Slavic Literature, Film, and Cultural Studies Concentration
The M.A. program in Slavic Literature, Film, and Cultural Studies gives students a solid foundational knowledge of major works and concepts, and prepares them for a wide variety of careers related to Slavic studies.
The Ph.D. program in Slavic Literature, Film, and Cultural Studies allows students to develop deep knowledge in their chosen area of specialization, fosters their professionalization, and prepares students for careers in both teaching and research.
The objective of the M.A. in Slavic Literature, Film, and Cultural Studies is to prepare students for both teaching and research in the areas of Russian culture, film, and literature. This includes the following learning goals:
- Background: M.A. students gain a thorough grounding in and appreciation of major works, currents, and concepts in Russian literature and cultural history. This gives them the necessary background to conduct original research in the field.
- Theoretical Preparation: M.A. students develop analytic skills by examining current and past theoretical approaches to literary and cultural texts. This enables them to apply the concepts and methods in their own research.
- Professionalization: M.A. students become familiar with professional standards and expectations, as well as the major institutions, conventions, and publications. This prepares them to give effective presentations of their research at conferences and publish articles in peer-reviewed venues.
- Pedagogical Training: M.A. students train in pedagogical methods. This prepares them to teach language, literature, and culture classes at the postsecondary level. They gain an appreciation of the structure and/or history of Russian to inform their language teaching.
Required Coursework, for masters students
The main purpose of the M.A. Paper is for students to produce an article-length piece of original research in the second year of the M.A. program. If the student chooses, s/he may submit the M.A. paper to the Graduate School in the format specified for M.A. theses. Students who do not wish to continue in the Ph.D. program may opt to graduate without writing an M.A. paper or thesis.
Writing and Defending the M.A. Paper
An abstract and preliminary bibliography of the M.A. Paper should be presented to and approved by the advisory committee by Friday of the 10th week of fall semester during the second year. A draft of the paper must be approved by the advisory committee by Friday of the 10th week of spring semester, and the final draft must be approved by adviser by Friday of the 11th week of spring semester. There is no M.A. Paper defense; instead, a conference paper version of the M.A. Paper must be presented at a public forum no later than the week before the M.A. examinations in the spring semester. The presentation can occur under the auspices of OSU Linguistics, SLA, or Literature/Cultural Studies fora, the Midwest Slavic Conference, or another conference on or off campus. Students should confer with their advisers about when and where to present their work.
An M.A. thesis should be a self-contained work of scholarship that shows the student's ability to analyze primary and secondary sources, evaluate existing interpretations, and offer new interpretations. There is no set size for theses. A rule of thumb is that they should be somewhat longer than a substantial research paper (typically more than 35 pages and fewer than 100). The language of both the thesis and the defense is ordinarily English, although the Graduate Studies Committee may, under special circumstances, permit Russian to be used in one or both portions.
The thesis should be completed no later than the student's fourth semester of enrollment in graduate study, prior to the M.A. examination; we recommend that it be completed prior to the fourth semester, if possible. In any case, students must submit complete drafts of their theses approved by their advisers to their M.A. committees prior to their M.A. examinations, and at least one week prior to the defense. Students must consult with the members of their committees well in advance to determine what their deadlines will be. The draft of the thesis must be approved by all the committee members prior to the M.A. examination with the departmental Thesis Draft Approval form. This is only a conditional approval; the committee members indicate their final approval by signing the Graduate School's Thesis Approval form.
Students must choose their thesis topic in consultation with their advisors and should meet with them frequently during the research and writing process. Students are also expected to discuss their thesis with each member of the M.A. committee prior to the defense and to respond to their suggestions.
Defending Your Thesis
Once the thesis is complete, the student must defend it at a one-hour oral examination. The language of this defense is ordinarily English, although the Graduate Studies Committee may, under special circumstances, permit Russian to be used. The Graduate Studies Coordinator, in consultation with the Graduate Studies Chair, is responsible for scheduling the defense. If students or their advisors have a preference for a specific date, they should inform the Graduate Studies Coordinator early in the semester. A grade of High Pass on the thesis and defense is required for admission to the Ph.D. program; this grade is given when the M.A. committee judges that the student's thesis gives evidence of strong intellectual faculties, scholarly potential, and independent, original, and/or creative thinking, rather than simply the ability to reproduce learned material.
The M.A. examination consists of a four-hour written portion followed, ordinarily at least one day later, by a one-hour oral examination. The written portion is assembled by members of the graduate faculty in the students' field of specialization. It involves questions on the field, which the students are expected to answer based on the knowledge and patterns of reasoning that they have acquired through departmental coursework and study of the reading list in that field.
Students must write in black ink; they should bring their own pens. The department will provide paper. In special cases, students may write their examinations on word-processors; see the Graduate Studies Coordinator, Karen G Nielsen, for details.
The oral, which is also evaluated by the M.A. committee, provides students with an opportunity to clarify their answers on the written portion. In addition, it can cover general knowledge of the field, based on required coursework and the reading list.
The language of both portions of the M.A. examination is ordinarily English, although the Graduate Studies Committee may, under special circumstances, permit Russian to be used in one or both portions. By Graduate School Rules, students must be registered for at least two graduate credit hours in the semester in which they wish to take the M.A. examination (expected graduation).
The objective of the Ph.D. in Slavic Literature, Film and Cultural Studies is to prepare students for both teaching and research in those disciplines. This includes the following learning goals:
- Background: Ph.D. students develop a professional-level grounding in major works, currents, and concepts in literature, film, and cultural history. They also gain appreciation of the structure or history of Russian and another Slavic language. This gives them the necessary background to conduct research and teach on the post-secondary level.
- Theoretical Preparation: Ph.D. students develop analytic skills by examining current and past theoretical approaches. This enables them to apply the concepts and methods to their own research, to present papers in professional fora, and to submit works for publication.
- Professionalization: Ph.D. students become familiar with professional standards and expectations, as well as the major institutions, conventions, and publications in the field. This prepares them to give effective presentations of their research at conferences and publish articles in peer-reviewed venues.
- Breadth: Ph.D. students gain a reading knowledge of a Slavic or East European language other than Russian. They develop analytic skills by examining major issues in the literature or film of a Slavic or East European culture other than Russian.
- Pedagogical Training: Ph.D. students train in pedagogical methods to teach language, literature, and culture classes at the postsecondary level.
Required Coursework, for phd students
Language Competency, requirements and information
Professional Candidacy Paper (post-M.A. paper)
Written Candidacy Examination, purpose and description
Oral Candidacy Examination, description
Dissertation Prospectus, description and function
Students must pass the reading, grammar, and speaking/oral comprehension portions of the departmental Russian Proficiency Exam.
Students are required to show proficiency in a second Slavic language by passing Slavic 7621 or 7623 in Bulgarian, Czech, Polish, or Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, or equivalent (determined by a departmental proficiency examination or certification of completion from a recognized language program).
Students are additionally required to show proficiency in a research language by passing the sequences 6171-6172, 7621-7623, 1101-2104, or equivalent in those languages (determined by a departmental proficiency examination or certification of completion from a recognized language program) in a language of relevance to the student's research, to be selected with the approval of the student's advisor. Most often, the language will be French, German, a third Slavic language, or Romanian.
This requirement can also be fulfilled by Slavic 7625 (Old Church Slavonic) plus one of the following courses: Slavic 7627 (Prehistory of the Slavic Languages) or Slavic 8741 (Medieval Slavic Workshop). The readings for these courses must be in the original in order that the course fulfill this requirement. Note that classes used to fulfill this requirement cannot be used simultaneously to fulfill other departmental requirements.
All doctoral students are required to submit a serious, mature (ideally, "publishable") research paper as part of their Candidacy requirements. The professional candidacy paper, which may originate in a course paper, is intended to give students further experience in producing scholarly research prior to the dissertation. In addition, it is hoped that it will allow them to test the viability of potential dissertation research projects. Ideally, the professional candidacy paper will serve as the basis of the student's prospectus or a chapter in the dissertation, thereby expediting progress through the doctoral program.
The professional candidacy paper must be a self-contained, article-length work of scholarship, which optimally should be based on new research and in any case must demonstrate the student's original/creative thinking on an intellectual problem. The professional candidacy paper must fulfill the following criteria:
- It must deal with a well-defined topic of scholarly interest;
- The essential questions to be asked in dealing with this problem must be delimited in the introduction;
- The paper must reveal a sophisticated knowledge of the primary and secondary bibliography on a given problem and must involve a critical assessment of the research to date;
- The paper must reveal the student's mature understanding of both fundamental and advanced concepts, theories, and methodologies pertinent to the problem;
- The paper must make an original contribution to the understanding or solution of the problem;
- The paper must end with relevant conclusions drawn from the discussion in the body of the paper.
- The paper must be in a consistent editorial style, to be determined by the students in agreement with their advisor.
Students are to choose the topic of their professional candidacy paper in consultation with their advisors on the basis of serious research interests.
Evaluation of the professional candidacy paper
The paper is evaluated and approved by the members of the student's advisory committee, who may ask that it be rewritten before it can be approved. The committee indicates its approval by signing the Professional Candidacy Paper Approval Form .
Deadline for submission of the professional candidacy paper
In order to be in good standing in the Department, students must complete the professional paper requirement no later than the last day of classes in their 5th semester of enrollment in the doctoral program (post-M.A.), and ideally even earlier. In any event, the paper must be submitted in its final form, with signatures of the entire advisory committee, to the Graduate Studies Chair or designee by the last day of classes in the semester before the one in which the student intends to take the candidacy examinations.
Filing the professional candidacy paper
The copy of the professional candidacy paper that is submitted to the Graduate Studies Chair will be kept for the Department's records. The professional candidacy paper is a departmental requirement only and cannot be submitted to the Graduate School for approval.
Written candidacy examinations are intended to assess the student's general knowledge of Russian literature, film, and cultural studies or Slavic linguistics. The examination itself consist of three essay questions, which are created by members of the graduate faculty in the student's field of specialization. The examinations are to be completed over a ten-day period; the student may pick up the exam at 9:00 A.M. on the first day and must return it by 9:00 A.M. on the eleventh day. Examinations must be typed; use of reference books is permitted.
The dissertation prospectus may also be turned in at this time (see below).
In formulating the scheme for their candidacy exams, PhD students have the option, in consultation with their adviser and Candidacy Exam Committee, to structure their exams as follows, so that either:
(a) the exam consists of three fields and a fourth part consisting of a draft of a dissertation proposal or
(b) the exam consists of three parts, and a draft of a dissertation proposal is submitted to the student’s dissertation committee one month after the oral part of the candidacy exam, and the student then defends the proposal orally before the dissertation committee two weeks hence.
Evaluating the written candidacy examination
Written candidacy examinations are appraised on a scale of Satisfactory-Unsatisfactory. The grade of Satisfactory can only be awarded by a unanimous vote of the candidacy examination committee.
In order to be adequate, the answers must do more than reproduce easily accessible information and the published opinions of scholars; they must include a careful weighing of evidence and interpretations, insightful assessments of the significance and ramifications of the issues, and the students' own appraisals of the problems.
Scheduling the written candidacy examination
To be in good standing in the Department, students must successfully complete their written and oral candidacy examinations no later than their sixth semester of enrollment in the Ph.D. program. Ideally, they will do this by their fourth semester of enrollment. Extensions beyond the sixth semester may be requested by petition to the Graduate Studies Committee.
Students must inform the Graduate Studies Coordinator in the departmental office of their intention to take the candidacy examinations in a given semester no later than the end of the first week of classes in that semester. Failure to meet this deadline will jeopardize the student's ability to take the examinations in that semester.
It is the responsibility of the student's advisor, as chair of the advisory committee, to inform the Graduate Studies Committee and the Graduate School of the dates when the written portion will begin and end.
Deferring the written candidacy examination
Students who, after scheduling the candidacy examination, have a compelling reason to defer them must ask their advisors promptly for permission to do so. It is the responsibility of the advisors, if they agree to the deferral, to notify the Graduate Studies Coordinator and the other members of the advisory committee.
The oral candidacy examination, which is evaluated by the candidacy examination committee, is intended to assess students' knowledge of several specialized fields or topics within their general field of specialization (literature or linguistics). It covers three reading lists that students design in consultation with their advisory committee. The examination, which is chaired by the students' advisor, lasts for two hours. The members of the candidacy examination committee ask students questions based on the topics of the reading lists that they have compiled for each field. The candidacy examination committee may also ask for clarifications or amplifications of answers from the written examination and may probe the students' knowledge of their field of specialization based on the general Ph.D. reading list. It is the responsibility of the committee to ensure that the oral examination reflects an adequately broad knowledge of either Russian literature, film, and cultural studies or Slavic linguistics. The final component of the oral candidacy examination may include a defense of the dissertation prospectus.
Students will be told the results of both of their candidacy examinations at the conclusion of the oral. The chair of the advisory committee is responsible for informing the Graduate Studies Committee of the results.
Compiling reading lists for the oral candidacy examination
The three reading lists for the oral candidacy examination should be focused on relatively specific topics chosen by the student in consultation with the advisory committee. The student should simultaneously compile a bibliography related to his or her dissertation topic. In crafting their own reading lists, students might take the following as models of the focus and depth expected for the topics: for literature, "The myth of Pushkin in 20th-century literature," "The poetics of prison-camp literature," "Escape motifs in Fet's lyrics," "Representations of folk belief in 19th-century prose," "Commonplaces and innovations in medieval Russian hagiography," "Gender issues in Russian symbolism," "Salvation myths in Russian literature," "The image of the Ukrainian in Russian literature," "Transformations of the short story from Chekhov to Babel'," etc.; for linguistics, "Speech acts in modern Russian usage," "Problems of Czech historical phonology," "Adaptation of loanwords in the Slavic languages," "Issues in Balkan Linguistics," "Development of analyticism in Slavic morphology," "The Balto-Slavic Problem," "Problems in the history of the medieval Russian literary language," "Language politics in the South Slavic region," etc.
The reading lists for oral candidacy examination may draw on the general Ph.D. reading list but must contain additional works, e.g., recently published research or studies too specialized to be included in the general reading list. The lists must include secondary sources and may also contain primary sources, where relevant.
Reading lists must be compiled in consultation with and approved by the student's advisory committee by the first day of the semester in which the student intends to take the candidacy examinations. The task of advising students on the preparation of their reading lists for the oral exam should be equitably distributed among the members of the committee according to their specialties, where possible. This advising is coordinated by the chair of the advisory committee.
The Dissertation Prospectus
The final component of the oral examination may include a defense of the dissertation prospectus. In this case, the prospectus must be handed in at the same time as the written essays for the candidacy examination, but can be prepared in advance. By incorporating the prospectus into the candidacy examination process, the faculty hope to facilitate student progress on the dissertation during post-candidacy.
See the Dissertation Prospectus below.
Scheduling the oral candidacy examination
Ordinarily, students take the oral candidacy exams no more than two weeks after successful completion of the written candidacy exam.
It is the responsibility of the student's advisor, as chair of the advisory committee, to notify the Graduate School of the proposed time and place of the oral examination (see the Graduate School Handbook, ¤II.126.96.36.199). This must be done at least two weeks in advance. The Graduate Studies Coordinator in the departmental office can assist the advisor in this task.
It is a further responsibility of the chair of the advisory committee, with the help of the Graduate Studies Coordinator, to provide the Graduate School Representative with a copy of the written examination and the reading lists for the oral examination at least one week prior to the oral examination.
Waivers of the oral candidacy examination
If the advisory committee judges the written candidacy examination to be unsatisfactory, the advisor may so inform the student prior to the oral. The student then has the right to waive the oral examination. The student must petition the advisory committee with a request for a waiver; the committee will record a grade of "Unsatisfactory" on the Examination Report form and return it with a copy of the petition to the Graduate School.
Students choose the topic for their dissertation and hence their prospectus in consultation with their advisor and (if desired) other faculty members.
The function of the prospectus is to aid candidates in planning their research for the Ph.D. dissertation by allowing the members of the dissertation committee to assess the feasibility of the topic, methodology, time plan, etc. It is a provisional document that does not determine research results or bind candidates to the approaches outlined in it. The prospectus is thus not a summary of findings but a project outline and work plan.
In order to be in good standing, students admitted to candidacy must submit a dissertation prospectus to the dissertation committee prior to the last day of classes in the second semester of enrollment, including summers, after passing the candidacy examinations. The dissertation committee may ask the student to clarify, rewrite, or otherwise change the prospectus prior to approval. They indicate their approval by signing the Prospectus Approval form, which is then submitted to the Graduate Studies Committee for final approval. The copy of the prospectus that is approved by the Graduate Studies Committee will be retained for the Department's files.
Structure of the prospectus
The prospectus should contain the following information:
- The preliminary title of the dissertation and the names of the dissertation committee members;
- A succinct, abstract-like statement of the topic (approximately 250 words);
- A discussion of the purpose of the research and its significance, including how it will contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field (approximately 2-3 pages);
- A discussion of how the project relates to and differs from prior scholarship--in particular, recent works on the topic and related areas (approximately 2-3 pages);
- A discussion of the projected methodology, theoretical framework, and types of analyses to be used in the project;
- A discussion of the resources to be used in the project (approximately 2-3 pages);
- A provisional outline or plan of the dissertation (approximately one paragraph per chapter);
- A time plan for completion of the research and writing;
- An initial bibliography of primary and secondary sources, which should consist of approximately 36 titles or more.
VI.10.1 Time limits on the dissertation
Students who do not complete all the requirements for the Ph.D. within five full calendar years relinquish candidacy. In that case, they may be re-admitted to candidacy with the permission of the advisor and the Graduate Studies Committee. This permission should not be taken for granted; in order to receive it, students must provide what their advisor and the Graduate Studies Committee consider to be evidence of significant progress on the dissertation.
Students are re-admitted to candidacy by successfully passing a supplemental candidacy examination consisting of both a written and an oral examination. The examination committee will consist of the members of the dissertation committee plus a Graduate School representation.
In some cases, it is possible to petition for an extension of candidacy, thus obviating the supplemental candidacy examination. Please consult the Graduate Studies Committee Chair for further information.
Students who take supplemental candidacy examinations must complete all the requirements for the Ph.D. within two calendar years. The Graduate School does not permit retakes of the supplemental examination.
The Defense (final oral examination)
The final oral examination is scheduled after the Graduate School receives the Draft Approval form, which must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the examination. It is the advisor's responsibility to submit the names of the final oral examination committee members (i.e., the dissertation committee) to the Graduate Studies Committee and the Graduate School and to inform them of the date, time, and place of the final oral examination. The Graduate Studies Coordinator can assist the advisor in these tasks. Final oral examinations can be conducted by teleconferencing. See the Graduate Studies Committee Chair for further information.
Filing the dissertation
The final version of the dissertation, complete with the signatures of all the dissertation committee, must be filed with the Graduate School at least one week prior to Commencement in order for the student to receive the Ph.D. degree in the given semester. Students filing after that deadline will receive their degrees in the following semester. However, they do not have to pay fees for the following semester if they file their dissertations by the End of Semester deadline (the last business day prior to the first day of classes for the following semester).