Graduate degrees in Balkan studies are available through area studies programs focused on the Eastern European countries in the region. These degree programs are often interdisciplinary, drawing from the humanities and social sciences. Graduates are prepared for careers with governmental agencies and non-profit organizations or to pursue a Ph.D.
Balkan Studies Program Information
Although many schools offer only special courses or minors in this area, master's degrees are available via Balkan studies concentrations in Eastern European Studies departments. These programs can take four semesters to complete, and they include coursework covering the history, culture, economics, and politics of the region as outlined below.
Introduction to Area Studies
These preliminary classes offer an overview of the field of area studies and its interdisciplinary nature. Drawing from sociology, political science, history, and other relevant disciplines, survey classes in area studies prepare students to conduct and interpret research concerning the Balkan region. They may also enhance students' understandings of the history and culture of Eastern European countries.
Law in Eastern Europe
The legal and political systems in Balkan countries are examined in these types of courses. Students may take a look at legal institutions and practices and how they impact the area's culture. How legal systems and ideas differ from those in other regions may be included, along with controversies and current events related to the law.
Political Change in Eastern Europe
Classes in this area examine how political structures and ideologies have evolved over time in the Balkan region. These courses may draw from political science to investigate and compare political systems, including communism and democracy. Since conflict over political systems can lead to disputes over geographic boundaries, these courses examine the history as well as the political and social impacts of such changes.
Eastern European Economic Systems
These courses examine Eastern European economic systems and how they have transformed over time. Economic issues, including privatization and financial stability, are examined along with policy issues affecting economic change in the region. Some classes addressing economics pay particular attention to economic changes during the transition from communism.
Demography of Eastern Europe
Since the Balkan region has been the site of significant change and upheaval, some courses in these programs examine how demographics in the area have shifted over time. These classes may focus on a particular demographic issue like public health. They may also cover changes to countries' populations due to migration and examine the social and political causes and response to these changes.
Eastern European History
Graduate programs devote significant attention to classes covering the history of countries in this region. Courses may focus on a particular time period, like the 19th century. Alternatively, they may focus on one specific country or on a particular historical event like the Holocaust. An examination of recent history may cover changes in governance, population migration, and other trends.
Program Admission Requirements
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Programs may require a GPA of 3.0 or higher during an applicant's undergraduate career. Additionally, students must have completed 2-3 years of instruction in a language spoken in the region before being admitted. Applicants must also submit GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and a current resume. Graduate programs in this area may also request a statement of purpose and an academic writing sample.
Prospective students with relevant language experience and an interest in the Balkan region can apply to graduate programs in Balkan studies. Such programs investigate the history, demography, politics, and culture of this region along with the changes and conflicts it has experienced over time.