REES Certificate

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The Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies certificate is an interdisciplinary credential that combines foreign language training and multidisciplinary area studies courses. Through this stimulating program, students develop a broad understanding of the historical and cultural processes shaping states and societies in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Eurasia. Additional benefits include: enhanced career opportunities, specialized advising, access to scholarships and study abroad opportunities.

Students in any major who wish to add a Russian, East European, or Eurasian focus to their regular undergraduate degree can enroll in the REEES Certificate program. Courses taken for the certificate program may also fulfill general education requirements and some major requirements, and often do not increase students' overall course load. 

The REEES advisor will assist in selecting courses, language training, and arranging internships or study abroad to fit students' academic and personal interests. Upon graduation, both the academic degree and the "Certificate in Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies" are posted on students' transcripts. While working toward the REEES undergraduate certificate, students can also participate in extracurricular activities including the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS) and student clubs focusing on language and culture.

Certificate Requirements:

5 REEES-related area studies (non-language) courses (15 credits)

  • Courses must be taken in at least three departments, including up to two courses in the student’s major department (if available).
  • For the most recent course lists, click here
  • For a list of courses that also fulfill general education requirements, click here.

2 years of college-level study in a language of the former Soviet Union or East/Central Europe, or demonstration of equivalent proficiency.

Languages offered regularly at Pitt include:

  • Russian
  • Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian
  • Polish
  • Slovak
  • Ukrainian
  • Hungarian
  • Modern Greek
  • Turkish 
  • Persian     

Additional languages offered through the Summer Language Institute include:

  • Bulgarian
  • Czech

*Heritage speakers of any language in our region can pass out of the language requirement if they can demonstrate intermediate level proficiency.

Capstone Project Guidelines

1.  The project must be a paper of 10 pages or longer, written on a topic focusing on the REEES area, on which the student received a grade of B or higher. The grade must be verified by the grading instructor, either through notations on the original document or via an email from the instructor to the REEES Advisor.

  • NOTE: Students may submit a revised version of the paper, in consultation with the REEES Advisor. When possible, the revisions should also be approved by the original instructor.

2.  The Capstone paper may be written in one of the following contexts:

  • As the final product of the REEES Capstone Seminar;
  • As the product of a REEES area studies course (including approved study abroad courses) or, with the REEES Advisor’s approval, of a pertinent non-REEES course.

3.  To the greatest extent possible, the project should be conceived and written in a way that combines the methods, perspectives, and literatures of more than one academic discipline, in order to demonstrate the interdisciplinary nature of the student’s REEES Certificate coursework.

4.  The submitted paper must include a Reflection Essay (see below) that will act as a covering document to the project itself.

5.  All documents must be received and approved by the end of the term in which the student intends to graduate.

Reflection Essay Guidelines

In an essay of at least 2 double-spaced pages (ca. 500 words), please address the following:

1.  How did the coursework you completed for the REEES Certificate, along with any related extra- or co-curricular activities (e.g. study abroad, internships, work experiences, the International Career Toolkit series, roles in student or community organizations, etc.), influence your interest in the Capstone project that you completed? How has the completion of your project influenced your interest in the REEES area?

2.  How do you see your final paper as a culmination of your pursuit of the REEES Certificate?

3.  How has your experience with the REEES Certificate, along with related extra- or co-curricular activities (see above), affected your understanding of what it means to be “global,” and to participate in a “global society?”

Study Abroad:

Pitt offers a range of study abroad courses that can be used to fulfill certificate requirements. 

Short-term summer study abroad courses, taught in English and offering 3-6 Pitt credits:

  • Czech Republic and Poland: Economy and Policy (ECON 0905) in Prague and Krakow, May
  • Romani (Gypsy) Music, Culture, and Human Rights (MUS 1362, URBNST 1901) in Prague and Budapest, 6 credits, May–June
  • Architecture and the City in Central Europe (HAA 1907) in Vienna, Zagreb, Ljubljana, and Prague, May.

The intensive Summer Language Institute (SLI) is a great option to study languages of our region. Study abroad options are available for Russian, Arabic, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (BCS), Bulgarian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Slovak (, Turkish and Ukrainian.

*For those students interested in pursuing graduate or other advanced regional studies, a Bachelor of Philosophy degree in International and Area Studies/Russian and East European Studies Track is also available.