M.A. Degree Program

Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies (REECAS)

Objective of the Program

The M.A. Degree Program in Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies (REECAS), administered by CREECA, provides interdisciplinary area studies training for emerging professionals and future leaders in business, development, government, journalism, law, publishing and the military. We welcome and encourage applications from Eurasia Foreign Area Officers (FAOs). The REECAS curriculum is designed to promote:

• A broad understanding of the cultural, political, economic, social, and historical factors that have shaped the development of societies in Eurasia, Russia, and Eastern and Central Europe

• Professional-level proficiency in one or more languages of Eurasia and Eastern and Central Europe

• Knowledge of methodological and analytical approaches of different disciplines that will contribute to a better understanding of the region and prepare students for conducting advanced research.


Why Study at Wisconsin?


  • The Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is among the top five Eurasia centers in the US for faculty research, graduate teaching, and professional outreach related to Eurasia.
  • Wisconsin has more Eurasia-related faculty than any other university in the US
  • Wide range of courses related to Eurasia across several disciplines
  • Award-winning, international leader for language training in several Eurasian languages
  • Extensive networking opportunities with alumni, area specialists, and students through the CREECA lecture series and other events


Faculty on Eurasia

  • Currently 29 tenure-line professors with a primary teaching and/or research interest in Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies, with more hires anticipated in 2013-14
  • Faculty represent 13 different disciplines, including Communication Arts, Geography, History, Languages and Cultures of Asia, Law, Political Science, Slavic Languages and Literature, Sociology, and Theatre and Drama


Area Studies Courses on Eurasia


Some of our recent and future course offerings inclue:


  • Political Science courses and seminars on Post-Communist Politics; Transitions to the Market; Political Economy of the European Union, International Security and Arms Control
  • History courses and seminars on Islam, Reform and Revolution in Central Asia; Russian Social and Intellectual History; Soviet History, American Foreign Relations
  • Geography courses on the Geography of Nationalism; Russia and the CIS
  • Also classes in Sociology, Law, Languages and Cultures of Asia, Slavic Languages and Literature, Theatre and Drama


Language Training on Eurasia

  • During the academic year, we offer Czech, Finnish, Kazak, Persian, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, and Turkish (Turkish-Azeri)
  • One of only four Russian Flagship Programs in the US, meaning increased Russian language course offerings, extracurricular activities, and assessment programs
  • Courses in Russian culture taught in Russian, as well as graduate-level Russian language courses with targeted, intensive instruction in grammar, reading, speaking, and listening.
  • During the 8-week summer session (mid-June through early August), UW-Madison sponsors several summer language institutes, among them:
  • Central Eurasian Studies Summer Institute (CESSI): Kazak, Tajik, Uzbek, and  Uyghur
  • Arabic, Persian, and Turkish Language Immersion Institute (APTLII): Persian  and Turkish
  • Russian Flagship: Russian

Program Admissions

Students entering the Master's Program must have a Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and provide evidence of academic achievement and intellectual ability, including a minimum total grade point average of 3.0 on a four-point scale and a 3.4 in related area courses, letters of recommendation, and sufficiently high scores on the Graduate Record Examination. No rigid prior course of study is required for application. Applications will be reviewed by a faculty committee, who will judge students' readiness for the program. The M.A. advisor will work closely with the committee to ensure that the students' courses of study are appropriate, given different levels of preparedness. While there is no minimum admission requirement for regional language, students are strongly advised to complete at least two years of area language study before entering the program.


In order to complete the master’s degree program in REECAS at UW-Madison, students will be required to take two years (or the equivalent) of a regional language (Czech, Polish, Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Finnish, Kazak, Russian Turkish, Persian). In order to meet this minimum requirement, students who enter the program with no previous study of a regional language and who want to complete the program within three academic semesters would need to enroll in a summer intensive language course either in the summer prior to enrolling or during the summer following the first year of graduate study.

Degree Requirements

The M.A. program is designed to be completed in three academic semesters, but motivated students who enter with language skills and commit to intensive summer coursework have the option of completing the course of study within 12 calendar months. Students will work closely with the M.A. advisor to ensure that their course of study is both coherent and sufficiently interdisciplinary

Credit Requirements

Students are required to take a regional language class each term. UW-Madison offers regular instruction in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Czech, Finnish, Kazak, Persian, Polish, Russian, and Turkish during the academic year.


In addition to language classes each term, students will be required to complete a minimum of 22 non-language (area studies) credits from the course list to be distributed as follows:

  1. Seven courses in Russian, East European, and Central Asian studies at or above the 300 level (21 credits). These courses must be distributed over at least three departments.  It is understood that M.A. students taking courses numbered 300-699 may be required to do additional graduate-level work for these classes, as is true for Ph.D. students.
  2. At least six of these credits (two courses) must be graduate-level seminars (700- through 900-level).
  3. A one-credit “Introduction to REECAS” module (currently Political Science, 699). The course number of this module varies, depending on the home department of the faculty director of CREECA. Students are required to attend the weekly CREECA lecture series and to write four short essays based on the content of those lectures. Papers are read and evaluated by the CREECA director and associate director.
  4. Students may elect to write a Master’s Thesis, but this is not required. This three-credit faculty-supervised independent research course could count towards the required 21 non-language credits, but could not take the place of a required graduate-level seminar. This master's thesis will demonstrate the student’s ability to engage in original research in his or her chosen field, including the ability to use original language material. 

Seminar Requirements

At least two of the M.A. student's seven courses (6 out of 21 credits) must be graduate seminars (at or above the 700-level). REECAS MA students are expected to use original language source material in their graduate seminar papers.

Language Requirements

Language learning is an integral part of the program, and students will be required to enroll in language courses each term. Students already proficient in their main language will be expected to choose another Slavic or Central Eurasian language for the duration of their program. For degree completion, students must have a minimum of two years of a regional language (Czech, Polish, BCS, Finnish, Kazak, Russian, Turkish (Turkish-Azeri), Persian), with at least three years of study strongly recommended.

Departments and Faculty

The MA degree program in REECAS is an interdisciplinary program that draws on faculty expertise from many different disciplines. CREECA’s core faculty members represent disciplines as varied as Anthropology, Art History, Communication Arts, Folklore, Geography, History, Jewish Studies, Journalism and Mass Communications, Languages and Cultures of Asia, Law, Political Science, Slavic Languages and Literature, Sociology, and Theatre and Drama. Our M.A. students benefit from studying with an exceptionally productive and accomplished faculty who are leaders in their respective disciplines and are committed to the interdisciplinary study of Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern and Central Europe.

Funding and Financial Aid

We strongly encourage qualified US citizens and permanent residents to apply for the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship through our office. FLAS applications are generally due on February 15 of each year; please check flas.wisc.edu for updates. Please note that the application form for FLAS is separate from the application for admission. We regret that other sources of funding, such as teaching assistantships and project assistantships, are extremely limited in our program, but we encourage all applicants to consult the CREECA funding page for additional resources.

Application Procedures

Applications to the M.A. degree program in REECAS are made through the Graduate School at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The application deadline for admission in September 2015 is January 2, 2015.


Please note that the Graduate Admissions Office will not forward application materials to our office.

  1. Complete the Graduate School Online Application.
  2. Report your Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores to the Graduate School electronically. Our institution code number is 1846. Since we receive the scores electronically, no department code is needed.
  3. Electronically submit three letters of recommendation through the Graduate School Online Application. These are applied for and handled through the Graduate School Online Application. This will give CREECA access to your letters of recommendation. See here for further information.
  4. Upload scanned copies of transcripts from all post-secondary institutions in which you were enrolled to the Graduate School Online Application. If you are recommended for admission by the CREECA faculty admissions committee then we will ask you to send official copies of all transcripts to the CREECA office.
  5. Through the Graduate School Online Application, please upload a statement of purpose describing prior academic and work-related experience, career aspirations, reasons for applying for the M.A. Program in REECAS, and description of how the M.A. Program would influence your future career.
  6. Upload to the Graduate School Online Application a copy of the REECAS supplemental application (updated for 2015-2016), including the table on prior language study. This application is available as a fillable form, in Portable Document Format (PDF). Before attempting to read this file, you will need to have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. You will only be able to save the information you type if you are using Acrobat Reader version 8 or later. Earlier versions of Acrobat Reader do not support this feature. If you are using Acrobat Reader versions earlier than 8, you may still type in the fields required, but may not be able to save the updated file on your computer.
  7. Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB). An admitted applicant whose TOEFL (paper-based) test score is below 580; TOEFL computer-based test (CBT) score below 237; TOEFL internet based (iBT) test score below 92; IELTS score below 7; or MELAB below 82 must take an English assessment test upon arrival. You must then register for any recommended English as a Second Language (ESL) course(s) in the first semester you are enrolled. Visit the TOEFL website at http://www.toefl.org to see sample exam questions, to get free test preparation materials, and to find where the test will be given in your area.
  8. A non-refundable $56 application fee must be paid to the Graduate School. The fee is payable by credit card (MasterCard or Visa), debit/ATM card (through the electronic application). If sending a personal check or money order, drawn on a U.S. bank, please send to:

Office of Graduate Admissions
228 Bascom Hall, 500 Lincoln Dr.
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI 53706

Applications will not be processed without the application fee.

*International students should view the International Sudent Expenses and Financial Information page at the Graduate School's International Applicant page. International applicants are requested to not send financial documents to Graduate Admissions until requested by the Graduate School. This information will be requested upon a positive admission recommendation from CREECA.

The Graduate School Admission requirements can be found here.
The Graduate School Checklist can be found here.

For further information or to request materials please contact Jennifer Tishler by e-mail or by telephone at (608)-262-3379.

To review the Graduate School's application requirements visit their website.

For admission in fall 2015, application materials are due no later than January 2, 2015.

For More Information

Contact Jennifer Tishler, Graduate Program Advisor and CREECA Associate Director:

Jennifer Tishler
Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia
210 Ingraham Hall
(608) 262-3379

For information about the REECAS M.A. Program and its requirements, consult the graduate advisor:

Jennifer Tishler
Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia
210 Ingraham Hall
(608) 262-3379