Slavic Languages and Literatures

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All academic programs at the UM help students develop valuable transferable skills. A concentration in Russian or Polish will allow you to attain proficiency in the language, acquire an understanding of the culture, and develop your knowledge of the civilization and history of a significant area of the world. Through course offerings in other Slavic languages and literatures, you will expand your learning to much of Eastern European culture. A concentration in Russian or Polish also provides opportunities for experiential learning abroad.

A second language acquisition in Slavic languages builds the central skills of speaking, writing, and reading another language along with related abilities, such as adapting to other cultures, analyzing information from diverse sources, and carrying out research projects. Skills and abilities acquired by concentrators in Russian or Polish are highlighted below.

Related fields include Germanic, History, Political Science, Economics, and Art History.


Communication Skills

Writing / speaking another language
Understanding historical language change
Working as a member of a team
Writing clearly and accurately on complex issues

Analytical Skills

Interpreting information / data
Comparing interpretations
Reading critically
Examining evidence

Research / Project Development Skills

Using original sources
Gathering information
Establishing hypotheses
Summarizing ideas
Evaluating research results

Cross-Cultural Skills

Developing cultural sensitivity
Understanding a culture through its literature
Acknowledging value systems
Adapting to / functioning in other cultures
Working with persons from other backgrounds


Employers seek out individuals who can demonstrate excellent verbal and written communication skills, teamwork and interpersonal skills, initiative, and a strong work ethic. Student organizations and campus employment offer valuable opportunities to add to the skills you are developing in your classes. Most concentrations sponsor specific student groups like an undergraduate organization or an honor society. Study abroad experiences are particularly helpful to foreign language concentrators to improve proficiency and gain intercultural skills. Other options include off-campus employment or volunteering in the community. Finally, a summer internship may be the best way of all to test out a career field and develop marketable skills.


In our increasingly global world, the skills you will gain as a Russian or Polish concentrator will prepare you to succeed in a number of fields. Your familiarity with one of Europe’s major cultural areas is important in preparing not only for the new economies emerging in Eastern Europe, but also for work in any cultural context different from our own.

With their analytical and communication skills, Russian and Polish concentrators have discovered opportunities in a wide range of careers, such as research, business, law or government.  In addition, Slavic concentrators may choose to continue their education in graduate or professional school. Below is a list of career fields compiled from follow-up studies of Slavic graduates.

Communication Skills

Political lobbyist
Publisher’s sales representative
Corporate trainer
International marketing consultant
K-12 teacher / college instructor open book icon
Academic advisor
Corporate coach
Editor, magazine
Journalist / correspondent
Technical writer

Analytical Skills

Defense analyst
National security linguist
Military analyst
Commerce department attaché
Director, public affairs
Law enforcement agent
Trade negotiations lawyer open book icon

Research / Project Development Skills

World Health Organization researcher
Museum curator open book icon
Librarian open book icon
Foundation program manager
Theater company manager

Cross-Cultural Skills

Foreign Service officer
Immigration caseworker
International trade consultant
Travel agent / tour guide
Adoption agency caseworker
Director, study abroad program
Director, exchange program
Liaison to overseas plant management

open book icon = Further Study Required

For more career information, see O*Net at


The concentration in Polish or Russian requires nearly 30 credits beyond second-year language proficiency, including courses in reading and speaking, literature, history, politics, film, and culture.

All minors require 16 credits, except CLEE, which requires 15. Courses may be chosen from a variety of topics such as literature, history, politics, film, and culture.

Students can receive credit towards these degrees for study abroad or summer internships. Please contact the department for further details.

Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
3040 Modern Languages Building

Newnan Advising Center
1255 Angell Hall


To begin exploring opportunities for overseas study and work, go to: or

To read the Slavic Department’s newsletter, featuring student and alumni experiences, and more:

To begin connecting to professionals in fields that interest you, create your own LinkedIn account:

To identify internships or job opportunities, visit Handshake:

Maize Pages list hundreds of student organizations to get involved in:

On campus jobs (work-study and non work-study jobs) are listed at:

The Career Center
3200 Student Activities Building

The Career Guide series was developed by the University of Michigan Career Center, Division of Student Affairs, in cooperation with the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. ©2013 Regents of the University of Michigan