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Graduate Student Curriculum

Handbook for Graduate StudiesThe Master of Arts Degree

The Master's degree is often sought as a terminal degree by students planning careers in fields where advanced work is useful but a doctorate is not required. Work for this degree may be in Russian language and literature or in Slavic linguistics. The Master's program normally consists of eight semester courses approved by the Department. A spoken and written command of Russian is required of candidates for this degree as well as a reading knowledge of another Slavic language or French or German. A thesis is not required. A student enrolled in full-time study can expect to complete all requirements for the master's degree within one academic year. Information about the application can be found here.

The Ph.D. Degree

The doctoral program in Slavic Studies focuses largely on modern Russian and Czech cultures. The doctoral program in these regions thereby covers a critical area of European and Eurasian studies at Brown. The program's vigor derives from strong and dedicated faculty, including 7 full time Slavic Department faculty and 3 faculty with joint appointments in Slavic and related departments.

The doctoral program in Slavic Studies distinguishes itself from traditional programs in Slavic that focus exclusively on literary studies. It allows for variable degrees of interdisciplinary and intercultural studies. Students work with departmental faculty as well as with faculty in related fields such as comparative literature, theater and performance studies, history, political science, and international relations. Students in our program are prepared to become flexible and innovative scholars in their research and teaching, who address varying teaching and research needs in the future job market. Outstanding library holdings in West and South Slavic languages and cultures at Brown and courses through Brown-Harvard exchange program offer yet additional excellent resources for research.

In addition to receiving training in related disciplines, the doctoral students amass experience in teaching languages and literatures. Mentoring in teaching occurs in various contexts: in language and literature courses, where they serve as teaching assistants, in the interdepartmental foreign language teaching methods course (and related practice), and in seminars at The Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning. Students will receive extensive advice on research strategies, conference presentations, and publication of their works.


  1. 16 graduate-level courses, including
    • A minimum of five 200-level graduate seminars
    • Theory and Methods of Foreign Language Teaching
    • Two to four courses in a related field (to be determined in consultation with the Director of Graduate Study)
  2. Teaching (minimum 3 semesters) An effort will be made to provide teaching experience not only in a Slavic language, but also in Russian literature, culture, and history.
  3. Reading knowledge of the second language closely related to the student's specialization. A standard of professional competence should be maintained within the area of likely specialization. Most students intending to specialize in Slavic cultural studies should demonstrate an appropriate language competence in Russian and one more Slavic language, normally Czech, and most students specializing in one Slavic culture need German or French for their research. This requirement may be satisfied through advanced course during the first year, or by placement evaluation. Fulfillment of the second language requirement with a language other than German or French must be approved by the graduate committee.
  4. Qualifying Examination (details in the department office)
  5. Dissertation and Defense (details in the department office) Students should submit the doctoral thesis prospectus to the thesis director and the Director of Graduate Study by October 1 of their fourth year.
  6. Students whose primary Slavic language competence requires them to take language courses below the 100 level may do so in consultation with the Director of Graduate Study, but those courses will not count toward the course requirements for the Ph.D.

Funding and Time Table for Completion of the Ph.D. in Slavic Studies

Normally course work and the preliminary examinations are completed by the end of the third year, submission of the doctoral thesis proposal during the fourth, and one or two years of work to complete the doctoral thesis. We expect our students to be supported by scholarships during their first year, by teaching fellowships/assistantships during their second to fourth years, and by a dissertation fellowship during their last year.