The Russian Flagship Program provides undergraduate students with a rigorous, flexible curriculum designed to enable students of all majors and at all levels of prior proficiency in Russian to meet the requirements of their major field of study and to achieve a Superior level of proficiency in Russian.

For more on language proficiency, see the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), which includes audio examples of speakers of English at different levels. You can also check out the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) Scale, which the federal government uses to score language skill levels.

Students admitted to the Russian Flagship Program work with an advisor on an individualized study plan for meeting these requirements. Those students who cannot follow the established curriculum in the recommended sequence will commit to summer study, in order to bring their proficiency up to target levels for each year in the program.

Download a chart that describes the typical course sequence, proficiency goals, and other requirements.

Domestic Requirements (UW-Madison)
  • Prerequisites
  • • First through Fourth Year Russian, or the equivalent: Slavic 101-102 (1st Year Russian), 203-204 (2nd Year Russian), 275-276 (3rd Year Russian), 315-316 (Russian Language and Culture I & II), 321-322 (4th Year Russian)
  • Required Courses
  • • Slavic 433: History of Russian Culture, 3 credits
    • Slavic 434: Contemporary Russian Culture, 3 credits
    • Slavic 699: Russian Across the Curriculum tutorial, 1 credit
    • One of the following courses:
    1. Slavic 560: Capstone Seminar in Russian Literature and Culture, 3 credits
    2. Slavic 705: Special Topics in Russian Language/Linguistics, 3 credits
    3. Research Seminar, 3 credits throughout the course of advanced study (new course, pending approval)

    Note: Regardless of when students meet these requirements, all admitted students are required to enroll in a minimum of 3 credits per semester (3 contact hours per week) of Russian language coursework throughout their course of study at UW-Madison.

  • Tutoring
  • • 1-4 hours per week of small-group or individualized tutoring
  • Required Co- and Extracurricular Activities
  • • Social Hour and/or Russian Tea for Russian Flagship students, at least 10 per semester
    • Workshops, lectures, and films in Russian, organized for Russian Flagship students
  • Optional Co- and Extracurricular Activities
  • • Russian House (Русский дом) in the International Learning Community
    • Russian Student Association
    • Russian table, and other on-campus and community events
Overseas Requirements
  • Minimum 6 weeks study abroad in an intensive Russian-language program at the secondary level or above, prior to participation in the academic yearlong Russian Overseas Flagship Capstone Program
  • Academic yearlong Russian Overseas Flagship Capstone Program in Almaty, Kazakhstan

Tutoring is a critical component of the Russian Flagship Program that provides students with 1-4 hours per week of extra practice and focused, small-group or individualized attention as they progress through the program and work to meet proficiency goals. Russian Flagship advisors determine the general areas of focus for tutoring; students decide with their tutors how best to organize tutoring sessions, based on these general areas of focus, and on students' interests and needs.

The most rewarding thing about Flagship, for me, is the sense of pride I feel when I am able to carry on a conversation with one of my native Russian speaking tutors. The personalized lessons and attention I get through the Flagship Program have led me to make vast improvements in my speaking abilities.

 - Isabelle Darby, Russian Flagship Alumna

Satisfactory Progress

To make satisfactory progress, students must:

  • Meet proficiency benchmarks and complete course requirements, as specified in their individualized study plan;
  • Maintain a GPA of 3.5 in Russian courses, and cumulative GPA of 3.0;
  • Enroll in at least 3 cr. of Russian each semester;
  • Participate in 1-4 hours of tutoring, following program policies and tutoring guidelines;
  • Actively participate in Russian Flagship Social Hour and other programming for Russian Flagship students;
  • Participate in Russian Flagship assessments. 

Students who are not making satisfactory progress will be notified first orally, then, if necessary, in writing. Students who receive a written notice may be placed on probation. Students on probation must meet the terms of the probation to remain a student in the Russian Flagship Program.

Student Certification System

Funding for Language Flagship scholarships is limited, based upon the amount that the UW-Madison receives in a given year to support Language Flagship scholarships, and on the number of eligible students who apply. Russian Flagship students are required to create and maintain a profile in the Student Certification System, the database used by the National Security Education Program, in order to be eligible for Language Flagship scholarships. Students must keep their profiles in the Student Certification System up-to-date.

For questions about the Student Certification System, please contact Laura Weigel.

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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