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Graduate Requirements

  Literature M.A.

  • 36 graduate credits, including Proseminar I and II.
  • Old Church Slavic and Structure of Russian
  • A reading knowledge of either French or German.
  • The Comprehensive Examination

  Literature Ph.D.

  • 72 graduate credits (36 beyond the M.A.), of which 12 may be dissertation credits; at least 60 credits must be completed by the end of the semester in which the examination is to be taken.
  • The three courses: Historical Russian Grammar, History of the Russian Literary Language, Literary Theory.
  • 9-15 credits outside the department (but in the 72-credit total) in an approved second area (e.g. Cultural Studies, Women's Studies, European Literature, Area Studies).
  • A reading knowledge of French and German
  • The Qualifying Examination


  • The sequence Stylistics I-II is required of all M.A. candidates not placing out of it; it counts toward the M.A. credit total at the rate of 1 credit per term. These courses may be taken on a 3-credit basis by advanced undergraduates with the permission of the instructor, and may count toward the undergraduate major. These courses may be taken optionally by graduate students beyond the M.A. Graduate courses in conversation are optional.
  • Recent literature seminars have included the following topics:
  • Russian Journals
  • Folklore
  • Silver Age
  • Symbolist Prose
  • Formalism and Structuralism
  • 20th Century Drama
  • Literature and Society in the 19th Century
  • Autobiography and Memoirs
  • Russian Women's Culture
  • Solzhenitsyn
  • Pushkin
  • Russian Narrative Poem
  • Bakhtin and the Novel
  • Department M.A. and Ph.D. examinations may not be taken until the required foreign-language reading examinations have been passed. Entering students should be prepared to a.) pass a reading examination in French or German; or b.) enroll in a French or German language class until a reading examination has been passed. 
  • The foreign language requirement (normally French and German) may be fulfilled by one of three options:
  • A grade of at least B+ in the final (fourth) semester of study of the language;
  • The regular research-competence exam;
  • A graduate level course in the chosen language including a.) foreign-language research for a paper and b.) a letter from the instructor (3-4 sentences maximum) to the effect that the student is competent to conduct research in the language.
  • Students may apply to replace the French and/or German examinations with examinations in other languages. Any such application must be submitted in writing to the student's advisor, and must be based on an argument that the proposed substitute language is more important for the student's research than the language it would replace. Applications will then be evaluated by the advisor and two other members of the faculty to be selected by the advisor.