Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies

The Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies (GIRS) at the Middlebury Institute enables students with advanced Russian language skills to professionalize their interest in Russia and Eurasia. It provides experiential learning and international opportunities for students interested in careers in government, NGOs, and the private sector.

GIRS combines elements of a traditional Russian language program with unprecedented opportunities to learn from and collaborate with experts and scholars from Russia, to engage in hands-on scholarship using primary sources, and to develop language skills within the context of students’ broader academic interests.  The Initiative comprises five main components:

The future of U.S. – Russian relations depends to a great extent upon mutual understanding of each other’s concerns and priorities. It is imperative that the next generation of U.S. specialists on Russia and Eurasia learn not only from Western discourse but directly from leading experts on Russia and Eurasia from the Russian Federation and other post-Soviet states. The Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies represents an important step in providing this educational opportunity.

Degree Programs

GIRS offers learning opportunities for students who are enrolled in existing degree programs at the Middlebury Institute. Many students with advanced Russian language skills pursue MA degrees in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies (NPTS), International Environmental Policy (IEP), or International Education Management (IEM), but GIRS is compatible with any degree-granting program at the Institute.

To find out more about our degree programs and how GIRS intersects with them, please complete an inquiry form, and an enrollment advisor will contact you.

Summer Symposium on Russia

GIRS, with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York, has developed the Monterey Summer Symposium on Russia (MSSR), which aims to expose top Russian area studies graduate students from across the United States to leading voices on Russian-U.S. relations. Participants will acquire a thorough understanding of contemporary Russia, and will be positioned to pursue careers in foreign policy, diplomacy, and the private sector.


For more information please contact Professor Anna Vassilieva, the Director of the Institute’s Russian Studies program, the Founder and Director of the Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies.

Email avassili@miis.edu or call 831.647.3546

Carnegie Corporation of New York

The Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies is funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York.