Russian for Russians
If you have learned Russian at home or in a Russian community, you may continue studying Russian in academic setting at Cornell. You may also be exempt from the foreign language requirement at Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences and other schools at Cornell and/or receive 3 credit hours/units towards graduation.
Exemption
All students who completed their high school education in Russia have thus met the Arts College foreign language requirement and do not need to take any tests or obtain any documents from the Russian Language Program. See your advising dean if appropriate documentation is not already included in your Cornell dossier.
All other students who want top be exempt from foreign (non-English) language study need to demonstrate language ability in Russian equivalent to that of a high school graduate in Russia. This is done at the Russian Placement Test (also called CASE or Cornell Advanced Standing Examination), see below.
The Placement Test may also be taken by students who want to continue their Russian studies at Cornell and are not sure what courses to take (see below).
Placement Test
The Russian Placement Test (also called CASE or Cornell Advanced Standing Examination) is scheduled a few days before the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. The time and place for this test are posted at our home page for a few weeks before each new semester. The test may be taken for a variety of reasons: to determine eligibility for an exemption, to receive credit, or to find an appropriate course for continuing Russian studies.
All students from Russian families who want to be exempt from language study at Cornell are asked to read a one-page (single-spaced) newspaper article in Russian and to compose a one-page (handwritten) essay about it. The essay must restate the basic facts or ideas described in the article and discuss them in a style appropriate to an academic discussion among high school seniors. Use of reference materials (dictionaries, notes, etc.) is not permitted. The examiner will read your essay while you wait and if you pass this stage, will discuss the article with you. You will have one hour to read the article and write about it. You will then wait for your turn to speak to the examiner. This conversation will be no longer than five to ten minutes. Depending on the number of students taking the examination, you may have to spend up to three hours at this test. Plan your day accordingly. There are no numerical evaluations for the results of this test. Your ability to write and speak at the appropriate level of fluency and stylistic and grammatical accuracy will be evaluated by the examiner. The results will be available immediately.
If you do not qualify for the exemption but can speak, read, and write Russian roughly at the level of Cornell students who complete our first Russian language course at the 2200 level (RussA 2203), that is if you "place" in our second 2200-level course, you will be granted 3 credit hours/units towards graduation. To demonstrate that level of knowledge, you will be asked to write a short text on a general subject offered at the test, and then converse with the examiner for a few minutes. You may be asked to read a short passage as well. The result of the test will be stated a the end of the session.
If you speak Russian but have not learned to read and/or write, you will speak to the examiner who will then determine whether you qualify for the reading, writing, and grammar course that we offer for students with those abilities (usually Russian 3305, see below).
Taking Russian Courses
We offer several Russian language courses for those who learned Russian at home or in their community and want to study it more formally at Cornell.
Russian 1125 (RUSSA 1125, Fall only; the section for native speakers) and Russian 1126 (RUSSA 1126, Spring only; the section for native speakers) are for students who can read Russian and are interested in expanding their vocabulary. In these courses, current Web sites are read and translated into English.
Completing these courses does not satisfy the Arts College foreign language requirement. These courses are further described in the Web pages under Courses (in the navigation bar on the left).
Russian 3305 (RUSSA 3305, Fall only) and Russian 3306 (RUSSA 3306, Spring only) are for students who speak grammatically correct Russian and can understand informal spoken Russian without difficulty, but have not learned to write grammatically correct Russian, or have not learned to read or write at all. The course covers the basics of Russian grammar and also touches on issues of style. The exact nature and syllabus (including the meeting times) of the course may vary somewhat from one semester/year to another depending on the particular group of students who sign up for it. This is discussed at the organizational meeting at the beginning of each semester, usually on Day 2 or Day 3 of the semester. The time and place of the meeting are posted at our home page a few weeks before the new semester.
Successful completion of one of these courses (when taken for 3 credit hours/units) satisfies the Arts College foreign language requirement (but not any of the other requirements). These courses are further described in the Web pages under Courses (in the navigation bar on the left).
Russian 3309 (RUSSA 3309, Fall only, the section for native speakers) and Russian 3310 (RUSSA 3310, Spring only, the section for native speakers) are for students who can read Russian fluently and have no difficulty speaking about the books they read. The purpose of the course is to strengthen one's reading skills and to learn how to discuss facts, issues, theories, and opinions in a style appropriate for an educated adult. The reading assignments are up to 80 pages per week. They may combine fiction and non-fiction works from the 19th, 20th, or 21th century and vary from one year/semester to another. Successful completion of one of these courses satisfies the Arts College foreign language requirement (but not any of the other requirements).
These courses are further described in the Web pages under Courses (in the navigation bar on the left). Note that these are not courses in Russian Literature as they do not address issues of literary theory or many other aspects of Russian literature that are treated in Russian Literature courses, the RUSSL series in the Course Catalog.
Russian 6633 (RUSSA 6633, Fall only) and Russian 6634 (RUSSA 6634, Spring only) have been taught on several occasions to native speakers of Russian who are interested in finer points of grammar and style, both in writing and speaking, including public speaking, as well as translating literary texts from English to Russian. The course may or may not be taught like that in any given semester/year. Come to our organizational meeting (usually on Day 2 or Day 3 of the semester) to discuss the possibilities. The time and place of the meeting are posted at our home page a few weeks before the new semester. Successful completion of the course satisfies the Arts College foreign language requirement (but not any of the other requirements). These courses are further described in the Web pages under Courses (in the navigation bar on the left).
 
 
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Dept. of Comparative literature • Russian Language Program • 240 Goldwin Smith Hall • Cornell University • Ithaca, NY 14853-4701, USA
tel. 607/255-4155 • fax 607/255-8177 • email slava.paperno@cornell.edu