Russian & Slavonic Studies

Russian, spoken by more than 250 million people worldwide from the northern tundra to the Black Sea beaches, is an international language of culture and commerce, and Russia remains a global political power. Learning Russian is the key to its rich literary heritage and its fascinating and multifaceted society.

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg

Find out more about Russian at Sheffield

Undergraduate degree combinations

BA Modern Languages & Cultures

On the BA Modern Languages & Cultures you can study:

  • Russian language & culture only
  • Russian language & culture with one other language & culture
  • Russian language & culture with two other languages & cultures

Choose from these languages:

Dual Honours (with a non-language subject)

As a Dual Honours degree

  • Russian language & culture with a non-language subject
  • Russian languages & culture, a second language & culture, and a non-language subject

Combine your study of Russian language & culture with one of the following:

  • Archaeology
  • Business Management
  • Economics
  • English
  • History
  • Linguistics
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Politics

Dual honours degrees

Free credits

If you have some experience of modern language learning, you can take Russian language & culture modules either as part of your degree (unrestricted modules) or alongside your degree (not-for-credit modules).

Fast facts

Award: Bachelor of Arts

Duration: 4 years

Entry: ABB at A Level. We also accept a wide range of other qualifications. See individual degree programmes for more detailed information.

Course Structure

Language Modules

At Sheffield you can start studying Russian from scratch, meaning you need no previous knowledge of Russian. If you already speak some Russian you can skip the beginners programme and enter at an appropriate level.

Year 1

In first year post A-Level, you'll spend 3-4 hours per week taking written classes and conversing with a native Russian speaker, in order to achieve communicative fluency in Russian. (Common European Framework Reference for Languages [CEFR] B1). You will also spend 1-2 hours per week studying Russian texts that introduce you to key aspects of Russian culture.

The first year Beginner's Course is taught by native speakers and is for those with no, or limited, knowledge of Russian. It focuses on intensive language study (4-5 hours per week), allowing you to develop the skills to progress quickly and start to bridge the gap to post-A level. (CEFR A1/2).You will take weekly classes studying Russian texts that introduce you to key aspects of Russian culture.

You will study 40 credits in language and culture at either beginner or post A level.

Beginner's Russian

Title Credits Core/Optional
Russian Language Beginners 20 Core

Introduction to Russian Culture

The module provides a schematic overview of Russian history from the formation of the Russian State until the present time, and consideration of key literary, political, cinematic and visual culture texts from a number of periods to introduce students to some of the main features of Russian culture.

20 Core (if you are studying one or two languages and cultures)
Optional (if you are studying three languages and cultures)

Post A-Level Russian

Title Credits Core/Optional
Russian Language Post A-Level 20 Core

Introduction to Russian Culture

The module provides a schematic overview of Russian history from the formation of the Russian State until the present time, and consideration of key literary, political, cinematic and visual culture texts from a number of periods to introduce students to some of the main features of Russian culture.

20 Core (if you are studying one or two languages and cultures)
Optional (if you are studying three languages and cultures)

You may also choose from the following:

Title Credits Core/Optional

The Soviet Union 1917-1991

An overview of the history of the Soviet Union showing the huge changes the region underwent during the 20th century. The module examines the ideological nature of all historical accounts of the period, especially produced during the Cold War, and encourage a critical engagement with original source materials. The module is taught in English.

20 Optional

The Czechs in Central European History

This new first-year module poses the question of how a nation comes to be, with all its founding myths and subsequent struggles for self-determination. In the case of the Czech lands, this includes the ‘national revival’ of the early nineteenth century, through to the founding of the Czechoslovak state, subjugated successively by the Nazis and Soviets. This module works well as a fascinating cultural complement to Czech or Russian language studies.

20 Optional

Introduction to European Cinema

This is a school-wide module taught by specialists from across the school who have research interests in cinema. It introduces students to some of the main movements in European cinema, and includes a strong Russian and East European element. The module includes seminars and film viewings.

20 Optional

You may also choose from a range of modules from across the School of Languages and Cultures.

Year 2

In your second year, there are separate language courses for ex-beginners and post A-level (3-4 hours per week). By the end of this year, you’ll have the tools to thrive in Russia as a student or in employment, and will be able to talk about more complex and abstract topics (CEFR B1/ B2).

Russian Language Intermediate (following beginner's Russian route)

Title Credits Core/Optional
Russian Language Intermediate 20 Core

Russian Language Higher Intermediate (following post A-level Russian route)

Title Credits Core/Optional
Russian Language Higher Intermediate 20 Core

Depending on your degree programme and language combination you will take a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 100 credits from:

Title Credits Core/Optional
Contemporary Russian Society 20 Optional
Dostoevsky 10 Optional
Reading the Revolution 10 Optional

Prague at the Crossroads of East and West

The module examines iconic places in Prague as starting points for investigating the history, culture and society of the Czech lands and their relations with other European powers, especially Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Visual arts, architecture, historical documents and literature will be used to understand the sources and influences, both domestic and foreign, that define the Czech identity and how the Czechs negotiate a place for themselves between larger and more powerful neighbours.

20 Optional

Structures of Russian

How do linguists describe the features of the Russian language? Russian, which has a very different sort of morphology and syntax from English, poses problems for learners in acquiring and understanding some of these features, such as noun and verb inflection, aspect and word order. In this module, we explore some of these topics, assess different approaches to them, and come to a better understanding of them.

20 Optional

Soviet Culture in the Era of the Great Terror

The Era of the Great Terror in Stalinist Russia is examined through its cultural production and contemporary critique of ideology. The primary materials are Soviet films of the 1930s and 1940s, as well as works of fiction, biographies, memoirs, documents, and illustrative material on art and architecture. The purpose of the module is to explore traditional approaches of ‘totalitarian’ and ‘revisionist’ theories and histories in the context of various cultural manifestations of Stalinist Russia. Readings from sources such as diaries and literary works, critical and historical studies, and visual material from film and art will enable you to historicize the concept of ‘totalitarian culture’.

20 Optional

And choose from year 2 School-wide modules.

Year abroad

You can spend part or all your third year studying at a university or language school in Russia. This allows you to experience the familiarity of student life with the excitement of living in another country. University life varies enormously across the world, however wherever they go, our students develop international networks and life-long friendships. Courses at international universities expose our students to new ways of studying, learning, and interpreting the world.

Year 4

In your final year, core language modules will build on your existing expertise in written and spoken Russian to develop sophisticated and idiomatic language use across a range of topics (CEFR C1).

In your second and final year, depending on your degree programme, you can choose to deepen your cultural, political and historical knowledge of Russia across the range of specialist modules we offer.

You may also choose to write a Russian Studies dissertation in your final year.

Russian Language Advanced (All students)

Title Credits Core/Optional
Advanced Russian Language Through Literary Texts 10 Core
Applied Russian Language Skills 10 Core

Depending on your degree programme and language combination you will take a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 100 credits from:

Title Credits Core/Optional

Contemporary Russian Society

Russia is an extremely varied and complex society and it has gone through some dramatic changes since 1985. The attempt to reform the highly dysfunctional economy and society of the 1970s spiralled out of control in the late 1980s and led to the disintegration of the USSR in 1991 This was just the beginning, however, as the economy went into freefall in the 1990s and only at the end of that decade did it begin to stabilise. Since this time Russia has been increasingly assertive on the world stage and some fear a new Cold War is emerging. The module examines the many dimensions of change in Russia, including consideration of economic, political and social transformations, and pays particular attention to such issues as the changing role of the family, questions of sexuality, the role of the Russian Orthodox Church, Russian Nationalism, freedom and dissent.

20 Optional
Dostoevsky 10 Optional
Reading the Revolution 10 Optional

Structures of Russian

How do linguists describe the features of the Russian language? Russian, which has a very different sort of morphology and syntax from English, poses problems for learners in acquiring and understanding some of these features, such as noun and verb inflection, aspect and word order. In this module, we explore some of these topics, assess different approaches to them, and come to a better understanding of them.

10 Optional

Soviet Culture in the Era of the Great Terror

The Era of the Great Terror in Stalinist Russia is examined through its cultural production and contemporary critique of ideology. The primary materials are Soviet films of the 1930s and 1940s, as well as works of fiction, biographies, memoirs, documents, and illustrative material on art and architecture. The purpose of the module is to explore traditional approaches of ‘totalitarian’ and ‘revisionist’ theories and histories in the context of various cultural manifestations of Stalinist Russia. Readings from sources such as diaries and literary works, critical and historical studies, and visual material from film and art will enable you to historicize the concept of ‘totalitarian culture’.

20 Optional

And choose from year 4 School-wide modules.

* The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is current and relevant. Individual modules may be updated or withdrawn in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, curriculum review, staff availability, and variations in student numbers. In the event of a material change the University will inform students in good time and will take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Study with us

We have a wide range of courses in the School of Languages and Cultures, combining multiple languages at BA and MA level. 

Undergraduate courses

Postgraduate degrees