Russian Program Ranks Fourth

January 15th, 2021

The University of Arizona Russian program ranks fourth in North America for graduating majors in Russian Studies.


According to an annual survey of enrollments, the UA ranks behind the University of Chicago, University of Texas at Austin, and William & Mary. The Survey of Enrollments in Russian Language Classes in North American Higher Education is an annual report from Study, Research, and Custom Programs Abroad (SRAS), an organization promoting the study of Eurasia and study abroad to Eurasia.


The ranking comes at a time of rising enrollments for the Department of Russian and Slavic Studies, going from 37 majors in 2016 to 56 majors in 2019.


“Interest in Russian language and culture has been rising, partly because of geopolitics, but there’s also important global knowledge to be gained by learning Russian,” says John Leafgren, head of the department. “Our combination of a forward-thinking curriculum and a rich history of Russian studies makes the University of Arizona one of the leading institutions in North America.”


With a close community of faculty and students, the department offers courses in in Russian language at all levels, as well as a wide array of popular courses that allow students to explore modern and historic Russian and Eastern European societies and cultures through literature, folklore, film, music, religion, theatre, sports, health, identity and foodways. Study abroad options are also available through the department.


“The study of Russian language is challenging and exciting, and the United States needs more specialists who are proficient in Russian,” says Lecturer Veronika Williams. “Our graduates enjoy fulfilling careers in government, the educational sector, international business and education.”


The University of Arizona was ahead of its peers in creating a Russian program, offering classes through the Department of German and Russian starting in 1961, then offering a bachelor’s degree starting in 1963 and a master’s degree starting in 1968. In 1970, the program became an independent Department of Russian.