Doctoral Program


Please see the requirements for admission to the Doctoral Program under the “Graduate Admissions” section of this site.


At least 90 credits, including graduate course credits taken toward the M.A. Degree, and at least one full year of residence at the University of Washington. Ordinarily, a student should take no more than 10 credits in independent study courses (600-level). Students are also expected to take all of the graduate courses the department is offering in their field, unless waived by their adviser, as well as appropriate 400-level courses, as agreed in consultation with their adviser.

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- or four-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 at and at, and in the detailed instructions for Comprehensive Exam arrangements below.


The size of our doctoral program dictates that some of the post-M.A. credits will be satisfied with individually arranged Reading Courses (independent study courses). The courses should be mutually agreed upon by the student and the Committee Chair, and they should be organized with an eye to the comprehensive examinations. Students whose emphasis is Slavic linguistics will be expected to include a third Slavic language as a field.

Language Requirements

1) A Research Language Reading Examination

Any non-Slavic language useful in one’s field of study.

The student must pass a reading exam administered by the appropriate language department.

This exam must be successfully completed prior to scheduling the Ph.D. Examinations.

2) Second Slavic language

Ph.D. students with a literature focus should take one year of a second Slavic language (401-403 sequence) or test out of 403. Ph.D. students with a linguistics focus should take two years of one language (401-406 sequence), or take at least one year of two different Second Slavic languages (for example, one year of BCS and one of Polish). The student may also satisfy this requirement by demonstrating the appropriate proficiency in the language(s). Students majoring in language pedagogy must follow the linguistics guidelines.

Comprehensive Examinations

Students are expected to schedule their Ph.D. exams no later than the end of the sixth quarter of full residency after receiving their M.A. The Ph.D. exams should be scheduled using the PhD Comprehensive Exams Scheduling Form available from Graduate Program Advisor (Chris).  The student takes four Written Field Examinations, which will be followed two weeks later by the General (Oral Comprehensive) Examination. One of the field examinations may be on a third Slavic language or in a field from another department at the university. At the discretion of each examiner, the examinations may be either four-hour examinations in situ or three-day take-home essays. A student may be excused from one field examination if the Committee accepts a paper published in a reviewed journal in lieu of that examination.

Graduate students in Linguistics will discuss each potential examination with the examiner for that field, presenting, where required, a personal reading list for the exam. Graduate Students in Russian Literature should refer to the Ph.D. Exam Reading List. They should discuss and, if needed, modify this list in consultation with their adviser and Committee members at least two months prior to the first written exam.

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.

The General (Oral Comprehensive) Examination must be set up with the Graduate School at least three weeks before the examination is scheduled. The overall procedure is described in the Graduate Student Services’ how-to instructions on the web, and here are detailed instructions for what the student needs to do.


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.

Dissertation Writing

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.

Dissertation Defense

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.