Why Study Russian at New College?

Available as either a stand-alone major or as part of a joint disciplinary area of concentration, our Russian AOC features both the challenging curriculum and individualized attention from faculty that you would expect from one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges. Through small classes and seminars, individual and group tutorials, and independent study projects (ISPs), you will have the chance to explore Russian language, literature and culture in depth with native speaking faculty and others who are experts in the field.

Russian Language and Literature area of concentration

The Russian program at New College offers courses as well as individual and group tutorials in language and literature. Regularly offered courses focus on literary developments from the era of Sentimentalism at the end of the 18th century until the present. Tutorials are normally devoted to important areas of interest, which are not included in more formalized course work.

Students are also encouraged to follow contemporary literary and cultural developments, particularly as they may be seen to fit into the continuum of literary production in Russia, and to pursue work in pertinent cognate areas such as history, political science, and anthropology. Students are encouraged to pursue off-campus study at another institution or participate in one of the many available programs of language and cultural study in the United States or, ideally, in Russia.

New College students have participated in both summer and semester programs of study at Lomonosov Moscow State University, St. Petersburg State University, the Linguistics University, Nizhny-Novgorod, and the summer program at Middlebury College, Vermont. Without exception, travel-study experience has proved to be an invaluable component of the student’s AOC.

View Russian Language and Literature Academic Learning Compact

View Russian Language and Literature courses offered in last 5 years


Area of Concentration Requirements

Demonstration of proficiency in the Russian language allowing the student to read and analyze texts of moderate difficulty and to discuss with relative ease topics of everyday life and experience as well as relevant areas of the student’s academic focus.

Students must also demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of at least three areas of Russian literature and literary history, normally two periods and one figure (for example, Russian Romanticism, Symbolist Poetry, and Tolstoy). Broader familiarity with other periods, including developments from the 11th to the 18th centuries, is also expected. Normally, attaining this level of expertise will require at least five semesters of language instruction and six or more courses and tutorials devoted to the study of literature and literary history.

Finally, students must complete a senior thesis, which may be:

  • A study of a broad historical problem in the development of Russian literature, or,
  • A general overview of the contribution of a single writer, or, most frequently,
  • An analysis of a particular literary text or group of related texts.


  1. at least five semesters of language instruction (though six or seven are recommended)
  2. six or more courses and tutorials devoted to the study of Russian literature and literary history (so, altogether, a minimum of eleven Russian language and literature courses, not counting thesis tutorials)
  3. completion of a senior thesis on the topic of Russian studies (usually Russian literature or culture)

It is also highly recommended that at least one ISP is devoted to the study of Russian language, literature or culture.

Joint Disciplinary AOC Requirements

A minimum of seven courses in Russian language and literature, possible in the following combinations of courses:

  1. Introductory course in Cultural Anthropology and Archaeology
  2. History of Antropological Theory
  3. Method and Theory in Archaeology
  4. Two additional courses or tutorials in anthropology, and other work relating to your goals, to be chosen in consultation with your advisor in anthropology


  • Alina Wyman, Associate Professor of Russian Language and Literature

Recent Theses

  • Authority and Authorship: The Plight of the Artist in Vladimir Nabokov’s Despair and Invitation to a Beheading
  • Gogol’s ‘Shinel’ in English: A Commentary and Translation
  • You always see something, but you never see all: Narrative Devices and the Reader’s Role in James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Andrey Bely’s Kotik Letaev
  • Schillerian Ideals in The Robbers and in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment
  • The New Capitalism: Cultural Transitions Seen in the Works of Victor Pelevin


SAMPLE PATHWAYS to complete AOC Requirements

These pathways show how you could complete the AOC requirements within four years at New College or within two years after earning an associate’s degree. Please consult with your academic adviser to determine the most appropriate courses for your area of concentration.