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Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies

Administrative Unit:Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia
College/School: College of Letters & Science
Admitting Plans:M.A.
Degrees Offered:M.A.
Minors and Certificates:Doctoral Minor, Graduate/Professional Certificate

Faculty: Professors Gerber (chair) (Sociology), Belodubrovskaya (Communication Arts), Bethea (Slavic Languages), Brenner (Hebrew and Semitic Studies), Buenger (Art History), Chamberlain (History), Ciancia (History), Dale (Art History), Danaher (Slavic Languages), Derin (Languages and Cultures of Asia), Dolinin (Slavic Languages), DuBois (Scandinavian Studies), Evans-Romaine (Slavic Languages), Favretto (Political Science), Filipowicz (Slavic Languages), Gehlbach (Political Science), Hendley (Law, Political Science), Herrera (Political Science), Hirsch (History), Johnson (Educational Policy Studies), Kaiser (Geography), Kepley (Communication Arts), Lapina (Slavic Languages), Longinovic (Slavic Languages), McDonald (History), Michels (History), Miernowska (Slavic Languages), Neville (History), Radeloff (Forest and Wildlife Ecology), Reynolds (Slavic Languages), Schamiloglu (Languages and Cultures of Asia), Shevelenko (Slavic), Tishler (CREECA, Slavic Languages), Tumarkin (Slavic Languages), van de Water (Slavic/Theatre and Drama), Wink (History)


The Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies (REECAS) program is housed administratively in the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA). The REECAS program draws on the strength of long-established programs in anthropology, language and literature, political science, geography, history, folklore, sociology, and law. Faculty research interests include ethnicity and nationalism, legal problems of privatization, the politics and cultures of borderland regions in Eurasia, and the thought and politics of East-Central Europe.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply for the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship, which is administered through CREECA and is due approximately February 15.

The departments offering courses pertaining to Russia, Eastern and Central Europe, and Central Asia include Anthropology, Communication Arts, Folklore, Geography, History, Jewish Studies, Journalism, Languages and Cultures of Asia, Law, Political Science, Slavic Languages and Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Sociology, and Theatre and Drama.

Master's Degree Program 

The master of arts degree program in Russian, East European, and Central Asian studies provides interdisciplinary area studies training for emerging professionals and future leaders in business, development, government, journalism, law, publishing, and the military. The curriculum is designed to promote a broad understanding of the cultural, political, economic, social, and historical factors that have shaped the development of societies in Eurasia, Russia, and Central and Eastern Europe; mastery in Russian, East European, or Central Asian languages at a level necessary for doing advanced research on and professional work in the region; and knowledge of methodological and analytical approaches of different disciplines that will contribute to a better understanding of the region and will prepare students for conducting advanced research. The program requires both area studies and language training.

The M.A. program is designed to be completed in three semesters, but motivated students who enter with prior language study and commit to intensive summer course work have the option of completing the course of study within 12 calendar months. Students will work closely with the M.A. advisor, who serves as their primary graduate studies advisor, to ensure that their course of study is both coherent and sufficiently interdisciplinary.

M.A. Course Requirements

In addition to language classes each term, students will be required to complete a minimum of 22 non-language (area studies) credits from the course list to be distributed as follows:

  1. Seven courses in Russian, East European, and Central Asian studies at or above the 300 level (21 credits). These courses must be distributed over at least three departments. It is understood that M.A. students taking courses numbered 300–699 may be required to do additional graduate-level work for these classes, as is true for Ph.D. students.
  2. At least 6 of these credits (two courses) must be graduate-level seminars (700 through 900 level). REECAS M.A. students are expected to use original language source material in their graduate seminar papers.
  3. A 1-credit "Introduction to REECAS" module (Slavic 755). The course number of this module varies, depending on the home department of the faculty director of CREECA. Students are required to attend the weekly CREECA lecture series and to write four short essays based on the content of those lectures. Papers are read and evaluated by the CREECA director and associate director.
  4. Students may elect to write a master's thesis, but this is not required. This 3-credit, faculty-supervised, independent research course could count toward the required 22 non-language credits, but could not take the place of a required graduate-level seminar. The master's thesis will demonstrate the student's ability to engage in original research in his or her chosen field, including the ability to use original-language material.

Language learning is an integral part of the program, and students will be required to enroll in language courses each term. Students already proficient in their main language will be expected to choose another Slavic or Central Eurasian language for the duration of their program. For degree completion, students must have a minimum of two years of university-level study (or the equivalent) of a regional language with at least three years of study strongly recommended. During the academic year, the program offers Czech, Finnish, Kazak, Persian, Polish, Russian, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, and Turkish (Turkish-Azeri).

Graduate/Professional Certificate 

The graduate/professional certificate in REECAS provides graduate students with a general background in the areas of anthropology, economics, foreign policy, geography, government and politics, history, language and literature, law, and sociology. It also provides specific knowledge about one of these areas. With its emphasis on interdisciplinary study, a REECAS certificate enhances the training of Ph.D. candidates who wish to teach and do research at the college level, and serves the needs of M.A. and Ph.D. students who wish to make a career in broadcasting, government service, journalism, library work, or other professions requiring a well-rounded acquaintance with this diverse and highly important area.

Although there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the REECAS certificate to select courses and a language involving Eastern Europe other than Russian, students seeking a career in a field connected with REECAS would do best to combine the study of another language with Russian. Czech, Finnish, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Turkish/Azeri, and Uzbek are offered regularly; Bulgarian, Kazak, and Romanian may be taught from time to time. The certificate student, in consultation with the graduate advisor, must choose an academically coherent group of courses which focuses on a specific geographic area and language.

To receive the certificate, a student must take 12 credits of required courses distributed over three programs. Of these required courses, one must be a seminar in which a research paper is written on a topic approved by the major professor. The student must demonstrate a working knowledge of one language of Eastern Europe or the former Soviet Union before beginning the second year of REECAS and will be expected to write the seminar paper utilizing original source material in the target language(s). Students should contact the program office for specific information regarding these requirements.

Doctoral Minor 

Recognition of interdisciplinary training at the graduate level can be acquired with a REECAS certificate. Graduate minor requirements in specific fields can also be fulfilled under the REECAS program. The requirements for a doctoral minor under Option A (external minor) may be satisfied by completing 9 credits of graduate courses in Russian, East European, and Central Asian studies. These nine credits must be distributed over at least two departments outside the student's major department. Students should contact the program office for specific information regarding these requirements.

Financial Aid 

Each year a faculty committee selects a limited number of deserving graduate students (in any field of study) for Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships. Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States and must demonstrate their commitment to the study of a language of Russia, Eastern Europe, or Central Asia, and to related area studies topics. Applications and supporting materials for the FLAS fellowship competition must be submitted by approximately February 15 each year. For more information and an application, see Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships.

Students interested in studying Polish may be eligible to apply for a Michael and Emily Lapinski fellowship, administered through the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature. The annual deadline is March 1. Please contact the Slavic department for more information.

CREECA also nominates eligible incoming graduate students in its M.A. program for the Advanced Opportunity Fellowship (for targeted students). To be considered for university funding, all application materials must be received by the early January deadline indicated on the CREECA M.A. application form.

A limited number of teaching assistantships and project assistantships may be available in CREECA and in specific departments that offer high-enrollment courses on REECAS. Information about these assistantships can be obtained by writing or calling CREECA and the respective departments. In addition to these opportunities, other fellowships and financial assistance are available outside CREECA. For further information, incoming graduate students should write directly to the appropriate department or organization.


Students entering the master's program must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and provide evidence of academic achievement and intellectual ability, including a minimum total grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) and a 3.4 in related area courses, letters of recommendation, and strong scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). There is no minimum admission requirement for language, but students are strongly advised to complete two years of area language study before entering the program.

Applicants for admission to the M.A. degree program in Russian, East European, and Central Asian studies should submit an online application. The following materials are required: statement of purpose, official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended, three letters of recommendation, Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores, language questionnaire, and application for university fellowships for incoming students. Speakers of English as a second language must submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores as well.

For more information: Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia, 210 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706-1397; 608-262-3379; fax 608-890-0267; assocdir@creeca.wisc.edu; www.creeca.wisc.edu.


Agricultural and Applied Economics

306 The Real Estate Process
374 Growth and Development of Nations in the Global Economy
474 Economic Problems of Developing Areas


330 Topics in Ethnology*
346 Peoples and Cultures of Russia
369 Peoples and Cultures of Central and Eastern Europe
372 Jews of Central and Eastern Europe
441 Peoples and Cultures of the European parts of the Ex-Soviet Union
442 Peoples and Cultures of Ex-Soviet Asia
606 Ethnicity, Nations and Nationalism*
622 Cross-Cultural Spread of World Religions*
675 Pastoralists and Pastoral Nomads in Cross-Cultural Perspectives
677 Public Monuments and Symbols*
690 Problems in Anthropology*
*When topic is Russia, Eastern Europe, or Central Asia

Art History

310 Early Christian and Byzantine Art
351 20th Century European Art
453 Art in Europe 1915–1955
556 Proseminar: 20th Century European Art*
805 Seminar in Ancient Art and Architecture*
815 Seminar in Medieval Art*
856 Graduate Seminar in Twentieth Century European Art*
*When topic is Russia, Eastern Europe, or Central Asia

Communication Arts

352 History of World Cinema
456 Russian and Soviet Film
463 Avant-Garde Film
958 Seminar in Film History: Film Historiography*
*When topic is Russia, Eastern Europe, or Central Asia


306 The Real Estate Process
364 Survey of International Economics
365 Issues in Comparative Economics
390 Contemporary Economic Issues*
467 International Comparisons—Industrial Firms and Industrial Organizations*
474 Economic Problems of Developing Areas*
663 Population and Society*
*When topic is Russia, Eastern Europe, or Central Asia


347 Kalevala and Finnish Folklore in Translation
352 Shamanism
370 Romani (Gypsy) Culture in Russia and East Europe
443 Sami Culture, Yesterday and Today
444 Slavic and East European Folklore
445 Russian Folklore
460 Folk Epics*
875 Seminar in Turkish Oral Narrative


318 Geography, Politics and Territoriality
353 Russia and the NIS
518 Advanced Political Geography*
553 Russia and CIS: Problems in Human Geography
918 Seminar in Political Geography*
940 Seminar in Regional Geography*
*When topic is Russia, Eastern Europe, or Central Asia


309 The Crusades: Christianity and Islam
313 Introduction to Byzantine History and Civilization
314 Problems in Byzantine History and Civilization*
332 Islam: Reform and Revolution in Central Asia
356 Europe Between the Wars, 1919–1939
357 The Second World War
359 History of Europe Since 1945
409 Central Europe, 1648–1871
416 East European Jews in the United States, 1880s–1930s
417 History of Russia before 1800
418 History of Russia 1800–1917
419 History of Soviet Russia
420 Russian Social and Intellectual History
421 The Russian Revolutions, 1905–1921
423 Cultural and Intellectual History of the Soviet Union
424 Soviet Union & World, 1917–1991
425 History of Poland and the Baltic Area
434 American Foreign Relations, 1901 to present
439 Islamic History from the Origin of Islam to the Ottoman Empire
475 European Social History, 1914–Present
500 Reading Seminar in History*
513 European Cultural History, 1815-1870
515 Holocaust: History, Memory and Education
529 Intellectual and Religious History of European Jewry 1648-1870
539 Middle East & Balkans during Ottoman Era
540 Balkans and the Middle East, 1700-1910
562 Byzantine Medicine and Pharmacy
600 Advanced Seminar in History*
753 Seminar: Comparative World History*
804 Interdisciplinary W. European Studies Seminar*
825 Seminar: 19th and 20th Century Europe: Europe and the Coming of the Great War
849 Seminar: Topics in History of Imperial Russia, 1649-1917
850 Seminar on the Soviet Union and East Central Europe
851 Seminar on Ottoman and Middle East History
858 Seminar: Problems of Islamic History
866 Seminar in Social History of Modern Europe
891 Proseminar in Modern European History
*When topic is Russia, Eastern Europe, or Central Asia

International Business

365 Contemporary Topics*
430 International Real Estate*
615 Business in Emerging Markets*
755 International Operations: Problems and Administration
*When topic is Russia, Eastern Europe, or Central Asia

Journalism and Mass Communication

620 International Communication*
621 Mass Communication in Developing Nations*

Languages and Cultures of Asia

314 Literatures of Central Asia
357 Literatures of Muslim Societies
370 Islam: Religion and Culture
472 Women in Turkish Society
579 Fiction and Ethnography in Turkey
610 Proseminar: Intro to Turkic Linguistics
614 Social Structures of Muslim Societies
615 Writing Travels*
631 Advanced Readings in Turkic Languages
640 Proseminar in Central Asia History
850 Seminar in Turkic Studies
851 Seminar on Ottoman and Middle East History
875 Seminar in Turkish Oral Narrative


819 Law and Contemporary Problems: Russian Legal Process
828 International Business Transactions
918 Selected Problems in International Law--Seminar*
919 Holocaust: Facts, Trials, Verdicts, Post-Verdicts
942 European Union Law

Literature in Translation

347 Kalevala and Finnish Folklore
450 History of Serbian and Croatian Literature
455 Modern Serbian and Croatian Literature
471 Polish Literature in Translation: to 1863
473 Polish Literature in Translation: since 1863
475 Polish Romantic Tradition in Translation

Political Science

312 Politics of World Economy
318 Comparative Study of Genocide
338 European Union: Politics and Political Economy
401 Selected Topics in Political Science*
505 Challenge of Democratization
513 Radical Political Theory
612 Transitions to the Market
615 Corruption and Politics
617 Comparative Legal Institutions
618 Political Islam
622 European Politics
633 Russian Politics
654 Politics of Revolution
659 Politics and Society: Contemporary Eastern Europe
804 Citizenship and Identity in Central Europe

814 Social Identities: Definition and Measurement*
854 Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict
860 Authoritarianism and Its Aftermath*
948 Topics in Comparative Politics*
949 Seminar: Post-Communist Politics
*When topic is Russia, Eastern Europe, or Central Asia

Slavic Languages

302 Zarys historii lit polskiej
325 Eastern Christianity/Russian Orthodoxy in a Global Context
342 Uvod u srpsku i hrvatsku lit
350 Special Topics in Russian Language, Literature, and Culture
405 Women in Russian Literature
420 Chekhov
421 Gogol
422 Dostoevsky
424 Tolstoy
433 History of Russian Culture (in Russian)
434 Contemporary Russian Culture (in Russian)
439 Russia Today in Literature and Film
440 Soviet Literature
449 Istorija srpske i hrvatske literature
454 Modern Serbian and Croatian Literature
456 Masterpieces of Russian Drama
460 Masterpieces of Serbian and Croatian Literature
470 Historia literatury polskiej do roku 1863
472 History of Polish Literature after 1863
532 History of Russian Theatre
535 Russian Language Through Film
700 Slavic Critical Theory and Practice
701 Survey of Old Russian Literature
702 Eighteenth Century Russian Literature
704 The Structure of Russian
705 Special Topics in Russian Language and Linguistics
706 Old Church Slavic
710 Pushkin
715 Russian Religious Thought
730 Russian Symbolism
740 Acmeism and Futurism
750 Russian Versification
755 Topics in Slavic Literature
770 Russian Poetry 1837–1890
818 Methods of Teaching Slavic Languages
820 College Teaching of Russian
901 Graduate Seminar in Polish Literature
910 Graduate Seminar in Russian Literature of Nineteenth Century
920 Graduate Seminar in Pre-Soviet 20th Century Russian Literature
925 Graduate Seminar in Soviet Literature

930 Seminar in Russian Historical Fiction

Scandinavian Studies

443 Sami Culture Yesterday and Today
444 Kalevala and Finnish Folklore


496 Topics in Sociology*
614 Social Structures of Muslim Societies
621 Class, State, Ideology: An Introduction to Marxist Social Science
633 Social Stratification*
804 Interdisciplinary W European Studies Seminar*
929 Seminar: Class Analysis and Historical Change
*When topic is Russia, Eastern Europe, or Central Asia

Theatre and Drama

532 History of Russian Theatre
911 Seminar: Problems in Theatre and Drama*