Slavic Languages

Program Category: PhD Programs

Chair: Valentina Izmirlieva

Director of Graduate Studies: Cathy Popkin

Website: slavic.columbia.edu

Degree Programs: MA, MPhil, PhD in Slavic Languages

The Department of Slavic Languages offers sequential degrees (MA/MPhil/PhD) in Russian, Czech, Polish, South Slavic, and Ukrainian literature. For the MA degree, students work in their primary literature. For the MPhil degree, students do more advanced work in their major field. Students earning a PhD in Russian literature may choose to complete either a minor in a related field or the concentration in Comparative Literature and Society. Students earning a PhD in Czech, Polish, South Slavic, or Ukrainian literature must complete a concentration in Comparative Literature and Society.

The doctoral programs are rigorous, requiring extensive study of the literature from the middle ages to the present, with some fundamental grounding in the region's history, linguistics, and culture. At the same time, the department provides training to equip students with sophistication in literary theory and literary analysis. PhD candidates in the department complete their program prepared to conduct serious scholarship in the field and to teach both language and literature at all levels. The training in the minor field or the concentration in Comparative Literature and Society broadens the candidate's range to include other literary traditions, other modes of cultural expression, and other disciplines.

The Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (ICLS) at Columbia acts as an interdisciplinary institute bringing together faculty and students from different departments, but it is not itself a department and it does not have independent degree programs. Students who wish to study Comparative Literature with a focus on Russian, Czech, Polish, South Slavic, or Ukrainian literature should apply directly to the program in Slavic Languages and also indicate their interest in the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society on the application. Successful applicants complete the MA in a Slavic literature and then incorporate a concentration in Comparative Literature and Society into their studies at the MPhil level. For more details, see the ICLS website.

The Harriman Institute is a center for Russian, Eurasian, and East European studies at Columbia that draws together faculty and students from different divisions and schools. Students in the Slavic graduate programs who are interested in area studies may want to pursue a Harriman Certificate. This certificate is open to graduate students in the sequential PhD programs and the free-standing MA programs.

Qualified applicants who do not intend to continue beyond the MA degree may apply for admission as candidates for the free-standing MA program in Slavic Languages. In addition to the free-standing MA degree in Slavic Languages, the department offers free-standing MA degrees in Russian Translation and in Slavic Cultures. Note that, along with the free-standing MA in Slavic Languages, these programs of study do not lead to a doctorate.

Fellowships are awarded in recognition of academic achievement and in expectation of scholarly success. Because teaching is considered an important aspect of graduate student training, all graduate fellowships include a teaching apprenticeship.

Certificate in Comparative Literature and Society

The Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (ICLS) awards a certificate in Comparative Literature and Society. For more information, see the ICLS website.

Special Admissions Requirements: 

For admission to the respective programs in Slavic languages, the department requires four years of college-level instruction (or the equivalent) in Russian or three years (or the equivalent) in Czech, Polish, Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian, or Ukrainian. An undergraduate major in the appropriate Slavic language and literature is desirable but not required. The department will also consider applicants with solid backgrounds in other literatures, history, philosophy, religion, or other disciplines in the humanities. 

All applicants to the program in Slavic Languages should indicate their choice of subfield (Russian, Czech, Polish, South Slavic, or Ukrainian).

In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit one transcript showing courses and grades for each school attended, a statement of academic purpose, a writing sample (a course paper, term paper, etc.), and three letters of recommendation from academic sources.

All international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English must submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS.

For more information, refer to the Admissions Information and Frequently Asked Questions pages.

Deadline for Fall Admission: Friday, January 6, 2017
Resume Requirement: Yes
Writing Sample: Yes
Writing Sample Number of Pages: 15-20
GRE General: Yes