The deadline to apply is 8:59 PM (Pacific Standard Time), December 11

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. We do not require the GRE.

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. If your academic records do not include official evidence of the award of your degree, you must also submit additional documents that verify the degree conferral. If your home institution does not issue documents in English, you must also submit translations prepared by certified translators for the American Translators Association. Official transcripts are required once admitted—never before decisions have been made.
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • TOEFL exam registration number or IELTS Official evidence of English language proficiency is required of applicants from countries where the official language is not English (you might be exempt from this requirement if you have a basic degree from a recognized institution in a country where the official language is English, or have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work at a regionally accredited institution within the United States). For information about TOEFL exemptions and further details about language requirements, please see the UC Berkeley Graduate Division instructions for International applicants. 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.
  • The Writing Sample should consist of a scholarly paper on a topic related to Slavic literatures, cultures or linguistics, which demonstrates clear evidence of your research skills, your knowledge of a relevant Slavic language as well as the surrounding field. You may submit a term paper, a senior thesis, or an essay written independently. You may submit up to two short samples if they demonstrate different facets of your knowledge base or your analytical abilities. Your sample should not exceed 30 pages in total.

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 Admissions Committee reads and evaluates applications throughout January into early February. Applicants under consideration are first interviewed by phone or video. Decisions regarding admissions will be announced later in February through mid-March. Prospective admits are then invited to visit the department in order to meet the faculty, current students, and their potential cohort. The exact timing of this visit, which generally takes place over a weekend in early to mid-March, is announced in February.

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, Harsha Ram (<>).

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.