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Doctoral Program

Program Requirements

The Ph.D. Program in Slavic Languages & Literatures requires completion of 90 credits, and includes three components — coursework, general exams, and the dissertation. Students in the program designate a primary and secondary language of focus, and choose to complete either the literature or linguistics track.

1.  Coursework

While all of the core courses are required, the program is designed to allow you to take classes in areas that align with your fields of interest.  In consultation with your faculty adviser, you should choose courses that will help you prepare for the general exams.  In some cases, an independent study may be used to satisfy one or more requirements.

The coursework requirements are as follows:

Literature Track

Linguistics Track 

Courses Counting Towards Requirement

Core Courses

10 credits 
10 credits
All courses required:

RUSS 501–Russian for Grad Students 

RUSS 502–Russian Translation

SLAVIC 501–Using Slavic Resources

SLAVIC 519–Slavic Language Pedagogy

Second Slavic Language

15 credits
30 credits
(1st- & 2nd-year)
Students who test out of any part of this requirement will take additional electives to fulfill the minimum number of credits required for the degree.

Graduate Linguistics Course

5 credits
5 credits
Choose from the following courses:

SLAVIC 425–Universal and Culture Specific Aspects of Language

SLAVIC 426–Expressions of Emotion Across Languages and Cultures

SLAVIC 470–Special Topics in Slavic Linguistics

SLAVIC 550–Synchronic Slavic Linguistics

SLAVIC 551–Introduction to the History of Slavic Languages

SLAVIC 561–History of the East Slavic Languages

SLAVIC 562–History of the West Slavic Languages

SLAVIC 563–History of the South Slavic Languages

SLAVIC 565–Old Church Slavic

SLAVIC 566–Readings in Old Church Slavic

SLAVIC 570–Special Topics in Slavic Linguistics

Graduate Literature Course

5 credits
not required
Choose from the following courses:

BCMS 420–Literature, Film, and Culture of the Former Yugoslavia and the Yugoslav Successor States

CZECH 420–Modern Czech Literature in Translation  

POLSH 420–Modern Polish Literature in Translation

RUSS 420–Topics in Russian Literary and Cultural Scene

RUSS 421–Post-Soviet Literary and Cultural Scene

RUSS 422–Russian Literature in Emigration and Exile

RUSS 423–Russian Film

RUSS 424–Topics in Ethnicity and Cultural Identity

RUSS 425–Russian Drama

RUSS 426–Russian Art and Architecture

RUSS 430–Major Authors

RUSS 512–Russian Literary Criticism

RUSS 520–Topics in Russian Literature and Culture

RUSS 521–Russian Literature to 1800

RUSS 522–Russian Literature of the Nineteenth Century

RUSS 523–Russian Literature of the Twentieth Century

RUSS 526–Modern Russian Literary, Cultural, and Film Studies

RUSS 542–Seminar in Russian Poetry

RUSS 543–Seminar in Contemporary Russian Prose

RUSS 570–Research Seminar in Russian Literature

RUSS 577–Russian Folk Literature

SLAVIC 423–East European Film

SLAVIC 490–Studies in Slavic Literatures

SLAVIC 520–New Trends in Literary Theory

Departmental Electives

10 credits
10 credits
Choose from the courses listed as fulfilling the Graduate Linguistics and Literature requirements.  Courses being used to fulfill one of those requirements may not also be used to count towards this requirement.

Non-Departmental Electives 

0 - 10 credits
0 - 10 credits
Agreed upon with faculty adviser.

Graduate Certificate

6+ credits
6+ credits
All Graduate Certificate options can be found on the Graduate School Website.  Students should consult with their faculty adviser once they have identified a few certificates of interest, in order to determine the certificate most beneficial for their course of study.


29 credits
29 credits
SLAVIC 800–Doctoral Dissertation

2.  General Examination

The general examination includes a written and oral part.  The written part consists of separate exams in two fields related to your areas of interest.  In consultation with your faculty adviser, you will determine the two fields in which you will be examined, as well as the member(s) of your Supervisory Committee who will serve as the examiner(s) for each field.  You will then work with your examiners to develop a reading list for each field, establish the expectations for your responses, and to decide on the format each exam will take (either a 4-hour in situ exam, or a 3-day take home exam).  When developing reading lists, graduate students in Russian literature should refer to the general Ph.D. Exam Reading List established by departmental faculty.

The comments prepared by each examiner will be made available to you and all members of your Supervisory Committee.  You may discuss the comments received on the written exams with your Supervisory Committee before the oral exam.

Students are expected to take their written exams no later than the spring quarter of their third year, and should schedule them the preceding quarter.  Upon completion of the written part, you will turn your attention to writing a dissertation prospectus and annotated bibliography, which you will present as part of your oral exam.  The oral exam should be taken in the fall of your fourth year.

PLEASE NOTE: Students may be excused from one field examination if their Supervisory Committee accepts a paper published in a reviewed journal in lieu of that examination.

3.  Dissertation

After the successful completion of the General Examination, the candidate submits a detailed dissertation prospectus to be approved by the Supervisory Committee.

A good example of the composition of a prospectus is outlined in this page from the OSU Department of Comparative Studies.

The candidate must register for a minimum of three quarters of Slavic 800 at a maximum of ten credits per quarter before submitting a dissertation for defense.  Students are required to provide a copy of the final version of their dissertation to the Slavic Department to be retained in the departmental library.

With the approval of the Dissertation Reading Committee (three people, usually a subset of the Supervisory Committee), the candidate will defend the dissertation in a Final Examination open to the graduate faculty of the university and invited guests. To schedule a dissertation defense, a number of departmental and Graduate School procedures must be followed. It is the graduate student’s responsibility to find a day and time for the Dissertation Defense. Here are instructions and some useful suggestions for scheduling the defense and preparing for it.

Supervisory Committee

You are expected to ask a member of the Graduate Faculty to serve as Committee Chair of the Supervisory Committee. Together, you will then proceed to form a three-member Committee, at least two of whom are from the Department. The Committee Chair will seek the approval of the other proposed members. In addition, you are responsible for finding a suitable Graduate Student Representative (GSR) for the Supervisory Committee. The entire slate for the student’s Supervisory Committee is then submitted to the Graduate Program Advisor for approval and forwarding to the Graduate School. From this point on the candidate and the Committee Chair are expected to keep all members of the Committee informed of the student’s progress toward the examinations.

Guidance on selecting a suitable GSR may be found on this page  and at, and in the detailed instructions for Comprehensive Exam arrangements below.

Reading Committee

Progress Review

The progress of doctoral students towards their degree is reviewed by the same process as is described above for M.A. students.  The department follows Graduate School guidelines concerning doctoral degree requirements and satisfactory performance and progress toward completion (guidelines), but can make exceptions in extenuating circumstances.

Students entering Ph.D. program with an M.A. from UW Slavic

The above applies to students coming into the program with a BA or with an MA from another institution. Students who enter the program upon following the MA degree from UW will already have 45 of the above credits. These students should be able to move through the program in 4 rather than 5 years. They will be strongly encouraged to complete a graduate certificate and required to take one additional Slavic department elective (in literature or linguistics, depending on their focus). They will not be required to take other department electives.
     Starting in their first year students prepare a PhD reading list of 30-40 primary sources and 20-25 secondary sources. Throughout their second year students produce an annotated bibliography of these materials. They take their two written exams in the fall of their second year.
     Upon completion of the Written Examinations, the exams and the comments prepared by each examiner will be made available to all members of the Committee as well as to the student. The examinations will be kept in the student’s permanent file in the departmental office. The students may discuss the comments they received on the written exams with their Committee members before the oral exam.
     In the fall of their third year students compose a dissertation prospectus. In that same quarter students take their oral exam, which would cover their annotated bibliography and the prospectus.
     With the approval of the Dissertation Reading Committee (three people, usually a subset of the Supervisory Committee), the candidate will defend the dissertation in a Final Examination open to the graduate faculty of the university and invited guests.