Slavic Languages and Literature

Head of the Department: Valeria Sobol
Director of Graduate Studies: Richard Tempest
2090 Foreign Languages Building
707 South Mathews Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801
(217) 333-0680

Major: Slavic Languages and Literatures
Degrees Offered: M.A., Ph.D.

Graduate Degree Programs

The Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures offers graduate work leading to the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in Slavic Languages and Literatures. Scope of the department includes Bulgarian, Czech, Old Church Slavonic, Polish, Russian, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Yiddish and Ukrainian.


Prospective graduate students of Slavic languages and literatures should have had the equivalent of at least three years of college study in the language of their proposed specialization and advanced coursework in that literature. Applicants should apply online ( and submit a statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation and a writing sample. Original transcripts (with English translations if applicable) showing all undergraduate and graduate work completed should be sent to:

SLCL Graduate Student Services
3070 Foreign Languages Bldg.
707 S. Mathews Ave.
Urbana, IL  61801

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required for all students. The applicant should ask the ETS to submit scores to institution 1836. Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and must score at least 79 on the internet-based test (iBT); they must also pass the speaking sub-section of the iBT with a minimum score of 24 (see

Graduate Teaching Experience

Experience in teaching is considered a vital part of the graduate program and is expected as part of the academic work of all Ph.D. candidates in this program. Non-native English speakers must first pass a test of their oral English ability (see

Faculty Research Interests

Graduate courses are offered in:

  • Bulgarian
  • Czech
  • Old Church Slavonic
  • Polish
  • Russian
  • Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian
  • Yiddish
  • Ukrainian languages and literatures

The faculty represent a broad range of interests and methodological approaches, including:

  • the intersections of literature and law, medicine, and psychoanalysis
  • Russian-Jewish Studies
  • intellectual history
  • gender, sexuality, and the body
  • Stalinist culture
  • film history and theory
  • Czech revival culture
  • nationalism and literature
  • Polish modernism, postmodernism, and visual culture
  • exilic and emigre literature
  • East European pop culture

Facilities and Resources

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has one of the country's three outstanding Slavic library collections. The Illinois Summer Research Laboratory on Russia and Eastern Europe brings to the campus more than one hundred postdoctoral researchers from all over the country every year to take advantage of the Slavic library resources.

Centers, Programs and Institutes

The federally-funded Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center (established in 1959) is an important funding source for our graduate students and hosts a variety of conferences and speakers every year.

Financial Aid

Students may receive various forms of financial assistance, including University fellowships, Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships. There are also opportunities for part-time related work in the Slavic and East European Division of the University Library and elsewhere on the campus. Most students are awarded multiple-year support packages that include a mixture of teaching and fellowship, conditional on satisfactory progress through the program (see

Master of Arts in Slavic Languages and Literature

In addition to fulfilling the requirements of the Graduate College, candidates must pass written examinations, which are largely based on survey courses in the respective fields. All students must complete 32 graduate hours of advanced courses including at least 20 in Slavic Languages and Literatures. No master's thesis is required.

RUSS 501Russian for Grad Students I4
RUSS 502Russian for Grad Students II4
SLAV 576Methods in Slavic Grad Study4
Select one of the following:2 or 4
Problems in Russian History
Prob European Hist Since 1789 (Section A)
Seminar in REEE Studies
Information Needs of Particular Communities
Two 400- or 500- level literature or culture courses offered by the Slavic Department8
Total Hours32

Other Requirements1

Other requirements may overlap
Minimum Hours Required Within the Unit: 20
Minimum Number of 500-level Hours Required Overall in Program: 12
Candidates must pass a written examination
Minimum GPA: 2.75

For additional details and requirements refer to the department's Graduate Programs Web pages and the Graduate College Handbook.

Doctor of Philosophy in Slavic Languages and Literature

All candidates for the Ph.D. degree must fulfill the general requirements of the Graduate College and must have a reading knowledge of at least one non-Slavic, research related language, most often French or German. A student entering the program with a Master of Arts degree from another department or university must complete SLAV 576. In consultation with the graduate advisor, the Ph.D. student designs an individualized program of study that includes a major field in one Slavic-area literature (any national literature currently offered by the department), study in a second Slavic-area language, and a minor field. A Ph.D. preliminary examination, consisting of written and oral portions on both major and minor fields, is required. A thesis is required for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Graduate-level courses in a minor field (three courses in a single area, or two courses each in two distinct areas) and may be completed outside the department.12-14
SLAV 576Methods in Slavic Grad Study (if not taken during MA program)4
Language Requirement: Demonstration of knowledge of a second Slavic-area language and a research language; can be satisfied through four semesters of language study or the successful completion of a translation examination. The research language requirement can be satisfied by completion of FR 500 and FR 501 or GER 500 and GER 501, the equivalent courses in another language, or a translation exam.
SLAV 577Slavic Languages Pedagogy Seminar (2 credit hour course, students take the course twice)4
SLAV 599Thesis Research (min/max applied toward degree)24
Total Hours64

Other Requirements1

Other Requirements may overlap
Minimum Hours Required Within the Unit: 20
Minimum Hours Required in Major Field: 20
Masters Degree Required Before Admission to PhD? Yes
Qualifying Exam Required No
Preliminary Exam Required Yes
Final Exam/Dissertation Defense Required Yes
Dissertation Deposit Required Yes
Minimum GPA: 2.75

For additional details and requirements refer to the department's Graduate Programs Web pages and the Graduate College Handbook.