Slavic Languages

Program Category: PhD Programs
Chair: Irina Reyfman
Director of Graduate Studies: Mark Lipovetsky
Website: slavic.columbia.edu
Degree Programs: MA, MPhil, PhD in Slavic Languages

In response to the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department of Slavic Languages is not accepting doctoral applications for 2021 admission. Please visit the department's website for more information.

The Master’s program offered by the Department of Slavic Languages remains open to new students for the fall of 2021; we encourage you to consider applying for the stand-alone MA program.

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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/or 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 with expertise in multiple languages who wish to work comparatively in several national or regional cultures or to draw upon other disciplinary methodologies should review the program descriptions on the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society website. To study Comparative Literature with a focus on Russian, Czech, Polish, South Slavic, or Ukrainian literature, students must apply directly to the program in Slavic Languages, clearly indicating their interest in the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society by checking the relevant box on the application. Successful applicants complete the MA in a Slavic literature and then earn a Certificate in Comparative Literature and Society as part of 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.