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The Master of Arts Degree Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies offers training to graduate students preparing for academic and professional careers with a focus on the region of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The enhancement of language ability to the level of professional competence and the acquisition of on-site experience and analytical skills appropriate for an area expert are goals of the M.A. program. Students may focus their programs on one or more countries of the region, but are expected to achieve a wide range of area knowledge as well as disciplinary and professional skills. This program is offered through the University of Michigan Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies and administered by the International Institute. The annual application deadline is December 15.

REES M.A. Requirements

REES M.A. Worksheet
REES M.A./M.P.P. Worksheet

The normal program of study for the REES M.A. takes two years and includes the following requirements:

  • Minimum Credit Requirement. Students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours: 15 of these must be in REES-approved courses at the 500-level and above, and 9 more credits must be in REES-approved courses at the 400-level and above.
  • Introductory Proseminar. REEES 600, Introduction to Graduate Study in REES. First-year M.A. students must take REEES 600, a course on academic reading and writing in different disciplines. (1 credit)
  • Core Colloquium. REEES 601, REES Graduate Core Colloquium. Required every semester for all REES M.A. students, usually for one credit each term. For dual-degree students, only required during first year (both fall and winter).This ongoing course will draw on and discuss area-related issues, including programs (Noon Lectures and Center events); Center “gateway” and other course lectures; visiting speakers; with occasional separate meetings on development and current state of REES. All students are expected to attend CREES Noon Lectures.
  • Course Distribution. For examples of REES-approved classes, see CREES courses.
    • Geographic Distribution. At least one 3-credit course in two of the CREES regions (Russia, Eastern Europe, Central Eurasia). With permission, students may fulfill this requirement with a graduate independent study/directed reading course to accompany a Center “gateway.” (9 credits)
    • Disciplinary Distribution. At least one 3-credit course in each core field (arts/culture, history, social science). (9 credits)
      Note: courses may count for both geographic and disciplinary distributions. Students may “place out” of either disciplinary or geographic distribution requirements if their previous training includes a substantial concentration in the relevant area or discipline (e.g., a student who focused intensively on Russia, and now at UM wants to focus on Eastern Europe or Central Eurasia; or a history major who now wishes to focus on literature). Students may not “place out” with a single course from a previous undergraduate institution; prior “substantial concentrations” require grades of B or better in at least three clearly relevant university-level courses.
  • Language Proficiency. All students in a REES M.A. or dual-degree program must either attain a level of proficiency in one REE-area language one year beyond that required for the REES B.A. (i.e., fourth-year Russian or Polish with a grade of B- or better; third-year for other languages) or achieve the level required for a B.A. plus an additional year in a second REE language. All M.A. students will complete CREES-approved language tests upon matriculation and at graduation.
  • Language Training. M.A. students who are not enrolled in a dual-degree program are expected to enroll in a 3- (or more) credit language class (for a grade) every semester. Dual-degree students are strongly encouraged to do so. In case of necessity, students may substitute an intensive summer course for one semester. Students may satisfy this requirement by taking advanced language classes (e.g. 5th-year Russian or Russian 499). For native speakers and those already possessing advanced-to-superior proficiency in one area language, this requirement also enables the acquisition of a second language, usually from the REE area (Russian, East European, or Central Eurasian), to be pursued for the duration of the program. In cases with compelling intellectual or professional rationales, and with permission of the director, this training may involve other languages (e.g., Persian, Turkish, German, Greek). Effective Fall 2013: A maximum of eight credits of upper-level language training can be applied to the 30-credit minimum.
  • Research Seminar. Participation in a REES-approved upper-level graduate seminar. (3 credits)
  • Master's Project. A thesis or final project/practicum integrating area expertise with disciplinary or professional work must be submitted and approved by two CREES faculty associates. This project should be tailored to a student's own interests and academic or career goals. 


M.A. students should meet with the CREES Advisor at least three times throughout the course of their degree: once at orientation, again near the end of their first year to discuss plans for the thesis and for guidance in selecting a thesis advisor, and early in their final semester to conduct a degree audit. Additional appointments can be scheduled as necessary. 

Schedule an advising appointment


The M.A. program admits students once per year for the fall term. Individuals apply online through the Rackham School of Graduate Studies. Online applications will go directly to Rackham and CREES. The online application opens in early September and the deadline is December 15. If you are applying for a dual degree program, you must also complete an application for the other program. Please note in both applications that you are applying for a dual degree program.

A UMID number will be issued to you by email once you complete the first five pages of the online application and advance to page 6. Having your UMID number to include on all your application materials ensures accurate and timely processing, so we encourage you to complete pages 1-5 early in the process.  

The Rackham online application requires the following:

  • Statement of Purpose: A concise, well-written statement about your academic and research background, your career goals, and how Michigan's REES program will help you meet your career and educational objectives.
  • Personal Statement: A concise, well-written statement about how your personal background and life experiences, including social, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan. This is not an Academic Statement of Purpose, but a discussion of the personal journey that has led to your decision to seek a graduate degree in REES.
  • Recommendations: Three letters of recommendation are required. These should be from academic sources if possible. Applicants may request and track recommendations using the Rackham online application. For tips on how to manage your recommendations online, see this Rackham web page.
  • Academic writing sample in English. Maximum 20 pages.

Transcripts/Academic Records

  • All applicants are required to send to Rackham a complete set of official academic records/transcripts from undergraduate and postgraduate institutions from which you have or will receive a degree.
  • E-transcripts are preferred but paper transcripts are also acceptable. More information on transcripts sent to Rackham can be found here; graduates of non-U.S. institutions should also see additional instructions here.
  • In addition, CREES encourages the submission of transcripts from other postsecondary institutions at which you have completed relevant language and area studies courses, such as study abroad programs, junior colleges, and summer sessions. Transcripts may be submitted electronically at or mailed to:

International Institute Graduate Academic Services
ATTN: CREES Transcripts
Suite 300, Weiser Hall
500 Church Street
Ann Arbor, MI  48109-1042

Test Scores

  • Applicants must send GRE scores to Rackham, institutional code 1839. Dual-degree applicants may use GMAT or LSAT scores in place of the GRE.
  • Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency or meet the criteria for an exemption. More information can be found at

For more information, contact

Financial Aid

Applicants to the MA program who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are encouraged to apply for Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships and for need-based financial aid through the Office of Financial Aid. For information about additional funding opportunities, see the CREES Graduate Student Funding page and Rackham funding information.

For more information, schedule an advising appointment or email

For more information, contact

The annual application deadline is December 15.