Interdivisional Programs

Russian and Eurasian Studies


The Russian and Eurasian Studies Program (RES) focuses on the language, literature, history, and culture of Russia, the Soviet Union, and East and East-Central Europe, through a range of interdisciplinary contexts, theoretical perspectives, and analytical approaches. Both Lower and Upper College courses draw upon faculty expertise in history, literature, politics, economics, art, music, culture, and religious studies as they relate to Russia and Eurasia, either separately or in a comparative context.

Proficiency in the Russian language is a key component of the RES major. The Russian course offerings range from beginning to advanced and include opportunities for study in Russia at the Bard-affiliated Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Smolny College), St. Petersburg State University. Students may choose to specialize in a literature or social science track, or combine Russian and Eurasian Studies with another program of study.


To moderate into RES, a student must complete at least 12 credits of Russian language, one course in Russian literature, and one course from the Division of Social Studies in Russian or Eurasian studies (i.e., history, politics, economics, religion). Native or heritage speakers of Russian should consult with their adviser to determine how the language requirement will be adjusted.

For graduation, students should demonstrate language proficiency equivalent to at least the third-year level of Russian. This means taking either the second-year Russian sequence, plus at least one third-year Russian course, or taking Russian classes at Smolny College in St. Petersburg, followed by at least one second-level course and two third-level courses at Bard. At least 12 additional credits (three courses) are required in the student’s primary Russian Studies track (either literature or social science). At least one of these courses must be at the 300 level or above (a major seminar with a substantial research paper). Since the RES curriculum strives for balance and breadth, it is also recommended that at least one of these courses treat Russia, Eastern Europe, or Eurasia in a comparative context. Also required are at least 4 credits (one additional course) in the other Russian Studies track (either literature or social science) and a Senior Project.

Recent Senior Projects in Russian and Eurasian Studies

  • “Ode to a Tyrant: The Case of Osip Mandelstam”
  • “‘To Give Birth to a Dancing Star’: Three Russian Writers Respond to Nietzsche’s Morality”
  • “The Word of Thought and the Thought of Word: An Analysis and Translation of Lev Vygotsky’s Chapter Seven in Thinking and Speech

Opportunities for Practical Experience

RES majors are strongly encouraged to participate in Bard’s study abroad program at Smolny College, a joint initiative of Bard College and St. Petersburg State University, in St. Petersburg, Russia. Students may enroll in summer intensive Russian language courses and/or semester or academic-year programs at Smolny, where Bard students combine a liberal arts curriculum with linguistic and cultural immersion by taking classes side by side with Russian students, in Russian. For more information, see Bard Abroad.