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Slavic Languages and Literatures

Administrative Unit:Slavic Languages and Literatures
College/School: College of Letters & Science
Admitting Plans:Ph.D.
Degrees Offered:M.A., Ph.D.
Minors and Certificates:Ph.D. Minors in Russian, and in Slavic Languages and Literatures

Faculty: Professors Bethea, Danaher, Dolinin, Filipowicz, Kornblatt, Longinovic; Associate Professors Evans-Romaine, Reynolds; Assistant Professor Shevelenko


The Slavic department offers the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Slavic languages and literatures. The chief concentration is in Russian literature; however, students are expected to acquire a basic knowledge of Slavic and Russian linguistics and to become proficient in a second Slavic language and literature to receive both a broad and specialized background in Slavic studies. These expectations reflect the generally recognized conception of Slavic studies in American departments that award graduate degrees in this field. Czech, Polish, and Serbo-Croatian are taught regularly; a sufficient number of literature courses in Polish and Serbo-Croatian are offered so that students may choose either as a concentration area for a Ph.D. minor. Students may also take a Ph.D. minor in fields outside the Slavic department such as English, comparative literature, xlassics, French, German, history, art history, religious studies or second language acquisition.

An outstanding quality of the Slavic department at UW–Madison is that faculty research interests and many of the courses present students with an opportunity to become acquainted with an exceptionally broad diversity of disciplines. Besides 19th- and 20th-century Russian literature, faculty do research on early 20th-century Russian poetry, Russian emigre literature, women and gender in Slavic literature, literary theory and poetics, Russian religious thought and philosophy, Jewish studies, Polish literature and culture, and Serbo-Croatian literature. Additional subjects of faculty interest and research are Russian language pedagogy, Russian and East European film, Soviet literature, Pushkin, the Russian historical novel, and Polish theatre and drama.

Current graduate students in the Slavic department have come from both private and public institutions from all parts of the United States and several have come from other countries, including Russia. At present, some 15 students are enrolled in graduate courses and about 10 more are writing their Ph.D. dissertations.

Financial Aid 

Several kinds of financial support are available to students: UW–Madison graduate fellowships, teaching assistantships, and project or research assistantships which involve performing work or research for a faculty member. NDEA Title VI Area Studies Fellowships are supported by the U.S. Department of Education. Fellowships are highly competitive and are awarded on the basis of academic merit. In recent years, Ph.D. recipients have been very competitive in finding tenure-track positions in the Slavic or Russian departments of American universities.


Experience has shown that students who have spent at least a semester studying in Russia are best prepared to carry on graduate-level study in Russian. Students who are admitted with deficiencies, especially in Russian, are required to make up such deficiencies.

For admission to the graduate program, the Slavic department requires the equivalent of a B.A. degree in Russian and a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Students are also required to submit scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), a well-defined statement of purpose for graduate study, a writing sample, grade transcripts from all institutions attended during undergraduate/graduate study, and three references. Students who have carried out graduate work at another institution must have a graduate GPA of 3.25 and must pass a written and oral examination during the first semester as a graduate student in the department.

For more information: Senior Student Status Examiner, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, 1434 Van Hise Hall, 1220 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706; 608-262-3498; fax 608-265-2814; slavic@slavic.wisc.edu; slavic.lss.wisc.edu/.