The Barnard-Columbia Slavic Department offers instruction in six Slavic languages and literatures (Russian, Bulgarian, Czech, Polish, Serbian/ Croatian/ Bosnian, and Ukrainian) , with particularly extensive offerings in Russian.  The department prides itself on giving students a strong foundation in language study, which serves as invaluable preparation for future graduate work in literature, history, economics, or political science, as well as for careers in government, business, journalism, or international law.

The department offers four major tracks in various aspects of Russian or other Slavic cultures, and a minor in Russian for those wishing to combine the study of Russian with a specialization in a different department.

Common Questions

What can I do with a major in Slavic?

Paul Richardson, publisher of Russian Life, has made his article on the diverse and adventurous careers that await Slavic Studies majors available for all to read here. It includes interviews with former Russian majors who went on to use their Russian professionally in interesting ways.


The Columbia Slavic Department offers Russian placement exams at the beginning of each academic year. Inquire at the Slavic Department office, 708 Hamilton Hall, for scheduling details. (You can also contact the Department by phone at 212-854-3942.)  Students who wish to take a Russian placement exam at any other time, who need a reading proficiency exam, or who have particular questions about placing into/out of Russian language courses, should consult the Russian Language Coordinator.

For placement or proficiency exams in other Slavic languages, contact the following faculty members (you will find their information in the faculty directory): 

  • Czech: Prof. Chris Harwood 
  • Polish: Prof. Anna Frajlich-Zajac 
  • Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian: Prof. Aleksandar Boskovic 
  • Ukrainian: Prof. Yuri Shevchuk

Where can I find Slavic activities and events on campus?

Check out the calendar of the Harriman Institute, Columbia's center for the study of East Europe and Eurasia, for upcoming events of interest. The Institute also awards undergraduate fellowships twice a year, for which Barnard students are eligible. Columbia has the Russian International Association at CU. There's also a Ukrainian film club. Finally, Barnard and Columbia undergraduates publish a journal of Slavic- and East European-related articles written by students from around the country -- you don't have to be a Slavic major to get involved!

How are the Barnard and Columbia Slavic Departments related?

The Barnard and Columbia Slavic Departments function as a single unit for academic purposes. This means that both Barnard and Columbia faculty teach courses in our undergraduate and graduate programs, advise undergraduate and graduate theses, and make decisions about the structure of our degree programs. As a Barnard Slavic major or minor, you will probably end up taking classes from both Barnard and Columbia faculty, and the professor who advises your senior thesis may be chosen from either school.

However, if you decide to major in Russian or Slavic studies at Barnard, your academic adviser (the person who approves your program each semester) will always be a Barnard faculty member. (Columbia Slavic majors go to the Director of Undergraduate Studies at Columbia for academic advising.)

The Barnard Slavic Department is centered in 226 Milbank Hall, with faculty offices opening off the main department office. The Columbia Slavic Department is centered in 708 Hamilton Hall, with faculty offices dotted up and down the 7th floor hallway. During business hours, office staff are available in both department offices to help you find what you need.

For more detailed information about Slavic studies at Barnard/Columbia, including information on professors, courses of instruction, alumni, events, and other resources, see the main Department website at

Policy on No Exemption from General Education Requirements through Advanced Placement and/or International Baccalaureate Credits

Students entering Barnard in fall 2016 and thereafter will receive points of credit for Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) credit, but these credits will not exempt students from General Education Requirements requirements.

Further information may be found on the Registrar's website:

Senior Experience
Barnard College has a long-standing commitment to preparing students in the major so that they may undertake a capstone project. All Barnard seniors are required to complete a senior project or thesis. Senior projects or theses represent the culmination of academic work in the major. They allow students to develop records of individual research that include theoretical engagement in the major discipline, the development of creative projects or research, and original empirical and interpretative analysis. The form of the senior requirement may vary across majors, but the most common forms are the senior thesis (one or two semesters), supervised original research in a lab, a final creative project, and/or research that has been completed within a dedicated senior seminar.