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:
- RUSS 7010 Proseminar in Russian Literature (if not taken at the MA level)
- Three hours of nineteenth-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
- RUSS 7010 must be taken at the first available opportunity
- 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
- When they have taken the required rotation of Slavic courses, students are encouraged to take courses outside the Department, for example, in digital humanities, a second literature, linguistics, cultural anthropology, environmental thought or religious studies. To strengthen their profile on the job market, students should consider completing a minor area or a certificate in one of these areas.
During the third year, in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, the PhD student may fulfill two of the ten seminars required for the PhD by enrolling each semester in 3 hours of SLAV 9998. These hours are used to complete requirements for the bibliographic essays and the dissertation prospectus.
In the fall of the third year (the fifth semester) students meet together formally on a weekly basis to prepare for their PhD comprehensive exams (see "PhD Examinations"). By the start of the fifth semester students will have discussed and sought approval form the DGS for their three special areas and their programs for the semester and then report briefly in writing to the DGS on their accomplishments at each week's meeting.
Each student also meets weekly with their chosen dissertation advisor to develop and draft the dissertation prospectus (see "PhD Examinations").
The PhD examinations are comprised of three separate exams. Typically these exams take place in the student’s 6th semester, though 1) and 2) can take place in the 5th semester:
1) Exam 1: written exam in Old Russian literature and 18th century Russian literature (60 minutes)
2) Exam 2: written exam in Russian applied linguistics (60 minutes), followed a week later by a brief oral exam (20-30 minutes) with at least two faculty members
3) Exam 3: Oral exam on four special areas (2-3 hours):
- special author (8-10 page bibliographic essay);
- special movement (8-10 page bibliographic essay);
- special genre (8-10 page bibliographic essay);
- dissertation prospectus: including statement of topic and research question, definition of framing concepts, discussion of critical commentary, list of planned chapters, timeline for completion, and bibliography of primary and secondary sources (minimum 15 pages, not including the bibliography).
The draft of the dissertation prospectus and the three bibliographic essays will be distributed to the student’s committee at least two weeks before the oral exam, and at least by April 15. These essays will form the basis for questioning and discussion at the oral exam on Day 3.
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 first year the Polish language (offered at the University of Virginia) or another Slavic language (offered elsewhere in a variety of summer language programs).
- Passing an equivalent examination.
Proficiency in a modern Slavic language other than Russian must be demonstrated no later than the student's fifth semester.
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
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:
- Written examination (7.5 hours taken over three days)
- Oral examination (two hours)
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.
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 be 10-15 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
- Names of Dissertation committee members
- Statement of the problem to be studied
- Research already accomplished
- Approach to the solution of the problem
- Preliminary list of chapters
- List of works already consulted
- Bibliography of primary and secondary sources
- Preliminary timeline and 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, including 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 and to Alderman Library.