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Russian Studies

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Durham University was ranked 3rd nationally in the 2024 Good University Guide for Russian.

Research in Russian Studies at Durham’s School of Modern Languages and Cultures spans the period from the 17th century to the present day. Our areas of specialist expertise include: 

In addition to providing a broad-ranging introduction to Russian, Soviet and post-Soviet culture and cultural history, our programme allows students to explore their individual interests and undertake a substantial independent research project in the final year. 


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BA Modern Languages and Cultures

Find out how to apply, all course details and structure, entry requirements and more.

Visit BA Modern Languages and Cultures course page
University student
When I came to Durham, I knew no Russian at all! I think the Russian ab initio course is excellent because it pushes you to learn quickly. Now, I can have a conversation in Russian, something I never imagined I’d be able to do.

Lily Best
Durham University languages student

Our language courses are taught by highly experienced language teachers (Mrs Branka GrundyMrs Olga Zabotkina and Dr Ekaterina Chown). In the first year, students who have no prior experience of studying Russian take an intensive ab initio course which continues in the second year. Students holding an A-level or equivalent qualification in Russian are enrolled on a parallel intermediate course.

All students normally spend three to four months of their third year abroad in a Russian-speaking country at one of our partner institutions in the Baltic States, Georgia, or Kyrgyzstan. Our final-year language modules develop advanced proficiency, including translation and interpreting skills and the use of Russian in professional and business contexts.  


University student
I have really enjoyed the challenge of studying an ab initio language at Durham. Choosing Russian specifically has given me the opportunity to study in Estonia, a country I may never otherwise have visited, and to experience a new artistic and historical culture.

Durham University languages student

Students have opportunities to participate in regular extracurricular events (including concerts and theatrical productions) and benefit from engagement with students from our partner universities. Our students have contributed articles to the University of California, Berkeley’s undergraduate journal Troika, Cambridge Asia Forum, and Durham Eastern European Review (, a student-led online academic journal. Others have received awards for their translations and community work. 

Please find a list of language and culture related internet resources on Russia and beyond here

Enquiries about degree programmes or internships should be addressed to Dr Viktoria Ivleva, Director of Russian Studies.

The Burana Tower, Kyrgyzstan, photographed by our student Emily Gibb on their year abroad.


Discover more

Find out more about module information, our members of staff responsible for Russian studies, other language courses, employability, study abroad and scholarships.


Find out more about our modules for Russian studies.
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See a complete list of all members of staff responsible for Russian studies.
Staff Meeting


Find out more about other language courses we offer.
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Find out more about job prospects and careers with a degree from MLaC.
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Study Abroad

Find out more about where and how to study abroad.
Study abroad


Find out more about scholarships for eligible undergraduate students.
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