The M.A. in Slavic Cultures

This program is designed for graduate students with interdisciplinary interests in Russia and/or Eastern Europe and leads only to the freestanding M.A. degree. It does not lead toward a doctorate (though students may subsequently apply for admission to Ph.D. programs at Columbia and elsewhere). The program is normally completed in two or three semesters.  Part-time students must complete the program within four years. Note that two Residence Units (RU) are required for the M.A. Degree.

Educational goals

Students will

  • expand their general knowledge of Slavic cultures;
  • encounter cross-disciplinary strategies and tools for studying the cultural and intellectual history as well as the social and political present of the Slavic peoples;
  • learn the skills associated with independent research and academic writing.



at least 30 points at the graduate level (numbered 4000 and above), selected in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies. These may be relevant courses in departments other than Slavic, such as Art History and Archeology, Film, Comparative Literature and Society, History, Political Science, Human Rights, Economics, and Sociology. Up to eight points (two courses) may be taken for R credit. The Proseminar in Literary Studies (SLLT GR8001--and introduction to critical theory and methods) is recommended. Students writing an M.A. Essay take a 4-point Directed Research course (for graded credit) with their essay adviser.  Courses taken P/F (pass/fail) normally do not count toward the degree.

M.A. Essay or Comprehensive Examination

Students must either write an M.A. Essay (30 pages) or take a comprehensive exam on their course work at the end of their final semester. For further information on the M.A. Essay, see M.A. Essay guidelines.



The Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) meets with all M.A. students in advance of each semester to discuss course selection and degree requirements, as well as intermittently throughout the academic year.  At the end of the first semester, students confer with the DGS to decide on the capstone project (M.A. Essay or Comprehensive Examination).  Students writing an M.A. Essay work with the DGS to choose an essay adviser as well as the second reader for the project.  Those who elect to take the comprehensive exam also choose an adviser to supervise the preparations.

Good Standing

To be in good academic standing in the freestanding M.A. 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 3.0 or above.