The Ph.D. in Russian Literature (Slavic Languages)

The Ph.D. program in Russian Literature is structured as a three-degree sequence: M.A./M.Phil./Ph.D.   Students with an equivalent M.A. from elsewhere are granted up to two Residence Units of transfer credit for their previous graduate work and enter the program at the M.Phil. (or advanced M.A.) level.

THE M.A. IN RUSSIAN LITERATURE

This degree is a prerequisite for the M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees in Russian Literature. Students normally complete this portion of the program in two or three semesters. Note that two Residence Units (RU) are required for the M.A. degree.
 

Educational goals:

Students will

  • expand their knowledge of the Russian literary tradition;
  • become conversant in twentieth and twenty-first-century critical and cultural theory and learn how to negotiate the fundamental idioms and axioms of our academic practices;
  • achieve a high level of proficiency in Russian language;
  • learn the skills associated with independent research and academic writing.

Requirements:

   1) Coursework: 30 points at the graduate level (4000 and higher), including:

  •  three courses in Russian literature;
  •  the Proseminar in Literary Studies (SLLT GR8001) - an introduction to critical theory and methods, to be taken during the first semester of graduate study;
  • four points of Directed Research for the completion of the Master’s Essay; to be taken with the M.A. Essay adviser during the second and third semesters (two points per semester);
  • one graduate-level Russian language or linguistics course, such as Practical Stylistics (RUSS GU4434), a course from the Chteniia po russkoi literature or Chteniia po russkoi kul'ture series, or any other Russian language course at the 4000 level or above; Introduction to Old Church Slavonic (SLLN GU4005), History of the Russian Literary Language (RUSS GR6225), or Structure of Modern Standard Russian (RUSS GR6021);
  • two additional elective courses. Students who are considering the certificate in Comparative Literature and Society should consider taking CPLS GR6100 in the first year of study; it may be counted as one of these elective courses.

All courses required for the M.A. are to be selected in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). One of the literature and one of the elective courses may be taken for R (registration) credit; all other courses should be taken for a letter grade.  Courses taken P/F (pass/fail) normally do not count toward the degree.

2) Languages: Additional Russian language study at Columbia, or in summer programs elsewhere, if the Department's placement or progress examination indicates such a need.  A second Slavic language is encouraged but not required.   

3) M.A. Essay: An independent research project (30 - 60 pages) completed under the guidance of an adviser and submitted before the end of the third semester of study. For further information, see M.A. Essay guidelines.

 

WORKSHEET FOR TRACKING PROGRESS TOWARD THE DEGREE 

 

Advising:  Students in the M.A./M.Phil./Ph.D. program work closely with advisers at every stage.  The Director of Graduate Studies meets with all students pursuing the M.A. and M.Phil. in advance of each semester to discuss course selection and degree requirements, as well as throughout the academic year as the need arises.  At the end of their first semester, M.A. students consult with the Proseminar instructor and the DGS to choose a specific adviser for the Masters Essay.  After the Masters Essay has been completed, the student selects a mentor, the faculty member who serves as a dedicated adviser until the student identifies a Dissertation Sponsor (and two additional committee members) at the completion of the M.Phil.  By the time students finish the Ph.D., most will have had the opportunity to work with all regular faculty members in the Department.

Good Standing:  To be in good academic standing in the sequential Ph.D. program, students must make demonstrable progress toward the degree, hold no more than one mark of Incomplete at any given time, and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above.  One or more course grades of B- or below will be cause for serious concern and may lead to academic probation. Departmental standards supercede any school-wide expectations, posted on the GSAS website.


THE M.PHIL. IN RUSSIAN LITERATURE

Prerequisites for this degree are the M.A. degree in Russian Literature (or two Residence Units in transfer credit) and formal approval by the Department.  Students are expected to complete the M.Phil. program before the end of their eighth semester of graduate study. Those who enter the program with two RUs in transfer credit and proceed directly to the M.Phil. must complete the M.Phil. requirements before the end of their sixth semester in the program.  For the duration of the program, each student works closely with a faculty mentor who, as a rule, is distinct from the student's M.A. adviser. Note that four Residence Units beyond the M.A. (for a total of six) are required for the M.Phil. degree.

Educational goals:

Students will

  • demonstrate advanced-level knowledge of the Russian literary tradition and the Slavic academic field;
  • develop expertise in a minor field of specialization; this minor field can be either another language and literature (Slavic or non-Slavic)or another discipline or field (such as history, art history, linguistics, anthropology, philosophy, music, architecture, film, gender studies, or media studies, among many others);
  • acquire pedagogical skills in a variety of classroom experiences by teaching both Russian language and Russian literature under guided supervision;
  • achieve near-native proficiency in Russian; demonstrate excellent reading proficiency in two additional languages that are central to their individual research program;
  • continue to hone their skills in academic discourse, research, and writing though coursework, academic publications and conference participation, and involvement in the academic life of the Department and the Harriman Institute.


Requirements:

1) Coursework: Students complete a combined total of at least 30 points of coursework in their major field of Russian literature and their minor field, distributed as follows:

  • Old Russian Literature II (RUSS GR6105) and Eighteenth-Century Russian Literature (RUSS GR6040); these two courses replace the Old Russian, Baroque, and Eighteenth-Century sections of the Comprehensive Examination;
  • four additional courses in Russian literature;
  • Practical Stylistics (RUSS GU4434), if not taken at the M.A. level;
  • three or more courses toward the minor field;
  • two additional elective courses in the major, the minor, or another related field.

All courses should be chosen in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) and should be taken for a letter grade. The two elective courses may be taken for R credit. Courses taken P/F (pass/faill) normally do not count toward the degree.

Minor fields:

  • Second Slavic literature (Czech, Polish, Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian, or Ukrainian): candidates are expected to demonstrate proficiency in the language of the chosen literature, a general knowledge of the literary tradition, and a firm grasp of one selected period, genre, or theme. One of the required courses toward this minor may be satisfied by six points of language above the elementary level.
  • Non-Slavic literature: candidates are expected to demonstrate proficiency int the language of the chosen literature, a general knowledge of the literary tradition and a firm grasp of one selected period, genre, or theme that links that literature to Russian Literature;
  • Russian history and culture: candidates are expected to take graduate-level courses in Russian history, art history, film, music, philosophy, religion, or another relevant field, and to demonstrate a general knowledge of Russian intellectual history with a focus on either a specific period or a particular discipline, as it applies to Russian culture;
  • Slavic Linguistics: candidates are expected to take CLSL GR6100 (Comparative Grammar of Slavic Languages) and other graduate-level courses in Slavic linguistics and Slavic medieval studies, as well as courses in general linguistics; one of those courses may be an advanced course in a (non-Russian) Slavic language;
  • Interdisciplinary minor: developed in consultation with the DGS, and with the approval of the Department.

2) Languages: A reading knowledge of (1) French and German; or (2) either French or German and one other language of demonstrable importance to the student's research. Proficiency is established by departmental examination or completion of the relevant department's course in Rapid Reading and Translation with a grade of B or better.  Both research languages should be chosen in consultation with the DGS.

3) Teaching requirement: Three years of participation in the Slavic Department's instructional activities. As a rule, in the second, third, and fourth years of study, students gain exposure to teaching through participation in the Department's language and literature programs. 

4) M.Phil. Examination: Students are expected to take the comprehensive examination for the M.Phil. degree during their fourth year of graduate study, preferably at the beginning of the seventh semester; students with transfer credit who enter the program at M.Phil. level are expected to take the comprehensive exam during their third year in the program, preferably at the beginning of the fifth semester. Students are examined in three areas: 1) Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature; 2) Twentieth-Century Russian Literature; 3) Criticism, Genre, and Literary Institutions.  Approximately one week after the written examination, the student meets with a three-member faculty committee for an oral exam, which lasts up to two hours. The written portion of the examination serves as the point of departure for a discussion ranging over the whole field.  A reading list for this comprehensive exam is available online.

5) Minor Colloquium: This is the student's opportunity to exhibit the work (the "portfolio") completed in the minor field(s) and to reflect on its relationship to the major field and its role in the student's intellectual development.  Three faculty members take part in the discussion with the student.  (For a full description, please see the Guide to the Minor Colloquium on the Slavic Department website.) Students should hold the colloquium before the end of their eighth semester of graduate study; students who enter with two RUs of transfer credit should hold the colloquium before the end of their sixth semester in the program.


WORKSHEET FOR TRACKING PROGRESS TOWARD THE DEGREE

 


THE PH.D. IN RUSSIAN LITERATURE

Prerequisites for this degree are an M.Phil. degree in Russian Literature and formal approval by the Department. 
Students are expected to complete the Ph.D. program before the end of their seventh year of graduate study; the maximum time allowed for the satisfaction of all requirements is nine years of continuous registration.  Students granted two RUs of advanced standing are expected to finish by the end of year six; for these students the maximum allowable time to completion is eight years of continuous registration.

For the duration of the program, each student works closely with a faculty sponsor and two other faculty members who serve as second and third readers on the student's dissertation committee.

Educational goals: 

Students will

  • develop an independent research project for a doctoral dissertation; 
  • produce an original work that substantially contributes to the field of Russian/Slavic studies.

Requirements:

1) Doctoral Research Seminar: A required two-semester seminar meant to facilitate the preparation and defense of the dissertation brief and the transition to dissertation research and writing. All students should enroll in it for R credit, preferably in their fourth year (year three for students who enter with advanced standing).

2) Dissertation Brief:

The dissertation brief should

  • articulate the core idea of the dissertation (the questions and insights that drive it, the argument that is emerging
  • identify the material you will draw upon in your analysis
  • characterize any methodological or theoretical perspectives you will bring to bear on your material
  • establish the scholarly significance of your study, situating it in the field(s) to which it aspires to belong
  • outline the dissertation’s projected structure.

Approximate legnth: 12 pages, exclusive of bibliography. For further specifications, see Dissertation Brief guidelines.

The candidate defends the brief before a committee consisting of the sponsor and two other faculty members whose expertise is relevant to the dissertation topic. Upon receiving their approval, the candidate proceeds with the dissertation. Students must defend the brief before the end of the fourth year of graduate study; those who enter with advanced standing must do so before the end of the third year in the program.

3) Dissertation: Students should complete, defend, and deposit their dissertation in accordance with the regulations of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, normally by the end of the seventh year of graduate study; those who enter with advanced standing should complete, defend, and deposit their dissertation by the end of their sixth year in the program.