Slavic Studies Degree: What to expect?

If you think Tolstoy was the bee’s knees, or fervently believe that the world would be just the slightest bit better if we were all speaking Polish, consider getting a degree in Slavic studies.

Slavic studies cover a lot of ground and look a little bit different at every university. You can focus your degree on Russian literature, Czech culture, Bulgarian language, or some other topic as long as it relates to the Slavic languages and peoples.


Getting a four-year bachelor’s degree is the first and most important step you need to take as a Slavic studies major. In your undergraduate years, you can either focus on a specific area, like those described above, or get a general knowledge of a variety of different areas and cultures.

No matter what school you go to, expect to spend a fair amount of time in language classes. You’ll spend about three years studying your chosen Slavic language, and you’ll graduate with a strong knowledge of the vocabulary and sentence structure it demands. Other class subjects will include things such as film, culture, history, and literature.

When getting a Slavic studies degree, one of the most important things you can do is to visit the country you’re focusing your attention on. Though study abroad can be expensive, spending even a short summer there can give you invaluable experience and an understanding of the Slavic world. Most universities offer a variety of options for those looking to spend time away from the U.S., including semester-, quarter-, and even year-long programs.

Next Step

Though getting a Slavic studies undergraduate degree might give you a lot of cocktail party knowledge, it isn’t exactly the degree most in demand by employers. That being said, there are a number of ways you can parlay your experience into your first entry-level job.

You can find a job as a Translator, Interpreter, or Customer Service Associate, especially if you work in an area with a large Slavic immigrant population. Businesses (especially those that have offices abroad) with many Slavic-speaking customers also hire Slavic studies degree holders.

If you hope to continue your studies, consider getting a master’s or Ph.D. in Slavic studies. Then find work as a Professor or Teacher at a university.

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