Doctoral Program

Program Requirements

The Ph.D. Program in Slavic Languages & Literatures requires completion of 90 credits, and includes five components — coursework, completion of a graduate certificate, general exams, the dissertation, and the final exam. 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 (you can download a Literature Track or Linguistics Track spreadsheet to monitor your progress):

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 427–Russian Jewish Experience

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 

16 credits
6 credits
Agreed upon with faculty adviser.


29 credits
29 credits
SLAVIC 800–Doctoral Dissertation
(must be taken over a minimum of three quarters)

2.  Graduate Certificate

In addition to the coursework necessary for completing Ph.D. in Slavic Studies, all students must complete a Graduate Certificate, which will require you take additional courses not listed above.  All Graduate Certificate options can be found on the Graduate School Website.  Once you have identified a few certificates of interest, you should consult with your faculty adviser to determine the certificate most beneficial for your course of study.

PLEASE NOTE: As per Graduate School Policy 1.2.1, there are no restrictions regarding the number of credits that may apply to both a graduate certificate and towards the PhD in Slavic.  Students should discuss any class taken outside the department with their adviser to determine if it can also apply to Slavic program degree requirements.

3.  General Examination

The general examination includes both a written and oral part, and is meant to prepare you to write your dissertation.  The first step towards completing this degree requirement is setting up your Supervisory Committee.  You should start by asking a member of the Slavic Department Graduate Faculty to serve as the Chair of your Supervisory Committee.  Once he or she agrees, together you will form your four-member committee, which, in addition to the Committee Chair, includes two other graduate faculty members (at least one of whom must be from the Slavic Department), and a Graduate School Representative (GSR).  Guidance on selecting a suitable GSR may be found on the Graduate School website.  Once all members of your proposed supervisory committee have accepted, the names of the committee members must be communicated to the Graduate Program Adviser so that your committee can be formally established in MyGrad.  

The written part of your General Examination should be taken no later than the spring quarter of your third year, and consists of separate exams in two fields related to your areas of interest.  In consultation with your Supervisory Committee Chair, 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 these examiners to develop a reading list for each field, establish the expectations for your responses, decide on the format each exam will take (a 4-hour in situ exam, or a 3-day take home exam), and determine the written exam schedule.  When developing reading lists, graduate students in Russian literature should refer to the general Ph.D. Exam Reading List established by departmental faculty.

The oral part of the General Examination should take place no later than the the fall of your fourth year, and consists of discussing the responses produced for the written part of the General Exam, as well as writing and presenting a dissertation prospectus and annotated bibliography (30-40 primary sources and 20-25 secondary sources). It is important to begin scheduling this exam early, as General Exam requests must be submitted to the Graduate School at least three weeks prior to the date of your exam and it can often be difficult to find a time in which all of your Supervisory Committee members are available.  Please also be aware that the oral exam may not take place during Finals Week.  Once you have found a time that is convenient for everyone, you will need to submit a Doctoral General Exam Request via MyGrad.

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, your focus will turn toward writing your dissertation.  The Graduate School has many guidelines for writing and submitting the dissertation, which you should familiarize with early on in the process.  Expectations for the content and length of your dissertation should be discussed with the Chair of your Supervisory Committee, and will vary from student to student.  

During this period, you will also need to establish your Reading Committee, which is made up of at least 3 members of your Supervisory Committee.  As the name implies, the duty of this committee is to read your dissertation, and their approval is necessary before you schedule the Final Examination.  Once you have identified the members of your Supervisory Committee that will participate in your Reading Committee, and they have agreed to serve in this role, notify the Graduate Program Adviser so that the information can be entered into MyGrad.  

4.  Final Examination (Dissertation Defense)

After receiving the approval of your Reading Committee, you will defend your dissertation in a Final Examination that is open to all faculty and invited guests.  The exam consists of a 20-minute presentation in which you will introduce your research and findings, and is followed by a question and answer session.   You should be prepared to talk about how you chose your dissertation topic, the nature of your research, significant findings, and how your dissertation fits into the literature of the field, among other things. 

It is your responsibility to schedule your final examination, taking into consideration your committee members' availability and the Graduate School's dates and deadlines and requirements for completing the dissertation defense.  Normally you will need a two-hour block of time for your defense.  Once you have identified a time and date for your exam, inform the Graduate Program Adviser of when the exam will take place and the exact title of your dissertation (it will not be able to change after this point).  You will then need to officially schedule the exam with the Graduate School via MyGrad.  This should take place at least three weeks before the exam date.  

The Graduate School maintains a very useful Graduation Checklist, which you should consult to ensure all necessary steps have been completed.