MA Requirements


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There are three main components to the MA degree: proficiency in an Eastern European/Eurasian language, 38 credit hours of area studies course work, and the defending of a thesis or passing of an exam.  For full-time students, the MA in Slavic and East European Studies typically takes four semesters to complete, or two academic years.  However, CSEES also welcomes part-time study.  Students must meet all degree requirements in a timely manner and must complete the MA degree within a 5-year period. Students pursuing a dual degree have 6 years to complete all requirements.

Language Requirement

Knowledge of a Slavic, East European, or Central Asian language sufficient for use as a professional and research tool is indispensable and as such, each MA student must demonstrate proficiency in a relevant language.  Students must have completed at least four years of Russian language study by the time they complete the degree, or two years of another Eastern European/Eurasian language.  Current languages offered are: Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Czech, Modern Greek, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Turkish, and Uzbek.  Students are strongly encouraged to supplement their language study during the year with intensive language study in the summer at either a domestic language workshop or overseas.  Additionally, proficiency in a second relevant language is also recommended.  Native speakers of an Eastern European/Eurasian language are required to study a second language.  Students should note that language courses do not count towards the 38 credit hour requirement; these courses are expected to be taken in addition to area studies course work.   

Coursework Requirement

The degree requires a minimum of 38 credit hours of graded area studies coursework.  Within this 38 credit hour requirement, each student must take:

  1. Slavic 6501: Introduction to Slavic Studies
  2. Courses from three or more disciplines in which Slavic, East European, and/or Central Asian studies courses are offered
  3. Courses in at least two different colleges or divisions within the College of Arts and Sciences: the humanities, social and behavioral sciences, business, law, etc.
  4. At least 9 credit hours at the 6000-level or above
  5. At least 9 credit hours in the student's area or discipline of concentration
  6. No more than 6 credit hours at the 4000-level

To count as an area studies course, at least 25% of the course content must be on Eastern Europe/Eurasia.

An area or discipline of concentration should be selected by the end of the student's second semester in the program.  Students need to choose one geographical area of interest, either a region or a specific country. They may also include a discipline of concentration, such as history.  For example, a specialization could be Central Europe, Poland, Russian foreign relations, or Central Asian film.  Although this area and/or discipline should provide the focus for the student’s course of study, the student is still required to take courses in other areas and disciplines, in keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of the program.

Note that language courses do not count towards the 38 credit hour requirement.

Thesis/MA Exam Requirement

Students have two choices as the culmination of their MA degree: writing and defending a thesis or completing an exam.  The thesis track is primarily designed for those students who wish to pursue a PhD or career in academia. 

Thesis Track

The MA thesis is based on research in primary sources and is developed in consultion with the student's faculty advisor and thesis committee.  The objective  is for students to demonstrate their research, analysis and writing skills by showing a thorough exploitation of sources, rigorous argumentation, good organization, and clear, readable style. The student then defends the thesis through an oral examination or thesis defense. Thesis track students may register for up to two semesters (3 credit hours per semester) of thesis-writing credit with written permission from the program advisor.

MA Exam

For the exam option, students are required to pass a four-hour written examination.  50% of the exam will be devoted to questions on the student’s area of concentration developed by the faculty advisor.  Then two additional examiners of the student's choice will each develop 25% of the remaining exam.

MA Timeline

Beginning of each semester:

  • Review program of study with CSEES program advisor to ensure adherence to program requirements

Within the first two semesters of study:

  • Designate a faculty advisor
  • Choose a geographical area and/or discipline of concentration
  • Decide on thesis or exam track
  • Work with faculty advisor to establish remaining course of study

Two semesters before anticipated graduation:

  • Meet with program advisor to assess progress toward degree and make any necessary adjustments

Last semester:

  • Submit Application to Graduate Form to the Graduate School no later than the third Friday of the final semester
  • Complete exam/thesis defense and submit all paperwork

Interested in the CSEES MA but have a few questions?  Email Eileen Kunkler at or call 614 292-8770 to find out more.