General Information

The mission of the Dept. of Russian and Slavic Studies is to provide high-quality language, literature, and culture instruction, imparted from a humanistic perspective, that prepares students for life in an increasingly complex and international world. Faculty research in the areas of linguistics, literary study, language pedagogy, and cultural study is viewed as enhancing instruction at all levels and establishing scholarly preeminence appropriate to a student-centered Research I university.

Graduate Studies

The Department of Russian and Slavic Studies offers a diversified and balanced program of study including courses in language, literature, linguistics, and culture. The program of study leads to a Master of Arts degree in Russian and Slavic Studies. The emphasis is on the acquisition of practical skills as preparation for continued study, research, teaching, government service, and business careers.

For detailed information about courses offered, refer to the Courses and Syllabi link in the menu, and specific requirements within each of the two tracks leading to the MA in Russian and Slavic Studies are described at Program Tracks and Requirements. Questions may be directed to Professor John Leafgren ( or 621-5825)

Information on admissions and financial assistance opportunities can be found at Admissions and Funding. For questions about these, contact the Office of Financial Aid.

All students are encouraged to participate in a study abroad program. See Russian Study Abroad or contact Professor Benjamin Jens ( to find out about the University of Arizona’s study abroad programs in Russia, or Professor Liudmila Klimanova ( to find out about the University of Arizona's Summer Program of Russian and Eurasian Studies in Kazakhstan.


The MA Program in Russian requires the completion of at least 33 units of graduate level study. The department offers two tracks in its degree program; one in Language, Literature, and Linguistics (LLL) and one in Russian and East European Studies (REES).

The prerequisite for the Language, Literature, and Linguistics track is a Bachelor's Degree including at least 16 acceptable units of upper-division work in Russian. This track requires that 27 units be in Russian, including the following courses: 515 Structure of Russian, 515 Reading, two oral Communication, 696a Proseminar, 696c, 696d, 583, and one other linguistics course. Within this general framework and with the guidance of their advisor, students may choose to emphasize literature and culture, linguistics, or language and pedagogy.

The prerequisite for the REES track is a Bachelor's Degree and a minimum of the equivalent of two years of study of the Russian language. If undergraduate language work beyond this minimum is deemed necessary, the graduate advisor and student may devise a program of study which will allow the student to attend graduate classes (taught in English) in such departments as History, Political Science, Geography, Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies, and possibly others, while working to advance his/her Russian language skills. This track requires that 21 of the required 33 graduate level units include graduate Russian courses selected in consultation with the graduate advisor. These will include 515 Structure of Russian, 515 Reading, 515 Oral Communication, 696a Proseminar and two of the following: RSSS 505a, 505b, or 696a. The remaining 12 units will be selected in consultation with the advisor from a pre-selected list of courses from the relevant departments. This track also requires students to complete a mandatory thesis in addition to the 33 graduate level units and in lieu of the oral and written comprehensive exams. Prior to beginning work on the thesis, each student must give satisfactory evidence of proficiency in the use of the Russian language for research purposes (or the English language, if applicable).

Students in either track who serve as GATs in language courses, or who plan to do so, are required to select RSSS 579 as one of their elective courses.

For students on the Language Literature, & Linguistics track the decision regarding the completion of an optional thesis will be made by the department after consideration of the student's preparation, graduate study program, and professional objectives. No more than 6 units of elective credit may be earned for the preparation of a thesis. All students on this track must pass written-oral comprehensive examinations. Prior to taking the final examinations, each student must give satisfactory evidence of proficiency in the use of the Russian language or in the use of the English language if applicable.

*Prior to beginning the program, all new MA candidates must take the Language Proficiency exam administered by the department. Date of exam will be announced prior to exam. Based on the results of this exam, students may be required to take 3 or 6 units of an RSSS 499 language course in lieu of other electives.

*Every MA student will be expected to be enrolled in at least one department program course bearing 3 graduate units per semester.

Click here for track timelines and satisfactory progress policies.