The M.A. in Slavic Languages (track in Czech, Polish, South Slavic, or Ukrainian Literature)

This is a freestanding Master's program.  It does not lead to a doctorate (though students may subsequently apply for admission to Ph.D. programs at Columbia and elsewhere). Full-time students normally complete this program 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 the Slavic literary tradition of their choice;
  • become conversant in twentieth- and twenty-first-century critical and cultural theory and learn to negotiate the fundamental idioms and axioms of our academic practices;
  • achieve a high level of proficiency in the Slavic language of their choice;
  • learn the skills associated with independent research and academic writing.



30 points at the graduate level (numbered 4000 and above), including:

  • at least three courses in the primary literature (Czech, Polish, South Slavic, or Ukrainian);
  • 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 dedicated to completing the Master's Essay, to be taken with the M.A. Essay adviser during the second or third semester;
  • three additional elective courses, which may include courses in history, linguistics, comparative literature, or other Slavic literatures.

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.

Note that Directed Research courses (CZCH GR8001- GR8002; POLI GR8001- GR8002; SOSL GR8001- GR8002; UKRN GR8001- GR8002) may be repeated for credit, since the content varies.


Demonstration (by examination) of an advanced level of proficiency in the primary language of study (Czech, Polish, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, or Ukrainian); an additional Slavic language, particularly Russian, is encouraged but not required.

M.A. Essay

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



The Director of Graduate Studies 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 their first semester, M.A. students consult with the Proseminar instructor and the DGS to choose an adviser for the Master's Essay. Once the project is underway, a second reader is chosen.

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.