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Undergraduate Program

slavic and eastern languages and literatures


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Undergraduate Program Description

The Department administers undergraduate majors in Linguistics, Russian, and Slavic Studies, as well as minors in Arabic, Chinese, Linguistics, Russian, and East European Studies. Students may also participate in an interdisciplinary minor in interdisciplinary programs in Asian Studies, International Studies, and Islamic Civilization and Societies. Departmental honors require successful completion of honors requirements. For information, contact the Department.

The Department maintains listings of related courses from other departments that satisfy various program requirements. Substitutions and exemptions from specific program requirements, as well as the application of courses from other institutions, require express permission from the Chairperson or the Undergraduate Program Director.

Students fulfilling the undergraduate Core requirements in Literatures should consider Core offerings taught by members of the Department and Cultural Diversity.

References to the number of credits required pertain to students enrolled in the class of 2014 and beyond, but also correlate with the number of full one-semester courses required.

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Major in Linguistics (ten 1–semester courses, 30 credits)

The focus of the Linguistics program does not lie alone in the acquisition of language skills, but rather in learning to analyze linguistic phenomena with a view toward making significant generalizations about the nature of language.

Students majoring in Linguistics build their programs around a specific area of emphasis. A program of study tailored to the individual student's interests and goals is designed in consultation with the faculty. Areas of emphasis include, but are not limited to, philology (the historical and comparative study of ancient languages), psycholinguistics, and language acquisition.

A typical program for this major requires the following:

  • LING3101 General Linguistics (3 credits)
  • LING3102 Syntax and Semantics (3 credits)
  • LING3103 Language and Language Types (3 credits)
  • Two courses (6 credits) of a philological nature on the detailed structure of a language
  • Five additional Linguistics courses (15 credits) drawn from departmental offerings, supplemented by approved language-related courses in other departments.

Linguistics majors should have proficiency in one foreign language and competence in at least one other language at a level appropriate to their career plans. Some exposure to a non-Indo-European language is desirable (e.g., Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean—all of which are taught within the Slavic and Eastern Languages and Literatures Department).

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Minor in Linguistics (departmental)

This departmental minor requires a minimum of six approved 1-semester courses (18 credits):

  • LING3101 General Linguistics (3 credits)
  • LING3102 Syntax and Semantics (3 credits)
  • Two courses on philological topics (6 credits)
  • Two courses on general linguistic topics (6 credits)

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Major in Russian (ten 1-semester courses, 30 credits)

The normal program for the major in Russian concentrates on acquiring advanced proficiency in the language and the ability to comprehend and analyze important aspects of Russian literature and culture.

The requirements for majors in Russian are as follows:

  • Three courses (9 credits) in Russian grammar, composition, and stylistics beyond the intermediate level
  • Three courses (9 credits) in Russian literature, including two survey courses for classical and modern Russian literature (SLAV2162 and SLAV2173)
  • One course (3 credits) in Russian linguistics (The Structure of Russian, Early Slavic Linguistics and Texts, Old Church Slavonic, or Old Russian)
  • Three electives (9 credits) in Russian literature or advanced Russian linguistics (list of approved courses available)

The Department also has provisions for a Russian major with a concentration on culture and civilization.

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Minor in Russian (departmental)

The departmental minor in Russian requires a minimum of six approved courses (18 credits):

  • Two courses (6 credits) in Russian at or above the intermediate level
  • Two courses (6 credits) in Russian literature: one pre-twentieth century and one post-nineteenth century
  • Two additional courses (6 credits) in Russian literature, culture, or linguistics

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Major in Slavic Studies (ten courses)

The major in Slavic Studies provides broadly based training in scholarship about Russia and the nations of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The normal program for this major requires the following:

  • Two courses (6 credits) in a Slavic language at or above the intermediate level
  • One course (3 credits) in Slavic civilizations (usually SLAV2169 Slavic Civilizations)
  • Two courses (6 credits) in a Slavic literature
  • Two courses (6 credits) in Slavic history or social sciences
  • Three electives (9 credits) in general Slavic studies (list of approved courses available).

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Minor in Arabic Studies (departmental)

The departmental minor in Arabic Studies covers areas of Modern Standard Arabic and Modern Hebrew languages, Modern Middle Eastern literature and cultural history, and Near Eastern Civilizations. The minor requires a minimum of six approved one-semester courses (18 credits):

  • Two courses (6 credits) in Modern Standard Arabic above the first semester of intermediate intensive level;
  • Four courses (12 credits) in Middle Eastern languages, cultures, literatures and civilizations.

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Minor in Chinese (departmental)

The departmental minor in Chinese focuses on acquiring modern language proficiency and knowledge of aspects of Chinese culture, literature and civilization. The minor requires a minimum of six approved one-semester courses (18 credits):

  • Two courses (6 credits) in modern Mandarin Chinese above the first semester of intermediate intensive level;
  • Four courses (12 credits) in Chinese culture and literature, which may include courses taught in translation, language courses in Classical Chinese and Advanced Chinese, and Introduction to Far Eastern Civilizations.

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Minor in Asian Studies (interdisciplinary)

For information concerning the Asian Studies minor, contact the Director of the interdisciplinary minor in Asian Studies, Sing-chen Lydia Chiang, chiangs@bc.edu, 617-552-0128.

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Minor in East European Studies (interdisciplinary)

The East European Studies interdisciplinary minor requires a minimum of six approved one-semester courses (18 credits), distributed as follows:

  • One introductory course (3 credits) either Russian Civilization (SLAV2165) or Slavic Civilizations (SLAV2169)
  • One additional course (3 credits) in Russian or East European history or politics
  • Two courses (6 credits) in Russian or another East European language at or above the intermediate level
  • Two approved elective courses (6 credits) from related areas such as: art history, economics, sociology, film studies, literature, linguistics or language, philosophy, or theology. One of these electives may be a directed senior research paper on an approved topic.

For more information on the minor in East European Studies, contact Professor Cynthia Simmons, Director, East European Studies minor, simmonsc@bc.edu.

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Minor in Jewish Studies (interdisciplinary)

The Boston College Jewish Studies program seeks to examine the multiple dimensions and complexities of Jewish culture throughout its broad chronological and geographical range. The interdisciplinary minor in Jewish Studies consists of a total of 6 three-credit courses (18 credits), including one foundation course, four electives, and a concluding seminar/Capstone course.

For information concerning the interdisciplinary undergraduate minor in Jewish Studies, visit the Program’s webpage, at www.bc.edu/schools/cas/jewish.

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Study Abroad

The Department of Slavic and Eastern Languages and Literatures requires, in general, at least two years of language study, in addition to coursework (tailored to the individual student's program of study) that would provide cultural orientation. Since the Department offers a wide-variety of majors, there is no particular limit as to how many courses taken abroad will be allowed for major credit.

Individual programs of study are arranged according to the types of instruction available, and the student's goals and background.

Students majoring in Linguistics may profit from any number of study-abroad opportunities, depending on the specific language(s) they elect to focus on. Students of East Asian languages have participated to great advantage in a variety of different study abroad opportunities in Japan, the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China, Korea, and other nations of Asia.

Junior year is the most popular time to study abroad, but seniors have done so successfully as well. All Slavic and Eastern Languages and Literatures majors must obtain department course approval before going abroad. Students should consult with the relevant faculty members, depending on their language and area of expertise.

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Office of International Programs

Students taking classes in the Department of Slavic and Eastern Languages and Literatures participate in Boston College's programs and international partnerships in China, Israel, Japan, Korea, Morocco, Nepal, Philippines, Poland, Russia, and other countries.

For complete information on any of these programs and also on unofficial study abroad, visit www.bc.edu/international.

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Teachers of English to Foreign Students

The Department of Slavic and Eastern Languages and Literatures offers a number of linguistics courses for training teachers of English to foreign students. The Department of English offers elective and core-level undergraduate courses of English language and literature for foreign students enrolled at Boston College.

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