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Graduate 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 two MA degrees, one with a concentration in Russian language and literature and one with a concentration in Contemporary Russian Studies (CRS). It offers the PhD in Slavic languages and literatures with a specialization in Russian literature and culture. Language and literature students take classes primarily in the Slavic department. CRS students combine courses in Slavic with courses in History, Politics, Sociology, and other disciplines. (There is no PhD in CRS, either at Virginia or elsewhere in the US.)

Degree Programs

Master of Arts:

Slavic Language and Literature
The MA in Slavic Languages and Literatures is primarily earned as an en-route MA toward the PhD. Applicants who wish to continue on to the PhD should apply directly to the PhD program. Applicants who are unsure about pursuing the PhD may apply at the MA level. Please note that funding packages will first be awarded to students accepted to the PhD program and those accepted at the MA level may be expected to pay their own tuition.

4 + 1 Master of Arts in Slavic Languages and Literatures
The 4+1 option is available to current UVA undergraduates majoring in Slavic Languages and Literatures and allows the student to earn a Master of Arts degree in one academic year. 

Contemporary Russian Studies
The MA track in Contemporary Russian Studies is a two-year, terminal program. Students cannot continue on to the PhD from this track.

No terminal MA is funded by the department, Students will be expected to pay their own tuition. On very rare occasions, Assistant and/or grader positions may become available to MA students.

Doctor of Philosophy:

Slavic Languages and Literatures
Those wishing to earn a PhD should apply directly to the PhD program, regardless of whether they are pre- or post-MA. Students accepted into the PhD program will receive funding from the department, through the awarding of fellowships and teaching assignments.

Please contact the Director of Graduate Studies if you have questions regarding which program is right for you.


The faculty and the curriculum of the graduate program in Slavic Languages and Literatures offer both breadth and depth. The aim of graduate training in the Department is to provide students with knowledge, understanding and critical analytical and methodological skills pertinent to the cultures of Russia and Eastern Europe. Programs are designed to prepare students for teaching and research, public service, and other careers in fields such as business and journalism. Graduates of the doctoral program now serve or have served on the faculties of such institutions as the University of Arizona, Yale, Bucknell, Bates College, the University of Kentucky, William and Mary, Virginia Tech, and Brigham Young University.

The graduate program offers a wide range of courses on Slavic languages, literatures and cultures. Particular strengths of the Department are Russian Language, nineteenth and twentieth-century Russian literature, Polish language and literature, linguistics and Slavic culture. Some courses cover relatively broad topics, major periods and movements; others are specialized courses on themes, authors or genres. Most graduate classes are small seminars with a discussion format, offering opportunity for close interaction with faculty members.


Language learning is central to the mission of the graduate program. Students are expected to bring strong Russian language skills to study at the graduate level. One goal of the graduate program is to build professional-level fluency to the native or near-native level. Graduate students are strongly encouraged to study abroad to enhance language learning. 


All students in the PhD program have the opportunity to teach during their graduate study, learning pedagogical skills both through coursework and through teaching apprenticeship. Graduate students typically teach Russian language and lead discussion sections for courses on literature and culture. The Center for Teaching Excellence at UVa offers workshops and individualized training for graduate student teachers.


Graduate students learn current research methodologies and pursue independent research projects in their coursework, the MA thesis (CRS), and the PhD dissertation. The faculty of the Slavic Department works closely with individual graduate students on developing research skills, writing, presenting papers, and publishing. Graduate students are strongly encouraged to apply for internal and external grants to support their research projects.

It should be noted that applications from students whose interests coincide with the research areas of the faculty are particularly welcome.


Students in the graduate program benefit from many resources in the UVa and Charlottesville communities. Related departments at the University – EnglishHistoryPoliticsReligious StudiesArt History – among others, are very strong. The University Library has an excellent Slavic collection and outstanding research support facilities. The Russian House is a Russian-language residential facility that hosts academic and social events connected with the Department. Both the Slavic Department and the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies offer lectures, conferences, and colloquia for the broader community, which graduate students are expected to attend.