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Programs of Study and Required Coursework

Doctoral students who are funded by the University must be registered as full- time students. Students are considered to be full-time if they take courses earning three to four units of credit: most courses carry one unit of credit; therefore a student must take three to four courses to be considered full-time.  Please also see our Reading List for Graduate Students.

Before being advanced to Candidacy, graduate students complete 18 graduate-level courses. As Northwestern is on a quarter system, this works out to three courses per quarter for two years.


Of the 18 graduate courses, at least 12 must be taken in the Department:  The 10 courses listed below are required.


  1. SLAV 341  Structure of Modern Russian
  2. SLAV 405  Russian Teaching Methodology
  3. SLAV 411  Proseminar
  4. SLAV 359-0  20th cent. Russian Prose
  5. SLAV 438  Studies in 20th cent. Russian Literature
  6. SLAV 360  19th cent. Russian Poetry
  7. SLAV 361  20th cent. Russian Poetry
  8. SLAV 434  18th cent. Russian Literature
  9. SLAV 430  Old Russian Literature
  10. SLAV 436  19th cent. Russian Prose

Students can take the remaining 6 courses in or outside of the Department: at least three courses constitute a coherent minor area of specialization consistent with the student's interests, while the remaining courses are free electives.

Students in this program are also encouraged to participate in The Graduate School’s Interdisciplinary Initiative program, which includes "clusters" in Critical Theory, Poetry and Poetics, Theater and Performance, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and other fields. For more information on how you can have a second intellectual “home” outside of your department or program please visit:


3 courses and one Independent Study (for grade) credit constitute a coherent minor area of specialization consistent with the student’s interests. Minor areas may include Second Slavic language or Comparative Literature, Russian, East European, Jewish Studies (it is also possible to create an individualized minor-- Philosophy, Film, Visual Art, Theatre, and so forth).

FOREIGN LANGUAGE in addition to Russian desired and encouraged, but not required.

Each first year student must take a diagnostic RUSSIAN LANGUAGE placement test, prepared and administered by the language coordinator