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R711 BA (Hons) 4 years


Russian was ranked fourth in the country in the 2016 Complete University Guide.

Studying Russian at QMUL means engaging deeply with learning a new and beautiful language, which you will study in conjunction with an exploration of Russia’s culture, society, and history. You will be taught by top specialists in those subjects and by reading Russian literature, watching Russian films, and writing analytical essays about them, you will develop a sophisticated understanding of the way Russians think and feel, of the cultural references that shape their identities. Students achieve a high level of linguistic competence, develop a thorough understanding of intercultural issues, and acquire analytical and several other important transferable skills.

Why study Russian at Queen Mary? 

We admit students with an A level in Russian or equivalent, as well as students without (or with very little) Russian. We also have a pathway for heritage speakers. Students normally pursue a four-year degree, with the third year spent abroad in Russia or a Russian-speaking environment. Heritage speakers of Russian may be exempted from the year abroad, but otherwise the year abroad is an essential component of our degree as it affords a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture and hone your language skills, an experience which is highly regarded in the professional world. We offer year-abroad programmes with universities in several Russian cities, as well as an Erasmus exchange with a university in a Russian-speaking region of Latvia.

Studying with us, you will have many opportunities to enrich your language skills by making the most of the Russian related films, plays, exhibitions and talks which take place in London. We also host academic visitors from Russia who provide enrichment classes taught in Russian, hold film screenings and music events, as well as a series of talks. Our students also deliver an annual student play in Russian, which is a great opportunity to practice Russian as well as make friendships across the Department.

Our research has consistently been rated as outstanding, with books by members of the Department winning prizes from Russian and Slavic organisations in the USA and UK. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) only two Modern Languages departments which ranked above us included Russian. We advise on films, such as Night Will Fall, and speak at galleries and museums, including Calvert 22, the Photographers’ Gallery, and the Imperial War Museum. We conduct research on Russian literature and culture from the 18th to the 21st centuries, on Soviet and Russian cinema, as well as on literary and cultural theory.

The Russian Subject Group prides itself on its informal and friendly atmosphere. We hold regular parties, organize outings to Russian-related events in London, and maintain an open-door policy. Our students tend to form deep friendships.

Our Library has extensive audio-visual materials and equipment, and our language learning labs and resource rooms are state of the art.


From 2017 we are introducing the QMUL Model to all our degrees. For further information on this initiative please contact the Undergraduate Programmes team sllf-ug@qmul.ac.uk

We offer four language pathways: ab-initio pathway for students with no prior knowledge of the language; post GCSE, for those with GCSE Russian; post A level pathway for those who hold A level in Russian and a heritage speakers pathway for students who have cultural connections to the Russian language.

In addition to core language modules students choose modules on Russian culture, literature, film and linguistics. 

Year One

Russian Culture and Society

Introduction to basic themes, debates, and characteristics of Russian culture and society through the centuries.  Attention will be given to religion, to the binary dimension of Russian culture, to utopian aspirations, especially in the arts, to the place of the individual in society, and to the characteristic sites of Russian culture.

Foundations of Russian Studies

This module offers an introduction to Russian literature as well as to literary analysis through a close reading of select nineteenth-century and twentieth-century texts in all three basic genres (fiction, drama and poetry). It also offers an introduction to Russian film studies, equipping students with film-specific analytical tools and providing a first exposure to Russian cinema. Attention will be given to some of the major themes of Russian culture (the self in society, Russia and the West, the role of the intelligentsia, political ideals, etc.) and to developing techniques of interpretation appropriate to each genre and medium. 

Reading Contemporary Russia

Reading Contemporary Russia consists of reading comprehension and content analysis of simple texts on contemporary Russia. The main focus of the class is to introduce students to current cultural, social, and political issues, using books, newspaper articles, journals, TV and radio broadcasts, and web sources from Russia. Selected readings and films will familiarize students with culture and features of everyday life.

History of Russian

This module offers an overall historic, linguistic, and social view of the Russian language. Learning about the processes that shaped Russian will deepen and enrich your understanding of the modern language. Seemingly peculiar language features will no longer be random facts you have to memorise, but rather the outcome of regular and well-understood historical developments in grammar and vocabulary. The module will explain how Russian came to be the way it is now. Requires A-level Russian.

Years Two and Final

Russian Novel: Countryside and Nation

This module examines the development of the Russian novel until 1860. We will focus on novels about the countryside as a distinctive site of Russian culture and society. Literary discussions of the distinctiveness of the Russian landscape, of its impact on the national character, of the identity of the Russian serf, and of the country estate as a centre of freedom and culture have all affected the development of a Romantic myth of national identity.

Russian Novel: Crimes and Punishment

This module examines the development of the Russian novel between 1860 and 1880. We will focus on Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, two novels about individuals, a man and a woman, who attempted to place themselves outside society and who are “punished” accordingly. In both cases, this emancipation from social and moral constraints becomes the occasion for a unique, profoundly influential piece of narrative art and for a sustained exploration of the spiritual, moral, and social ingredients of the modern condition.

Russian Short Stories: The Twentieth Century

While the novel has enjoyed a privileged status for much of the twentieth century, for important periods the short story dominated Russian culture. After defining and analyzing the specific features of the short story form, its theorizations, long critical neglect and the prejudice against it as a fragmentary form, this course focuses on periods where short stories came to the fore in Russia: the beginning and end of the century and the period of World War Two.

Russian Film: Gender and Society

Starting from the Russian revolution’s proclaimed liberation of women, this module analyses Russian cinema as both a reflection of and means of challenging the dominant constructions of masculine and feminine in Russian society. Informed by Feminist and other perspectives, students examine the shifting representations of gender, the changing role of women in the cinema industry, the specific nature of Russian women’s cinema, and the ways in which masculinity has been problematized and questioned in recent film.

Contemporary Russian Film

Through the analysis of films produced since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union and creation of Russia, this course aims to equip students to be able to comment on contemporary Russian films as they are released. Teaching and assessment focuses on identifying key industrial, thematic and genre trends and issues in contemporary Russian cinema, with a focus on the intersection of the national and transnational.

Russian Syntax

The module provides a practical introduction to Russian syntax. It will offer an in-depth analysis of different types of complex and compound sentences, enhancing your ability both to comprehend Russian written texts and compose texts of your own.


The modules listed are representative of the choices which might be available to you during your degree. You still should note that modules may change depending on the research interests of staff. Our module offerings change yearly.

For a complete list of modules please visit the directory of modules http://www.qmul.ac.uk/modules/

Use the following abbreviation in the Code search

  • RUS – Russian

QMUL will aim to deliver your programme so that it closely matches the way in which it has been described to you by QMUL in print, online, and/or in person. However, it is important to realise that in some circumstances, we may change aspects of your programme. See our full terms and conditions to read more: 


Entry requirements

General Admission Entry Requirements can be found below.

2018 Entry requirements

A-LevelGrades BBB at A-Level. This must include at least one essay based A-Level in a humanities or social sciences subject. Applicants will also be expected to have a GCSE in a language or have experience of learning a language other than your mother tongue. Excludes General Studies.
IBInternational Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum of 30 points overall, including 5,5,5 from three Higher Level subjects. This must include an essay based humanities or social sciences subject at Higher Level.
BTECSee our detailed subject and grade requirements
Access HEWe consider applications from students with the Access to Higher Education Diploma. The minimum academic requirement is to achieve 60 credits overall, with 45 credits at Level 3, of which 15 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. For programmes with French, grade B or above in A-Level French will be also be required. For all other single and joint honours language programmes, experience of learning a language other than your mother tongue, and a demonstrable aptitude for language study are required. Applications are considered on a case by case basis, and we may request an interview. Due to the high volume of applications, we do not make offers of study purely on the basis of meeting grade requirements.
GCSEMinimum five GCSE passes including English at grade C or 4.
EPQAlternative offers may be made to applicants taking the Extended Project Qualification.
Contextualised admissionsWe consider every application on its individual merits and will take into consideration your individual educational experiences and context. More information on how academic schools and programmes use this information as part of the admissions process, can be found on our contextualised admissions pages.

General Admissions Entry Requirements

English Language Proficiency

All applicants to QMUL must show they meet a minimum academic English language standard for admission and to be successful on the course, to the indicated levels for the area of study. See our guidance on English Language requirements for all degree programmes.

Vocational and Other Qualifications

The College accepts a wide range of qualifications such as Access and Foundation programmes, vocational awards, Irish Leaving Certificate, Scottish Highers and other Baccalaureates. You are advised to contact the Admissions team (admissions@qmul.ac.uk) before making an application so that we can give individual advice.

Admission is based on academic merit and on the proven ability of the applicant to achieve success on their chosen programme of study. Every application to Queen Mary is considered on its individual merits with personal statement and reference taken into consideration.

Combined Qualifications

If you are taking a combination of qualifications at Level 3, we will consider your academic profile and may make offers on a case-by-case basis. You are advised to contact the Admissions team (admissions@qmul.ac.uk) before making an application so that we can give individual advice.

Advanced Entry

Subject to the policy of the programme, it may be possible for students to join undergraduate degree programmes at the beginning of the second year of a three or four year degree programme or, sometimes, the beginning of the third year of a four year programme. Please note, not all schools will consider advanced entry. You are advised to contact the Admissions team (admissions@qmul.ac.uk) before making an application for individual advice.

If you are applying for advanced entry on the basis of a post A-Level qualification, such as the BTEC HND, you should apply via UCAS in the usual way. If you wish to transfer your degree studies from another UK higher education institution, you will be considered on the basis of your original A-Level or equivalent qualifications, current syllabus, academic references and results.

We typically expect you to have achieved a 2.1 standard on your current programme and have already met the standard equivalent first year entry requirements. Applications must be submitted via UCAS.

Non-UK students

European and International Applicants

Our students come from over 162 countries and we accept a wide range of European and International Qualifications for entry, in addition to A-Levels, the International Baccalaureate and BTEC qualifications. Please see our International Admissions webpages for further details of our academic requirements, and information regarding how we assess the equivalence of your qualification.

Applicants will typically be expected to be taking academic subjects relevant to the programme of study. You are advised to review the A-Level and IB requirements for an indication of these subjects. If you are at all unclear, the Admissions team (admissions@qmul.ac.uk) is happy to advise you further.

Further Information

For any other enquiries directly relating to our entry requirements, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office directly.
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 5511
Email: admissions@qmul.ac.uk

See our information and guidance on how to apply.

Learning and teaching

Teaching typically involves a lecture per week for each module, followed up by a smaller seminar group session where you will have the opportunity to actively contribute. In addition to this, you will spend up to five hours per week in language classes – you will be taught in small groups of no more than 20 for classroom or language lab teaching, and fewer than 10 for oral and aural work. We give our students individual attention and every student has an Adviser who can help with academic or personal problems. All the language programmes include writing-intensive modules that will help you strengthen your thinking, research and essay-writing skills.

Independent Study

For every hour spent in classes you will be expected to complete a further 5 - 6 hours of independent study.  Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work; completing projects; and revising for examinations. 

The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments.  However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability. 

Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area.  This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.


Assessment methods vary from module to module, and include a mixture of exams and coursework, coursework only, oral and aural exams, final-year dissertations and a range of more innovative methods, such as independent projects and creative journals.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for Home and EU students

2018/19 Academic Year
Full-time £9,250

Tuition fees for International students

2018/19 Academic Year
Full-time £15,400

You can either take out a Tuition Fee Loan (see Funding section below) to pay your fees or, if you are paying them yourself, you can pay in instalments.

Tuition fees for a year abroad or placement year on a full time undergraduate course will be a proportion of the full fee for the year in which you commence your time abroad or placement.

For information on field trip and other course related costs which are not included in your tuition fee, please contact the relevant Department/School.

See more general information about fees.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 7676
email: fees@qmul.ac.uk


Queen Mary has a substantial package of scholarships and bursaries which will benefit around 50 per cent of our undergraduate student body.

Scholarships and Bursaries available at Queen Mary for Home/EU Students

There are a number of scholarships and bursaries available each year for home students. Visit our Bursaries and Scholarships page for more information.

Visit our Advice and Counselling website for more information about financial support.

Scholarships available at Queen Mary for International Students

There are a number of Scholarships available each year for International Students including bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas.

Find out more about international scholarships.

Some International students may also be eligible for a fee reduction.

Loans and Grants available to help with tuition fees and living costs

Student Finance England administers all grant and loans for your studies if you normally live in England.

If you live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland you have an equivalent Student Finance department for your region.

Through Student Finance England, you can apply for (figures relate to programmes starting from September 2016):

  • A Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,000 to pay all or part of your fees
  • A Maintenance Loan of up to £10,702 to help pay your living costs like rent, food and travel
  • Extra grants if you have a disability or you have children or an adult dependant
  • You might get a grant to cover some travel expenses if you normally live in England but study away from home. If you’re a medical or dental student you might also qualify for help with the costs of attending clinical placements in the UK.

Visit Student Finance Information to find out more about:

  • How to apply for student finance
  • What eligibility rules apply, including if you already have a degree or previous higher education study
  • What the income thresholds are and how much you might personally get for each element of Student Finance
  • What to do if you have problems getting your Student Finance

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

  • Additional sources of funding
  • Planning your budget and cutting costs
  • Part-time and vacation work
  • Money for lone parents

For more information visit the Advice and Counselling service website, or call +44 (0)20 7882 8717.

Graduate employment

Language graduates go into many different walks of life, typically those in which interpersonal relations are a priority and in which fluency in one or more foreign languages is likely to be useful. Some obvious destinations are the Civil Service, management consultancy, the tourist industry, the financial world. Look at CILT's (The National Centre for Languages) website for more information (click here).

Recent graduates of the Russian programme work for Amnesty International, Ernst and Young, the British Council, Exeter University, etc. Among them are an immigration lawyer, a fiction writer, and a BBC journalist. Business and financial contacts between Britain and Russia have steadily expanded in the last twenty years, and many companies are keen to recruit speakers of Russian. Potential employers are likely to look favorably upon your willingness and ability to become fluent in a less commonly taught language such as Russian.

Entry to certain professions may require a period of specialised postgraduate training.

According to a survey of human resources managers in 2,700 companies, workers who speak more than one language are likely to be paid between 12-20% more than their monolingual colleagues. As the Independent put it, "Britons who learn a foreign language are richer, happier and are regarded as sexier than those who can only speak English" (Independent, 1st November 2004). Should you be one of them?

If you study Russian at Queen Mary,

  • You will reach a high level of spoken and written competence in the language, which will in many ways enrich your life.
  • You will receive a rigorous training in reading analytically and writing lucidly, which are fundamental transferable skills.
  • You will learn to think deeply about a culture that is quite different, which is interesting, enjoyable and sometimes surprising!
  • You will have the opportunity to spend a summer or year abroad, which, as well as developing your knowledge of Russian, will give you interpersonal skills and demonstrate your adaptability and flexibility.
  • You will paradoxically learn to understand yourself and your own native tongue better by studying the structure of a different language and culture.

Careers support

Throughout the course, students have access to an annual QM Careers and Enterprise Centre programme, to prepare them for internships and graduate level work. This includes employer led workshops on job applications and interviews as well as over 70 employer events to facilitate networks and help students to explore their options.

Recent careers events for language students include a workshop for returning 4th years, “What a Difference a Year Abroad Makes”, and a “Make Languages Work for You” speed meet event with alumni working in a variety of roles; for linguists, a careers day looking at how to use LinkedIn for job search, CV writing and career choice; for film students, a panel discussion with film and TV professionals and talk on how to start a career in film. Students also have access to our central careers programme, with a range of events including workshops on journalism, teaching, and employer-led recruitment skills training.

Opportunities for work experience are substantial given Queen Mary’s location between Canary Wharf, the City and the Olympic Village. Students are encouraged to build their work experience throughout their period of study. Opportunities can be found through QProjects, a local work experience scheme, QRecruit, which advertises internships and temporary work, Experience Works, a part time work fair, and volunteering with QMSU Provide. There are also over 1400 vacancies to browse on the QM JobOnline vacancy site.

Queen Mary’s extensive campus also provides over 1200 on-campus job and volunteer opportunities ranging from E-learning Assistant to Gym Instructor and from Society President to Student Mentor.

Read more about our careers programmes and range of work experience opportunities on the QM Careers pages http://www.careers.qmul.ac.uk/.


Name: Imogen Cable (Graduated 2016)

Studied: BA Russian

What's it like being a student in London?

London has all the facilities that a student could want. I think that the blend of the QM campus environment with the city beyond is the perfect combination of things that complement student life.

Please tell us about anything else that you’ve really enjoyed or found useful during your time as a QMUL student

I loved taking part in the Russian Play. I also enjoy classes with guest lecturers from Russia, especially those who have made films as I enjoy gathering as a department to watch these and then speak to the lecturer about them. I think that it is really useful to have practise oral exams as we did this year, as well as practising unseen translation in class.


Name: Josephine Roulet

Studied: BA Russian

Currently: Assistant to Research & Development Director, EDF Energy

What's it like being a student in London?

Studying at the QM Russian Department was an extremely pleasant and positive experience. The Lecturers were very qualified and passionate individuals. It was a pleasure to exchange with them. The great thing about studying Russian at Queen Mary is that there is a small number of students per year, meaning that we got a lot of attention and opportunities for one to one discussions with our lecturers. Given that they were so little of us, I was positively surprised by the range of subjects on offer on top of the language modules: from Russian Literature to Films, Russian Art, etc. We also had the chance to be taught by one of the best translator of Russian of our time- Robert Chandler.

What's it like being a student in London?

London has got everything to fulfill my interests, I felt really lucky to be part of the University of London group. This has got a few advantages, such as access to the beautiful, spacious, and comprehensive Senate House library on Russell Square.
How do you think your QMUL qualification will help your future career? 

It has definitely helped me to secure internship roles in the Russian art sector as a young graduate. I decided not to pursue a career with Russian, but this is only down to my own decision. For me this degree was more of an end in itself. I thoroughly enjoyed it and met some incredible people, some of which I am still in contact with. Today I actually miss the conversations with our lecturers, and sitting in lectures.

Please tell us about anything else that you’ve really enjoyed or found useful during your time as a QMUL student

The performance of the Russian Play (and the year-long work towards the end of the year performance); all of the Art History modules (including Paris in Art, Russian Avant-Garde and Avant-Garde Art); the Russian Films modules, and the meetings with Russian external speakers/ lecturers.

Make the most of your time to get yourself involved in projects (e.g.: the Russian Play; societies and groups) to meet people with common interests.  Make use of the Senate House library during revision time.

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