On-line course materials
These open in new windows.Mini-Videos
The Anthrax Diaries
The Russian Dictionary
The Human Body
Водитель для Веры
Интервью из России I
Интервью из России II
Дети из России
На атомной речке
Интервью из Швеции
Important Cornell links
These open in new windows.Word usage
Bilingual word usage
Abbyy Lingvo dictionaries
Словарь русского языка
Dictionary of Synonyms
Медуза/Meduza news, etc.
Study in Russia
We are in the News!
If you have learned Russian at home or in a Russian-speaking community, you may continue studying Russian in academic setting at Cornell. You may also be exempt from the foreign language requirement at Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences and other schools at Cornell and/or receive 3 credit hours/units towards graduation.
All students who completed their high school education in Russia have thus met the Arts College foreign language requirement and do not need to take any tests or obtain any documents from the Russian Language Program. See your advising dean if appropriate documentation is not already included in your Cornell dossier.
All other students who studied or otherwise learned Russian before coming to Cornell and want to be exempt from foreign (non-English) language study need to demonstrate language ability in Russian equivalent to that of a high school graduate in Russia or some other Russian-speaking area. This is done at the Russian Placement Test (also called CASE or Cornell Advanced Standing Examination), see below.
The Placement Test may also be taken by students who studied Russian in high school or elsewhere and want to continue their Russian studies at Cornell but are not sure what courses to take (see below).
The Russian Placement Test (also called CASE or Cornell Advanced Standing Examination) is scheduled a few days before the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. The time and place for this test are posted at our home page for a few weeks before each new semester. The test may be taken for a variety of reasons: to determine eligibility for an exemption, to receive credit, or to find an appropriate course for continuing Russian studies.
Students from Russian-speaking families who want to be exempt from language study at Cornell may be asked to read a one-page (single-spaced) newspaper article in Russian and to compose a one-page (handwritten) essay about it (although an alternative subject may be offered as well). The essay must state the basic facts or ideas and discuss them in a style appropriate to an academic discussion among high school seniors. Use of reference materials (dictionaries, notes, etc.) is not permitted. The examiner will read your essay while you wait and discuss it with you. Plan on spending about one hour in the room, but it may take lomnger if an unusually large number of student come to the test. Each conversation will be no longer than five to ten minutes. Plan your day accordingly. There are no numerical evaluations for the results of this test. Your ability to write and speak at the appropriate level of fluency and stylistic and grammatical accuracy will be evaluated by the examiner. The results will be available immediately.
If you do not qualify for the exemption but can speak, read, and write Russian roughly at the level of Cornell students who complete our first Russian language course at the 2200 level (RussA 2203), that is if you "place" in our second 2200-level course, you will be granted 3 credit hours/units towards graduation. To demonstrate that level of knowledge, you may be asked to write a short text on a general subject offered at the test, and then converse with the examiner for a few minutes. You may be asked to read a short passage as well. The result of the test will be stated a the end of the session.
If you speak Russian but have not learned to read and/or write, you will speak to the examiner who will then determine whether you qualify for the reading, writing, and grammar course that we offer for students with those abilities (usually Russian 3305, see below).
Taking Russian Courses
We offer several Russian language courses for those who learned Russian at home, in their community, or at high school, etc. and want to study it formally at Cornell.
Russian 1125 (RUSSA 1125, Fall only) and Russian 1126 (RUSSA 1126, Spring only) are for students who can read Russian and are interested in expanding their vocabulary. In these courses, current Web sites are read and translated into English. Sometimes we teach sections for both native and non-native speakers.
Completing these courses does not satisfy the Arts College foreign language requirement. These courses are further described in the Web pages under Courses (in the navigation bar on the left).
Russian 3305 (RUSSA 3305, Fall only) and Russian 3306 (RUSSA 3306, Spring only) are for students who speak grammatically correct Russian and can understand informal spoken Russian without difficulty, but have not learned to write grammatically correct Russian, or have not learned to read or write at all. 3305 covers the basics of Russian grammar and also touches on issues of style. 3306 is more advanced and includes creative writing assignments. The exact nature and syllabus (including the meeting times) may vary somewhat from one semester/year to another depending on the particular group of students who sign up for it. This is discussed at the organizational meeting at the beginning of each semester, usually on Day 2 or Day 3 of the semester. The time and place of the meeting are posted at our home page a few weeks before the new semester.
Successful completion of one of these courses (when taken for 3 credit hours/units) satisfies the Arts College foreign language requirement (but not any of the other requirements). These courses are further described in the Web pages under Courses (in the navigation bar on the left).
Russian 3309 (RUSSA 3309, Fall only) and Russian 3310 (RUSSA 3310, Spring only) are for students who can read Russian fluently and have no difficulty speaking about the books they read. The purpose of the course is to strengthen one's reading skills and to learn how to discuss facts, issues, theories, and opinions in a style appropriate for an educated adult. The reading assignments are up to 80 pages per week. They may combine fiction and non-fiction works from the 19th, 20th, or 21th century and vary from one year/semester to another. Successful completion of one of these courses satisfies the Arts College foreign language requirement (but not any of the other requirements).
These courses are further described in the Web pages under Courses (in the navigation bar on the left). Note that these are not courses in Russian Literature as they do not address issues of literary theory or many other aspects of Russian literature that are treated in Russian Literature courses, the RUSSL series in the Course Catalog.
Russian 6633 (RUSSA 6633, Fall only) and Russian 6634 (RUSSA 6634, Spring only) have been taught on several occasions to native speakers of Russian who are interested in finer points of grammar and style, both in writing and speaking, including public speaking, as well as translating literary texts from English to Russian. The course may or may not be taught in the same way in any two semesters or years. Advanced non-native speakers have also been part of the course. Come to our organizational meeting (usually on Day 2 or Day 3 of the semester) to discuss the possibilities. The time and place of the meeting are posted at our home page a few weeks before the new semester. Successful completion of the course satisfies the Arts College foreign language requirement (but not any of the other requirements). These courses are further described in the Web pages under Courses (in the navigation bar on the left).
Dept. of Comparative Literature
Russian Language Program
240 Goldwin Smith Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4701, USA
tel. 607/255-4155 • fax 607/255-8177 • email firstname.lastname@example.org