AHR ::: Association of Heads of Russian

Please note that the contents of this page are outdated and currently under review (June 2018). 

Questions... and Answers


Kate Beckinsale, Rory Bremner, Bridget Kendall, Jonathon Ross: What do these people have in common? 

The all studied Russian at university. So why don't you? 


What does Russian have in common with Engineering, Journalism, Law, Medicine? 

You can do it from scratch at university. So why don't you? 

What is AHR? 

The Association of Heads of Russian consists of representatives from UK university departments which offer courses in Russian language as well as culture, history, literature, politics, and society. AHR has held annual meetings since 1999 to discuss developments which affect the position of Russian studies in UK universities, such as the Nuffield Languages Inquiry of 2000, and the government’s strategy for languages published in December 2002. AHR is particularly interested in promoting Russian studies to young people in schools and to those considering making an application to study languages at university.

Why study Russian?

  • Russia (or the former Soviet Union) has been one of the most significant cultural and political forces of the twentieth century, not to mention earlier times, and will undoubtedly continue to loom large in world politics and twenty-first century history and culture.
  • Russian is spoken by over 288 million people as their first language alone, Russian is currently ranked no. 5 in the number of speakers world-wide. 
  • Russia possesses a centuries-old, rich, fascinating culture, which has had enormous influence on our own view of the world. There are the great works of literature, art, and cinema that we've probably heard of in the West, from Eugene Onegin and War and Peace to Battleship Potemkin , as well as exciting novels, poems, pictures, films, that make up so much of Russian cultural life and that many are barely aware of.
  • Russia is a country that spans over one third of the globe, bridging Europe and Asia. Its huge territory offers dazzling geographical and architectural splendours, from the spires of St Petersburg and onion-shaped domes of Moscow, from the mountains of the Caucasus, to the waters of Lake Baikal, the seas (Aral, Caspian, Black), the great rivers and forests, the tundra and taiga...
  • Many businesses are expanding into the steadily growing Russian market.

How can you learn Russian?

At most universities you can learn Russian as a beginner. In fact, the vast majority of students take Russian completely from scratch. Four years on from that first class, most students graduate with good degrees in Russian. They can read and write in Russian without difficulty, they can watch Russian films, read Russian texts and hold a conversation in Russian.

In fact, many students head straight back to Russia after graduation, some to teach English, others to work as translators or for businesses in Russia, while some simply travel throughout Russia. Others frequently get jobs in which they have to use their Russian. 

Russian is no more difficult than many other languages. The alphabet may look very odd at first and you do have to apply yourself to master the grammar, learn vocabulary, and work hard as you would have to when studying any language, but the rewards are immense: you will be able to communicate in one of the most fascinating and exotic languages.

This information is based on the Russian website at Exeter University created by Carol Adlam.

Where study Russian? 

Undergraduate Programmes

School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES), University College London
Queen Mary, University of London 
University of Bath, Department of European Studies and Modern Languages
University of Birmingham, Centre for Russian and East European Studies (CREES)  
University of Bristol, Department of Russian Studies
University of Cambridge, Modern and Medieval Languages
University of Durham, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Department of Russian
University of Edinburgh, Department of Russian
University of Exeter, Department of Russian
University of Glasgow, School of Slavonic, Central and East European Studies
University of Keele, Department of Modern Languages
University of Leeds, Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies
University of Manchester, School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures
University of Nottingham, Department of Slavonic Studies
University of Oxford (Russian/Slavonic Studies) 
University of Oxford (Czech) 
University of Oxford (Polish) 
University of Sheffield, Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies   
University of St Andrews, School of Modern Languages
University of Westminster, School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages

For more links see

British Library: Guide to Slavonic resources or UCAS

Postgraduate (MA) Programmes

UCL London (SSEES) 
Queen Mary, University of London (MA in Contemporary Russian Language and Culture) 
University of Bristol (Russian Studies and Russian History) 
University of Birmingham, CREES
University of Cambridge (MPhil in European Literature) 
University of Edinburgh
University of Exeter (MA in Russian) 
University of Glasgow Department of Central and East European Studies (International Masters in Russian, Central and East European Studies) 
University of Leeds
University of Oxford (REES) 
University of Sheffield (Slavonic Studies, Translation Studies)

Research Centres

University of Oxford, St. Antony's College, Russian and East European Centre
University of Sheffield, Bakhtin Centre
University of Birmingham, Centre for Russian and East European Studies (CREES

CEELBAS: a partnership of UCL, University of Oxford and University of Birmingham with a network of partners at the Universities of Bath, Cambridge, Kent, Manchester, Sheffield, Warwick and SOAS

AHRC Projects:

University of Sheffield and Exeter (R. Russell, C. Adlam): Russian Visual Arts 1800-1913 (2000-2003)

University of Surrey (S. Hutchings): Russian Literature and the Camera Media (2000-3)

University of Surrey (S. Hutchings) Post-Soviet Television Culture (2004-7)

University of Manchester (S. Hutchings): European Television Representation of Islam (2006-09)

University of Oxford (C. Kelly): National Identity in Russia from 1961: Traditions & Deterritorialisation (2007-10)