One of approximately twenty doctoral programs in Slavic Studies in the U.S., the Slavic department at the University of Pittsburgh has six full-time tenured faculty members. In both the undergraduate and graduate areas, the Slavic Department teaches courses in Russian, Polish, B/C/S (Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian), Slovak, and Ukrainian, but remains primarily Russian-oriented, this fact reflecting, on the undergraduate level, the interests of most potential majors and, on the graduate level, the current needs of the field. At present the undergraduate majors offered are in Russian and Slavic Studies, with the possibility of a self-designed major in Polish. A minor in Slovak is available. The Russian major stresses language proficiency, the study of major periods and authors, and the culture of the former Soviet Union. The MA program in literature and culture, together with a Russian and East European Studies certificate, is suitable for students planning careers in government, business, or teaching. The PhD in literature and culture is often combined with Certificates in Cultural Studies, Film Studies or Russian and East European Studies.
Owing to an exceptionally strong auxiliary program in Russian and East European Studies, under the aegis of the University Center for International Studies, the University of Pittsburgh has a program of faculty and student contacts and exchanges with Eastern Europe, including Russia, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, the former Yugoslavia and Bulgaria.
The Slavic department's strong commitment to its undergraduate program is reflected in a high student retention rate and the quality of its undergraduate majors and minors. Its equal dedication to the graduate program has ensured a record of unusual success in job placement for its PhDs. All tenured faculty teach at the undergraduate level. Beginning language courses, such as First- and Second-Year Russian, are typically taught according to a lecture-recitation format, with senior faculty or other experienced instructors in charge.
For over twenty years the department has offered intensive summer language programs in Russian, Polish, Slovak, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Bosnia/Croatian/Serbian, Czech and Hungarian. More than half of the participants in the summer programs come from schools outside the University of Pittsburgh system. Proceeds from the Summer Institute enable the Department to underwrite the Ivan Elagin graduate fellowship, which provides one year of support for an incoming graduate student without teaching responsibilities. 95% of participants in SLI receive partial and full scholarships.
Another of the department’s strengths is in Film Studies. In the past several years the department has helped organize a series of screenings from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, the Russian Federation, Slovakia, and the nation states of the former Yugoslavia, as well as films from all of the newly independent nation states of Central Asia. In addition, the department supports the annual Russian Film Symposium, a week-long event that is held during the first week of May on the university campus and at Pittsburgh Filmmakers.