Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (MA)

The Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies Program is devoted to the study of the peoples living in the eastern third of Europe, throughout the northern steppes of Central Asia, and across Siberia to the Pacific Ocean.

Settled over a territory that spans half the earth’s time zones, these peoples have created a complex mosaic of cultures, expressed in literature and art as well as in institutions and social forms.

Over the centuries, these lands have come under the sway of several great world-historical civilizations and empires:

  • Byzantine
  • Mongolian
  • Ottoman Turkish
  • Holy Roman
  • Austro-Hungarian
  • Russian
  • Soviet

These lands have felt the influence of Orthodox Christianity, Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, Islam, and Communism.

At the intersection of many powerful forces, these lands experience the historical drama of what some call "modernization" with its challenge to customary ways of life. Yet, after centuries of massive transplantation and transformation, national and ethnic heritages survive.

Customary ways and native self-consciousness, more diverse than anywhere else on the globe, express themselves with new vigor.

The program offers an MA in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies. The center is affiliated with the master’s and PhD programs in comparative literature and linguistics, and students in the center have also successfully applied to PhD programs in history, geography, and other fields.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Be proficient in reading, writing, and speaking Russian consistent with completion of at least the fourth-year level.
  • Translate specialized texts from the field of concentration into good professional English.
  • Have a broad general understanding of the region of Russian, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia including its history and culture.
  • Have in-depth competency in the field of concentration, its methodology, and foundational scholarship.
  • Produce an extended piece of scholarship that is based on relevant primary and secondary materials and that makes a contribution to the field of study.

Master of Arts Degree Requirements

The MA in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies requires 40 graded graduate-level credits passed with a grade of B– or better and 9 thesis credits (taken pass/no pass), for a total of 49 graduate credits. Credits used to fulfill the language requirement may not be applied to the 49-credit requirement. The MA typically takes two years (six terms) to complete.

Language Courses
Four years of university study of a Slavic language or equivalent, plus reading competency as defined by a translation exam in the student’s field of concentration 1
Field of Concentration Courses
Four graded graduate-level courses in a chosen concentration16
Research and Thesis
REES 503Thesis9
or RUSS 503 Thesis
Elective Courses
Six graded graduate-level courses 224
Total Credits49

In exceptional cases, a student may petition to substitute one year of a second Slavic language or equivalent mastery for one of the years of the primary language, but must pass the reading exam. Native speakers of a Slavic language may petition to substitute an appropriate alternative measure of English competency to the translation exam.


Two courses may be in the field of concentration. The electives must include courses in at least two fields outside the student’s concentration.

Additional Requirements

A written comprehensive examination on the field of concentration is typically taken the term prior to submission of the thesis. The thesis is defended before the candidate’s committee. The defense may include discussion of the comprehensive exam.

Fields of Concentration

  • Russian literature
  • Russian and East European history
  • Contemporary Russia, East Europe, and Eurasia