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This archived information is dated to the 2009-10 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Doctor of Philosophy in Slavic Languages and Literatures

University requirements for the Ph.D. are discussed in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin.

Students enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Slavic Languages and Literatures are expected to fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Minor or Related Fields: during the course of study, students must develop substantial expertise in a field contiguous to the area of specialization. A candidate may elect to present a full minor or, in consultation with the graduate adviser, develop a special program in a related field.
    1. Related Field: a student is required to complete a sequence of basic courses (12 units) in a chosen discipline outside the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. The choice of patterns is one of the following:
      1. a sequence of three courses in one West European literature, selected in consultation with the adviser, or
      2. three basic courses in comparative literature chosen in consultation with the graduate adviser and the Department of Comparative Literature or the Department of German Studies, or
      3. a sequence of three courses in another department, selected in consultation with the adviser.
    2. Minor: students electing a minor should take a minimum of 20 units in graduate-level courses in the minor department or fulfill the minor requirements established by that department. Students considering minors should consult with their adviser, the chair of Slavic Languages and Literatures, and the chair of the minor department.
    3. Students may fulfill the department's "minor or related field" requirement by enrolling in the Graduate Program in the Humanities (see "Interdisciplinary Program in Humanities" in this bulletin).
  2. Admission to Candidacy: candidates should read carefully the general regulations governing the degree, as described in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin. No student is accepted as a candidate until the equivalent of the M.A. degree requirements, including the M.A. thesis described above, is completed. Admission to candidacy is determined early in the sixth quarter of graduate studies. The candidate by that time must have demonstrated commitment to graduate studies by completion of a minimum of 60 quarter units of credit with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 (B+) or better, and submission of a complete draft of an M.A. thesis approved by the adviser and the second reader. Failure to do so results in termination of enrollment for the Ph.D. The terminated student may, at the discretion of the faculty, be given the opportunity to take the M.A. written examinations. If successful, the student is then awarded the M.A. degree.
  3. Proficiency Test: administered for all entering graduate students, this test determines whether the student's knowledge of Russian language and literature falls below the department's standard. Students who fail to meet the standard in this test are asked to complete appropriate courses in the first year of graduate study.
  4. Course Requirements: before qualifying for the department oral and written examinations, a Ph.D. candidate is expected to accumulate at least 72 quarter units of credit for courses taken while in graduate school. No less than half of this course work (36 units) must be done in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, including at least 24 units of credit for seminar-level courses. Entering graduate students must enroll in SLAVLIT 200.
  5. Foreign Languages: a candidate must demonstrate reading knowledge of French or German, plus another language useful for the student's area of concentration, by passing written examinations, or receiving a grade of 'A-' or better in a class.
  6. Examinations: a candidate must pass the departmental general qualifying examinations, which has written and oral parts. The written part covers the history of Russian literature from the medieval period through the twentieth century. The departmental oral qualifying examination follows shortly after completion of the comprehensive exams. The oral examination committee should include a faculty member representing the student's "minor or related field." The student makes a 20-minute presentation of a scholarly paper, possibly the master's thesis. Each examiner questions the student on the presentation and related topics. Following the departmental examinations, a candidate must pass a University oral examination, which is a defense of a dissertation prospectus covering content relevant to the area of study, rationale for the proposed investigation, and strategy to be employed in the research.

Continuation—Continuation in the Ph.D. program is contingent on: for first-year students, a high quality of performance in course work (decided by department evaluation); for second-year students, an M.A. thesis, which should be completed no later than the end of the second quarter of the second year.

Course Work, Breadth Requirements, and Overall Scheduling—

  1. Candidates for the Ph.D. degree are allowed as much freedom as possible in the selection of course work to suit their individual program of study. However, candidates are held responsible for all of the areas covered by the general examinations, regardless of whether they have registered for the department's offerings in a given field. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that before taking Ph.D. examinations, students complete seminar-level work directly related to the following broad areas:
    1. Russian poetry
    2. the Russian novel
    3. 20th-century Russian literature
    4. 19th-century Russian literature (the Age of Pushkin and after)
    5. 18th-century Russian literature (the early 1700s to the Age of Pushkin)
    6. Medieval Russian literature
    7. a monograph course on a major Russian author
    8. theory of literature

      The department's general qualifying examinations must be taken by the end of the first quarter of the third year of study; they may be taken during the second year if the student and the adviser feel this is appropriate. During the two quarters following the general qualifying examinations, the student should be concerned primarily with preparation for the departmental and the University oral examinations, which should take place no later than the end of the third quarter of the third year. The fourth and fifth years should be devoted to research and writing leading to completion of the Ph.D. dissertation.

  2. Students possessing the equivalent of the Stanford M.A. are normally expected to adhere to the schedule for the second, third, and fourth years of work outlined under item 1 above.
  3. Students in the Ph.D. program are required to do five quarters of teaching, including three quarters of first-year Russian and one quarter of literature as a teaching assistant to a faculty member, usually for one of the survey courses in translation: SLAVGEN 145, 146, 147, 148. Students are required to take a one quarter TA training course, DLCL 201, during their second year.

Non-Slavic Language Requirements—Credit toward either the M.A. or the Ph.D. degrees is not given for first- or second-year courses in non-Slavic languages. It is assumed that, on entering the program, the student has a reading knowledge of either German or French. The reading examination in German or French must be passed by the end of the first year of study. The reading examination in the second language of choice must be passed by the end of the second year of study. Both language examinations must be passed before the candidate takes the University oral examination, that is, before the end of the third year.

Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures and Humanities

The department participates in the Graduate Program in Humanities leading to a Ph.D. degree in Slavic Languages and Literatures and Humanities. At this time, the option is available only to students already enrolled in the Graduate Program in Humanities. Although the Graduate Program in Humanities is not currently accepting new students, it continues to provide advising for students already enrolled as well as courses, open to all students. The University remains committed to a broad-based undergraduate education in the humanities, and a successor program is under discussion by the faculty of the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages. For further information, please consult Gregory Freidin, the director of the program; the list of courses and events may be found on the program web site:

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