Undergraduate study - 2023 entry
Open to the world

MA Russian Studies

UCAS code: R700

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Russian Studies

Around 150 million people in the world speak Russian. It is the official language of four countries, is widely understood throughout Eastern Europe, and in the last thirty years has seen transnational mobility on an unprecedented scale.

Language learning

Our Year 1 Russian courses are streamed according to how much of the language you already know, so it does not matter if you are a complete beginner.

Through intensive language study, including a year abroad, you will have the opportunity to develop advanced speaking, writing, reading, listening and translating skills in Russian.

Cultural studies

Over the course of your four years, you will explore Russian literature and culture, past and present. You will also develop an awareness of Russia's international political and historical contexts.

In your honours years, you will choose from specialist options in:

  • Russian literature, language and society

  • Politics

  • post-Soviet culture.

Why Edinburgh

Our programme is extremely flexible. In Years 1 and 2, you will choose option courses from a wide range of disciplines, and specialise as you progress through your honours years.

When you graduate, you will have the combination of broad cultural education and specialist knowledge valued by employers worldwide.

One of the most attractive characteristics of this programme is its flexibility.

In Years 1 and 2, your pre-honours years, you will choose option courses from a wide range of disciplines in addition to your core subject of Russian Studies.

As well as broadening your education and skill set, this may enable you to change the focus of your programme in Years 3 and 4, your honours years.

Year 1

If you have no previous knowledge of Russian you will take Russian Studies 1A, an intensive beginners Russian course.

If you have studied the language before, you will take the Russian Studies 1B course which provides advanced Russian language study.

Both of these courses include a unit on Russian culture.

Option courses

You will complete your Year 1 studies with option courses chosen from a wide range offered by the University of Edinburgh.

You can, for example, opt to study another language. We offer one of the widest ranges of languages of any UK university - the majority are suitable for complete beginners and include cultural study.

Other options include, but are not limited to, courses in:

  • linguistics and language sciences

  • business, economics and informatics

  • politics, social policy and social anthropology

  • art and architectural history

  • history, classics and archaeology

  • Celtic and Scottish ethnology

  • philosophy, divinity and law

Summer language course

After completing Year 1 you have the opportunity to take a summer language course in St Petersburg, Moscow or Riga.

Year 2

You will continue to study Russian language, and will choose one of the following three courses:

  • Transnational Russian Culture

  • 19th century Russian literature

  • 20th century Russian literature

Option courses

As in Year 1, you will also choose option courses from a wide range offered by the University.

These include a great selection in European languages and cultures, allowing you to study literature, film and theatre in themed and comparative contexts.

Year 3

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 in a Russian-speaking country studying at a university or language centre.

Our current placement destinations include:

  • St Petersburg University

  • Herzen State University in St Petersburg

  • Higher School of Economics in Moscow

  • Liden and Denz Language Schools in Moscow, St Petersburg, and Riga

  • Derzhavin Institute in St Petersburg

  • Nova Mova Language School in Kiev

Our graduates have told us how much the year abroad has benefitted their broader life experience and skills, as well as their understanding of Russian culture.

We also aim to ensure your experience is as beneficial as possible to your final year, so while you are away you will:

  • complete an online Russian grammar course

  • prepare for writing your Russian Dissertation in Year 4

  • write two essays on a topic chosen from a list supplied by us

Some language centres provide internships on completion of the course. You may also be able to find your own internship, subject to departmental approval.

If international travel is not possible, you will be offered an alternative means of engaging with Russian, enabling you to meet your learning outcomes and preparing you for your final year.

Year 4

You will develop your advanced skills in Russian.

You will also choose from a wide range of specialist, honours-level courses taught by research-active experts.

These courses cover topics such as:

  • Russian literature

  • Russian language and society

  • Russian politics

  • post-Soviet culture

You will complete a dissertation in Russian, developing your independent research skills.

Our facilities

On campus

When you are on campus, you can expect to spend most of your time in the University of Edinburgh's Central Area - in class, in the library, or in one of the University’s many social spaces.

The Central Area is located on the edge of Edinburgh's historic Old Town, surrounded by lots of green space.

Take a virtual tour of the Central Area

Libraries, collections and centres

Based in the Main University Library, the Centre for Research Collections is unique in the UK. The centre brings together a collection of more than 400,000 rare books and six kilometres of archives and manuscripts. It also houses the University’s collections of art, historical musical instruments and other objects.

The Library also holds books, journals and databases for the study of Russian, including around 14,400 titles in the Russian language. E-resources include Russian newspapers, TV and radio channels.

Events and activities

The Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA) supports more than 300 student-led societies and clubs, including the Russian Society. It also promotes opportunities with local charities through its volunteering centre.

From making friends in language cafes to campaigning on global issues, these student-led groups offer lots of ways to engage.

Staff and student editors publish creative writing in nine European languages – including Russian – in the online magazine, Babble. Launch nights typically include readings and performances.

Our Princess Dashkova Russian Centre runs many academic and public events, including the Honorary Dashkova and Honorary John Erickson lectures.

In the city

Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections, including significant Russian holdings in the National Library of Scotland.

The city's European cinema scene is particularly strong. Its venues often screen films and hold events as part of the annual UK-wide Russian Film Week.

Study abroad

If international travel restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad (a minimum of 30 weeks), in a Russian-speaking country.

This is your chance to immerse yourself in Russophone culture, and to develop your broader life experience and skills towards life after university.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

You will be taught by experienced tutors including world-leading research academics.

Russian is taught in small groups and much of our teaching material is tailor-made for student requirements.

You will receive timely feedback on your work and will be offered individual as well as group consultations.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a combination of coursework and exams.

Skills and experience

Studying a language to degree level demonstrates that you are a good communicator, a resilient problem solver, and someone open to other cultures and new ideas – what employers value as Intercultural Competence.

Beyond the language skills you will develop on this programme, and the nuanced understanding you will gain of other cultures and societies, graduating with a four-year Master of Arts degree from the University of Edinburgh shows high-level intellectual strength and flexibility.

The skills you will be able to demonstrate to employers when you graduate include the ability to understand, analyse and articulate key concepts, and to work to varied briefs to deadline, both independently and in groups.

Opportunities at home and away

Around 150 million people in the world speak Russian, which plays an important role in global cultural and political contexts.

It is the official language of four countries and is widely understood throughout Eastern Europe. There are also large communities of Russian-speakers in China, the United States, France, Germany, Spain, Norway and the UK.

Our graduates can be found in every kind of career, especially those that place a premium on thinking that is both disciplined and imaginative. Wherever you are based in the world, your skills in this global language will make you stand out.

Within the private, public, not-for-profit, and for-benefit sectors, previous graduates have gone on to career pathways in:

  • business, finance and commerce

  • communications, marketing, advertising and public relations

  • education, outreach, advocacy and training

  • journalism, broadcasting and media

  • leisure, tourism and travel

  • politics, policy work, diplomacy, civil service and law

  • publishing, culture, heritage and the arts

  • research, development and venture acceleration

  • translating and interpreting

Further study

The enhanced research skills you will develop on a four-year programme, particularly in your honours years, are a valuable asset if you wish to continue studying at postgraduate level.

At the University of Edinburgh, we typically offer a Masters by Research degree in Russian, and interdisciplinary taught Masters programmes such as Comparative Literature and Intermediality.

Careers advice

We have an excellent Careers Service. Throughout your time with us, we will encourage you to identify and hone your employability skills, including through peer initiatives such as Life After LLC (Literatures, Languages and Cultures) where you can draw inspiration from our graduates.

Be inspired by our alumni

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AABB-ABBB by end of S5 or AAAB-AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAB - ABB.
  • IB: 36 points with 665 at HL - 34 points with 655 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5s: a language other than English at B and English at C.
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: a language other than English at B or 6 and English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: a language other than English at 5 and English at 5.

Additional requirements

Language requirement

For degrees that have a subject requirement of a language other than English, students may not use their own native language to meet this requirement. In these instances, English or an alternative language other than native will be acceptable.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

International Foundation Programme

If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.

International Foundation Programme

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

SQA, GCSE and IB

For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • SQA Standard Grade at 3
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 54 in each component.

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

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It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA Russian Studies

Additional costs

As long as international restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad. The costs incurred will depend on where you decide to go, and how you spend your time.

Some study placements at language schools may charge a fee, but we will normally reimburse you for tuition costs as long as your activity has been approved. You will be responsible for associated travel costs such as flights and visas.

Funding

For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding