About the program

The Ferrum College major in Russian provides students fluency in oral and written communication, the ability to read, understand, and analyze Russian literature and cultivates a deep understanding of Russian culture, past and present. The major is designed to provide students with the fundamental linguistic and grammatical knowledge to understand spoken and written Russian, while also emphasizing hands-on opportunities for speaking and writing. For example, in a recent Advanced Russian class, students participated in an email exchange with Russian university students in Vladimir, Russia. Students in this same class also entered a Russian poetry translation contest. Students in Russian classes are assessed in many different ways, ranging from memorizing Russian skorogovorki (tongue twisters) and saying them 10 times fast to reciting poems by famous Russian poets. Learning Russian at Ferrum is not only a mental exercise in vocabulary and grammar, but an immersive cultural experience that offers unique intellectual and critical thinking challenges. From watching cartoons to full-length feature films, new Russian media is also an important part of learning about contemporary Russia.  

The Russian program offers a humanities-oriented major (B.A.) in Russian, a minor in Russian, and an interdisciplinary minor in Contemporary Russian Studies that incorporates coursework from the humanities and social sciences. Students who are interested in pursuing any of these programs are strongly encouraged to sign up for Russian 101 in their freshman or sophomore year. Students who have prior study of Russian should make an appointment with the Russian Program Coordinator to determine at what level they should begin language study at Ferrum.  

Coursework in Russian

The curriculum incorporates a variety of topics to prepare students for opportunities in the field of Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, and includes courses such as:


  • Russian Language through the Advanced Levels
  • Russian Conversation
  • Structure of Russian
  • Russian Civilization and Culture
  • 19th century, 20th century, and Contemporary Russian Literature
  • Russian and Soviet Cinema
  • Russian Folklore
  • Russia and the Caucasus
  • Independent study on topics of student interest (past topics have included Old Church Slavonic, intensive reading practice, intensive speaking practice, and Russian language pedagogy)

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Related Clubs

There are over 50 clubs and organizations available to students at Ferrum College. These are specifically related to Russian:

  • Russian Club - provides opportunities for students to learn more about Russian language and culture through film screenings, cooking classes, arts and crafts, and field trips. 

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Experiential & hands-on learning opportunities

International Opportunities: Ferrum College enjoys a unique relationship with Pskov State University in Pskov, Russia. This program brings a Pskov student each semester to the Ferrum campus and sends a Ferrum student (with at least four semesters of Russian language) to Pskov to study for a semester.  Students have also undertaken study abroad in Daugavpils, Latvia, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Novosibirsk, and Moscow, Russia. From time to time Experiential Terms in Russia or Russian-speaking countries are offered.  

Internships: Students are strongly urged to explore career opportunities and to establish mentors through an internship. Internships might involve working with the Pskov-Roanoke Sister Cities organization, teaching or tutoring Russian 101-102 or conversation classes, or doing translation work under the supervision of an instructor. 

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What can I be with a major in Russian?

A major in Russian leads to traditional career paths, as well as less expected fields. For example:You could be a(n) ... CAPTIONTHIS

  • Teacher of Russian and/or other foreign languages
  • Journalist
  • Tour Organizer or Guide
  • Federal Law Enforcement Officer
  • International Trade Specialist
  • Intelligence Analyst for the CIA, NSA, or US military 
  • Astronaut! Did you know: American astronauts are required to have some knowledge of Russian?

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Recent Russian graduates and their careers

Ferrum graduates credit their program of study for landing jobs or other opportunities in their fields.

Ferrum graduates have used their study of Russian to pursue graduate degrees, to pursue further language training with the United States military, to secure employment with various Federal agencies or corporations, to teach English abroad, and to teach Russian at the high school level.  

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Russian Faculty

Dr. Rachel Stauffer (rstauffer@ferrum.edu)

Assistant Professor of Russian and Program Coordinator of Russian
Associate Director of International Programs
B.A. Randolph-Macon Woman's College
M.A. University of Virginia
Ph.D University of Virginia
(540) 365-4331

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