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Russian Program - ДОБРО ПОЖАЛОВАТЬ!

According to the language catalog, The Ethnologue, Russian is the 8th most spoken language in the world. Our program will prepare you for a variety of career opportunities in tech, business, science, government, history, engineering, mathematics, music and arts, and more, and pairs well with many of these other majors.

In this program you can expect to learn the skills to speak, read, write, and understand the Russian language in ordinary living situations as well as in professional and business matters. You will develop an understanding of Russian history, periods, figures, and trends and learn about the rich Russian culture of literature, art, film and ballet.

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Why Study Russian

Career Opportunities

Proficiency in Russian, a critical language, is attractive to many employers.

The world’s newest “Silicon Valley” is Skolkovo, outside of Moscow. It is a center for the development of nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and much more. In multiple fields of engineering, including aerospace, Russia remains a major driving force. Russian carries immense promise in the development of information technology; after English, Russian is the most used language on the Internet.

There are numerous job openings in such government bodies as the State Department, the Commerce Department, the Justice Department, the Department of Defense, and the various intelligence agencies. Unlimited commercial opportunities, emerging from an expanding Russian economy, have created myriad job openings for those with multiple language skills.

Meanwhile, Russia remains the lingua franca of a massive portion of Eurasia, so studying it opens you up to numerous NGOs, companies and government bodies both in that region and at home.  

Russian is the 8th most spoken languages in the world, and the second most used language on the internet, meaning having proficiency in Russian will make you attractive to employers in a wide variety of fields. Our major also pair very well with majors in these fields, making it easy for you to double major and get on track to the career you want. 

Here are some samples of major pairings with Russian:
Business and Russian, science and Russian, political science or history and Russian, English and Russian, another foreign language and Russian, engineering and Russian, mathematics and Russian, music/arts and Russian.

More Reasons to Study Russian

According to the language catalog, The Ethnologue, Russian is the 8th most spoken language in the world. It is spoken by more than 260 million people around the world: among which about 153 million people speak it as their first language, and 110 million – as their second.

It is not only the official language of Russia, but also of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Additionally, it is spoken in Israel, the Balkans, Ukraine, Armenia and the USA.

Russian culture is on one of Europe’s most influential and admired. Sharing a lot with the rest of Europe, Russian is at the same time fundamentally different. Studying Russian opens up a country of amazing geographical and cultural diversity, with a dramatic past full of rich, larger-than-life figures.

The knowledge of Russian will allow you to understand contemporary Russian society better. You’ll also be able to translate the secret language from “A Clockwork Orange” and phrases from “James Bond” and “Wanted”.

Russian is more phonetic than English meaning that after a few classes you will be able to sound out Russian words. There is nothing like bow and bough or bow (and arrow) versus to bow. English and Russian are both Indo–European languages, and share more vocabulary than you might realize at first.

Moreover, globalization has resulted in a lot of English borrowings into contemporary Russian. Learning Russian could be your foot in the door to understanding what other people in Eastern Europe are saying too! They all have plenty of words in common, and much of the grammar is very similar too.

If you are reading this page, you’ve already been exploring the opportunities to learn more about the Russian language and culture.

Please contact us with any questions you may have regarding the study of Russian at the U.  We look forward to speaking with you!

Russian Major (BA)

There is no placement exam for Russian. If you have had Russian before coming to the University of Utah, please contact Dr. Natalya Kuznetsova, for placement within the program. Please provide the following information: Place, time, and duration of Russian study and titles of textbooks used, grammar covered, etc.

Church or Civil Service in Russian: Those who have 18-24 months of experience in Russia or Ukraine (e.g., LDS missionaries, living abroad, or military service) should begin with Russian 3060. Students may buy 16 hours of credit if they complete Russian 3060 with a B- or better. These hours fulfill the University of Utah's language requirement but do not count toward the major or minor (since they are the equivalent of first and second year). Students in this category cannot take Russian (RUSS) classes below the 3060 level.

Students are required to declare their major at least two semesters before their expected graduation date.


Note that this plan is a prediction of courses but does not guarantee this exact availability of courses. Also note that students with prior language learning experience do not necessarily need to begin at the 1010 level and should visit our Language Placement FAQ page for questions about where to begin.

Students with advanced language skills (e.g., native speakers, heritage speakers, students who have lived for an extended period abroad) should not enroll in first, second, and some third-year courses. If you do not know what your language level is or if you think your situation justifies petitioning for an exception, contact the WLC advisors before enrolling in classes. For pedagogical reasons, the department reserves the right to remove advanced speakers who have not successfully petitioned from classes not appropriate for their language level.

Russian Minor

Students are required to declare their minor at least two semesters before their expected graduation date.

Please visit our Undergraduate Advising page for more information.

Russian Minor Requirements

Students with advanced language skills (e.g., native speakers, heritage speakers, students who have lived for an extended period abroad) should not enroll in first, second, and some third-year courses. If you do not know what your language level is or if you think your situation justifies petitioning for an exception, contact the WLC advisors before enrolling in classes. For pedagogical reasons, the department reserves the right to remove advanced speakers who have not successfully petitioned from classes not appropriate for their language level.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Speak, read, write, and understand the Russian language in ordinary living situations as well as in professional and business matters. Students’ speaking, reading, writing and listening proficiency in these areas should approximate at least an intermediate to advanced level on the ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) proficiency scale.
  2. Identify and demonstrate an understanding of the main periods, figures, and trends in Russian cultural history, especially in literature.
  3. Understand one or more aspects of the linguistic structure of Russian and be familiar with some current research on second language acquisition relevant to this domain.
  4. Produce academic essays characterized by critical thinking, coherent development, and thoughtful analysis in both English and Russian.
  5. Engage in independent learning activities to develop skills necessary for lifelong learning.
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of the main principles of linguistics as they relate to Russian.


Tenure Line 



Natalya Kutsenova

Assistant Professor
LNCO 1207 natalya.kuznetsova



Student Experience

Learning Abroad

Learning abroad is the opportunity to live, study and intern abroad while completing your degree here at the University of Utah. Learning Abroad helps connect you to over 500+ program options in over 50 countries, many of which are great for improving your proficiency in another language. Learn more about Learning Abroad by visiting and completing Learning Abroad 101

To get started, see below for program options for Russian. 

For questions, email Learning Abroad at, call them at 801-581-5849, or visit in person at Union 159.

Affiliate Programs

The U partners with external organizations (Affiliates) to expand where you can go and what you can study on a learning abroad program. Affiliates offer programs at study centers, local institutions, or a combination of both in the host country. Programs are commonly structured around a particular theme or topic, such as "Language, Culture, and Society". Program options can also include internships, service learning & community engagement opportunities.

  • Russian focused and related affiliate programs: click here


Foreign Language and Area Studies Scholarships (FLAS)

The Foreign Language and Area Studies Scholarship (FLAS) is provided by the Asia Center. For FAQs, application, and other information on the FLAS scholarship, click the button below.

Zach Tucker

Zach Tucker
I am currently in the second semester of my Junior year at the U. I am pursuing a bachelor's degree in Accounting and completed a minor in Russian in December of 2019. I am on track to graduate in May of 2021, after which I will start a career in Management Consulting before pursuing an MBA. I hope to get involved in international business, specifically in Russia which is where I would be able to utilize my Russian in the future. Outside of school, if I am not at a Utes or Jazz game you find me traveling the world, which is when I end up using my Russian skills most often! 



Department of World Languages & Cultures Scholarships

View the scholarships offered by our department.


College of Humanities Scholarships

View the scholarships offered by the College of Humanities.


University of Utah Scholarships

View the scholarships offered by University of Utah.


Critical Language Scholarship

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is an intensive overseas language and cultural immersion program for American students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. Students spend eight to ten weeks abroad studying one of 15 critical languages. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains.


Fulbright US Student Program

Consider applying to the Fulbright US Student Program as you are approaching the end of your degree program.



Use the button below to learn more about internship opportunities.

More Information

Language Credentials

Are you interested in getting a professional rating of your Russian language ability?

The American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) offers proficiency tests that rate your Speaking, Reading, Listening or Writing in Russian and can provide you with a nationally recognized certificate attesting to your proficiency level.

Proficiency ratings provide valuable independent documentation of your language skills that you can use as you pursue further education or job opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Proficiency tests establish what a learner can do with the language in real-world situations; they are not tied to a particular curriculum or learning experience. You can’t ‘study’ for them, and they don’t require that you have read or studied particular things.

Tests are avaible for: Speaking, Reading, Listening and Writing.

Most students choose to take the Speaking test, which comes in two versions:

  • The ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview, or OPI, is a live 30 to 45-minute telephonic conversation between a trained, certified ACTFL tester and the candidate. 
  • The OPIc is an Internet-delivered test which emulates the “live” OPI, but delivery of questions is through a carefully designed computer program, and via a virtual avatar. It is less expensive than the OPI.

For more information on these tests, go to:


The Reading and Listening Tests (RPT and LPT) also provide valuable information about your language proficiency. They are computer based and rated tests and you will receive your result immediately.


The Writing Proficiency Test (WPT) measures your ability to write spontaneously in Russian. 
Writing Proficiency Test

When you take a proficiency test, you receive a rating based on the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines which describe language profiency ranging from Novice Low to Distinguished.

“The ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines are a description of what individuals can do with language in terms of speaking, writing, listening, and reading in real-world situations in a spontaneous and non-rehearsed context. For each skill, these guidelines identify five major levels of proficiency: Distinguished, Superior, Advanced, Intermediate, and Novice. The major levels Advanced, Intermediate, and Novice are subdivided into High, Mid, and Low sublevels. The levels of the ACTFL Guidelines describe the continuum of proficiency from that of the highly articulate, well-educated language user to a level of little or no functional ability.”

ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines

The ACTFL website provides examples of speech and writing produced by learners at different proficiency levels and reading and listening texts that are accessible to learners at different proficiency levels. The site has examples in a range of languages. For example, this link takes you to examples of Russian produced by learners. There samples for different proficiency levels that you can listen to and they are accompanied by an explanation of what features of the speech caused it to be rated at that level of proficiency.

ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines - Russian

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Last Updated: 6/5/24