Masters Degree in Slavic


The KU Slavic Department offers the Master of Arts in Slavic Languages and Literatures with two concentrations: Slavic Languages and Literatures or Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. The Department's graduate programs prepare students for a variety of professional positions. While many KU Slavic students choose to remain in the academic sector, others have gone on to careers in government service, NGOs (non-governmental organizations), other public-sector positions, administration, high-school and community-college teaching, and professional-education support, among other career paths. Our graduate faculty and their colleagues are ready to mentor students to succeed on whatever path they choose to pursue.

Focus of the degree

Work toward the M.A. degree at the University of Kansas consists of a traditional curriculum that provides students with important foundational knowledge. Our curriculum includes historical surveys of the major literary periods and genres, understanding of the structure and function of Slavic languages, knowledge of disciplinary methodologies employed in our field, development of appropriate language capacity, and control of writing and research strategies.

Students pursuing the M.A. in Slavic Languages & Literatures may choose as their primary language and culture Russian, Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian, or Polish.

Requirements for the M.A. Degree

The M.A. degree in Slavic Languages and Literatures requires a minimum of 30 hours of course work. The University of Kansas operates on the semester system; most graduate courses are thus 15 weeks long and provide three credit hours toward degree. See prerequisites for admission to graduate study.

In Slavic Languages and Literatures, the M.A. degree may either serve as a gateway to Ph.D. work or as a stand-alone terminal degree. 


M.A. students successfully complete the following set of courses for 30 credit hours*:

  • SLAV 710: Introduction to Slavic Languages and Linguistics;
  • SLAV 824: Proseminar Method Teaching Slavic Language;
  • A minimum of three course electives in Slavic literature;
  • A minimum of three course electives in Slavic linguistics;
  • Two additional course electives in either Slavic literature or linguistics or six hours of thesis credit;
  • At least one elective must be a graduate seminar.

*At least 50% of coursework for the master’s degree must be taken at the 700 level or above. 


After completing the minimum 30 hours, students in the more popular non-thesis option undertake either:

  1. terminal M.A. written and oral exams, after which they conclude their graduate studies and move on to their chosen professional fields, or
  2. M.A./Ph.D. Qualifying written and oral exams that will allow them to continue on to Ph.D. work in either the Russian Literature or the Slavic Linguistics track.

Students who have chosen the thesis option undergo an oral defense of their thesis for a terminal degree in place of 6 course hours, followed by an M.A. examination. If the thesis option student wishes to continue on to Ph.D. work, he or she will take the M.A./Ph.D. Qualifying exam, which is required for admission to Ph.D. study.

Students who enter the KU graduate program with an M.A. degree from another institution must take the M.A./Ph.D. Qualifying exam as soon as they feel ready, but no later than the second semester of their enrollment.

Focus of the degree

The Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (REES) MA Concentration is a collaborative program between CREES and KU's Department of Slavic, German & Eurasian Studies. Students in the program receive a Master's Degree in Slavic Languages & Literatures while gaining advanced training in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. The REES MA Concentration consists of 30 credit hours and is typically completed as a 2-year program.

The Program is interdisciplinary and draws on the participation of over 40 faculty members and courses from 19 different KU departments and schools. Students have the opportunity to specialize in a specific area of interest (including history, culture, politics, economics, and law) and can take advantage of the excellent language instruction offered by KU in 9 REES-related languages.

Since the beginning of its graduate program in 1968, CREES has trained hundreds of leading experts in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies. Its alumni include ambassadors, academic specialists, policymakers, military officers, leaders of non-governmental organizations, and business executives.

Degree Requirements

Requirements for the degree include 30 credit hours with at least 50% of coursework at or above the 700 level. The requirements for the degree are distributed as follows:

  • 1 course in a REES-related advanced foreign language (500-level or higher) for 3 credit hours. 
  • 7 graduate-level area studies courses focusing on the REES region for a total of 21 credit hours, taken in consultation with the advisor. 
  • Successful completion of one of the following research methods and capstone sequences, totaling 6 credit hours and culminating in a research paper using materials in the student’s chosen target language. Students may choose a given track based on their interests and the availability of courses. Students taking an equivalent methods/capstone sequence in another department may petition to substitute that sequence. Prior to enrolling in the second course in their selected sequence, students must have completed an advanced language course in the target language. 
  • Pass a progressive academic examination model known as the MA portfolio, a body of work that showcases the student’s interdisciplinary knowledge and expertise of the REES world area. At the end of the student’s final semester, the portfolio is read by a committee of three graduate faculty and tested through a 90-minute oral examination.
Methods and Capstone Sequences
Global and International Studies Option
  • GIST 710 Research Design for International Area Studies
  • GIST 810 Graduate Writing Experience or GIST 898 Thesis and Research Project Writing
History Option
Literature and Culture Option
  • SLAV 760 The Russian Novel in the Age of Realism
  • SLAV 762 Russian Theatre and Drama from Stanislavski and Chekhov to the Present or SLAV 767 Post-Soviet Literature
Linguistics and Culture Option
  • SLAV 710 Introduction to Slavic Languages and Linguistics
  • SLAV 722 The Grammatical Categories of Russian: Linguistic Units, Functions and Meaning or SLAV 824 Proseminar in Methods of Teaching Slavic Languages I
Politics Option

Requirements may be modified in special cases with the director’s approval, particularly for students with special needs, such as Experienced Teacher Fellows, Foreign Area Officers, or candidates for degrees in the professional schools. All students are encouraged to study abroad, if possible.


After completing the minimum 30 hours, students must undertake the REES M.A. Portfolio Exam.

Students completing the M.A. degree without intent to continue to Ph.D. work have the opportunity, in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, to adjust their program to meet specific career goals.