Graduate students wishing to study the Russian language typically need to pursue a Master of Arts in Russian Studies. These degree programs focus on language proficiency, but also usually include study in Russian literature and culture. Learn more about these degree programs and their admissions standards.
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Course Information for Russian Studies Master's Degrees
Schools with master's degree programs in Russian studies may offer a thesis or non-thesis track as part of the curriculum. Additionally, some programs offer a Russian language and literature track or concentration. Students in these programs often have the opportunity to study abroad in Russia to become immersed in the language. Common course topics are examined below.
Students in Russian studies degree programs may take one or more courses in advanced Russian where they further develop their skills in the language. Students in these courses expand their Russian vocabulary, practice contextual usage and perfect their grammar. These courses typically include advanced assignments, conversation practice and may be writing intensive.
Courses in Slavic culture explore the myths, contemporary movements and ideologies of Slavic societies. Students in these courses may work in small groups and typically conduct research using research methods specific to the field. Students also develop their writing and critical-thinking skills and are expected to participate in class discussions.
Russian studies programs may offer multiple courses in Russian literature that explore literature in a specific time period or from specific authors. Students may explore works from Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and more or study literary pieces from the 19th or 20th centuries. These courses may be taught in English and usually involve research, writing and class discussions.
Some Russian studies programs may include various courses in specific aspects of the Russian language. These courses may explore the history of the language, syntax, semantics, phonology and morphology. Students in these courses practice text analysis and explore the theories and issues behind these subjects. Courses in the history of the language may explore the development of the language from Indo-European to modern times.
Modern Russian History
Some Russian studies programs may offer various courses in Russian history, including courses that discuss Russia after Communism. These courses are usually taught in English and explore how Russia recreated its identity at the end of Communism. Some of these courses may focus on the politics after the collapse of Communism or take a broader perspective of modern Russian history. Specific topics may include the Cold War, anti-Western attitudes, Putin's politics, corruption, propaganda, contemporary culture and more.
Common Entrance Requirements
Applicants to master's degree programs in Russian studies generally need to include their official transcripts, letters of recommendation and a personal statement with their application. Some programs may also request that students include a research paper that may be written in English or Russian to demonstrate their writing skills. Although GRE scores are not typically required for these degree programs, some may encourage students to include them for funding opportunities. Depending on the program, applicants may be expected to meet a particular minimum GPA requirement and/or have undergraduate coursework in Russian.
Students interested in studying Russian language can pursue a Master of Arts in Russian Studies. These degree programs may have an optional thesis and cover topics in Russian language, literature and culture.