We offer courses in Russian, Polish, Turkish, and Romanian languages!


In order to determine student placement, SES offers oral and written proficiency testing In Russian, Polish, and Turkish languages at the beginning of fall semester.  In addition, the Department offers oral and written proficiency testing in Russian at the beginning and end of each semester.


Duke offers both summer and semester programs at St. Petersburg University in St. Petersburg, Russia, and summer programs at Bogazici University in Istanbul.  Brochures are available in both the Study Abroad office and the SES office.

NOTE: To fulfill the FL requirement, courses taken abroad must be taken in a Duke-administered or Duke-approved program.



I. Interested in learning Russian?

For students beginning RUSSIAN for the first time:

Why take Russian? Russian continues to be the 4th most important language in the world. Russian is a crucial language for students of science and math, as well as those interested in national security, foreign service, film and cultural studies, and the arts.

How long does it take to learn the Cyrillic alphabet? Students easily learn the Cyrillic alphabet in the first 2 class periods. It takes about one hour of memorization.

The Duke  Slavic and Eurasian Studies Department offers students 4 distinct options for completing the language proficiency requirement in Russian at the beginning level:

  • 2 semesters: RUS111 (intensive, 2 credits), RUS203 (1 credit), OR
  • 3 semesters: RUS101, RUS102, RUS203 (1 credit each), OR
  • 1 summer & 1 semester: RUS101, RUS102 (Duke in Russia program), RUS203 (at Duke), OR
  • 1 semester & 1 summer: RUS 101 or RUS111 (at Duke), RUS102, RUS203 (Duke in Russia program)

A new experimental, accelerated introductory course will also be offered.

For students wishing to continue their study of Russian:

A. Duke University has the richest course offerings in Russian language and culture in the United States. Furthermore, Duke has the oldest student-faculty exchange program with a Russian university in the U.S. The Duke Slavic Department regularly offers 5 fill years of language study EVERY SEMESTER as well as uniquely designed specialized language courses at the advanced levels, such as:

  • 2nd year Intermediate Russian: RUS 203, 204 (or Intensive 212)
  • 3rd year Advanced Intermediate Russian: RUS 301S, 1302S
  • 4th year Advanced Russian: RUS 401, 402
  • 5th year Russian Stylistics: RUS 551, 552
  • Scientific and Scholarly Russian (RUS 507)
  • Theory of Translation (RUS 363)
  • Language and Culture through Film (I & II) (RUS 373S, 374S)
  • Language and Culture through Theatre (RUS 375)
  • Language and Culture through Music (RUS 376)

[All Russian language courses are taught in Russian from the 100-level.]

B. In order to determine placement, the Duke Slavic Department offers oral and written proficiency testing in Russian language at the beginning and end of each semester.

C. The Duke Slavic. Department has several advanced Russian courses designed to meet the needs of heritage learners.

II. How do I get there?

Some possible course combinations for completing the Foreign Language Requirement in Russian:

A. No prior knowledge of Russian (or no more than 3 years of high school Russian study):

First Course

Second Course

Third Course

1st half Elementary (Russian 101)

2nd half Elementary (Russian 102)

Intermediate (Russian 203)

Intensive Elementary (Russian 111)
Counts as 2 courses

1st half Intermediate (Russian 203)

Continuation optional

First Course

Second Course

Third Course

Intensive Elementary (Russian 111)
Counts as 2 courses

DUKE IN RUSSIA [Summer] (Russian203)

Continuation optional

1st half Elementary (Russian 101)

DUKE IN RUSSIA (Russian Russian 203)

Continuation optional

DUKE IN RUSSIA (Russian 102)

1st half Intermediate (Russian 203)

Continuation optional

B. Some previous study of Russian:


Elementary (101-102), Intermediate (201-202), and Advanced (301-302) Polish language courses are offered at Duke.  Advanced Polish may be taught as an individual tutorial, depending on student demand. 

Why study Polish?

Polish is spoken by almost 40 million people in Poland as well as by millions throughout a global diaspora of Poles in countries as diverse as Brazil, Australia, Germany, Russia, and the United States. The earliest organized Polish settlement in the United States was near San Antonio, in Panna Maria, Texas (1854), which actively preserves its heritage.

Over the span of more than a thousand years, Poland existed variously as multi-ethnic empire, a sovereign nation, and a national state of mind when its territory was occupied by foreign powers. Regardless of their political fortunes, Polish citizens have contributed mightily to world culture and science; consider, for example,  the works of medieval astronomer Mikolaj Kopernik (‘Copernicus’), the two-time Nobel prize winning chemist/physicist Maria Sklodowska (‘Marie Curie’, who discovered radiation) and the composer Fryderyk Chopin. The twentieth century has added two Nobel prizes in literature in 16 years (Czeslaw Milosz and Wieslawa Szymborska).  Polish poets, fiction writers, playwrights, filmmakers, visual artists, performers, and philosophers have made their mark on global culture from the Renaissance to the present day.

For centuries Poland served as the diasporic home of the largest Jewish population in the world and the center of Yiddish culture (Warsaw was overtaken by New York as the home of the largest Jewish community in the world only in the twentieth century). The tragedy of the Holocaust played out to a large extent in Poland during the German Nazi occupation. There has been a resurgence of interest in Poland in the country’s Jewish heritage, and there are many museums, festivals, and research facilities devoted to the topic.

In addition to facilitating cultural, sociological, and political studies of this fascinating and complex nation, at once traditional and modern, a knowledge of Polish enhances your qualifications to pursue a career in the foreign service or other U.S. government positions; U.S.-Poland business relations; and development and exchange work in Central/Eastern Europe. A member of NATO and the European Union, Poland is in the mainstream of the latest political and economic developments in Europe.


Once the career opportunities and adventures of Istanbul and Turkey are discovered, the idea of learning Turkish begins to appeal to students with a variety of disciplinary interests. Turkey connects Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East; it has the world's 16th largest economy; and it is increasingly becoming a regional and global player in geopolitics. Turkey represents one of the few examples of the successful intersection of Islam and democracy. Historically, Turkey is heir to the Ottoman Empire, which consolidated much of Eastern Europe and the Middle East into one great civilization until the early 20th century. The flavor of Turkish culture is richly cosmopolitan, a sophisticated mix of ancient traditions and modern forces. 

For Americans, Turkey's liberal and intellectual climate bridging East and West and tradition and modernity, is a comforting environment in which to learn and explore. Learning Turkish gives access to many new opportunities in policy, international studies, business, science, technological research, and journalism. Turkish is a designated US Dept. of State critical language. Currently, students in Turkey are learning English at a record rate, while few Americans learn Turkish: to offset that imbalance of skill and opportunity, there is greater need for Americans to meet the creative challenge of learning Turkish in the twenty-first century.
Turkish at Duke is offered in four courses. The first two are accelerated courses (Turkish 101 and 102) that bring students to the intermediate level. Two additional courses (Turkish 301 and 302) focus on reviewing grammar, reading more advanced cultural and political texts (from newspapers to novels), discussing current events, and writing in a variety of genres. Duke offers a Turkish Minor for 2 language and 3 content credits (5 total). Finally, students are encouraged to study in Istanbul through the popular Duke in Turkey (Fall/Spring) and Duke in Istanbul (Summer) study abroad programs which are run through the Global Education Office.


Intensive Romanian is offered every other year so that students may complete the language requirement in one academic year (Fall – Romanian 11 (2 credits); Spring – Romanian 203 or 2120 (1 credit)).

For students wishing to study another Slavic and East European languages, including Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Czech, and Hungarian: These languages are not offered on a regular basis, but are offered regularly at UNC-Chapel Hill. See the UNC-CH Slavic Department for more information.

For more information about Russian Language, please consult the Slavic Department Web site: Consult the Official Schedule of Courses (ACES) for more detailed information on courses being offered each semester.  Also, feel free to contact the DUS, Professor Edna Andrews (). 

Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies
Russian Language Program
316 Languages Building Box 90259
Durham, NC 27708-0259
(919) 660-3140



Foreign Language Requirement (FL)

The foreign language requirement may be met in different ways, depending upon the level at which students begin the study of the language in question, but every graduate of Trinity College is expected to attain proficiency at least equivalent to that of the first intermediate course in that language.

If you begin your language study at Duke at the intermediate level or above, you can fulfill the language requirement by completing a 100-level course coded FL.

  • if you place into the first semester of the intermediate level, you will take three courses in the same language;
  • if you place into the second semester of the intermediate level, you will take two courses in the same language;
  • if you place into the 100-level, you will take one course.
  • If you begin your language study at Duke at the elementary level, you can fulfill the foreign language requirement in that language by completing three (3) courses coded FL.

Note: Courses completed in order to fulfill the foreign language requirement must all be taken in the same language.

For more information: Academic Requirements and Languages at Duke.

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