M.A. in Russian


Russian language abilities in all aspects must be at least beyond the third-year college/advanced level before beginning degree candidacy.

Language Expectations

Students should be able to show over the course of their studies, a reading knowledge of French, German, Old Church Slavonic, and, for programs with a linguistic emphasis, a second Slavic language. Students concentrating in early Slavic should also be prepared to work with Latin and Classical Greek.

The Department does not require, but, welcomes GRE scores.

Course Work (Residency)

Ten approved courses (30 credits), usually with the following distribution:

  • 1-2 Russian stylistics and composition (two semesters)
  • 3 History of the Russian language or Early Russian literature
  • 4-5 Upper-division Russian literature courses (two semesters)
  • 6 General linguistics
  • 7 Old Church Slavonic or Old Russian
  • 8-10 Advanced electives, chosen in consultation

A student may apply up to two courses (six credits) from advanced work at other universities or research institutes toward program requirements as long as the work has not previously applied to another degree.


Covered by Sector III of the comprehensive examinations.

Comprehensive Examinations

Sector I (General Qualifying Examinations)

  1. Russian language: phonology, grammar and basic history.
  2. Russian literature: history, significant figures, works, movements and dates for the early, classical, and modern periods.
  3. Slavic linguistics: analysis of early texts, basic philological techniques, application of the principles of linguistic analysis to the problems of Slavic linguistics.

A student should complete Sector I during the first year of degree study or the equivalent thereof.  

Sector II (Special Field Examinations)

Students choose any two of the following:

  1. Early Slavic linguistics and culture.
  2. A literary genre (poetry, drama, short prose, the novel - any one)
  3. A specific period, author, or movement in literature or philosophy
  4. The Russian language - advanced proficiency and specific problem areas.
  5. A special approved topic (e.g. Linguistic theory, Russian history, Soviet ideology, etc.)

Sector III

A research paper on an approved topic.

The department has established exception procedures to allow limited substitution of requirements.


For Further Information Contact

Professor Michael J. Connolly
Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Slavic & Eastern Languages and Literatures
Boston College
Lyons 210
Chestnut Hill, MA. 02467-3804

Telephone: 617-552-3912
Email: cnnmj@bc.edu

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