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Central European, Russian and Eurasian Studies Major

Central European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (CERES) is an interdisciplinary program bringing together a wide range of course subjects for a cohesive undergraduate major offering aimed toward completion of a Bachelor of Arts degree.

About the Central European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (CERES) Major

CERES is a full-fledged undergraduate major offering the Bachelor of Arts degree, and it has traditionally welcomed students intending to double-major. The program brings together an array of Maryland’s finest faculty working on the region in a range of departments in the social sciences, humanities and other areas. Our majors take courses in a range of different departments, gaining a firm grounding in the languages, literatures, history, politics and economics of their area of study. Students have the flexibility to do coursework in other fields related to the area and learn to examine the area of study with the tools of many scholarly fields. At this time, CERES is hosted by the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.

CERES is international

The CERES program fosters in-depth knowledge of the region stretching from Prague in the West to Vladivostok in the East. This includes three main areas: Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and Eurasia (the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union).

CERES is interdisciplinary

Our majors take courses in a range of different departments, gaining a firm grounding in the languages, literatures, history, politics and economics of their area of study. They have the flexibility to do coursework in other fields related to the area as well. Students learn to examine our area of study with the tools of many scholarly fields.

CERES is comparative

Our goal is to advance knowledge about a wide array of different peoples, countries and cultures in the former Soviet Union and Eastern/Central Europe. Students develop the skills to compare diverse areas by studying the entire region.

CERES is practical

Our majors prepare for careers and graduate programs in which in-depth knowledge of Russia, Central Europe and Eurasia can be applied with great benefits, such as journalism, government service, diplomacy, business, a variety of professional schools and M.A. and Ph.D. programs in the humanities and social sciences.

Degree Requirements

Requirements for the CERES major include the College of Arts and Humanities requirement of 45 upper-level credits completed. The college’s foreign-language requirement will be automatically fulfilled in the process of fulfilling the CERES requirement of taking either Russian, German or a Central/East European language (including Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Serbian and Croatian, Bulgarian and Romanian). The language requirement can also be fulfilled by a Eurasian language (ie, a language from a country formerly part of the Soviet Union). Those interested in fulfilling the CERES language requirement through a Central/East European or Eurasian language should consult the director upon entering the program.

Students on the Russian language track must complete a minimum of 24 credit hours in the Russian language and literature courses selected among the following equivalent courses: RUSS 101, 102, 201, 202, 301, 302, 303, 321, 322, 401, 402, 403 and 404. Students interested in specializing primarily in Central/Eastern Europe have the option of the German language track and must complete a minimum of 24 credit hours in the Department of Germanic Studies selected among the following equivalent courses: GERM 101, 102, 201, 202, 301, 302. Students on the Central/East European language track must complete the equivalent of 24 credit hours of language study. Also accepted will be 16 credit hours of Russian OR German and the equivalent of 8 credit hours of a Central/East European language. Fulfilling the language requirement through a Eurasian language (a language of a country of the former Soviet Union, such as Ukrainian, a Central Asian or Transcaucasian language) will be decided on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the director.

It is recommended but not required that the student who plans on doing graduate work complete at least 18 credit hours at the 300-level or above (which may include courses applicable to the CERE program) in one of the above-mentioned departments. It is also recommended that students who plan on doing graduate work in the social sciences, government and politics, economics, geography, and sociology take at least two courses in statistical methods.

The student’s advisor will be the program director or the designate. The student must receive a grade of C or better in all the above-mentioned required courses.

Students must complete 24 hours in CERES courses at the 300-level or above. These 24 hours must be taken in at least four different departments (with the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures counting as a single department), and may include language-literature courses beyond the required 24 hours. These courses include Russian 321-322 - Survey of Russian Literature I-II (in Russian); RUSS382 Russian Civilization II (in Russian); Russian 405 - Russian-English Translation I; Russian 409A/798A - Selected Topics in Russian Language Study: Russian Television and Journalism (in Russian).

Of the 24 hours, at least 9 hours must be in those CERES courses with a substantial and specific focus on Central/East Europe (ART 488c, GVPT 359, 409, HIST 319, 340, 443, and other special courses offered in the CERE area with the approval of the director) and at least 9 hours must be in those CERE courses with substantial and specific Russian/Eurasian focus (GEOG 325, GVPT 445, 451, 459a, 481, HIST 344, 424, 425, 442, SOCY 474, THET 499, and other special courses offered in the CERE area with the approval of the director).

Course Requirements

(3 Courses, usually taken during sophomore or junior year)
In addition to language courses, the following CERES courses count for the major’s requirements:

  • ARTH 488c—Modernism in Central and Eastern Europe
  • ECON 315—Economic Development of Underdeveloped Areas
  • ECON 380—Comparative Economic Systems
  • GEOG 325—Geography of the Soviet Union
  • GERM 349I: Germanic Literatures in Translation: Literature of the Holocaust
  • GERM 339: German Literature in Translation: Kafka and Film
  • GERM 439F: Germanic Literatures in Translation: Berlin und Wien um1900
  • GVPT 359*—East European Politics and Societies
  • GVPT 359*— Rise and Fall of Communism
  • GVPT 409—International Relations and World Politics: Developments in the Post-Communist World
  • GVPT 445—Russian Political Thought
  • GVPT 451—Foreign Policy of Russia and the States of the Former Soviet Union
  • GVPT 459a—Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics
  • GVPT 481—Government of Russia
  • GVPT 4** – Communism, Fascism, and Liberal Democracy in 20th-Century Europe
  • HIST 307/JWST 345 The Holocaust of European Jewry
  • HIST 340— Nationalism and Communism in Eastern Europe
  • HIST 344— Revolutionary Russia
  • HIST 419 – Empire and Nations: The Habsburg Monarchy, 1740-1918
  • HIST 424—Early Russia
  • HIST 425—Imperial Russia
  • HIST 442—Twentieth-Century Russia
  • HIST 443— Modern Balkan History
  • HIST 419*/JWST 419L History of East European and Russian Jewry
  • PHIL 328—Studies in Philosophy: Marxist Philosophy
  • RUSS 328—Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature in Translation
  • RUSS 398—Women in Russian Culture
  • RUSS 431—Russian Literature of the 19th Century I
  • RUSS 432—Russian Literature of the 19th Century II
  • RUSS 433—Russian Literature of the 20th Century
  • SOCY 474— Post-Soviet Societies
  • THET 499– History of Performance and Theatre in Russia

The various cooperating departments also offer special seminars and non-permanent courses in the Russian, East European, and Eurasian field that can count for the major’s requirements, so students should regularly check the offerings of the core departments. HIST 237, Russian Civilization, is recommended as a general introduction to the program but does not count toward the fulfillment of the program’s requirements.

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