SMU is one of the few universities in Texas that offers the Russian language. Established in 1964, the SMU Russian program has a rich tradition. Russian language courses are taught in the context of culture and new developments in Russia which makes language acquisition engaging, effective, and exciting. The Department of World Languages and Literatures offers a minor in Russian area studies (an ideal pairing with many majors, including international studies, history, political science, world languages, English, computer science, engineering, journalism, art history, music, and education), study abroad opportunities during the summer or regular semester, and cultural enrichment activities supported by the SMU Society for Russian Studies (Russian Club).

Why Study Russian?

Russian is the fifth most spoken language in the world. It is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. It belongs to the group of critical needs world languages by the U.S. government. The demand today for professionals who know Russian is great and growing. Our graduates have prestigious jobs in the fields of law, government, business, and academia. 


2022-23 Russian Area Highlights

Read the magazine here.


What SMU alumni say about how learning Russian has impacted their careers:

Nina Rangelova, Olympic swimmer, marketing manager, B.A. SMU, 2015

"Russian classes at SMU not only gave me a professional advantage, but also provided me with good background about Russian culture and broadened my knowledge about the world we live in."


Drew Hoeffner, J.D., American University, Washington DC, 2015; B.A. SMU, 2011

"I now work as a lawyer in Paris, France. I studied Russian and French at SMU and abroad two summers in Moscow. My major in World Languages allowed me to pursue my professional career at the international level."


Wrenn Schmidt, actress, B.F.A. SMU, 2005       

"I loved all of the cultural aspects of Russia we discussed in class and outside the classroom. I felt like the language became easier the more I understood the culture."


Drika Weller, Ph.D. (Psychology), University of California, Davis, 2010; B.A. SMU, 2005  

"Russian studies at SMU gave me the credentials to receive two fellowships to conduct research projects in Moscow. This experience significantly boosted my application for graduate schools and made me a more desirable graduate candidate. As a graduate student, I applied for grants to conduct a cross-cultural research project in Russia. These opportunities would not have been possible without having had Russian language classes as an undergraduate."


Meghan Kreuziger, J.D., SMU Dedman School of Law, 2009; B.A. SMU, 2006

"My Russian helped to distinguish me as a candidate for law school. It did help me to get my summer internship at law firm and it helped me to get my job, which led to permanent employment after I graduated."