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Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Course Work

Requirements for the Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures include:

  • 30 semester hours of course work completed for the M.A.
  • 30 semester hours of additional course work at or above the 5000 level approved by the Graduate Director
  • 12 additional semester hours of course work at or above the 5000 level or non-topical research

The 30 semester hours of additional course work beyond the M.A. consist of:

  • Three hours of nineteenth-century Russian literature
  • Three hours of twentieth-century Russian literature
  • RUSS 7290 Medieval and Eighteenth-Century Russian Literature
  • 21 semester hours in Slavic literature, linguistics or folklore approved by the Graduate Director

Note the following important information about course work required for the Ph.D.:

  • Language courses (except RUSS 5010, RUSS 5030 and RUSS 5040) do not count toward the 30 semester hours of course work beyond the M.A.
  • RUSS 5030 must be taken in the first fall semester of graduate study
  • Previous graduate work taken at other institutions (including the M.A.) is assessed on an individual basis and may count up to 30 semester hours
  • Students are encouraged to take at least one course outside the Department, e.g. literature, literary theory, linguistic theory, cultural anthropology

Language Requirements

Non-Slavic Languages

Reading proficiency in either French or German is required for all students in the Ph.D. program. Proficiency may be demonstrated by:

  • Passing a written examination in the appropriate department
  • Earning a grade of B or above in a reading proficiency course in French or German
  • Completing the German or French sequence of the Summer Language Institute at UVa

Proficiency in either French or German must be demonstrated no later than the semester prior to the semester in which a student expects to take the comprehensive examination.

Modern Slavic Languages

Reading proficiency in a modern Slavic language other than Russian is required for all students in the Ph.D. program. Proficiency may be demonstrated by:

  • Earning a grade of A- or above in the 1210-1220 sequence of the language (e.g. Polish, Czech, Ukrainian)
  • Passing an equivalent examination

Proficiency in a modern Slavic language other than Russian must be demonstrated no later than the semester prior to the semester in which a student expects to take the comprehensive examination.

Examinations

Russian Language Examination

The Russian language examination consists of two components:

  • Written component (three hours)
  • Oral component (30 minutes)

The written component includes:

  • Translation from Russian to English (one hour); uncommon words are glossed
  • Translation from English to Russian (one hour); without gloss or dictionary
  • Pedagogy (30 minutes)
  • Essay (30 minutes)

The Russian language examination

  • is offered once per semester, usually within the first few weeks of the semester
  • should be taken early (in the first or second semester of doctoral study)
  • may be taken more than once, up to a maximum of three times
  • must be passed at least one week before the comprehensive examination may be taken
  • may be taken earlier in the same semester as the comprehensive examination or in a previous semester

Comprehensive Examination

No specific dates are set for the comprehensive examination. It is tailored to the individual student. Please note the following important information about the comprehensive examination:

  • A student must consult with the Director of Graduate Studies to schedule the exam
  • If the DGS recommends positively, the student must write a letter to the Department Chair requesting to take the comprehensive examination.
  • The letter should provide the names of four faculty members (including the dissertation advisor and one faculty member outside the Slavic Department) who have agreed to serve on the examination and dissertation committees
  • The student is responsible for requesting faculty members to serve on the examination and dissertation committees
  • The exam must be scheduled at least one month in advance
  • The exam must begin at least three weeks before the last day of classes
  • The exam must be completed within a three-week period

The comprehensive examination consists of two components:

Typically the first day covers medieval and 18th-century literature and a long essay on modern Russian literature. The second day focuses on modern Russian literature. The third day is a one-hour Russian linguistics exam.

In the oral examination, each faculty member of the examination committee has approximately 20 minutes to pose questions. Most commonly the outside member of the committee does not attend the exam. At the end of the oral examination, the student is expected to present the preliminary dissertation proposal.

 

Dissertation

Once the comprehensive examination has been passed, the candidate should prepare a dissertation proposal using the Dissertation Proposal below as a guide. The proposal should not exceed five pages and should be prepared in consultation with the dissertation advisor. The proposal is submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies.

The proposal must consist of the following:

  • Date of submission
  • Short title
  • Name of student
  • Name of thesis or dissertation advisor
  • Statement of the problem to be studied
  • Research already accomplished
  • Approach to the solution of the problem
  • List of works already consulted
  • List of main works to be consulted
  • Proposed date of completion
  • Signature of approval of thesis or dissertation advisor

The Director of Graduate Studies convenes the dissertation committee to discuss the proposal with the candidate. The dissertation committee is the same as the examination committee for the comprehensive examination. It must have four faculty members and must include the dissertation advisor and one faculty member outside the Slavic Department. The proposal must be approved by the dissertation committee as a whole.

The candidate should work closely with the dissertation advisor throughout the course of writing the dissertation. When a final draft has been completed and approved by the dissertation advisor, it should be submitted to all four members of the dissertation committee. The dissertation advisor works with Department staff to establish a date for the dissertation defense.

After a student has submitted the final draft of a dissertation to his/her committee, the committee has accepted it as a completed and potentially final draft, and all committee members are available to participate, the advisor, in consultation with the student and the committee, establishes a date for the dissertation defense. The date must fall between the first and last days of class during the fall or spring semester excluding vacations.

A digital copy of the dissertation should be submitted to the Slavic Department.