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University of Pittsburgh    
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog 
  Mar 04, 2024
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Russian and East European Studies Certificate

Center for Russian and East European Studies
4417 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Phone: 412-648-7407

Deepen your understanding of a world region that spans Europe and Asia, where shifting identities and political boundaries are complicated by control of energy resources, EU/NATO affiliations, and the Cold War legacy. The Certificate in Russian and East European Studies is an interdisciplinary credential that appears on your transcript and complements your major and minor. The undergraduate Certificate in Russia and East European Studies is crafted to allow students in any major-from STEM and professional disciplines to languages and other liberal arts-to enhance their program of study without extra tuition cost and usually with no increase in their overall course load. The certificate integrates language study with the study of the region where the language is spoken.

Certificate Requirements

  • Coursework: Five Russian, East European, and/or Eurasian area studies (non-language*) courses (15 credits). Courses must be taken in at least three departments, and up to two courses may overlap with the student’s major. Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA in REES-related courses.
  • Language proficiency: a minimum of two years (four terms) of college-level study of a language of the former Soviet Union or East/Central Europe. Pitt offers Russian, Polish, Slovak, Hungarian, Ukrainian, Modern Greek, Turkish, Persian and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian. Additionally, Pitt’s Summer Language Institute offers Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Bulgarian and Czech. Heritage speakers must demonstrate intermediate-level proficiency.
  • Capstone Paper: The capstone paper is the culmination of the student’s learning experience and demonstrates in-depth, interdisciplinary knowledge of Russian & East European studies. This 10-plus-page paper should be written ideally in the student’s 3rd or 4th year and must be submitted to the certificate advisor with grade documentation (B or higher) prior to graduation. It will also include a cover essay in which the student will reflect on how his/her academic career has been influenced by REES coursework, and how that coursework has contributed to the creation of the Capstone. Students are strongly encouraged to take the 3-credit REES Capstone Seminar, usually offered in the Spring semester, which fulfills this requirement and counts as an area studies course.

    *Students may apply advanced language coursework as Area Studies coursework in certain circumstances, in consultation with the certificate advisor.

Related Concentration in European & Eurasian Studies

The Related Concentration in European & Eurasian Studies is crafted to offer comparative study opportunities for students in a pre-professional field - pre-medicine, pre-law, business, engineering, and health and rehab sciences - will while capitalizing on existing European language credits. This individualized, interdisciplinary credential provides a context for studying abroad and complements most academic plans and majors. For the Related Concentration, we define Eurasia as the Russian Federation, Turkey, Mongolia, and the former Soviet republics.


  • A minimum of four (12 credits) content courses is required. The courses must come from at least two different departments and none of the courses can overlap with a student’s other credentials. These courses are allowed to overlap, however, with general education requirements. Students must earn a C or better in classes counting towards the certificate.
  • Language proficiency: one year (two semesters) of college-level study of an official European (excluding English) or Eurasian language, or demonstration of equivalent proficiency. The same language classes (or AP credits) used to fulfill the general education requirement may be used here as well.

Special Academic Opportunities

Pitt offers a range of study abroad course that can be used to fulfill certificate requirements. Short-term summer study abroad courses, taught in English and offering 3 to 6 Pitt credits, may include:

  • Czech Republic and Poland: Economy and Policy (ECON 0905  ) in Prague and Krakow, May;
  • Romani (Gypsy) Music, Culture, and Human Rights (MUSIC 1362  , URBNST 1901  ) in Prague and Budapest, 6 credits, May-June;
  • Architecture and the City in Central Europe (HAA 1907  ) in Vienna, Zagreb, Ljubljana, and Prague, May;
  • Competing Perspectives on Global Energy (PS 1301  ) in Ukraine, Belgium, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC, 3 credits, May;
  • Monsters, Madmen, and the Modern City (ENGLIT 0636  , ENGLIT 0612  ) in Prague, 6 credits, July-August.

The intensive Summer Language Institute (SLI) is a great option to study languages of our region. Study abroad options are available for Russian, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (BCS), Bulgarian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Slovak and Persian (

*For those students interested in pursuing graduate or other advanced regional studies, a Bachelor of Philosophy degree in International and Area Studies/Russian and East European Studies Track is also available.

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