Master Degree

The Master of Arts Program in European and Russian Studies is unusual in its embrace of all of Europe, east as well as west. The program allows students to choose a regional focus, while also ensuring familiarity with those parts of Europe outside that focus. Students specializing in Russia and Eastern Europe, for example, will concentrate their efforts in that area, but will also take courses relating to Central and Western Europe. As an interdisciplinary program, the E&RS MA allows for concentration in a variety of humanities (languages, literatures, history, art, music) and social science (political science, economics, sociology, anthropology) disciplines, as well as law. The program is suited both to students who wish to pursue further academic studies and to students interested in pursuing careers in policy, journalism, teaching, human rights, development and NGOs.  

Special Requirements for Admissions:

When applying to the program, students will specify as an area of primary concentration either (1) Russia and East Europe, or (2) Central and West Europe. The program requires submission of an academic writing sample of not more than 25 pages, double spaced. The GRE General Test is not accepted. All students must complete sixteen graduate-level term courses (or their equivalent) in the various fields related to European and Russian studies. 

Fields of Study: European languages and literatures; economics; history; political science; law; music; sociology and other social sciences


Requirements for the M.A. Degree

Students in their first year must enroll  in one course focusing on methodology in a field of study, e.g., History, Comparative Literature, Sociology, or Political Science. Students are required to take at least one course in at least three of the four fields of study relevant to the program, i.e., history (including history of art, history of science, and history of music), literature, social sciences, and law. Students can fulfill this three-field requirement by taking Europe-related graduate-level courses from across the University. Only one of the sixteen graduate-level term courses may be taken for audit. Courses graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory cannot be counted toward the sixteen-course requirement of the program. For students focusing  on Russia and East Europe, two of the sixteen required courses (excluding language courses) must concern the nations of West and Central Europe. Conversely, for those focusing on West and Central Europe, two courses must concern Russia and East Europe.

In all cases, students will comply with the Policies and Regulations of the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, especially regarding degree requirements and academic standing. Any questions regarding these policies should be addressed to your assistant or associate dean. Please refer to GradSchool Degree RequirementsGradSchool Programs-Policies and GradSchool Bulletin E&RS.

Language Courses & Requirements

For the purposes of this program, language courses in modern European languages  count toward the sixteen required courses, even though they have undergraduate course numbers and undergraduate grade modes. If a student takes a language course to fulfill the 16-credit degree requirement, the language course cannot be taken for audit. Students with previous language preparation may in certain cases receive documentation of their language proficiency on the basis of this work. By the time the degree is completed, all students must demonstrate at least L4 proficiency in two modern European languages other than English. Those wishing to focus on Russia and East Europe will need to demonstrate knowledge of Russian or an East European language; those focusing on West and Central Europe will need to demonstrate knowledge of one of the appropriate regional languages. In all cases, students are required to demonstrate proficiency in two European languages by the end of the third term at Yale. The only exception to this rule is completion of the appropriate full sequence of Yale language classes, certified by the Yale instructor or the director of graduate studies (DGS). Students who wish to take Yale department examinations in French, German, Italian, Spanish, or other West European languages should register for a placement examination or a complete proficiency examination (with reading, oral, and grammar portions) with the appropriate Yale department. Students with Russian competence must receive the grade of 1+ or higher on the ACTFL/ETS Rating Scale as administered by the Slavic Languages and Literatures department at Yale, including reading, oral, and grammar portions. Students with competence in an East European language (such as Polish, Czech, Ukrainian, Hungarian, and others by special arrangement) or other European languages must take Yale department-administered examinations. Students who have met the language proficiency degree requirement may study a non-European language related to the student’s academic and professional goals if the courses are approved by the DGS.

The Master’s Thesis

A master’s thesis is required. The master’s thesis is based on research in a topic approved by the DGS and advised by a faculty member with specialized competence in the chosen topic. M.A. students must register for E&RS 950, which may count toward the sixteen required courses. E&RS 950 may not be taken for audit. Students may register for an additional independent study (E&RS 940) to prepare topics and begin research. The master’s thesis must be prepared according to department guidelines and is due in two copies in the student’s second year on an early-April date as specified by the council. 

Joint Degree Programs

Through agreements negotiated by the MacMillan Center, the European Studies Council offers joint master’s degrees with the Law School, the School of Management, the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and the School of Public Health. Application for admission must be made to both the Graduate School and the applicable professional school, with notation made on each application that this is to be considered for the joint-degree program. Refer to and contact the European Studies Coucil for up-to-date information.

European & Russian Studies Courses

E&RS 940, Independent Study

  • By arrangement with faculty
  • When taken for Master Thesis preparation, it can only allowed to be taken in the third or fourth semester of study

E&RS 950, Master’s Thesis

  • By arrangement with faculty
  • Only allowed to be taken in the final/fourth semester of study