Russian MA (Hons)
2017 entry

The MA (Hons) in Russian teaches you to use Russian with sound grammatical accuracy and a high level of oral aptitude. In addition to language teaching, you will also be given a deeper and more diverse understanding and appreciation of different aspects of Russian culture through modules dedicated to the literature, history and Russian society.

Russian at St Andrews uses a specially designed language teaching programme that caters both for students who have already studied Russian as a main subject at school and for absolute beginners. Upon completing the degree, you will have an excellent command of the Russian language and have gained an invaluable understanding and appreciation of the Russian-speaking world.

During your third year, you have the opportunity to study abroad in Russia for a semester or full academic year. The MA (Hons) in Russian is also available as a five-year course with an integrated year abroad. The integrated year abroad is an opportunity for students to spend a year working in a Russian-speaking country between second year and third year. Find out more about the Russian integrated year abroad.

Applications for 2017 entry for this course have now closed, see which courses are available for the upcoming academic year.

UCAS code


Course type

Master of Arts (single Honours degree)

Course duration

Four years full time

Entry requirements

SQA Highers AAAB
GCE A-Levels AAB
IB points 36

For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.

Find out more about international entry requirements.

Applications for 2017 entry for this course have now closed, see which courses are available for the upcoming academic year.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No prior knowledge of Russian is necessary, and modules are not designed for native speakers.    

Faculty entry requirements

You must also meet the Faculty of Arts minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.  

Other qualifications

Passes in other examinations at equivalent levels and subjects may be accepted by the Dean of the Faculty.

Find out more about Faculty of Arts entry requirements.

Course information

The MA (Hons) in Russian is a four-year course run by the School of Modern Languages. The course focuses on building a high level of competence in language skills and allows you to delve into particular topics of interest within Russian culture and history.

The course is available to both students who are beginners in Russian and to more advanced students who have an SQA Higher or A GCE A-Level qualification in Russian. Advanced students will follows a separate language course for the first two years.

In the first two years, students of all levels will build on existing skills in Russian and are offered a broad view of Russian literature, civilisation and culture.

During your third and fourth year you will take modules focused on communication skills and can choose to specialise in a number of areas such as Russian literature, film or cultural history.

Graduates in Modern Languages from St Andrews can expect to have not only a high level of competency in language skills, but a highly developed appreciation for other cultures and peoples. Other transferable skills, including analysis, synthesis and communication skills will prepare you for a career in almost any industry.

Students may choose to spend an additional year working or studying in Russia. Find out more about the integrated year abroad for this course.

Find out more about studying Russian at St Andrews.


In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the required modules in Russian along with modules in at least one additional subject.

Typically, you will take one Russian module per semester during your first two years, and four Russian modules per semester during your third and fourth year (known as Honours). Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

Two different types of module are offered in first year: intensive foundation courses for beginners, and advanced language and literature courses for those with higher entrance qualifications. 

Students who are beginners are required to take the following compulsory modules in their first year:

  • Elementary Russian Language 1: provides the most basic elements of Russian – the alphabet, vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.
  • Elementary Russian Language 2: provides training in Russian grammar sufficient for reading Russian texts (books, newspapers, etc) with the aid of a dictionary.

Students who have an SQA Higher or GCE A-level in Russian will take the following compulsory modules in first year:

The distinction between beginners and non-beginners is maintained in year two, with separate sets of modules depending on your previous experience.

Students who are beginners are required to take the following compulsory modules in their second year:

  • Intermediate Russian Language 1: reinforces Russian grammar and syntax. Students will translate passages between Russian and English which engage with key historical and cultural events.
  • Intermediate Russian Language 2: continues to build on the grammar and syntax taught in Intermediate Russian 1, and develops comprehension skills in response to contemporary audio-visual and online material.

Students who have an SQA Higher or GCE A-level in Russian will take the following compulsory modules in second year:

  • Advanced Intermediate Russian Language 1: reinforces Russian grammar and syntax at a higher level. Students will translate passages between Russian and English which engage with key historical and cultural events.
  • Advanced Intermediate Russian Language 2: continues to build on the advanced grammar and syntax taught in Advanced Intermediate Russian 1. Spoken Russian is improved through small-group oral tuition classes with a native language instructor.

If you take Russian at St Andrews in your third and fourth years, you will choose from a variety of advanced options which incorporate literary, historical and cultural studies into language learning. Students of all language levels take the same core modules in Russian language, including advanced oral, writing and communication skills. Optional specialist modules at Honours level include (but are not limited to):

  • Russia’s Literary Easts
  • The 19th-Century Russian Novel
  • Russian Crime Fiction
  • Soviet Culture Under Stalin
  • Issues in Russian Cultural Memory
  • Russian Modernist Fiction: 1900-1940
  • The City in Soviet and Russian Cinema
  • Gender in Russian Literature and Culture
  • Russian Children’s Literature. 

In fourth year, students have the option of undertaking a dissertation of up to 5,000 words in length, written in English, on a topic of their choice. This independent project enables you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees.

The modules listed here are the compulsory modules that students must take in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. A full list of all modules currently available can be found in the module catalogue.


Teaching format

All Modern Language modules involve a combination of lectures, tutorials and practical languages classes. Lectures provide information, stimulate thought, and suggest directions for further reading and personal study. Small language tutorials allow you to actively work together with your tutors to practice language skills, present papers, and discuss texts and issues relevant to the course.

Sub-honours Russian modules are delivered through lectures (15 to 60 students), tutorials (10 to 15 students), language classes and oral classes.

At Honours level, you will attend smaller language classes (5 to 15 students) and seminars (5 to 12 students).


All Russian modules are assessed by a combination of coursework (at least 40%) and end-of-semester examinations. Coursework includes advanced language exercises, discursive essays and oral presentations.

Examinations are held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand. Examinations are either entirely in written format or comprise both written and oral components.

Tutors advise you closely on the preparation of written work and give individual assessments of your performance.


Tuition fees for 2017 entry

Scotland and EU £1,820
Rest of the UK £9,250
Overseas £20,570

For overseas students, tuition fees will be fixed at this level for the duration of your programme.

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page.

Accommodation fees

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation in 2017.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.

Faculty of Arts scholarships

The Dr Lawrence M Wodehouse Scholarship provides financial assistance for students studying in the Faculty of Arts who are academically gifted but would otherwise struggle with the cost of studying at St Andrews.

Find out more about undergraduate scholarships.

Joint Honours degrees

You can take Russian as part of a joint Honours degree alongside one of the following subjects.

  • Arabic
  • Art History
  • Comparative Literature
  • Economics
  • English
  • Film Studies
  • French
  • German
  • International Relations
  • Italian
  • Latin
  • Mathematics
  • Mediaeval History
  • Middle East Studies
  • Modern History
  • Persian
  • Philosophy
  • Scottish History
  • Social Anthropology
  • Spanish
  • Theological Studies

Modern Language degrees

It is possible to study Russian with two modern languages. Any combination of Arabic, French, German, Italian, Persian, and Spanish is possible.

You can also take Russian as part of a Modern Languages joint Honours degree with two modern languages and one additional subject.

If you are taking:

  • Russian

You can also take one modern language:

  • Arabic
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Spanish

And one other subject:

  • Comparative Literature

If you are taking:

  • Russian

You can also take one modern language:

  • Arabic
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Persian
  • Spanish

And one other subject:

  • English
  • International Relations
  • Latin
  • Management

If you are taking:

  • Russian

You can also take one modern language:

  • Arabic
  • French
  • Italian
  • Persian
  • Spanish

And one other subject:

  • Classical Studies

'With' degrees

You can take Russian as part of a "with" Honours degree in which the majority of the course deals with the first named subject. St Andrews offers the following "with" degrees in Russian:

  • Economics with Russian
  • Mathematics with Russian
  • Russian with Geography

Your future


Russia’s political and economic significance in the world means ever-multiplying career prospects for those who can communicate in Russian.

Graduates of Russian have gone to successful careers in:

  • the British Foreign Office
  • Civil Service
  • journalism
  • law
  • teaching
  • the armed services
  • accountancy
  • management consultancy.

Others work as educators in Russia and Eastern Europe or pursue graduate study. Find out more about career destinations for language graduates.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills. 

Study abroad

The University is delighted to offer undergraduates a number of exciting opportunities to apply to spend a semester or year abroad as part of a St Andrews degree programme. St Andrews is partnered with large and small institutions, ancient and young, across the globe. What unites all of our programmes is the quality of the academic provision, ensuring that participation in a St Andrews Study abroad programme opens the door to a new and valuable academic experience at another world-class institution. Study Abroad for credit is permitted on existing University-approved programmes only.

Working abroad

Completing a work placement abroad is a good opportunity to gain work experience in another culture or language and to enhance valuable skill sets. As part of specific degree programmes in Modern Languages, you may apply to undertake a work placement abroad for credit.

Student life

From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.

Students of Russian may be interested in joining the following student societies:

  • Russian Society (RusSoc) is dedicated to sharing Russian culture and language in Fife. They host events including poetry nights, film screenings, coffee gatherings and international food evenings.
  • University of St Andrews Ukrainian Society (UASocStA) promotes Ukrainian culture in the University and the town. They host socials, cultural nights, cook-off and movie nights, and many other events.
  • At Home and Abroad Society (AHAsoc) promotes study and work abroad programmes along with all forms of international cultural exchange.

The School of Modern Languages is situated at the very centre of St Andrews in the Buchanan Building on Union Street. Within the Buchanan Building is the Multimedia Centre, a digital language lab which students will use as both a component of their module classwork and as part of individual study.

The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As the campus is located around town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh make it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland. Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.


Department of Russian
University of St Andrews
Buchanan Building
Union Street
St Andrews
KY16 9PH

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2954

Russian website