodsky

Anna Brodsky

Director, East European and Russian Studies; Professor of Russian

Brodsky teaches courses on 19th and 20th century literature as well as advanced Russian language courses. She has researched violence in Russia and the Chechnyan independence.

Iuliia (Yulia) Rubina
Iuliia (Yulia) Rubina

Iuliia (Yulia) Rubina

Visiting Instructor of Russian

Iuliia (Yulia) Rubina