What's special about Russian at UMBC?

t UMBC the study of Russian is part of the major and minor programs of the department of Modern Languages, Linguistics & Intercultural Communication (MLLI). The MLLI faculty, which includes a unique combination of specialists in linguistics, sociology, cultural and literary studies, and language pedagogy, have been pioneers in developing an interdisciplinary curriculum. Most university language programs focus almost exclusively on language and literature.

But in UMBC’s interdisciplinary MLLI program, students of Russian participate with students of other languages in a common core of three courses that stress linguistic and cultural analysis. So aside from acquiring a proficiency in Russian and a knowledge of the culture of Russia and the former Soviet Union, they also learn about the dynamics of languages and cultures in general.

UMBC’s Russian courses address an exciting variety of themes: in our classes, students follow developments in the ever-changing (and ever-challenging!) cultural, social, and political environment of today’s Russia, using authentic print media, video, and the Internet. Most of our classes are small, with the opportunity for individual interaction with professors. We often work one-on-one with students in independent study courses, where they can pursue topics of special interest. Students benefit from interaction with the Russian native-speaker population on campus. Students who enjoy Russian folk-singing will want to join our Russian Chorus, which gives several public performances each year.

Is Russian Difficult?
Russian has had the reputation of being a difficult language to learn. The reason most often given for a reluctance to study Russian is apprehension about the different alphabet. But the alphabet is related to the Greek and Latin alphabets, and takes only a few days to learn. Students who have studied other languages (French, Spanish, German) do well in Russian—they find it fun, and different. We also welcome Russian-heritage students, who may speak Russian at home, but not quite natively.

Major Program
(For a complete description see the UMBC Undergraduate Catalogue.)

All majors who pursue the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Modern Languages, Linguistics & Intercultural Communication take a common core of courses, as follows:
  • MLL 190 The World of Language I (offered both semesters and typically in the Summer and Winter)
  • MLL 230 World Language Communities (offered Fall and frequently in the Summer)
  • MLL 301 Textual Analysis: Words, Images, Music (offered in the Spring)
    Although not required, MLL 191 The World of Language II is highly recommended.

Students select either a one language (Russian) or two language (Russian and a second language) option. Courses required for the one language option and the semester in which they are offered are as follows.

I. One-Language Option (38 credits)

  • MLL 190, 230, 301 (see above)
  • RUSS 301 Continuing Russian 1 (Fall)
  • RUSS 302 Continuing Russian 2 (Spring)
  • RUSS 401 Advanced Russian 1 (Fall)
  • RUSS 402 Advanced Russian 2 (Spring)
  • Two of the following 1-credit courses:
  • RUSS 303 Continuing Russian Conversation 1 (Fall)
  • RUSS 304 Continuing Russian Conversation 2 (Spring)
  • RUSS 403 Advanced Russian Conversation (Offered as needed)
  • Three of the following courses, which are taught on a rotating basis, together with 3 corresponding Complementary Russian Reading courses (RUSS 350), offered every semester:
  • RUSS 270 Introduction to Russian Culture and Civilization (Fall)
  • RUSS 271 Introduction to Modern Russian Culture and Civilization (Spring)
  • RUSS 310 19th Century Russian Literature and Society (Fall)
  • RUSS 311 20th Century Russian Literature and Politics (Spring)
  • One elective course at the 300 or 400 level. Electives, one of which will be offered yearly, include:
  • RUSS 315 Studies in Russian Film
  • RUSS 332 Structure of Russian
  • RUSS 415 Political Russian
  • RUSS 419 Theory and Practice of Translation

II. Two-Language Option (39 credits)

  • Nine credits: MLL 190, 230, 301
  • Nine credits from RUSS 301, 302, 401, 402
  • Two credits from RUSS 303, 304, 403
  • Six credits from MLL 270, 271, or any 300- or 400-level RUSS course
  • One credit RUSS 350
  • Twelve credits in a second language (above 202), taught in the target language

Suggested Sequence of Courses in the Major

Since many high schools do not offer Russian, most students begin Russian at UMBC at the 101 level, offered in the Fall, and continue through RUSS 102, 201, 202, and the major courses. It is recommended that MLL 190 and 230 be taken early, before the major sequence begins.
  • RUSS 301 (Prerequisite: RUSS 202)
  • RUSS 303 (Prerequisite: RUSS 202)
  • RUSS 270/271/310/322 (three out of four) + concomitant RUSS 350
  • RUSS 302 (Prerequisite: RUSS 301)
  • RUSS 270/271/310/322 (three out of four) + concomitant RUSS 350
  • RUSS 304 (Prerequisite: RUSS 301)
  • MLL 301 (Prerequisite: MLL 190 or 191)
  • RUSS 401 (Prerequisite: RUSS 302)
  • RUSS 270/271/310/322 (three out of four) + concomitant RUSS 350
  • Elective on the 300- or 400-level
  • RUSS 402 (Prerequisite: RUSS 401)
  • RUSS 270/271/310/322 (three out of four) + concomitant RUSS 350

(For a complete description see the UMBC Undergraduate Catalog.)
Students are encouraged to consider combining a minor in Russian with a major in History, Economics, or Political Science, or a minor in International Affairs. Required courses are:

Either MLL 190, MLL 230, or MLL 301
RUSS 202, 301, and 302
Nine credits of RUSS courses at the 300 or 400 levels

Outstanding students may complete their degree with Honors in Modern Languages, Linguistics & Intercultural Communication in Russian. The Honors program is based on extensive personal interaction with faculty and other honors students, including a final independent study project directed by a faculty member.

The Department of Modern Languages, Linguistics & Intercultural Communication can provide students with placements in local and international positions related to their study of Russian language and culture. Possible internships in Russian include work for government agencies in Baltimore and Washington, and assisting area hospital patients using Russian-language skills.

Study Abroad
There are many opportunities for study and internships in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other cities in Russia and the newly independent states. We can advise and assist students in arranging for a summer, semester, or year abroad with sponsoring institutions. Credits earned in Russian through study abroad may be transferred to UMBC after consultation with an advisor.

Russian Club
UMBC has a very active Russian Club which traditionally has sponsored fund-raisers, social events, lectures, and outings. All students are welcome.

Employment Opportunities
MLLI graduates have successfully pursued careers in law, medicine, government, education, social services, and international business. In the past, Russian-language students have found employment in US government and Maryland state agencies and at the American Embassy in Moscow. Despite the present uncertainties in Russian private enterprise, there continue to be business opportunities in Russia’s major cities.

Want to teach?
MLLI works closely with the Education department to offer an integrated course of studies to those who wish to obtain a teaching certificate. All teacher education programs at UMBC require the completion of an academic major. Students may major in Russian and complete teacher education programs in secondary education, in elementary education, or in early childhood education. For further information on teacher certification in Russian, contact Dr. Ana María Schwartz, 410 455 2109.

International Multimedia Center
Multimedia Center has a satellite dish connection to international television programs, including Russian, as well as computers (PCs and Macs) for individual work, including access to the many Russian-language resources (both text and audio) on the Internet. The Media Center also has a sizable collection of Russian-language CDs, DVDs, and videos. Russian classes at UMBC make extensive use of these materials. All Russian students at UMBC learn how to use the Internet in Russian.


Elaine Rusinko. Associate Professor
Russian and Soviet language, literature, culture and society, Carpatho-Rusyn studies

Steven Young. Associate Professor
History and Structure of Russian; Slavic and Baltic linguistics.

Vira Zhdanovych. Lecturer
Russian language.

For more information about Russian at UMBC, contact:
Department of Modern Languages, Linguistics & Intercultural Communication
University of Maryland Baltimore County
1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, MD 21250
410 455 2109