Graduate Program

Welcome to the Graduate Slavic Program

The Princeton Slavic Department offers the Ph.D. degree in Russian Literature and Culture. The program provides students with a firm foundation in their major area as well as the opportunity to explore related fields, for example: comparative literature, literary theory, and other Slavic languages and literatures.

Image Leonid Lazarev, Next to Pushkin (Moscow, 1957).

Leonid Lazarev, Next to Pushkin (Moscow, 1957).

Program Size

Princeton's Ph.D. program is small: this enables us to offer graduate students accepted into the program a support package for the entire five years required to complete the degree. Princeton provides a scholarly, small-town atmosphere in close proximity to both New York City and Philadelphia.

Program Goals

The aim of our graduate program is to further interest, knowledge, and scholarship relating to Russia and Slavic Central Europe, primarily through the cultural humanities. To this end we urge our students to explore new intellectual paths and approaches, having first provided them with a strong background in the Russian literary tradition, an introduction to major schools of theory, and the opportunity to conduct research abroad.  (Please note that the program in Slavic Linguistics has been discontinued.) 

Our Students

Our students play a central role in the life of the Department in ways that hone their professional skills – teaching language and/or literature, helping select speakers, participating in the dissertation colloquium, and organizing conferences. They also take active part in the profession, presenting papers at national and international conferences and publishing in journals in the field.

Graduate Seminars

Proseminar and graduate seminars in our Department cover the development of literary movements, genres and styles; theoretical approaches to literature and culture, as well as specific authors; language pedagogy and academic Russian.

Cultural Periods, Aesthetic Movements and Trends

  • 18th Century Russian Culture
  • Russian Sentimentalism and Romanticism (Karamzin, Pushkin, Zhukovsky, Gogol)
  • Russian Realism (Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Chekhov)
  • Russian Modernism (Symbolism; Acmeism; Futurism; V. Ivanov, Khlebnikov, Tsvetaeva, Pasternak, Eisenstein, Vetrov, Rodchenko)
  • Socialist Realism
  • Underground/Uncensored Literature
  • Soviet Literature and Culture
  • Post-Soviet Literature and Culture
  • Postmodernism 

Theory and Genre

  • Russian Critical Tradition
  • Russian Poetry and Poetics
  • Russian Prose and Narratology
  • History of Emotions
  • Formalism and Constructivism
  • Productivism
  • Translation
  • Literature and Science
  • Documentary Genres
  • Film and Media Theory
  • Medical Humanities
  • Russian Music (Tchaikovsky; Prokofiev) and Ballet
  • Moscow-Tartu Semiotics
  • Children’s Literature
  • Language Pedagogy

McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning

All Princeton graduate students have access to the resources of the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, In our Department students who have passed their general examinations receive supervised training in undergraduate teaching and have the opportunity to gain classroom experience by teaching elementary or intermediate languages courses and precepting (leading discussion sections in) larger nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian literature survey courses. which offers workshops and training sessions related to all aspects of the academic career.


Kate Fischer
Office Manager

Michael Wachtel
Director of Graduate Studies

Graduate School


We strongly encourage prospective students to contact the Department and if at all possible to come to campus to meet the faculty. 

To arrange a visit, please e-mail the Office Manager Ms. Kate Fischer.


Princeton is a lovely small town conveniently situated approximately mid-way between New York City and Philadelphia. Information on housing, including graduate dorm rooms and apartments can be obtained from the Housing Office.