What can I do with a degree in Russian?

Puaka James Hight library - students studying

Russian is an important world language, spoken by some 150 million people, and is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. The first-year language course requires no previous experience and the Russian alphabet can be learned in a matter of days. We also offer a range of courses on Russian culture, history and literature that require no knowledge of the language. Many of our non-language courses can be credited to other majors.

Through their Russian degree, graduates develop a valuable set of skills that includes:

  • Reading, writing, listening and speaking Russian
  • Well-developed communication skills
  • Interpretive and analytical thinking
  • A better understanding of the global interactions which shape contemporary society
  • Thinking critically and creatively, and challenging ideas
  • Problem solving skills
  • Research and computing skills.

Practise your skills at work or in Russia

Opportunities to apply your learning are available:

  • An internship can deepen your skillset, working knowledge and employability
  • Immerse yourself in Russian language and culture through an exchange programme, for example with the School of Translation and Interpretation at Moscow State University, which allows UC Russian students to spend a semester studying at Russia's oldest and largest university

A degree in Russian can lead to a variety of career options, for example:

  • Focusing on language or linguistics-related fields such as immigration, diplomacy, sales, trade, language teaching, interpreting/ translating, travel and tourism
  • Entering any of the vast array of sectors that value the transferable skills of an Arts or Commerce graduate, such as policy and governance, transport, distribution, import/export, finance, sales, media, publishing, research, human resources, social services, media, publishing, entertainment, library and information services, and cultural heritage
  • Graduates also find roles in educational institutions at all levels
  • A popular combination is the study of a European language such as Russian with that of a professional degree such as Law.

Graduates with this degree are employed in a range of jobs — see some examples below.

Note: Some of the jobs listed may require postgraduate study. See the ‘Further study’ section.


  • Translates spoken language from one language to another, often simultaneously
  • Keeps abreast of up-to-date meaning of words
  • Researches specialist topics, travels with groups and presents to different audiences


  • Conveys source text into the target language
  • Researches terminology, technical words and language trends
  • Often works as part of a team of translators

Teacher of English for speakers of other languages

  • Assesses a student's reading, writing, speaking and listening skills and needs
  • Designs and prepares learning materials
  • Presents lessons, including on local knowledge and skills for coping in a new place

Diplomat, foreign policy officer

  • Promotes New Zealand’s interests overseas
  • Reports on affairs and develops foreign and trade policies
  • Liaises with local authorities and negotiate agreements with other countries

Legal associate, lawyer, solicitor^

  • Provides legal advice or legal opinions to clients and sometimes other lawyers
  • Prepares legal or court documents
  • Makes submissions and negotiates for clients
  • Provides conveyancing services
  • Specialises in different areas of legal practice

Tertiary lecturer

  • Prepares and gives lectures and tutorials
  • Sets and marks assignments and exams
  • Conducts research, writes and publishes articles

Publisher, editor, content specialist

  • Plans, commissions or writes content to publish
  • Evaluates, edits and organises material for multiple formats — online and in print
  • Liaises with other staff to oversee production


  • Plans lessons for individual ability or a group's study level
  • Teaches students subject knowledge and skills
  • Encourages interactive and practical learning

Business advisor

  • Prepares business plans, annual reports and other leadership documents
  • Ensures that business processes are fit for purpose and continuously improving
  • Advises, supports and connects stakeholders
  • Builds capability of groups in an organisation

Entrepreneur and CEO

  • Develops an idea, product or service
  • Offers services as a freelancer/consultant

Get started with Entrepreneurship here

As they progress, students and graduates often join professional bodies relevant to their area of interest. These organisations can provide regular communications and offer the chance to network.

Social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can provide avenues to keep upto-date with industry knowledge, networking opportunities, events and job vacancies.

Learn from our students' experiences

For more information

see the Russain subject page