Department of Russian

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Welcome to the Russian Department

About us

We offer both single honours in Russian and combined honours with various programmes, including another language, comparative literature, film studies, linguistics, as well as business management, politics, English, and drama. In either case, students pursue a rigorous core course in the Russian language, which leads them to advanced proficiency in listening, reading, speaking and writing the language. Students without prior exposure to Russian start an intensive preliminary ab initio course, which gives them in one year the equivalent of an A level in Russian. In this way students make rewardingly quick progress and can then place into the regular first year and proceed normally. Native speakers of Russian are offered an advanced translation course and dedicated tuition in grammar and stylistics to maintain their Russian in good form.

Language courses are complemented with options in Russian literature, film, art, and linguistics. Every year we invite prominent personalities from Russia (filmmakers, scholars, artists, etc.), who offer 'cultural enrichment' classes and additional opportunity for oral conversation. We encourage students to study in Russia, either in the summer or during the academic year, but we don't require a full year's study abroad.

The Department is small enough to foster a sense of community and lasting bonds among students and between staff and students. In the spring term, we usually put on a Russian play, produced in Russian and often directed by a student. Although tempers tend to flare during the final rehearsals, First Night has always been a resounding success! This tradition has been going on for many years. On this occasion, former students come back to the Department to cheer current ones. Many a great career on Broadway and in the West End has started here!

The Department is a centre for scholarly research. We did very well at the last research assessment of the Research Excellence Framework (REF), with books by members of the Department winning recognition and the top prizes from Russian and Slavic organisations in the USA and UK. We conduct research on Russian literature and culture from the 18th to the 21st centuries, on Soviet and Russian cinema, Russian folklore, Georgian language and culture, as well as literary and cultural theory.

We are also recognized for our translations. In fact, Constance Garnett, the pathbreaking translator of Russian literature, used to work in the library. The Department publishes some of its scholarly work and translations from Russian in its own imprint, appropriately called Garnett Press. Members of staff have also translated from English into Russian, thus truly promoting cultural exchange between Britain and Russia.

We hope that you will enjoy visiting this site. Please feel free to contact us should you have any questions!

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