The Bryn Mawr College Department of Russian offers undergraduate and graduate programs of study that have become nationally and internationally renowned. The undergraduate program in Russian language is designed to help students successfully attain an advanced level of oral proficiency in Russian by the time they graduate. In addition to language courses at all levels, students have the opportunity to take a variety of classes in Russian literature, linguistics, history, cinema, and culture; department majors concentrate in one particular area of study. The department also encourages its majors to apply their knowledge of the language to other disciplines. As a result, students regularly combine a Russian major with majors in areas such as other languages, comparative literature, economics, history, computer science, biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics.
The graduate program, the only one of its kind in the U.S., affords women and men the distinctive opportunity to study Russian and Second Language Acquisition (SLA) at the M.A. and Ph.D. levels. SLA is a relatively new field that uses empirically-based research methods to address cognitive, cultural, psycholinguistic and other domains closely connected with the teaching and learning of Russian. Graduate students take specialized seminars on such topics as theories of SLA, curriculum design, skills assessment, language-learning technology, and language policy, as well as more traditional graduate courses in Old Russian and the structure of contemporary Russian.
Thanks to its distinguished and distinctive profile, the department has received grants in recent years. One is from the National Security Education Program (NSEP) to develop a new-generation Advanced Placement (AP) Test in Russian Language and Culture that is proficiency-based and standards referenced. Another is to assume the leadership of the National Flagship Consortium for Russian and Eurasian Languages and Cultures, which focuses on the advanced study of Russian.