We offer four levels of Russian language instruction (8 semesters) in courses that train students in both written and spoken Russian. We also offer courses that provide students with an understanding and appreciation of Russian literature and culture.

Why study Russian?

  • Russian is currently the fifth most widely-spoken language in the world (after Chinese, English, Hindustani, and Spanish), reportedly spoken by 278 million people.  With 164 million native speakers, it is the largest native language in Europe. 
  • Russian is one of just six official languages of the UN (along with Arabic, Chinese, English, French, and Spanish), and the Cyrillic alphabet is now one of three official alphabets of that organization.
  • One-quarter of the scientific literature published in the world is published in Russian.
  • Russian is the 10th most widely spoken language in the U.S. (of 322 overall). One in every 372 Americans over age five uses Russian in the home.
  • The Defense Language Institute classifies Russian as a “Level III” language, meaning it has a high degree of difficulty and requires 780 or more hours of immersive instruction to attain intermediate fluency.
  • For testimonials from former students, please follow this link.

For all Russian and Slavic courses offered at the UI in the current semester, see

For more information about the Russian language program, please contact Irina Kostina, 634 Phillips Hall
Phone: 319-621-2196 (cell), e-mail:

We encourage Study Abroad

  • For study in Russia (ACTR organization), see the opportunities available at and at or contact Professor Margaret Mills, 638 Phillips Hall, Phone: (319) 335-6848,
  • For study in Russia (Moscow, Pushkin Russian Language Institute). Russian in the 21st century, see the opportunities available at  Contact Kerby Boschee (319) 335-0353, Professor William Reisinger, 341 SH, Phone: (319) 335-2351, or Lecturer Irina Kostina, 634 Phillips Hall, Phone: (319) 621-2196, email:
  • For study in Prague, a UI exchange is available with Charles University, Prague.  The Czech Studies Program offered by the Charles University Faculty of Arts and Philosophy and the Institute of Czech Studies is a comprehensive program covering Czech language, literature, history and culture. Appropriate for anyone furthering their studies in Czech language and culture at the beginning-intermediate level, it is especially well-suited for students interested in Slavonic Studies or related disciplines.  For more information, contact Jitka Sonkova ( or Study Abroad (335-0353), located at 1111 University Capitol Centre.
  • A variety of scholarships to support study abroad and summer language programs are available from International Programs.  Please consult the International Programs website at or Study Abroad (335-0353), located at 1111 University Capitol Centre.

For the requirements for the undergraduate major in Russian, see   It is also possible to minor in Russian.   Students may also want to consider majoring in International Studies, with an emphasis in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies.  See

Resources for students of Russian

Faces of Russia at PBS A Website devoted to PBS's three hour series entitled "Faces of Russia". Take a journey into the heart of Russian culture through her art, architecture, music and literature. View movie clips from the series and listen to interviews on many different topics in Russian culture. (Movies require either RealVideo, which can be obtained for free following the link above, or Apple Quicktime Plug-in, which is at

The Moscow Times Daily English language newspaper on-line.

AATSEEL  The American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages

AAASS  The American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies

ACTR  The American Council of Teachers of Russian, Russian Page at Bucknell University

Russian minor

For the requirements for a Russian minor, please visit the General Catalog.