Why Study Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, Serbian (BCMS) with the KU Slavic Department?

Languages in the Slavic Department

Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, Serbian (BCMS) at KU

Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, Serbian (BCMS)—formerly known as Serbo-Croatian—are taught together at KU. Although  they have all become official languages of their independent states, they remain understandable among each other. If you learn one of them, you can communicate with nearly 20 million people in four countries of the western Balkans—the Republics of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia. A large number of speakers of these languages also live in diaspora in the U.S., with large communities in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, or St. Louis. Kansas City is also home to a sizeable diaspora, particularly of Croats, with its historic center on Strawberry Hill.

It is a well-kept secret that some of the world's most beautiful beaches are to be found in Croatia and Montenegro. The hinterland fascinates visitors with the confluence of Byzantine, Roman, and Muslim civilizations. Lovers of art, music, archaeology, architecture, film, history, folklore,  sports, or good food will find the countries of the former Yugoslavia filled with unique treasures. Although some may still think of war when they think of the former Yugoslavia, the Bosnians, Croats, Montenegrins, and Serbs are in fact passionate and easygoing southern Europeans, with a good sense of humor and a penchant for living life fully.

Career opportunities connected with BCMS are numerous and so far demand for employees with knowledge of the language(s) has greatly exceeded supply. Possible career paths with this language include commerce, academia, intelligence, security, tourism, NGOs, journalism, diplomacy, and foreign service.


KU is the only place in the U.S. between the West Coast and the Mississippi River where one can study Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, and Serbian from the beginning to the advanced levels. We offer a wide range of language and content courses to accommodate students with a variety of interests and needs. Students who complete a regular two-year language sequence satisfy their language requirement. If they continue their study, they can minor, major, or earn an MA in South Slavic languages and cultures. For those who just want to learn basics of the language, there is a beginning online course, while heritage speakers and students who want to develop specialized language skills for research or professional use often work with instructors individually. Moreover, KU offers the only summer study-abroad program in North America for intensive study of Croatian, located in the beautiful city of Zadar on the Adriatic Sea.

The first thing any student must do is to study the catalog well, especially those pages concerning general education requirements for the B.A. degree, and those dealing with Departmental requirements, in the most current University of Kansas Undergraduate Catalog. Note, however, that regulations sometimes change even after the catalog has gone to print, so please check with the Undergraduate Advisor about current regulations.

Courses Offered

BCRS 150: Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian - Beginning Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian I *

Fundamentals of B/C/S grammar, reading, speaking, and writing. Introduction to the cultural context in which B/C/S discourse occurs. Online course, designed to accommodate the needs of students regardless of age, educational background, or occupation who want to acquire some basic communicative skills in B/C/S. No previous knowledge of BCS or other foreign languages required. The course does not satisfy the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences foreign language requirement. Not open to students with credit in BCRS 104 or BCRS 105. 

*The class is not offered for the Spring 2019 semester


In Memoriam

Reed Rankin ✝ 12/29/2019

The faculty and students in the Department Slavic Languages and Literatures are deeply saddened that one our undergraduate majors, Reed Rankin, passed away last week (12/29) in Fredonia, Kansas. Reed was a beloved student in the department and is fondly remembered by his peers and professors. He began studying Russian as a Freshman and stayed with a challenging but rewarding language for three and a half years, tackling introductory, intermediate, advanced levels, and even continuing his studies into his senior year with Russian for the Professions. We know that he was planning further study in Moscow in the next academic year, prior to matriculation at KU School of Law.

A thoughtful student, Reed often contributed insight and posed challenging questions in class. ​​ Reed’s dedication to the study of Russian language, culture, and history was tremendous and fueled by infectious curiosity. He showed great acumen in translating from Russian into English, always finding English-language equivalents for Russian cultural concepts through skillful use of one-liners from American films. We also treasured his ability to speak in fluid Russian about rural, farm life in Kansas, and the effects that natural phenomena, like floods, on a farming community. He was a pleasure to know and teach, and will be remembered for his kind and polite demeanor. Our thoughts are with Reed’s family at this time


Give to Slavic - Click here to learn more

Upcoming Events

KU’s Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies program is one of only 12 federally-funded national resource centers in the US
Only doctoral program in Slavic Languages and Literatures between the Mississippi and the West Coast
100% of graduate students in the Slavic program had funding in academic year 2012-13
KU's Libraries house over 500,000 volumes of Slavic books and electronic editions
Two of the department’s last four doctoral candidates have won a Fulbright grants to conduct dissertation research abroad