The program is comprised of three main phases, completed in both the United States and in overseas. Students may enter the program at any time, provided they have met the requirements of the previous phase. Students work with an advisor on an individualized study plan to map out their plan for achieving the goal of a Superior level of proficiency in Russian. The length of time that it takes students to complete the program depends on their background and preparation, as well as their commitment to the program. Motivated and hard-working students with no prior knowledge of Russian can complete the program in five years.

Admitted students sign an acceptance form to indicate that they understand the program's requirements and commit to working to the best of their ability to achieve a Superior level of proficiency in Russian.

Phase One

Foundation in Russian: First to Fourth Year Russian or the Equivalent

Courses are offered during the academic year and over the summer at UW-Madison or abroad. Intensive first, second, and third year Russian courses are offered at UW-Madison during the summer. Students may take summer courses through other U.S. summer intensive programs such as the Russian Language Institute at Bryn Mawr College; Kathryn Wasserman Davis School of Russian at Middlebury College; Summer Workshop for Slavic and East European Languages at Indiana University; and the Center for Language Studies at Beloit College. 

In addition to first to fourth-year Russian language courses, Russian Flagship students in Phase One participate in small-group or individualized tutorials, as well as in extensive co- and extra-curricular activities. Students are strongly encouraged to live in the Русский дом/Russian House in the International Learning Community.

Phase Two

Advanced Coursework in Russian

Required courses are intended to help students reach the minimum of Advanced Low proficiency required for  the academic year Russian Overseas Flagship Program, and to undertake research in Russian in their major field of study.  Required courses are:

  • Slavic 433: History of Russian Culture (3 cr.)
  • Slavic 434: Contemporary Russian Culture (3 cr.)
  • One of the following courses: 1) a research seminar in Russian (3 cr.); Slavic 560: Capstone Seminar in Russian Literature and Culture (3 cr.); or 3) Slavic 705: Special Topics in Russian Language/Linguistics
  • Elective area studies courses, or courses in the student’s major field of study, with a Russian language component (3 cr.). 
  • A Russian Across the Curriculum tutorial (1 cr.)

Students who need additional preparation to reach the Advanced Low level of proficiency may enroll in Slavic 705: Special Topics in Russian I (3 cr.) or Slavic 705: Special Topics in Russian II (3 cr.).

Russian Flagship students in Phase Two continue to participate in small-group and individualized tutorials, as well as in extensive co- and extra-curricular activities, including living in the Russian House/Русский дом in the International Learning Community.

Important: At some point before Phase Three, to be eligible to apply for the Overseas Russian Flagship Program, students must participate in a 6-week (minimum) intensive Russian-language study abroad program at the secondary level or beyond.  

Phase Three

Russian Overseas Flagship Program

Students who have met proficiency requirements and have prior study abroad experience in a Russian-speaking country are eligible to apply for the Russian Overseas Flagship Program, the culminating experience of the Russian Flagship. This rigorous program is located at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (KazNU) in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and administered by the American Councils for International Education. The program provides professional language training and development, homestays, internships, and direct enrollment at KazNU. The goal of students on the Russian Overseas Flagship Program is to achieve a Superior level of proficiency in Russian.

The UW-Madison Russian Flagship is a collaborative initiative of the UW-Madison Department of Slavic Languages and Literature  and the Language Institute, with the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia, and the Doctoral Program in Second Language Acquisition
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