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Graduate Admissions

Important Graduate Contacts
Graduate Program Adviser: Lani Phillips
Graduate Program Coordinator: Dr. José Alaniz
The Graduate School Office: Main Desk, (206) 543-5900

PLEASE NOTE:  The application deadline for admission in Autumn Quarter 2021 is December 15, 2020.

English Language Requirement:

Teaching in the department is conducted in English. Candidates who are not native speakers of English should must be able to demonstrate English language proficiency per Memo 8: Graduate School English Language Proficiency Requirements

The graduate school is phasing out usage of IELTS.  IELTS with a test session date after November 1, 2016 will not be accepted..

M.A. Program Applicants

A student seeking admission to the M.A. program should have a bachelor’s degree in Russian or Slavic Studies which includes four years of Slavic language study. Applicants with equivalent experience and basic coursework in Slavic literatures, cultures and history will be considered. A student not meeting these requirements may be given conditional admission but will be expected to make up any deficiencies. Consideration will be given to those with three years of language who enroll in 4th-year Summer Intensive Russian the quarter before entry into the program.

All students entering the program must take a diagnostic language test as well as a Skype interview to establish their level of proficiency and determine what further instruction may be necessary.

Ph.D. Program Applicants

Applicants to the doctoral program in Slavic Languages and Literatures are expected to possess an M.A. or equivalent degree. They are admitted by vote of the graduate faculty on the basis of their language skills (Slavic and English), general background in Slavic cultures, previous academic performance, and a comprehensive statement of purpose.  Successful applicants are expected to have well-defined research interests.

The students who are admitted into the Ph.D. program with an M.A. from a non-Slavic field may be accepted as Ph.D. students conditionally, which means that they are enrolled as M.A. students for their first quarter of residence (a probation quarter). If they are deemed a good match for the Ph.D. program, their status is changed to that of a Ph.D. student in the second quarter. If they are deemed in need of more remedial work with Slavic focus, they may stay enrolled as M.A. students until they complete the remedial work.

Completion of the M.A. degree does not automatically admit a student to the Ph.D. program. Admission will depend upon the faculty’s judgment that the student has the ability and level of preparation necessary to complete the requirements for the doctorate and that departmental and university resources are sufficient for the proposed course of study. A High Pass in Russian (or other Slavic language) exam is required, or the equivalent if coming from another institution. The student needs to submit a petition, that is, the above-mentioned statement of purpose, outlining the projected course of study, a timeline, and the work already done towards the degree. A student in our M.A. program who wishes to continue into our Ph.D. program must petition to do so at the latest by the end of the first quarter of his/her post-M.A. study.

Application Materials and How To Apply

  1. Apply directly to the Graduate School using their online application form.  Your online application will include the following additional materials:
    • GRE scores: the UW Institution Code is R4854. To meet the December deadline, you will need to take the GRE no later than November.
    • Statement of purpose: a 1-3 page essay in English describing your educational and/or employment background, your reasons for wanting to study in the Slavic Department, your proposed focus of study, and your career goals.
    • A scholarly writing sample (in English): minimum 10 pages.
    • Three letters of recommendation. Academic references evaluating your work in your major subjects are preferable, and one reference specifically addressing language proficiency may be helpful. References from employers may be substituted, though more than one may put you at a disadvantage.
    • TOEFL scores for international applicants, US immigrants or permanent residents whose native language is not English.
    • If you plan for Russian to be the primary language in which you work, please fill out a language exam sign-up form. Native Russian speakers (those who have completed high school in Russia) are exempt from this requirement.  If you plan for a language other than Russian to be the primary language in which you work and you did not complete high school in that country, please email
    • If you are applying for a T.A. position at this time, you must also include an Assistantship Application (DOC) as well as TOEFL scores (for international applicants, US immigrants or permanent residents whose native language is not English). This form should be sent directly to the Slavic Department.