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Master of Arts Degree Requirements

The Department offers two M.A. tracks. Only students in the Slavic Languages and Literatures track may proceed to the Ph.D. program.

Slavic Languages and Literatures

Graduate courses are typically offered on a three-year cycle. Graduate students are expected to take available Slavic offerings. Requirements for the M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literatures include:

  • 30 semester hours of course work at or above the 5000 level (not including RUSS 5050)
  • Passing the Russian language proficiency examination (Native Speakers must pass a Russian-English translation test with excerpts from a literary critical article and the "pedagogy" portion of the Russian written exam)
  • Passing the comprehensive examination
  • Completion of RUSS 5050 each semester until the Russian language proficiency examination is passed

The 30 semester hours of course work for the M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literatures consist of:

  • At least six hours of nineteenth-century literature
  • At least six hours of twentieth-century literature
  • RUSS 5010 Readings in the Social Sciences
  • RUSS 5030 Advanced Russian I
  • RUSS 7010 Proseminar
  • Six hours planned in consultation with a faculty advisor

Contemporary Russian Studies

Requirements for the M.A. in Contemporary Russian Studies include:

  • 30 semester hours of course work at or above the 5000 level (not including RUSS 5050)
  • Passing the Russian language proficiency examination (Native Speakers must pass a Russian-English translation test with excerpts from a literary critical article and the "pedagogy" portion of the Russian written exam)
  • Passing the comprehensive examination
  • Completion of RUSS 5050 each semester until the Russian language proficiency examination is passed
  • A thesis written on an independent research topic under the supervision of a faculty advisor (the advisor may be from another department).

The 30 semester hours of course work for the M.A. in Contemporary Russian Studies consist of:

  • RUSS 5010 Readings in the Social Sciences
  • RUSS 5030 Advanced Russian I
  • Six hours of nineteenth- and/or twentieth-century Russian literature
  • Three hours of folklore or traditional culture
  • Nine hours of Russian history and Russian politics; course work is required in both fields
  • RUSS 8999 Master’s Thesis
  • Three hours in a related field planned in consultation with a Slavic faculty advisor

Examinations

Russian Proficiency Examination

The Russian proficiency examination consists of three components:

  • Written component (three hours)
  • Oral component (10-20 minutes)
  • Translation component (one hour, CRS only)

Students pursuing an M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literatures take only the written and oral components. Students pursuing an M.A. in Contemporary Russian Studies take the written, oral and translation components.

The oral component is a conversation between the student and several members of the faculty. It is scheduled and administered only after the candidate has been given permission to proceed based on performance on the written component (and translation component for CRS students).

The translation component requires the student to translate a passage of scholarly prose from Russian to English. A glossary is provided if there are specialized vocabulary items.

Native Speakers pursuing an M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literatures must pass a Russian-English translation test with excerpts from a literary critical article and the "pedagogy" portion of the Russian written exam.

The Russian proficiency examination:

  • should be taken early (in the first or second semester, but no later than the end of the third semester)
  • may be taken up to three times
  • must be passed before the comprehensive examination may be taken
  • may be taken earlier in the same semester as the comprehensive examination or in a previous semester
  • should demonstrate a high level of performance in the case of students continuing on to the doctoral level

Comprehensive Examination

For students pursuing an M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literatures the comprehensive examination consists of a written component and an oral component. The written component is three hours and consists of identifications, essay questions and analysis of a literary text. It covers texts read in coursework and appearing on the MA reading list. After passing the written component, students take a one-hour oral examination. The M.A. committee will consist of the DGS and three other faculty members who have submitted questions for the exam.


For students pursuing an M.A. in Contemporary Russian Studies, the comprehensive examination is an oral defense of the thesis.


Note the following important information about the comprehensive examination:

  • The comprehensive exam is offered once per semester, usually about a month before the end of the semester
  • The comprehensive exam may be taken twice. If a third time is needed, written permission must be obtained from the Department Chair.

Time-to-Degree Guidelines

The following guidelines pertain to the M.A. programs in Slavic Languages and Literatures and Contemporary Russian Studies:

The M.A. is usually completed in two years (four semesters)

  • The Russian proficiency examination should be taken by the end of the third semester of graduate study
  • The Slavic Literature M.A. comprehensive examination should be taken by the end of the fourth semester of graduate study
  • The thesis (for M.A. students in Contemporary Russian Studies) should be completed by the end of the fourth semester of graduate study