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Why should I study a foreign language?

"Knowing another language enriches your personal life, expands the range of professional opportunities open to you, and increases your power to act as a citizen of the world. At the college level you can begin a new language or build on your knowledge of a language that you have already studied. College may also be the first chance you will have to study languages such as Russian, Chinese, Japanese, or Arabic. Forget the myth that you have to learn languages as a child: in the classroom young adults can be faster and more effective learners than small children." - Modern Language Association, Language Study in the Age of Globalization: The College-Level Experience

LS&A Language Requirement

Why should I study a Slavic language?

The Slavic Language Programs offer students of every discipline an opportunity to experience both the intellectual and personal enrichment that comes with learning Russian, Polish, Czech, Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian, and Ukrainian languages, and encountering the diverse cultures that they represent. Our department features some of the most skilled and experienced language teaching faculty who are native speakers of the language. Much of our research and professional development is aimed towards the goal of helping students to build multilingual communication and critical thinking skills enabling them to read, write, listen, speak, and explore in Slavic languages.

In our increasingly global world, the skills you will gain in learning a Slavic language will prepare you to succeed in a number of fields. Your familiarity with one of Europe’s major cultural areas is important in preparing not only for the new economies emerging in Eastern Europe, but also for work in any cultural context different from our own.

How do I take a proficiency/placement test in a Slavic language?

Information on placement and proficiency tests for both graduate and undergraduate students can be found here.

Why should I choose a major or minor in the Slavic Department?

A major in Russian or Polish, or a minor in Russian, Polish, BCS, Ukrainian, Czech, or the Cultures & Literatures of Eastern Europe will allow you to attain proficiency in the language, acquire an understanding of the culture, and develop your knowledge of the civilization and history of a significant area of the world. Through course offerings in Slavic languages and literatures, you will expand your learning to much of Eastern European culture. One of these majors or minors also provides opportunities for experiential learning abroad.

With their analytical and communication skills, Slavic Department majors and minors have discovered opportunities in a wide range of careers, such as research, business, law, medicine or government.  In addition, Slavic majors or minors may choose to continue their education in graduate or professional school.

Read about specific information for each major and minor offered in the Slavic Department.

Check out our Alumni Profiles to see how past students are using their Slavic major or minor after graduation.

Should I choose Russian/Polish or Russian and East European Studies as my major?

Of course, in addition to majors in Russian and Polish, Michigan offers another major for the student interested in Eastern Europe – Russian and East European, and Eurasian Studies (REES).  It is administered by our friends and colleagues at the Center for Russian and East European Studies.  REES gives the student the opportunity to learn one of the Slavic languages while also taking a broad range of courses relating to Eastern Europe from across the humanities and the social sciences.  Whether you choose REES or Russian/Polish for your degree really depends on where your interests lie, and on your feelings about the respective benefits of the sort of core-oriented liberal-arts degree offered by the Slavic Department and of the area-oriented diversity of study offered by REES.  Both are good choices, and the overlap between them means that you might even be able to move from one to the other if you change your mind, but it is a good idea to talk to both advisors if you are not sure, before you elect one or the other.  All three of these degrees - Russian, Polish, and REES - are, as noted, excellent (of course!), and they have many points of contact.  Needless to say, the Slavic Department and CREES work together on many projects, and students are encouraged to follow the excellent and varied range of events at CREES. For more information about REES and the Center, follow this link:

How do I declare a major/minor, or complete my major/minor release?

Schedule an advising appointment online to meet with the faculty advisor for the program of your choice. Look over the requirements for the major or minor prior to the meeting to declare your new major or minor.  If you want to substitute courses, use transfer credit, or do anything else beyond the basic pattern of the major or minor, talk to your advisor well in advance of graduation!  When scheduling an appointment for your graduation audit, remember that you will need to check general requirements with a general advisor, too.

Can I study abroad while majoring or minoring in the Slavic Department?

Yes! Check out our study abroad page for more details.

Can I transfer credit into a major or minor in the Slavic Department?

Credit transfer is administered by the University Office of Admissions, not by the Slavic Department, whether the courses you have taken or are planning to take are at an American institution or abroad.  However, it is generally up to the major/minor advisor to decide what role in fulfilling program requirements will be played by courses taken elsewhere (this is not the same thing as transferring credit – the major/minor adviser may waive certain requirements because of courses you have taken elsewhere, but this does not mean that the Admissions Office will give you UM credit for those courses equivalent to the requirements waived). Be sure to consult with your advisor about counting any courses taken abroad or at another institution toward your Slavic major or minor.