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Distinguished Majors Program

“The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at”

The Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures offers a Distinguished Majors Program (DMP) for students who major in Russian Language and Literature or Russian and East European Studies. The DMP provides qualified students with the opportunity to carry out independent research on topics related to the major. Students in the DMP take advanced coursework and write a thesis under faculty supervision during their fourth year.

Admission to the DMP

Students who want to enter the program should first declare a major in the Department, either in Russian Language and Literature or Russian and East European Studies. Students seeking admission to the DMP must have at least a 3.4 GPA overall and at least a 3.5 GPA in the major.

Students seeking admission to the program should write a letter to the DMP Director. This letter should include:

  • A statement of the student’s interest in and qualifications for the DMP
  • A description of the proposed thesis project, explaining why the topic merits a full year of research and writing
  • Information on the courses already taken relevant to the proposed topic
  • The name of a faculty member who has agreed to serve as thesis advisor (this advisor need not be a member of the Slavic Department)


Declared majors should submit application materials for the DMP by the deadline for adding courses in the Fall semester of the fourth year.


  • RUSS 3020 and all other requirements for the relevant major
  • At least six additional hours of advanced coursework (courses at the 5000 level or above), subject to approval by the DMP Director
  • RUSS 4900 in the Fall and Spring semesters of the fourth year (six credits total)
  • A thesis written on an independent research topic under the supervision of a faculty member
  • Presentation of the thesis

The DMP Thesis

  • Students in the Distinguished Majors Program are expected to write a thesis of high quality on an independent research topic
  • RUSS 4900 (Senior Honors Thesis) should be taken both in the Fall and the Spring of the fourth year, for a total of six credits
  • A first draft of the thesis is to be submitted at the end of the first semester of the fourth year; the final draft must be submitted by April 1
  • A conference-length presentation (20-30 minutes) of the thesis project, followed by a question and answer session of equal length, will be scheduled for mid-April


Students who successfully complete the requirements of the DMP will be evaluated according to the following rankings: distinction, high distinction or highest distinction.

Evaluation is based on:

  • Quality of the thesis project (including presentation)
  • Overall performance in the major
  • GPA in the College

Recommendations for distinction, high distinction or highest distinction are sent by the Department to the College Committee on Special Programs.