Doctoral Program Requirements

Doctoral Degree


Students admitted to doctoral candidacy must also demonstrate proficiency in a modern Slavic language other than Russian by completing one year (or the equivalent) of the language of their second Slavic literature. The requirement may be fulfilled by taking the one-year course of study in the department or by demonstrating proficiency acquired extramurally. A non-Slavic language may, with the approval of the student’s faculty adviser, be substituted for one year of this requirement if it is germane to the area of the student’s specialization (for example, Kazakh in the case of students with a Eurasian specialization or Greek or Latin in the case of specialization in the medieval period).

Following completion of the above requirements students choose their principal adviser and future dissertation director from among the ladder faculty.

Students must meet with the graduate adviser at the beginning of each quarter for consultation about their programs and progress toward the degree. Students who wish to enroll in Slavic 596, 597 and 599 must obtain prior permission from the instructor with whom they plan to work before the graduate adviser can include the course on the study list. Only after the graduate adviser and the student agree on a program of study for the quarter, may the student enroll through MyUCLA.

All the department’s graduate students receive a written evaluation of their progress each year.

Major Fields or Subdisciplines

Doctoral students choose a specialization in either literature or applied linguistics and second-language acquisition. Students in applied linguistics are expected to select dissertation topics within the following broad areas of specialization: (1) the acquisition of Russian or another language taught in the Department as a foreign or heritage language; (2) bilingualism and heritage language loss and maintenance; (3) motivation and attitudes in teaching Russian or another language taught in the Department as a foreign or heritage language; (4) technology in teaching foreign languages.

Students may create an optional sub-specialty at the Ph.D. level that consists of at least four courses approved by the graduate adviser. The courses come from graduate offerings in one or more departments or programs. These include the following departments or programs: Anthropology, Art History, Classics, Comparative Literature, English, Film, Gender Studies, History, Indo-European Studies, language and literature departments (French, Germanic Languages, etc.), Linguistics, Music, Philosophy, Psychology, and Theater. The courses also may come from graduate offerings within this department. Students are urged to pursue certificates in Critical Theory, Digital Humanities, Greek or Latin, and/or professional degrees in other recognized programs.

Foreign Language Requirement

Proficiency in both French and German is required for the Ph.D. degree. Proficiency in one of the languages is satisfied by the method of fulfillment selected and approved prior to the award of the M.A. degree. Proficiency in the second language is demonstrated by the inclusion of one or more critical texts in that language on the bibliographies prepared for the Ph.D. examinations. Familiarity with said texts must be attested to by the faculty member designated as chair of the doctoral committee. Proof that the student has satisfied the language requirement must be submitted in the form of an affidavit from the doctoral committee chair submitted to the Graduate Division.

With departmental consent, students may substitute a reading knowledge in another language important to the study of the chosen discipline (e.g., Greek, Latin, Spanish, one of the languages of Central Asia, Armenian, etc.) in place of French or German.

Course Requirements

Before the formation of a doctoral committee, students must take the following courses:

Students specializing in applied linguistics and pedagogy must take one 200-level literature course in the department and four additional 200-level courses as approved by the student’s adviser. These four courses may include offerings in other departments and programs, e.g., the Department of Linguistics, Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, School of Education, or other language departments such as Spanish and Portuguese, Germanic Languages or Near Eastern Languages and Literatures.

Students whose specialization is literature must take two courses from Slavic 230A-230B-230C, Russian 204 and three advanced literature courses or seminars. Polish 280 or Ukrainian 280 may replace one course in the 230A-230B-230C sequence. Students are also advised to acquire a sound general knowledge of modern literary theory and/or a modern Western European literature.

Teaching Experience

Although teaching experience is not a formal requirement for the degree, students are expected to serve as a teaching assistant during their graduate study.

Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations

Academic Senate regulations require all doctoral students to complete and pass university written and oral qualifying examinations prior to doctoral advancement to candidacy. Also, under Senate regulations, the University Oral Qualifying Examination is open only to the student and appointed members of the doctoral committee. In addition to university requirements, some graduate programs have other pre-candidacy examination requirements. What follows in this section is how students are required to fulfill all of these requirements for this doctoral program.

All committee nominations and reconstitutions adhere to the new Minimum Standards for Doctoral Committee Constitution.

All students are expected to have a sound general knowledge of both Slavic philology and Russian literary history.

Written Examinations

Students in applied linguistics and pedagogy take two three-hour written examinations. In the first examination, students are examined in the general area of the proposed dissertation research. In the second examination, students are examined on the history and structure of modern Russian or another targeted Slavic, East European or Eurasian language, second language learning and on contemporary methods and practices in second/foreign language instruction.

Students in literature must take a series of four written examinations on Russian literature, one on a Slavic literature other than Russian, one on a school of literary theory, and one on the prospective dissertation topic. Students make up an appropriate reading list for each with members of their doctoral committee. Each of four periods of Russian literature — early literature, the 18th century, the 19th century, and the 20th century — must be represented by a field. The examination in a Slavic literature other than Russian tests students’ knowledge of the history of the literature and familiarity with representative works. Each examination is one hour in length; the seven examinations are taken over the course of a single week.

Oral Examination

Students who receive a grade of pass on the written examinations are admitted to a two-hour University Oral Qualifying Examination, which is designed to test the fields of major interest and general background, and which typically includes discussion of the dissertation topic.

After considering students’ overall performance in both the oral and written examinations, the committee assigns a cumulative grade. A pass grade entitles students to write a dissertation. At the committee’s discretion, students may be required to retake any or all portions of the Ph.D. examinations within one calendar year after the first attempt.

Within one quarter after passing the qualifying examinations, students must submit a prospectus and commence writing the dissertation.

Formal Lecture

Students are required to deliver a formal lecture in the California Slavic Colloquium no later than two calendar years after advancement to candidacy.

Advancement to Candidacy

Students are advanced to candidacy and awarded the Candidate in Philosophy (C.Phil.) degree upon successful completion of the written and oral qualifying examinations.

Doctoral Dissertation

Every doctoral degree program requires the completion of an approved dissertation that demonstrates the student’s ability to perform original, independent research and constitutes a distinct contribution to knowledge in the principal field of study.

Final Oral Examination (Defense of the Dissertation)

Not required for all students in the program. The decision as to whether a defense is required is made by the doctoral committee.


Normative progress toward completion of the degree program is defined as follows: six academic quarters from matriculation in graduate study to the award of the M.A. degree; six academic quarters from the award of the M.A. degree to advancement to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree; and six academic quarters from advancement to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree to completion of the dissertation and award of the Ph.D. degree. For teaching and research assistants, the program may take slightly longer.

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Termination of Graduate Study and Appeal of Termination

University Policy

A student who fails to meet the above requirements may be recommended for termination of graduate study. A graduate student may be disqualified from continuing in the graduate program for a variety of reasons. The most common is failure to maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average (3.00) required by the Academic Senate to remain in good standing (some programs require a higher grade point average). Other examples include failure of examinations, lack of timely progress toward the degree and poor performance in core courses. Probationary students (those with cumulative grade point averages below 3.00) are subject to immediate dismissal upon the recommendation of their department. University guidelines governing termination of graduate students, including the appeal procedure, are outlined in Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA.

Special Departmental or Program Policy

In addition to the standard reasons outlined above, a student may be recommended for termination for failure to pass the master’s requirements (research paper and comprehensive written and oral examination) with a high pass. A recommendation for termination based on any reason other than this, failure of a Ph.D. qualifying examination or low grade point average, must be recommended by the departmental Admissions and Support Committee. A student may appeal a recommendation for termination to the departmental chair.

UCLA is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and by numerous special agencies. Information regarding the University’s accreditation may be obtained from the Office of Academic Planning and Budget, 2107 Murphy Hall.


PhD Worksheet (to be updated soon!)