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University of Pittsburgh    
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog 
  Jun 25, 2024
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Russian and East European Studies Certificate

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University of Pittsburgh
University Center for International Studies
Center for Russian and Wast European Studies
Andrew Behrendt, Undergradaute Academic Advisor
4417 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Phone: 412-648-7407


The Russian and East Eurpoean Studies Certificate is an interdisciplinary credential that combines foreign language training and multidisciplinary area studies courses. Through this stimulating program, students develop a broad understanding of the historical and cultural processes shaping states and societies in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Eurasia.

Certificate Requirements

  • Coursework: Five Russian & East European area studies (non-language) courses (15 credits). Courses must be taken in at least three departments, and up to two courses may be taken in the major department.
  • 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, Ukrainian, Modern Greek, Turkish, and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian. Additionally, Pitt’s Summer Language Institute offers Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Bulgarian, Czech and Hungarian. Heritage speakers must demonstrate intermediate-level proficiency.
  • Capstone Paper: this is the culmination of the student’s learning experience and demonstrates in-depth, interdisciplinary knowledge of Russian & East European studies. This 10 to15-page paper must be written in junior or senior year, and be submitted to the certificate advisor with grade documentation prior to graduation.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to take the 3-credit REES capstone course, which fulfills this requirement and counts as an area studies course.

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 abriad 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, 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.

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, and Slovak (

*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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