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Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

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The Russian Program at the University of South Carolina immerses students in the study of Russian culture, language, and literature. Students studying Russian at USC have been attracted to the program by innovative classes, award-winning teaching, and individual attention; committed faculty dedicated to the success of their students; and engaged and motivated fellow classmates.

Check out our 2024 Fall Course offerings!

Why Study Russian?

Russian language can pave the way for many opportunities both in school and after graduation. 

As tensions between Russia and the United States continue to deepen, the U.S. State Department has listed Russian among a group of languages “critical” to American national security. The U.S. government recognizes the need to train a new generation of Russia experts to maintain US security goals in the face of Russia’s global use of military force and disinformation campaigns to advance an anti-democratic agenda. Alumni of USC’s Russian Program are now serving in the intelligence community, including in the military. Several of the former Soviet republics—where Russian remains a key common language—have provided crucial assistance to the U.S. in recent involvements in Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Knowledge of Russian language and culture can lead to interesting job opportunities in law and business in Russian-speaking countries in Central Asia, the Baltics, and more. Western businesses, law firms, consulting firms, and banks have hired young Americans who speak Russian. Experts in international law have played a role in responding to Russia’s war in Ukraine, even as businesses seek employees who understand the issues involved in pivoting from work in Russia to Russian-speaking nations formerly in the Russian orbit. USC graduates are playing a role in this complex area. 

Russian scientists, engineers, and other STEM field participants have played a significant role in their areas of expertise worldwide. The Russian Program is fortunate to be able to encourage STEM students by offering awards from the prestigious Ludmilla Ignatiev Callaham Fund for Russian Language and Scientific Study (see below).

Try to imagine world culture without Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, Tolstoy's War and Peace, Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago, the paintings of Chagall and Kandinsky, the pioneering cinematographic techniques of Sergei Eisenstein, or the Russian ballet. Russian is the language of Empress Catherine the Great, Czar Nicholas II, Chekhov, Solzhenitsyn, Rasputin, Stalin, and Putin. It is also the language of some of the top athletes in the NHL and the world of figure skating. The Russophone world is larger than Russia itself, and many significant cultural figures in the larger region have written significant works in Russian. Read classics in the original, learn about the cultural context of your favorite book or movie, or add a new dimension to your enjoyment of such American film classics as Air Force One, Dr. Strangelove, The Hunt for Red October, and many of the James Bond movies! Can Sean Connery really speak Russian?

Russian Program graduates number among the most impressive at the university. Recipients of major national fellowships, such as the Critical Language Scholarship, Boren, Fulbright, Marshall, and Udall, they have gone on to exciting post-graduate opportunities, from graduate school at institutions such as Georgetown University, George Washington University, and Columbia University, to jobs all over the globe. USC Russian Program graduates have found employment in government service, the military, business, law, journalism,  the Peace Corps, and education,. Especially in the light of recent world events, demand for qualified Russian-language experts to fill national security jobs has been greater than the pool of available applicants. Combining a Russian major with International Relations, Cybersecurity, Economics, International Business, or Global Studies, among others, can prepare students well for these opportunities.


The Ludmilla Ignatiev Callaham Fund for Russian Language and Scientific Study

The Ludmilla Ignatiev Callaham Fund for Russian Language and Scientific Study was established in 1994 by USC alumnus John Callaham in memory of his wife, an accomplished and well-known scholar, and enhanced further in 2019 by their son, Dr. Michael Callaham. The objective of the fund is to encourage the study of Russian language in conjunction with scientific, engineering, or technical studies (a STEM field).

Three years of studying Russian and a scientific or technological discipline including:

  • physical science
  • chemistry
  • biology
  • mathematics
  • computer science
  • recognized engineering disciplines
  • cybersecurity
  • Is a senior or rising senior

Cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above in both fields of study or 3.0 in unusual or meritorious circumstances

The scholarship money must be used for tuition at USC or internship in Russia or in a Russia-related research project in the United States. Preference will be given to Russian majors and then minors.

James J. Biedron Endowed Scholarship for Russian Studies

The James J. Biedron Endowed Scholarship for Russian Studies was established in 2018 by Ginger Biedron in memory of her husband, a beloved and inspirational high school Russian teacher in Maryland. The Biedron family chose USC as the site of their gift because Russian Program Director Judith Kalb was once a high school student of both Mr. and Mrs. Biedron!


  • Enrolled in Russian language classes at USC
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above or 3.0 in unusual or meritorious circumstances
  • The scholarship money is intended to support students’ study abroad in Russian-speaking countries. Preference will be given to Russian majors and then minors.

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