Why Study Ukrainian with the KU Slavic Department?

Languages in the Slavic Department

Why Study Ukrainian?

Ukrainian is an East Slavic language and is part of the larger Indo-European family of languages. It is spoken in Ukraine and in Ukrainian communities in neighboring Belarus, Russia, Poland, and Slovakia. It is written in a form of the Cyrillic alphabet devised in the 9th century and used by several other Slavic peoples. Students learning the Cyrillic alphabet will find it easy to learn the writing systems of many other Slavic languages.

Ukrainian is spoken by about 50 million people in Ukraine and in many other countries, including Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Canada, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Paraguay, Poland, Romania, and the U.S. While learning Ukrainian brings personal and intellectual satisfaction, Ukrainian majors have the opportunity to use their language and culture skills in a broad variety of settings in both Ukraine and the United States. Students proficient in Ukrainian can work in business as financial and policy analysts for American and Ukrainian companies. Other possible career opportunities include academia, print and broadcast media, diplomacy, and non-governmental organizations.

Ukrainian is a language with a great literary tradition. Ukrainian opens the door for the study of the history and politics of this fascinating country at the crossroads of many important developments in European history.

Courses Offered

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


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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