Prospective Graduate Students


General Information


Who should apply for graduate study?

Our graduates pursue careers in Slavic studies both inside and outside of academia.

The Department prefers to admit students who have had at least three, and preferably more, years of Russian language, as well as related coursework. (Applicants who have had fewer than three years of Russian but who have intensive knowledge of other Slavic languages may also be considered; please contact the Graduate Studies Chair for further information.)

Prospective students applying to study literature and cultural studies should have a background in this area equivalent to an undergraduate major or minor. Likewise, prospective students applying to study linguistics should have a background equivalent to an undergraduate major or minor in linguistic theory.

Candidates for admission should give evidence of academic excellence and intellectual promise, as measured by criteria such as undergraduate grades, scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), evaluations in letters of recommendation, and the quality of the writing sample. We are particularly concerned with the candidate's undergraduate performance in Russian and/or other Slavic languages and in related subjects.

The primary degree granted by the Department is the Ph.D.


M.A. admissions and Ph.D. admissions

The Department admits students at either the M.A. level or the Ph.D. level.

Prospective students who hold only a B.A. (or equivalent) should apply to the M.A. program, even if the ultimate goal is to pursue a Ph.D. It is generally expected that students will move into the Ph.D. program after successful completion of the M.A. For students who enter at the M.A. level, the expected time to degree (M.A. + Ph.D.) is five or six years.

Prospective students who hold an M.A. that is equivalent to the M.A. offered by our department should apply directly to the Ph.D. program. For students who enter at the Ph.D. level, the expected time to degree is three or four years.

However, when the prospective student's M.A. is not in the same field that s/he is applying to study, s/he may prefer (or be required) to begin at the M.A. level in our program. Similarly, applicants whose M.A. degrees are in the same field but did not include a substantial research component (an M.A. thesis or its equivalent) should consider applying to the M.A. program. Such students usually benefit from the foundation that the M.A. degree provides and often have more success in the program.

The Department encourages all applicants to visit the Department. Please contact the Academic Program Coordinator to arrange meetings with professors and current graduate students.


All students who are admitted to the graduate program are considered for funding. The Department strives to offer five years of funding to graduate students who are pursuing an M.A. + Ph.D. and three years of funding to graduate students who enter at the Ph.D. level.

The most common types of funding available are Graduate Teaching Associateships and Graduate Fellowships. Newly admitted students are eligible for both kinds of funding. First-year Graduate School fellowships are awarded based on a university-wide competition.

Funded students receive free tuition (some fees must still be paid), a stipend for living expenses, a subsidy of health insurance premiums, and other benefits. More information about benefits for Graduate Associates and Graduate Fellows is available here.[.pdf]

Criteria for admission 

The following criteria are guidelines for prospective applicants rather than absolute criteria; the Graduate Studies Committee takes into account many factors in deciding whether to admit candidates to the program. Note that fulfilling the criteria is not a guarantee of admission to the Department:

  • A cumulative undergraduate grade-point average of 3.3 (preferably higher) on a 4.0 scale, with at least 3.5 (preferably higher) in Russian and related subjects. Applicants should have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale on any previous graduate coursework.
 Students graded otherwise than on the 4.0 scale should have grades that show comparable excellence in the given system.

  • A score of at least 156 on the Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE (or 550 if the test was taken before August 2011) and 4.5 on the Writing section. Higher scores are preferred. The Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE is also considered for applicants to the Slavic linguistics program.

Procedures for applying

The Department strongly prefers graduate students to matriculate in the Autumn Semester, although it will consider applications for the other semesters.

Application deadline for students requesting fellowship consideration and priority department funding: November 30 (International Students) December 15 (Domestic Students)

The entire application, including letters of recommendation, needs to be completed by the deadline. Only applications received by the deadline will be considered for fellowships and other funding. Applications received after this date may be considered for admission without funding, but full consideration is not guaranteed.

International students are encouraged to apply for admission. International applicants are required to complete a financial affidavit once they have been accepted into the program. This extra step may lengthen the application process and international students are therefore encouraged to apply early. Click here for information that is particular to international applicants.

Application materials

A complete application consists of the following materials:

  • A completed Ohio State University Graduate School Admission application form (a web form available here);

  • Transcripts for all previous post-secondary academic work; Please upload color copies of transcripts and make sure that they are readable before you submit them.

  • Scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test;

  • Scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) (international applicants only);

  • A statement of intent in English;

  • A curriculum vitae;

  • Three letters of recommendation from persons acquainted with the applicant's scholastic ability (preferably professors or other college instructors). At least one of these letters must provide a detailed evaluation of the applicant's knowledge of Russian based on recent knowledge;

  • A sample of academic writing in English (typically, an essay or term paper written as an undergraduate or MA student, preferably on a subject related to Russian or Slavic studies).

How and where to submit materials

All parts of the application must now be submitted through OSU's online application system. Applicants can upload all  documents (including transcripts) with their online application. The application and supporting documents are uploaded into an imaging system which will allow the graduate admissions committee to access the documents.

Official GRE and TOEFL/MELAB test scores must be sent electronically directly from the testing center, but applicants will have an opportunity to submit unofficial scores with the application.

For applicants who are admitted to the university, OSU will request a hard copy of official academic transcripts before enrollment at the university.

In accordance with Graduate School policy, applicants may NOT submit letters of recommendation themselves. Letters of recommendation must be received directly from the letter writer. The letter writer can either upload his/her letter to the online application system directly (after the applicant completes the application form), or can send it in by post. We recommend using online letter submission. See Tips for Completing the Online Application for instructions.


The Graduate Studies Chair will contact prospective students who are short-listed for admission to arrange an interview with the Graduate Studies Committee. During the interview (which can be by telephone, over Skype, or in person), the Committee will examine the applicant's level of proficiency in Russian.

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