The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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The program in Russian, Eurasian & Polish Studies offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of a large and important portion of the world: Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia. The historic events that have occurred in the region since the 1980s and continue today make it crucial that Americans remain informed about all aspects of life in the region. The rapid change and increased contacts with people in the region impel us to continue to work harmoniously with these countries and communicate with the inhabitants of the region in their languages rather than ours.

The program regularly offers Russian and Polish language instruction. Russian is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, spoken by over 143 million people in the region, and it has been recently designated by the Department of State as a critical language, indicating its continuing importance to international relations, business and development work. It provides access to one of the world’s major literature traditions and to vast amounts of professional literature in all fields. Polish is a key to the cultural riches of a country that is part of the heritage of many Americans and which plays a very important role in world events.

Students in the program can elect to major or minor in Russian, Eurasian & Polish Studies (REPS). Courses relevant to the major are regularly available in at least six university departments, and students may enroll as well in Five College courses and participate in study abroad programs. Public lectures and other events augment formal study. The W.E.B. Du Bois Library has an extensive collection of books, journals, digital media and microforms dealing with the region. Graduates with a REPS major have gone on to careers in diplomacy, government service, Peace Corps, development and non-government work, business, policy research, and translation.

The program is guided by a group of core faculty – representing Anthropology, History, Legal Studies, Political Sciences, Languages, Literatures and Cultures – committed teachers and researchers, who maintain lively research agendas in the region.

For information on how to change your major to REPS, contact the program’s director, Prof. Julie Hemment to schedule an appointment (206 Machmer Hall,

Student with UMass t-shirts

Ongoing events

  • weekly Russian Teas
  • film screenings
  • trips to concerts and plays in NYC and Boston
  • roundtables, talks and lectures
  • game nights and other social events