Application FAQs

We know that applying to graduate school can lead to many questions. The University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School also maintains an extensive list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related more generally to the admissions and enrollment progress for all graduate students. The FAQs below help to address some aspects of applying to the MA degree program in REECAS at UW-Madison.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Do I need to submit a writing sample as part of my application?

Only the statement of purpose. The admissions committee for the MA Degree program in REECAS at the University of Wisconsin-Madison does not require (nor will it consider) other writing samples, such as term papers, articles, or essays. Therefore, your statement of purpose should stand on its own as an excellent example of your writing. Moreover, your statement of purpose should give the committee members a clear idea of your prior experience in language and area studies, your academic objectives, and your longer-term academic and/or career plans.

In my statement of purpose, how specific do my "career goals" need to be?

The MA in REECAS is an interdisciplinary program in the humanities and social sciences, not a pre-professional program like medicine, law or engineering where students are being trained for a specific profession. The committee members understand that applicants to our program may not have a precise career track mapped out and that they will use their time in graduate school to explore different options. Our alumni go on to many different professions, such as service in the federal government, publishing, higher education administration, or work in private foundations. Several of our graduates have continued their graduate study in a discipline-specific PhD program, such as history, political science, or Slavic languages and literature. In your statement of purpose, it is not necessary to provide a detailed long-term plan. However, by the time you write this essay you should have given some thought to where you see yourself after graduation and how an MA in REECAS from UW-Madison will help you to meet those objectives.

In my statement of purpose, should I name specific UW-Madison faculty members I'd want to work with?

Only if this is a meaningful part of your statement of purpose. Many programs, especially doctoral programs, ask applicants in their statement of purpose to identify a professor who would serve as a mentor. We do not require this of our applicants; we know that our students have the opportunity to take classes from many excellent UW-Madison faculty while enrolled in this program. We already know our professors are top-notch! If you choose to write about working with specific UW-Madison professors, you must be specific. You should discuss the research of UW-Madison professors, having read their articles and books or even from having forged a personal connection with them at an academic conference; you should not simply copy and paste professors’ names from our website and “name drop.”

Is the GRE required for admission? What scores are you looking for?

Yes, all applicants to the MA degree program in REECAS at UW-Madison are required to take the GRE. Be sure to schedule your exam well in advance of our application deadline in early January. The institution code for the University of Wisconsin-Madison is 1846. No departmental code is required. We do not have a minimum GRE score; the members of admissions committee consider applicants’ GRE scores alongside their GPA, letters of recommendation, and statement of purpose.

Do you allow students to matriculate in semesters other than the fall semester (such as spring or summer)?

Generally not. In order to build good cohort cohesion and to enable all incoming MA students to take the required Slavic 755 module in the same semester, we expect that students will enter our program in the fall semester. Exceptions may be made for Foreign Area Officers (FAOs). Please contact Jennifer Tishler ( if you are a FAO who needs to request a matriculation semester other than fall.

Who will review my application once I submit it? When are applications reviewed?

Applications are reviewed by committee made up of CREECA faculty and core academic staff, including the CREECA director, associate director, and one or two other faculty members. The committee makes its decisions by late January and all applicants are informed of their status by early February. Once the CREECA committee recommends applicants for admission, staff in the Graduate School conduct a formal review of transcripts. After this, the official letter of admission will be issued by the Graduate School.

I was not recommended for admission. Can you tell me why? Can I appeal the decision?

No. The decision of the admissions committee is final. We cannot share specific feedback to applicants about the review process.