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 coursework 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.

Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.

Fall Deadline January 2
Spring Deadline The program does not admit in the spring.
Summer Deadline The program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (https://grad.wisc.edu/apply/requirements/#english-proficiency).
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

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 postsecondary 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.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

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. The annual deadline is March 1. Please contact the Slavic program 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.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No Yes

Mode of Instruction Definitions

Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students typically take enough credits aimed at completing the program in a year or two.

Evening/Weekend: ​Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules.  Students have the advantages of face-to-face courses with the flexibility to keep work and other life commitments.

Face-to-Face: Courses typically meet during weekdays on the UW-Madison Campus.

Hybrid: These programs combine face-to-face and online learning formats.  Contact the program for more specific information.

Online: These programs are offered 100% online.  Some programs may require an on-campus orientation or residency experience, but the courses will be facilitated in an online format.


Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 15 credits must be graduate-level coursework. Details can be found in the Graduate School’s Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) policy (https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1244).
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
This program follows the Graduate School's GPA Requirement policy (https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1203).
Other Grade Requirements n/a
Assessments and Examinations Students have the option to complete a thesis. Contact the program for more information.
Language Requirements 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).

Students entering with prior experience in Russian are required to take a pre-program assessment. Students are also required to take a language course each term. See below for more details.

Required COURSES

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 numbered 300 or above (21 credits). These courses must be distributed over at least three departments. At least 50% of credits applied toward the graduate degree credit requirement must be with courses designed for graduate work. Courses with the graduate level coursework attribute are identified and searchable in Guide.
  2. At least 6 of these credits (two courses) must be graduate-level seminars (numbered 700 through 999). REECAS M.A. students are expected to use original language source material in their graduate seminar papers. See table below.
  3. A 1-credit "Introduction to REECAS" module (SLAVIC 755 Topics in Slavic Literature). 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.

General Courses

Agricultural and Applied Economics
A A E/​ECON/​REAL EST/​URB R PL  306 The Real Estate Process3
A A E/​INTL ST  374 The Growth and Development of Nations in the Global Economy3
A A E/​ECON  474 Economic Problems of Developing Areas3
Asian Languages and Cultures
ASIAN/​AFRICAN/​RELIG ST  370 Islam: Religion and Culture3-4
ANTHRO 330 Topics in Ethnology 13-4
ANTHRO 606 Ethnicity, Nations, and Nationalism 13-4
ANTHRO 690 Problems in Anthropology 13-4
Art History
ART HIST 310 Icons, Religion, and Empire: Early Christian and Byzantine Art, ca. 200-14533
ART HIST 351 3-4
ART HIST 556 Proseminar in 20th Century European Art 13
ART HIST 805 Seminar-Ancient Art and Architecture 13
ART HIST 815 Seminar-Medieval Art 13
ART HIST 856 Graduate Seminar in Twentieth Century European Art 13
Communication Arts
COM ARTS 352 Film History to 19603
COM ARTS 463 Avant-Garde Film3
COM ARTS 958 Seminar in Film History 12-3
ECON/​A A E/​REAL EST/​URB R PL  306 The Real Estate Process3
ECON 364 3-4
ECON 390 Contemporary Economic Issues 13
ECON 467 International Industrial Organizations 13-4
ECON/​A A E  474 Economic Problems of Developing Areas 13
ECON/​SOC  663 Population and Society 13
FOLKLORE/​LITTRANS  347 In Translation: Kalevala and Finnish Folk-Lore3-4
FOLKLORE/​RELIG ST  352 Shamanism3
FOLKLORE/​SCAND ST  443 Sami Culture, Yesterday and Today4
FOLKLORE/​SLAVIC  444 Slavic and East European Folklore3
FOLKLORE 460 Folk Epics 13
GEOG 318 Introduction to Geopolitics3
GEOG 518 Power, Place, Identity 13
GEOG 918 Seminar in Political Geography 12-3
GNS 324 Literatures of Central Asia3
HISTORY/​MEDIEVAL/​RELIG ST  309 The Crusades: Christianity and Islam3-4
HISTORY 357 The Second World War3-4
HISTORY 359 History of Europe Since 19453-4
HISTORY 417 History of Russia3-4
HISTORY 418 History of Russia3-4
HISTORY 419 History of Soviet Russia3-4
HISTORY 420 Russian Social and Intellectual History3-4
HISTORY 424 The Soviet Union and the World, 1917-19913-4
HISTORY 425 History of Poland and the Baltic Area3-4
HISTORY 434 American Foreign Relations, 1901 to the Present3-4
HISTORY 500 Reading Seminar in History 13
HISTORY/​CURRIC/​ED POL/​JEWISH  515 Holocaust: History, Memory and Education3
HISTORY 600 Advanced Seminar in History 13
HISTORY 753 Seminar-Comparative World History 11-3
HISTORY/​FRENCH/​GERMAN/​POLI SCI/​SOC  804 Interdisciplinary Western European Area Studies Seminar 13
HISTORY 849 Seminar-Topics in History of Imperial Russia, 1649-19171-3
HISTORY 850 Smr-Hist of the Soviet Union & Modern Hist of E Central Europe1-3
HISTORY 891 Proseminar in Modern European History1-3
International Business
INTL BUS 365 Contemporary Topics 11-3
INTL BUS/​REAL EST  430 International Real Estate 13
Journalism and Mass Communication
JOURN 620 International Communication 14
JOURN 621 14
LAW 828 International Transactions2-3
LAW 918 Selected Problems in International Law-Seminar 12-3
LAW 942 European Union Law2-3
Literature in Translation
LITTRANS/​FOLKLORE  347 In Translation: Kalevala and Finnish Folk-Lore3-4
LITTRANS 455 Modern Serbian and Croatian Literature in Translation3
LITTRANS 473 Polish Literature (in Translation) since 18633
Political Science
POLI SCI 334 Russian Politics3-4
POLI SCI 340 The European Union: Politics and Political Economy3-4
POLI SCI 401 Selected Topics in Political Science 13-4
POLI SCI 421 The Challenge of Democratization3-4
POLI SCI/​INTL ST  439 The Comparative Study of Genocide3-4
POLI SCI 534 Socialism and Transitions to the Market3-4
POLI SCI 659 Politics and Society: Contemporary Eastern Europe3-4
POLI SCI/​FRENCH/​GERMAN/​HISTORY/​SOC  804 Interdisciplinary Western European Area Studies Seminar3
POLI SCI 814 Social Identities: Definition and Measurement 13
POLI SCI 854 Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict3
POLI SCI 948 Seminar: Topics in Comparative Politics 13
POLI SCI 949 Seminar-Post Communist Politics3
Slavic Languages
SLAVIC 342 Introduction to Serbian and Croatian Literature3
SLAVIC 405 Women in Russian Literature3-4
SLAVIC 420 Chekhov3-4
SLAVIC 421 Gogol3-4
SLAVIC 422 Dostoevsky3-4
SLAVIC 424 Tolstoy3-4
SLAVIC 433 History of Russian Culture3
SLAVIC 434 Contemporary Russian Culture3
SLAVIC 440 Soviet Literature3-4
SLAVIC 449 History of Serbo-Croatian Literature3
SLAVIC 454 Modern Serbo-Croatian Literature3
SLAVIC 470 History of Polish Literature until 18633
SLAVIC 472 History of Polish Literature after 18633
SLAVIC/​THEATRE  532 History of Russian Theatre3
SLAVIC 701 Survey of Old Russian Literature2
SLAVIC 702 Eighteenth-Century Russian Literature2
SLAVIC 705 Special Topics in Russian Language/Linguistics3
SLAVIC 755 Topics in Slavic Literature1-3
SLAVIC 801 Slavic Critical Theory and Practice3
SLAVIC 802 The Structure of Russian2
SLAVIC 803 Introduction to Old Church Slavonic and the History of Russian Literary Language2
SLAVIC 804 Methods of Teaching Slavic Languages2
SLAVIC 820 College Teaching of Russian1
SLAVIC 900 Seminar: Slavic Literature and Culture1-3
Scandinavian Studies
SCAND ST/​FOLKLORE  443 Sami Culture, Yesterday and Today4
SCAND ST/​MEDIEVAL  444 Kalevala and Finnish Folk-Lore4
SOC 496 Topics in Sociology 11-3
SOC 621 Class, State and Ideology: an Introduction to Marxist Social Science 13
SOC 633 Social Stratification 13
SOC/​FRENCH/​GERMAN/​HISTORY/​POLI SCI  804 Interdisciplinary Western European Area Studies Seminar 13
SOC/​C&E SOC  929 Seminar: Class Analysis and Historical Change3
Theatre and Drama
THEATRE/​SLAVIC  532 History of Russian Theatre3
THEATRE 911 Seminar-Problems in Theatre and Drama 12-3

 Seminar Courses

GEOG 918 Seminar in Political Geography2-3
HISTORY 753 Seminar-Comparative World History1-3
HISTORY 849 Seminar-Topics in History of Imperial Russia, 1649-19171-3
HISTORY 850 Smr-Hist of the Soviet Union & Modern Hist of E Central Europe1-3
HISTORY 891 Proseminar in Modern European History1-3
POLI SCI 854 Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict3
SLAVIC 800 Proseminar-Slavic Literature and Culture1
SLAVIC 900 Seminar: Slavic Literature and Culture1-3

 Language Courses

ASIALANG 137 First Semester Persian4
ASIALANG 138 Second Semester Persian4
ASIALANG 237 Third Semester Persian4
ASIALANG 238 Fourth Semester Persian4
ASIALANG 337 Fifth Semester Persian3-4
ASIALANG 338 Sixth Semester Persian3-4
GNS 329 Elementary Summer Immersion Turkish8
GNS 331 First Semester Kazakh4
GNS 332 Second Semester Kazakh4
GNS 339 First Semester Turkish4
GNS 340 Second Semester Turkish4
GNS 351 First Semester Central Eurasian Language4
GNS 352 Second Semester Central Eurasian Language4
GNS 370 Topics in GNS (Intermediate)3
GNS 429 Intermediate Summer Immersion Turkish8
GNS 431 Third Semester Kazakh4
GNS 432 Fourth Semester Kazakh4
GNS 439 Third Semester Turkish4
GNS 440 Fourth Semester Turkish4
GNS 451 Third Semester Central Eurasian Language4
GNS 452 Fourth Semester Central Eurasian Language4
GNS 529 Advanced Summer Immersion Turkish8
GNS 531 Fifth Semester Kazakh3-4
GNS 532 Sixth Semester Kazakh3-4
GNS 539 Fifth Semester Turkish and Azeri3-4
GNS 540 Sixth Semester Turkish and Azeri3-4
GNS 551 Fifth Semester Central Eurasian Language4
GNS 552 Sixth Semester Central Eurasian Language4
SLAVIC 101 First Semester Russian4
SLAVIC 102 Second Semester Russian4
SLAVIC 111 First Semester Polish4
SLAVIC 112 Second Semester Polish4
SLAVIC 115 First Semester Czech4
SLAVIC 116 Second Semester Czech4
SLAVIC 117 Intensive Second Year Russian4
SLAVIC 118 Intensive Second Year Russian4
SLAVIC 203 Third Semester Russian4
SLAVIC 204 Fourth Semester Russian4
SLAVIC 207 Third Semester Polish4
SLAVIC 208 Fourth Semester Polish4
SLAVIC 217 Third Semester Czech4
SLAVIC 218 Fourth Semester Czech4
SLAVIC 275 Third Year Russian I3
SLAVIC 276 Third Year Russian II3
SLAVIC 277 Third Year Polish I3
SLAVIC 278 Third Year Polish II3
SLAVIC 279 Intensive Third Year Russian8
SLAVIC 301 Introduction to Intensive Polish3
SLAVIC 304 Fourth Semester Intensive Polish4
SLAVIC 305 Fifth Semester Intensive Polish3
SLAVIC 306 Sixth Semester Intensive Polish3
SLAVIC 315 Russian Language and Culture I3
SLAVIC 321 Fourth Year Russian I3
SLAVIC 322 Fourth Year Russian II3
SLAVIC 331 Fourth Year Polish I3
SLAVIC 332 Fourth Year Polish II3
SLAVIC 351 First Semester Intensive Czech3
SLAVIC 352 Second Semester Intensive Czech3
SLAVIC 451 Third Semester Intensive Czech3
SLAVIC 452 Fourth Semester Intensive Czech3
SLAVIC 705 Special Topics in Russian Language/Linguistics3

When topic is Russia, Eastern Europe, or Central Asia.

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

This program follows the Graduate School's policy for Satisfying Requirements with Coursework from Undergraduate Career at UW–Madison.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


This program follows the Graduate School's Probation policy.


Every graduate student is required to have an advisor. To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects them to meet with their advisor on a regular basis.


15 credits

Time Limits

This program follows the Graduate School's Time Limits policy.

grievances and appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

Students should contact the department chair or program director with questions about grievances. They may also contact the L&S Academic Divisional Associate Deans, the L&S Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning Administration, or the L&S Director of Human Resources.


Accelerated language study available during summer. We encourage qualified US citizens and permanent residents to apply for the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship through CREECA. FLAS applications are due on or near February 15 of each year; please check flas.wisc.edu for updates. The application form for FLAS is separate from the application for admission. We regret that other sources of funding, such as teaching assistantships and project assistantships, are limited.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the cultural, political, economic, social, and historical factors that that have shaped the development of societies in Eurasia, Russia, and East and Central Europe.
  2. Articulate, critique, and/or elaborate the theories, research methods, and approaches to inquiry in one or more of the disciplines represented in the interdisciplinary field of Russian, East European, and Central Asian studies (REECAS).
  3. Identify sources and assemble evidence pertaining to questions or challenges in REECAS.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of Russian, East European, and Central Asian studies in a historical, social, or global context.
  5. Select and utilize appropriate methodologies and practices in one or more of the disciplines represented in the interdisciplinary field of REECAS.
  6. Evaluate and synthesize information pertaining to questions or challenges in REECAS and should communicate clearly in written and spoken work in ways appropriate to REECAS.
  7. Recognizes and apply principles of ethical and professional conduct in the context of Russian, East European, and Central Asian studies.
  8. (Language proficiency) Develop speaking, listening, writing, and reading skills in one or more of the languages of Russia, East and Central Europe, and Central Eurasia, and integrate these skills to communicate in a variety of social and academic situations.

Faculty: Borowski, Castañeda Dower, Ciancia, Dale, Danaher, DuBois, Erbil, Evans-Romaine, Gerber, Glowacki, Hanukai, Hendley, Herrera, Hirsch, Karpukhin, Kinzley, Kydd, Livanos, McDonald, Michels, Miernowska, Neville, Ospovat, Radeloff, Reynolds, Shevelenko (director), Stoychuk, Tishler, Tumarkin, Walter, Wodzyński, Yudkoff.

For a full list of affiliated faculty, please visit our website.