Why Study Russian?

In the 20 years since the end of the Cold War, Russia's political and economic transformation has led to exciting new career paths for Russian majors.  While graduates still keep national security high on their list, they find that Russian expertise also opens doors to careers in business, finance, the non-profit sector, academia, and the arts.

The largest country in the world, Russia covers one-sixth of Earth's landmass. The Russian capital, Moscow, is not only Europe's largest city, with almost 11 million people, but has become a cosmopolitan destination for artists, musicians, writers, and, more recently, shoppers.  Russian remains the lingua franca of the former Soviet Union, with more than 250 million speakers worldwide.

Testifying to Russia's continued importance to national security, the U.S. State Department has designated Russian a "critical need language" and currently offers funding opportunities for study in Russia.


Russian graduates can pursue careers in national security with the CIA or FBI;  both actively recruit Russia specialists.  As for the private sector, large U.S. banks are increasingly stepping up security around cyber crime originating from Russia.

Diplomacy and National Service

The Peace Corps, World Bank, and USAID are currently working in Russia and Russian-speaking regions of the former Soviet Union.


The growing list of western business investing heavily in Russia includes Citibank, Ford, Starbucks, and IKEA, as well as numerous consulting firms like Bain & Company, Ernst and Young, and McKinsey & Company.


As Statfor Global Intelligence notes, "Russia holds the world's largest proven reserves of natural gas and continually alternates with Saudi Arabia as the top oil producer."  In this age of petropolitics, Russia's vast energy reserves can't be ignored.

Arts and Letters

Russia continues to be a priority destination for both the arts and academia due to a renowned culture that proudly boasts such cultural giants as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Kandinsky, Chagall, Stanislavsky, and the Bolshoi Ballet.


Both the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2018 World Cup will be held in Russia.