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Graduate Requirements

  Literature M.A.

  • 36 graduate credits, including Proseminar I and II.
  • One course in Slavic historical linguistics or one course in descriptive Russian linguistics.
  • 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.
  • One course in Slavic historical linguistics and one course in descriptive Russian Linguistics.
  • 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


  • 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
  • The M.A. degree may be awarded only after one of the required research language requirements has been satisfied and the Ph.D. degree may be awarded only after both requirements have been satisfied. 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 the research language requirement has been satisfied in one of the following three ways:
  • 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.