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RAFL department was founded in 1980 with the idea of teaching Russian international undergraduate and post-graduate students, majoring in any fields. In 1977 the new major “Russian As a Foreign Language” was introduced.

RAFL offers preparatory courses in the Russian language for basic University faculties; it also provides summer training, preparatory courses for post graduate program entries and has a special testing program in Russian, based on the State educational standard for international students.

Preparatory course

Preparatory course prepares students to enter the basic University faculties and post-graduate programs. It includes 720 class hours during a 9 month period, which comes up to 4-6 hours a day. The course is split into two parts: preliminary and intermediate. It is aimed to give a student the detailed information on Russian phonetics and grammar, reading rules and regional geography as well. The objective of the preliminary part of the prep course helps students understand the main difficulties of Russian pronunciation and spelling. It includes 35-40 class hours and is divided into 7 units.

The principle part of the prep course is based on 32 units, with the idea of introducing students to the most significant grammar material and vocabulary, providing communication activity on such topics as “Meeting with People”, “Family”, “Seasons. Weather”, “My city”, “University”, etc.

A regular unit consists of a dialogue, a basic text, grammar tables, checking exercises(vocabulary, grammar, speaking)... Words and word-combinations are also widely used. A usual check exercise includes unknown words: nouns, verbs, the most useful adjectives.

At the end of the course every student undergoes the Russian language tests based on the first Certificate level, assigned by the Russian Educational Committee. Those students who pass their tests successfully receive an opportunity to continue their studies and earn a degree.

Practical course

The RAFL department offers a 5-year study program in the Philological faculty in two majors: Russian Philology and Russian As a Foreign Language.

The main goals of studying Russian for international students are as follows:

  • acquisition of theoretical knowledge in the field of modern
    Russian language studies
  • mastering language proficiency
  • increasing professional skills and abilities
  • acquiring knowledge in the field of regional geography

The Russian practical course requires studying the following language aspects: phonetics, vocabulary and grammar. While studying new material students improve their speaking skills in the fields of their specialization. There are three spheres of communication covered in the course: 1) a professional sphere 2) a social and political sphere 3) a social and cultural sphere.

Professional sphere


  • Language as a means of communication.
  • Russian in the world.
  • Russian alphabet.
  • Linguistics. Phonetics.
  • Sounds and letters of Russian language.
  • Phonetic transcription.
  • Phonetic processes.
  • Sound and phoneme.
  • Vocabulary and lexicology.
  • Word and meaning.
  • Learning words in phonetics, grammar and lexicology.
  • Borrowed words.
  • Russian dictionaries., etc.
  • Study of Literature
  • Ancient Russian Literature.
  • Heritage of writers.
  • Book and time., etc.

Social and political sphere


  • Social and political structure in Russia .
  • Moscow , the capital of the Russian Federation .
  • Reading newspapers., etc.

Social and cultural sphere


  • Choosing a career.
  • City.
  • Traffic.
  • Library.
  • High Educational Institutions.
  • Man.
  • Portrait.
  • Character.
  • Holidays.
  • Customs.
  • Traditions.
  • Mass media.
  • Seasons., etc.


One of the most topical issues in the theory and practice of teaching Russian as a foreign language concerns testing of student's level of language proficiency. The tests are designed to evaluate students' proficiency in Russian regardless where, when and how long they studied Russian. There have been developed different levels, aimed at certain skills and practical communicative objectives in different areas.

Currently the Russian testing system for speakers of Russian as a foreign language consists of elementary and intermediate levels as well as four certificate levels of competence in Russian as a foreign language, and corresponding tests:

Test of Russian as a Foreign Language. Elementary.
Test of Russian as a Foreign Language. Intermediate level.

  1. Test of Russian as a Foreign Language. First level.
  2. Test of Russian as a Foreign Language. Second level.
  3. Test of Russian as a Foreign Language. Third level.
  4. Test of Russian as a Foreign Language. Fourth level.

The Russian State testing system is included into the ALTE (Association of Language Testers Europe). Levels of competence in Russian as a foreign language correspond to other European languages.

Russian for international students of non-philological faculties

The course of “Russian Language For Students of Non-philological Programs” has a practical direction and provides fluency in following spheres:

  • Educational and professional
  • Cultural and living
  • Social and cultural

The main objective of the program for this group of students is to study the speech style, to let students take part in learning process. Special texts for study are chosen according to a student's desire.

During 1-2 years students face the peculiarities of business Russian, learn how to fill in business papers which are necessary for living in Russia.

During 3-5 years students with good/sufficient language proficiency have an opportunity to attend special courses:

  • Methods of teaching Russian to foreigners (with awarding the State Certificate).
  • The course of translation (tests results are attached to diploma)
  • Modern Russian literature (tests results are attached to diploma)

The RAF department helps foreign students of non-philological faculties solve educational and life problems.