The deadline to apply is 8:59 PM (Pacific Standard Time) December 15.

The Department accepts applications from students who have or will complete a B.A. before they commence graduate study, and from students who have earned an M.A. from another institution. We expect students who enter with an M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from another institution to have preparation comparable to that provided by the M.A. program at Berkeley. Those with an M.A. from another institution, depending on preparation, may be asked to eliminate discrepancies and/or to take a screening (permission-to-proceed) examination. The format of the screening examination is similar to that of the M.A. examinations. This decision is made by the Graduate Adviser in consultation with other faculty members.

Note that we do not accept applications for a Master’s degree only. It is also important to note that we do not consider applicants who already hold a doctoral degree in any subject, whether obtained at a US institution or abroad.

We select our graduate students on the basis of their record of academic achievement in the past, and their promise of future success in scholarship and teaching. A bachelor’s degree in Slavic Languages and Literatures or Slavic Studies is preferred but not absolutely required for admission; however, applicants with degrees in other fields must have already undertaken significant coursework in Slavic Studies.

Before you begin your application, be sure you have reviewed the faculty research specialties in the People section of the web site. These are the individuals who will supervise your graduate education and research; it is important to find a good intellectual fit before undertaking any graduate program.

Each section of the graduate application has specific and detailed instructions to help you successfully navigate. In general though, the complete application will include:

    • Scanned Transcripts of all schools attended. Official transcripts are required once admitted—never before decisions have been made.
    • 3 letters of recommendation
    • GRE or TOEFL exam registration number. The GRE is required of applicants from US schools (and international applicants from schools at which the language of instruction for the Bachelor degree is English–such as Canada or the UK). We require the TOEFL from all other International applicants; we do not require both, though an international applicant has the option to take the GRE.   As an exception, International applicants may submit scores from IELTS. See the Graduate Division instructions for International applicants for details.
      Take your necessary exams well in advance! If we receive exam scores any later than early January, they will be of no use.
    • Statement of Purpose should be a scholarly piece that demonstrates knowledge, motivation and preparation in your chosen field, academic seriousness and sophistication, and future career goals.
    • Personal History should discuss how/why you have decided upon an academic career. This may include but is not limited to relevant diversity, family background, first generation college education, economic or personal obstacles you have overcome, volunteerism, leadership potential, etc.
      The above are distinctly different, may not be combined, and are required by each applicant. There is no set length established for either statement.
    • Writing Sample should be a recent scholarly paper on a topic to do with Slavic literature or linguistics such as a term paper for a course, a senior thesis, or a paper written independently. If you have several short papers which demonstrate different facets of your writing and research abilities, you may submit up to three. We are looking for examples of research ability and some idea of your knowledge in your chosen specialty. There is no set length, though attempting to upload a document with many pictures may exceed the system’s data capacity.

Applying for Financial Aid is included in the process; be sure to fill out the applicable domestic or International fellowship information sections.

You are not required to complete the whole application in one sitting. Answers are saved and you may return to edit or finish sections until you actually submit the application. We strongly advise that you review everything after a good night’s sleep before submitting the application and paying the fee. Once the application is submitted, you are not allowed to go back and make further edits.

The application system features a status update page for applicants. You may check this page to see if your official exam scores have been received and letters of recommendation submitted.

Timeline: Applicant files are reviewed for completion, sorted and summarized after the December deadline by the graduate assistant. The faculty admission committee reads and evaluates applications throughout January into early February. Decisions regarding admissions will be announced later in February through mid March. We usually invite prospective admits to visit the department in order to meet the faculty, current students, and their potential co-hort for a few days in early to mid March. The exact timing of this visit is announced in February when students are invited.

Contact information: For clarification on application procedures, please email the devoted application address <>.  If you have specific questions about the academic program, please contact the faculty graduate adviser, currently Lyubov Golburt (

Students may also write directly to those with whom they are most interested in working. Prospective students are also encouraged to contact any of our current or former students. Faculty and Students are found on the People page of our website.