Russian Studies

Russia is taking a giant leap forward. Master Russian at Sophia and make a quantum leap of your own!

1. Join the Department of Russian Studies

Only one university program in Japan offers an advanced, specialized, and at the same time comprehensive, education on Russia: the Department of Russian Studies of the Sophia University Faculty of Foreign Studies. One mission of our department is to produce graduates who can function as effective bridges between Japan and Russia, which has emerged as one of the world’s most dynamic economies since recovering from the chaos of the Soviet Union’s collapse. At the same time, we seek to equip our students with a thorough knowledge of the history, politics, economics, and society of the Russian and Eurasian region; a genuine understanding of its people, culture, and spirit; and above all, the capacity to play an active role in forging new links between Japan and Russia, Eurasia, and the world as top-flight professionals in business, government, or academia.

Russian is a Slavic tongue in the Indo-European language family. It is spoken by about 300 million people today. During the first two years in our program, students focus on mastering this challenging language through daily lessons in Basic Russian, a program requirement. Taught by a team of full-time instructors, Basic Russian provides intensive yet balanced instruction in grammar, conversation, and reading. Conversation is taught in small classes of less than 20 students, ensuring optimum progress. In the third and fourth year, we offer courses designed to take these language skills to a higher level along with a wide array of area-studies courses centered on Russia and Eurasia. Because ours is a small department, admitting just 60 students per year (50 students prior to 2012), our students benefit from especially close working relationships with the faculty.

2. Academic Aims of the Russian and Eurasian Studies Concentration

1. To build a rich fund of knowledge and insight regarding Russia and Eurasia and be able to interact flexibly with people and societies with a wide range of values and traits.

2. To deepen one’s own knowledge and literacy through wide-ranging multidimensional study of Russia and Eurasia, including the region’s history, politics, economics, society, and culture.

3. To make the most of advanced Russian and other foreign-language skills in order to conduct sound research, analysis, and discussion of phenomena pertaining to Russia and Eurasia.

4. To attain an insider’s understanding of Russia and Eurasia along with the ability to observe and analyze the region objectively and critically from a global, universal viewpoint.

3. Curriculum

Basic Russian

As a rule, all first- and second-year students are required to follow the same course of study in Basic Russian: In the spring and autumn semesters of year one, they complete Basic Russian I-1 and I-2, respectively; in the spring and autumn semesters of year two, they complete Basic Russian II-1 and II-2. Basic Russian consists of six sessions a week for a total of 540 minutes of class time weekly. By the time students have completed Basic Russian II-2 at the end of their second year, they should have mastered the language skills they need to meet the challenges of studying and living in Russia.

Third- and Fourth-year Russian Language Studies

In their third and fourth years, students are able to design their own program of intermediate and advanced language study by choosing from our diverse Russian Language Studies courses according to their own interests and needs. Students must complete a minimum of 12 course credits in this category in order to graduate. Our Russian Language Studies offerings include courses in reading, conversation, composition, grammar, and interpreting, with a variety of courses offered for each of these skills. Taking reading, for example, some courses focus on reading literary works, while others use writings on economics, politics, or security as reading material.

Introductory Courses in Russian Studies

In addition to Basic Russian, first-year students are required to complete the introductory course Russian Studies Methodology. This course develops basic information-literacy and media-literacy skills—such as how to input search terms in Cyrillic and browse Russian-language websites—as well as research methods and presentation skills, all tailored to the needs of Russian Studies students. We also offer elective survey courses: Introduction to Russian Studies 1 and 2, dealing with Russian history, politics, and economics; and Introduction to Russian Culture 1 and 2, focusing on culture and the arts.

See the Japanese website for more information