Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures B.A.

The Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures focuses on the languages, cultures, literatures, and cinemas of the Slavic and East European nations. Its faculty have lived, traveled, and studied in Central and Eastern Europe, bringing a wealth of cultural experience and academic expertise to their teaching. Classes are small and intimate, and students have easy access to instructors both in class and out. Most majors spend time abroad during their undergraduate career.

The major in Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures requires study in at least one Slavic language, as well as advanced coursework to give you in-depth knowledge of the region.  You can pursue language study in Russian, Ukrainian, Czech, Polish, or Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian.  The department also offers some language courses in Romanian and other Slavic languages on a more limited basis. Students become familiar with the literature and culture of their chosen language, working with texts in English translation.

The department also offers a minor in Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures, in which students can take a combination of language, film, literature, and culture courses.

Coursework

Getting started

The starting point for most students majoring in Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures is language coursework. Students with prior knowledge of a Slavic language should contact the department to arrange a placement exam (email iuslavic@indiana.edu). Students with no prior knowledge should start at the 101 level of the language of interest.

Students are also encouraged to take 200-level non-language courses that will introduce you to the culture, film, and literature of the region.

Tracks and concentrations

Students majoring in Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures must complete either the Russian Track or the Slavic Track.

The Russian Track includes advanced study of the Russian language, as well as intermediate and advanced courses in literature, culture, and film.

The Slavic Track includes basic study of a Slavic language: Czech, Polish, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (and Ukrainian by arrangement). Students also become familiar with the literature and culture of their chosen country in English translation.

Upper level coursework

The major in Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures requires you to take advanced coursework in the language, as well as electives in the literature, culture, and film of the region.

Most students in the major choose to study abroad in Central or Eastern Europe through Indiana University's Office of Overseas Study. Study abroad allows students to pursue intensive language studies and specialized course offerings in literature and culture of the region.

Commonly pursued majors, minors and certificates

Your major represents about one quarter of your degree requirements. With the help of your academic advisor, you may be able to combine several areas of interest with additional majors, minors, or certificates. Many students combine their major in Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures with majors in International Studies, History, Political Science, or other disciplines in the College of Arts & Sciences, the Kelley School of Business, etc.

Students may also choose to add depth to their regional knowledge through a minor from the Russian and East European Institute (REEI), or to their professional knowledge through a minor in business, public policy, journalism, or some other field of interest.

Contact the academic advisor to learn more about your options.

Enhance your major

Working with faculty

When pursuing a degree in Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures, you have the opportunity to work with faculty who have expertise and experience in the field. Most of the classes are small, and you will find the faculty to be very friendly and approachable. You should also take advantage of office hours to talk with your instructors about your performance in class, the content of assignments, your study abroad plans, and how the course helps you work toward your goals.

Some students majoring in Russian volunteer with the Rosinka Program in Russian Language and Culture, which gives them significant experience teaching Russian to children in the Bloomington community. Students studying abroad in St. Petersburg may also volunteer to teach English in a Russian context, such as teaching in an orphanage or public school.

In addition to Russian-language options, the department offers weekly language tables. These give students studying the other Slavic languages a chance to interact more casually with instructors and peers in their target language.

Honors

Students interested in Departmental Honors should consult the academic advisor and faculty. Students planning to undertake graduate work in Slavic languages and literatures are especially encouraged to take the departmental honors course, SLAV-S 499, while writing a senior thesis. Additional coursework in the department honors program can be arranged with the the academic advisor and department faculty.  

Students may inquire with department faculty about Dobro Slovo, the National Slavic Honor Society, and the Russian Scholar Laureate Award.

High achieving students may also be recognized for Academic Excellence in the College of Arts and Sciences, and be eligible for admission to the Hutton Honors College.

Undergraduate scholarships and awards

Options for pursuing scholarships and awards that relate to Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures include:

Internships

Internships offer you a chance to develop both technical and transferable skills while making vital professional contacts with others in the field. Many students begin exploring internship opportunities, including overseas study programs with internships, as early as their freshman year.

In the past, students have worked with Slavica Publishers (based in Bloomington) or have interned abroad for a chamber of commerce or various museums. Sometimes there are research-assistant and work-study positions through the department and its faculty.

Students majoring in Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures have also pursued internships in Washington, D.C. and other locations in the U.S. and around the world.

Learn more about internships, including the possibility of receiving credit, through The Walter Center for Career Achievement, where you’ll find many resources for both domestic and international internships.

Foreign language study

Students have easy access to articles, language training, and instructors and colleagues from various regions of interest. The Russian and East European Institute houses a lending video library containing feature and documentary films. The holdings of the Indiana University Library system include over 500,000 volumes published in and about the region in all of its languages, overseen by a dedicated Slavic librarian.

As one of the premier institutions in the U.S. for the study of languages, IU Bloomington offers courses and resources in over 60 languages.

Below is a sampling of language study resources available to students at IU Bloomington:

Overseas study

Study abroad is an important part of undergraduate education in an increasingly interconnected world. Study abroad complements the Slavic major well and can be completed without adding additional time to complete your degree. Slavic students  often pursue language study and other coursework through the following programs:

  • CIEE Semester or Summer in St. Petersburg, Russia 
  • CIEE Semester or Summer in Prague, Czech Republic
  • Semester at the Center for European Studies at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland

The College of Arts + Sciences also directly hosts a variety of study abroad programs, some even featuring IU faculty, that might be right for you. Learn more about study abroad opportunities and locations through conversation with Slavic faculty, your academic advisor, and through the Office of Overseas Study.

Additionally, students may pursue alternative overseas experiences, such as working abroad, volunteering, or independent travel. 

Student groups

Students may participate in various groups and associations, such as:

The Global Living-Learning Community gives students from the U.S. and abroad a way to connect around common interests in global understanding, through both formal and informal residential learning. Community members organize cultural events and programs. This and a number of other living-learning opportunities on campus are available for motivated undergraduates with international interests, regardless of academic discipline or major.

Explore beINvolved to connect with any of the 750+ student organizations that already exist, or to start a new one.

Volunteer opportunities

There are numerous opportunities for volunteer engagement. The organizations below can help you connect with community members and international visitors in the university community and beyond:

Sign up to receive weekly emails from the Bloomington Volunteer Network to learn about local opportunities and organizations.

Professional organizations

Students and alumni who wish to get involved with a professional organization may be interested in the following:

You can use the Indiana University Library system to search Associations Unlimited, an online directory of associations, professional societies, and nonprofit organizations.

Build your skills

Through the major

The major in Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures provides you with knowledge and skills that are relevant and transferable to many areas of study and work. These include:

  • Effectively communicate across cultures in another language besides English, including Russian, Polish, Czech, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, and Ukrainian.
  • Demonstrate a general knowledge of the target culture, its history, and practices
  • Develop skills for critical reading and thinking
  • Cultivate and apply research and writing skills
  • Use language skills beyond the classroom setting to access, analyze, and evaluate information in multiple media
  • Analyze cultural texts and situations and the mechanisms by which they function

Through a College of Arts and Sciences degree

Your coursework provides many opportunities to develop the following five foundational skills that will serve you well in every career path:  

  • Question critically
  • Think logically
  • Communicate clearly
  • Act creatively
  • Live ethically

These foundational skills will aid you in landing your first job and advancing professionally throughout your working life. Not only are these the skills that employers say they value most in the workplace, they provide the best preparation for lifelong success in a world of complexity, uncertainty, and change.

Skills desired by employers

Each year, the National Association of Colleges and Employers asks employers what key skills and qualities they are looking for in recent college graduates.

The following are some of the most commonly desired attributes across many employment sectors:

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Strong work ethic
  • Analytical and quantitative skills
  • Ability to take Initiative
  • Being detail oriented
  • Demonstrating adaptability
  • Technical skills relevant to the field
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Computer skills
  • Organizational ability

As you explore various career fields, pay attention to specific job descriptions and requirements. If there are areas where your skills or knowledge are lacking, talk with your academic advisor and career coach about how you can develop in those areas while you are at Indiana University.

Your academic advisor and career coach can also help you find ways to strengthen and deepen the knowledge you already have, becoming more prepared for whatever path you select after College.

Launch your career

Plan your search

A good starting point for exploring your career options is an appointment with your career coach.

The Slavic department and the Russian and East European Institute occassionally organize a Slavic and East European Career Night, where their alumni speak about their career tracks in a wide variety of fields and professions.

The Walter Center for Career Achievement offers job search resources, career courses, job fairs, information about internships and full-time jobs, and help with social media networking through professional organizations. Get advice about how to write your  resume, ask for letters of recommendation from faculty and workplace supervisors, and prepare for job interviews, too.

Explore and enroll in Career Communities to learn more about industries relevant to your interests. These offer unique information about each field, including alumni spotlights, opportunities and resources, and in-person events.

You might want to take a career course to help you maximize your time at IU. Slavic students should consider taking ASCS-Q296 College to Career II: Navigate Your Arts and Sciences Experience. This course provides the opportunity for students to explore the relationship between their chosen field of study and life after graduation while developing a career and academic development plan for post-collegiate success.

The job market

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for interpreters and translators is expected to grow in the next few years. Because Slavic majors have a strong background in languages, cultures, and literatures, a wide variety of careers is available to them.

Initial and long-term destinations for graduates include positions in many job sectors, and students with the Slavic major take their education in many directions. They are well prepared to work in federal, state, and local government; management, scientific, and consulting services; law, finance, and insurance; and education.

Want to see where your fellow majors go right after graduating from IU? Check out the Walter Center’s First Destinations survey!

Need more ideas? The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers career information about hundreds of occupations.

Talk with Slavic faculty, the academic advisor, career coach, and other students to gain insights into the career paths taken by graduates of the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures.

Post-graduate short-term experiences

After graduation, a short-term experience or internship can help you make connections, gain life skills, and assess your interest in future careers. Talk with your career coach and use these and other resources to find opportunities that are a good fit with your educational experience and career goals:

Fellowships for post-graduate study

Fellowships are temporary post-graduate opportunities to conduct research, work in a field, or fund graduate school. Most opportunities can be found through universities, non-profit, and government organizations.

Good resources for finding fellowship opportunities include:

Graduate and professional study

When applying to graduate or professional schools, you'll need letters of recommendation from faculty members who are familiar with your work. Make a practice of attending office hours early in your academic career, to get to know your professors and discuss your options for advanced study in the field.

A Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures B.A. degree will prepare you for entry into graduate programs in a wide variety of fields, such as area studies, social sciences, informational sciences, foreign languages and literatures, public affairs, non-profit management, international relations, law, business, and education.

Students who pursue graduate studies in Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures have gone into careers with top academic and research institutions, the military and intelligence communities, the U.S. Department of State, United Nations, World Bank, non-governmental organizations, media, business, and entrepreneurship.

You might consider these Indiana University graduate opportunities:

With careful planning, and in consultation with the Health Professions and Prelaw Center, you could also prepare to enter law school, medical school, or other professional programs.

Alumni connections

Join the IU Slavic Department Alumni group on Facebook. You can also browse the newsletters put out by the Russian and East European Institute, the Language Workshop, and the Polish Studies Center.

The Slavic department and the Russian and East European Institute host an alumni reception at the annual conference of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies. They also occassionally organize a Slavic and East European Career Night on campus, at which IU students can meet alumni in their prospective fields.

Talk with Slavic department faculty, the academic advisorcareer coach and other students to gain insights into the career paths taken by graduates of this degree.

The IU College of Arts + Sciences has thousands of active alumni. Check out the IU College Luminaries program, which connects students with the College's most influential, successful, and inspiring alumni.

Join the Walter Center Success Network to remain in touch, network directly with College of Arts +Sciences Alumni, and let others know where your path takes you.


Is it for you?

The Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures attracts students from a variety of backgrounds and interests. They typically have some of the following qualities:

  • Passionate about learning new languages 
  • Take their place in our global world seriously
  • Appreciation of Slavic and East European cultures and literatures
  • Desire to make overseas study a significant part of their undergraduate education
  • Intellectual curiosity and imagination

Learn more

Contact the Department Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures academic advisor  and schedule an appointment to explore your options. Complete information about the requirements of the major can be found in the College of Arts and Sciences Bulletin.

Department website
Advisor email address
obueva@iu.edu