Russian MA (Honours) 2023 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 gain a deeper and more diverse understanding and appreciation of Russian-language cultures, histories and societies through modules dedicated to literature, film, cultural history, and contemporary 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 be familiar with the Russian-speaking world. 

During your degree, you have the opportunity to apply to spend time studying abroad in a Russian-speaking country. Studying abroad is not compulsory, but is strongly recommended as the best way to master the language and to better know the country. On a four-year degree, students can spend one semester in a Russian-speaking country. The MA (Hons) in Russian is also available as a five-year course with an integrated year abroad when students spend time studying in a Russian-speaking country between their second and third years. Find out more about the  Russian integrated year abroad. 


UCAS code
Start date
September 2023
End date
September 2027
Four years full time
School of Modern Languages
“I have always had a deep interest in Russian history and culture. I applied as a Single Honours History student, but picked up Russian and have never looked back! The Russian Department is small, so it has a friendly and relaxed feel. We can speak to tutors about anything and they are always happy to help. Having the opportunity to study in Russia for a year was the best experience of my life.”
- Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Entry requirements

The University offers different entry requirements, depending on your background. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.

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 entry requirements as outlined on their pages.

  • Standard entry grades:
    Minimum entry grades:
    Gateway entry grades:
    Applicants who have narrowly missed the minimum entry grades, but meet the University's contextual criteria, may be interested in one of the University’s Gateway programmes.
  • Standard entry grades:
    Minimum entry grades:
  • Standard entry grades:
    36 (HL 6,6,5)
    Minimum entry grades:
    36 (HL 6,5,5)

General entry requirements

All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.

  • SQA National 5 (B) in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing science
    • Geography
    • Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.
  • GCSE (5) in English language or English literature, and one GCSE (5) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing Science
    • Geography
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.

Other qualifications

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes. Please see our entry requirements for more information.

More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No prior knowledge of Russian is necessary. Modules are not designed for native speakers.

Alternative study options

Students interested in this course may also be interested in the following:

Integrated year abroad

Students may choose to spend an additional year studying in a Russian-speaking country between their second and third year. Find out more about the integrated year abroad for this course.

Study abroad

Students studying Russian can apply to participate in the University-wide St Andrews Abroad programme. You may also have the opportunity to participate in the School Abroad exchange programme.For information about study abroad options, please see the study abroad site.

International applicants

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability. Find out more about approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

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 explore topics of interest within Russian-language 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 follow a separate language course for the first two years. 

In the first two years, students of all levels will build on their Russian language skills and are offered a broad view of Russian-language literatures, histories and cultures. 

Alongside Russian, in the first year of your studies, you will be required to study an additional two subjects. In the second year you will usually carry on at least one of these subjects, sometimes two. Find out more about how academic years are organised. 

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 sphere. 

The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure web page.


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. 

A single Honours student will take one Russian module per semester during the first two years, and four Russian modules per semester during third and fourth years (known as Honours). 

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. For all modules, speaking in Russian is practised in small groups with a native speaker. 

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: 

  • Advanced Elementary Russian Language and Literature 1: reinforces and builds on the knowledge of grammar and vocabulary acquired at school, and studies texts in Russian. 
  • Advanced Elementary Russian Language and Literature 2: covers elements of grammar, translation, text analysis, study of literature, and includes oral tuition classes with a native language instructor. 

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 ex-beginners are required to take the following compulsory modules in their second year: 

  • Intermediate Russian Language 1: deepens knowledge of Russian grammar and syntax, and develops comprehension skills in response to audio-visual and online material.
  • Intermediate Russian Language 2: builds on the grammar and syntax taught in Intermediate Russian 1. Alongside audio-visual communication, students will translate passages between Russian and English which develop key vocabulary. 

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.  

For all modules, spoken Russian is practised in small groups with a native speaker. 

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 that have been offered in previous years include (but are not limited to): 

  • Gender in Russian Literature and Culture 
  • Issues in Russian Cultural Memory 
  • Russian Children’s Literature (1900 – 2015) 
  • Russian Crime Fiction 
  • Russian Modernist Fiction 1900 - 1940 
  • The City in Soviet and Russian Cinema 
  • The Nineteenth-Century Russian Novel 
  • Theatre and Performance in Twentieth-Century Russia 
  • Utopia/Dystopia in Russian Literature and Culture 
  • Voices of the Russian Enlightenment. 

In fourth year, students have the option of undertaking a dissertation of up to 10,000 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 compulsory modules listed here must be taken 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. For Honours level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules appropriate to the programme for the current academic year can be found in the programme requirements.


All modern language modules involve a combination of lectures, tutorials and practical language 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, give presentations, and discuss texts and issues relevant to the course. 

Sub-honours Russian modules are delivered through small language classes, with 15 to 30 students in each. Oral classes are generally held in smaller groups of no more than 15 students. 

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

When not attending lectures, tutorials and language classes, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve: 

  • working on individual and group projects 
  • undertaking research in the library 
  • preparing coursework assignments and presentations 
  • preparing for examinations. 

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 
  • 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. The Department aims to provide feedback on every assessment within three weeks to help you improve on future assessments. 

Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please see the common reporting scale.

You will be taught by a research-led teaching team with expertise and knowledge of Russian. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of tutorials under the supervision of the module leader. 

You can find contact information for all Russian staff on the School of Modern Languages website. 

The University’s Student Services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long-term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities web page.


Tuition fees have yet to be set.

England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland

Channel Islands, Isle of Man

EU and overseas

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.

Funding and scholarships

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

Joint Honours degrees

You can also take Russian as part of a joint Honours degree in which you will take core modules of your chosen subjects.

Course name UCAS code
Master of Arts (Honours) Arabic and RussianQRK7
Master of Arts (Honours) Art History and RussianRV73
Master of Arts (Honours) Chinese Studies and RussianCH13
Master of Arts (Honours) Comparative Literature and RussianRQ27
Master of Arts (Honours) Economics and RussianLR17
Master of Arts (Honours) English and RussianQR37
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and RussianPR37
Master of Arts (Honours) French and RussianRR17
Master of Arts (Honours) German and RussianRR27
Master of Arts (Honours) International Relations and RussianLR27
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and RussianRR37
Master of Arts (Honours) Latin and RussianQR67
Master of Arts (Honours) Mathematics and RussianGR17
Master of Arts (Honours) Medieval History and RussianRVT1
Master of Arts (Honours) Middle East Studies and RussianTR67
Master of Arts (Honours) Modern History and RussianRV71
Master of Arts (Honours) Persian and RussianT6R7
Master of Arts (Honours) Philosophy and RussianRV75
Master of Arts (Honours) Psychology and Russian (BPS Recognition Route)RC18
Master of Arts (Honours) Psychology and Russian (BPS Recognition Route) (With Integrated Year Abroad)RC19
Master of Arts (Honours) Russian and Scottish HistoryRV72
Master of Arts (Honours) Russian and Social AnthropologyLR67
Master of Arts (Honours) Russian and SpanishRR47
Master of Arts (Honours) Russian and Sustainable DevelopmentF886
Master of Arts (Honours) Russian and Theological StudiesR7V6

It is also possible to take Russian as part of a Modern Languages joint Honours degree with two modern languages and one additional subject. Find out more about the triple subject combinations available.

"With" degrees

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

  • Master of Arts (Honours) Economics with Russian - UCAS code L1RT
  • Master of Arts (Honours) Mathematics with Russian - UCAS code G1RT
  • Master of Arts (Honours) Russian with Geography - UCAS code R7LR

"With" degrees taken with Russian are also available 'With Integrated Year Abroad'.


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 on to successful careers in: 

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

Others work as educators in Russia and Eastern Europe or pursue graduate study. 

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.

What to do next

Online information events

Join us for one of our information events where you can find out about different levels of study and specific courses we run. There are also sessions available for parents and college counsellors.

Undergraduate visiting days

We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online or in-person visiting days.

Contact us

+44 (0)1334 46 2948
Department of Russian
Buchanan Building
Union Street
St Andrews
KY16 9PH

Department of Russian website

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