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Russia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia Regional Studies MA Programs 2018


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Hi everyone!

Is anyone else applying to master's programs in area/regional studies in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia? Any past applicants or people currently in these programs?

Also, I have a 10 min interview with the REECA program at the Davis Center this friday and was just wondering if anyone has any advice on what I should expect, how I should prep for it etc.

 

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@Doge

This is my first year applying! From past experience, there aren't usually that many people on GradCafe in this area of study, but hopefully someone will have some advice for you!

Is it safe to assume that you're more on the Russian side of things if you've applied to the REECA program at the Davis Center? Did you apply anywhere else?

I just finished up my application for Georgetown's MAERES, and while I'd planned on two other schools (Indiana-Bloomington's CEUS and Wisconsin-Madison's CREECA) I had some unforeseen circumstances that kept me from applying elsewhere. This is more of an experimental year, I suppose, unfortunately.

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@mrs12

Great to see another applicant in the field!

17 hours ago, mrs12 said:

Is it safe to assume that you're more on the Russian side of things if you've applied to the REECA program at the Davis Center?

I've studied abroad in Russia and wrote a couple term papers relating to Russia, but I'm interested in the wider region too, specifically Ukraine, Georgia, and the conflict with Russia over NATO. I have some minor coursework on Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine, so I'd be down to learn more about them too. I've only studied Russian though, but would be interested to learn other regional languages in grad school. 

17 hours ago, mrs12 said:

Did you apply anywhere else?

I was only gonna apply to the Davis Center program, but my advisor suggested that I apply broadly to maximize my chances, so I pretty much spent my whole winter break working on applications. I did Georgetown too (the 500 word limit for the SOP killed me tbh lol), Indiana's REEI, Wisconsin's CREECA, Stanford's CREEES, UWashingon REECAS, Yale Macmillan Center's European and Russian Studies MA, Columbia Harriman Institute's MA, Kansas REES, NYU's Russian/Slavic Studies, Ohio State's CSEES, UT Austin's CREEES, and Illinois Champaign's REEEC. I'm pretty nervous about my chances so I applied to all these schools hoping that I would at least get into one (fingers crossed), the application fees were so expensive though... :(

Since you're applying for Turkic Studies, does that mean your focus is on Kyrgyzstan and the other countries in Central Asia? 

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Oh my gosh, that's a ton of applications! Congratulations on surviving! Wow. :3 I think your advisor was correct, to spread it out like that, but I don't envy your work load. And yes, 500 words was so tough! I'm not sure I did anything to explain why they should pick me specifically, but it's pretty difficult with all the other things they want you to discuss. 

Your interests sound super snazzy! And widely applicable, too! Hopefully some of those schools see that. It's amazing that you got to do that much in your undergrad. My resume is a bit all-over the place, to be honest. My undergraduate focus was Turkish Studies, as in Turkey, but it swiftly grew from there. I really only have experience with Turkey and Azerbaijan, but my academic interests are the Turkic world. So, yes, from Turkey to Uyghuristan. Mostly I'm interested in pan-Turkism, questions of Turkishness and identity, nationalism, and especially how linguistics plays into all of these subjects. 

I applied to Georgetown because I'm looking for a professional program rather than a purely academic masters. I don't intend on going on to a PhD, and Georgetown would allow me to polish my area studies knowledge/language skills while also continuing with my tech background. I've actually also applied to some Data Science/IT programs coming from the other angle, at places where I could still take Turkish, but my first choice is Georgetown. 

I'm seriously so glad you posted this topic, I've yet to find anyone interested in the same programs! Now we can freak out together. :D

Edited by mrs12
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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry for the late reply - school just started back up for me. But wow your focus area sounds so cool! I'm actually also not interested in going into academia, and just intend on getting a terminal master's to gain more regional knowledge (and improve my language skills) before going into either business/consulting or some non-profit/think tank (ideally haha) that is engaged with the region.

I also actually just got my first acceptance to Ohio State a couple days ago! I'm so happy about it, and it really helped relieve my stress :D haha though I don't know about funding yet, they'll release that later.  

Also, have you heard anything from Georgetown? I had to check with their grad admissions office a couple times to make sure my transcripts were "received" -- I think it's all set now lol. And speaking of Georgetown, if we both are lucky enough to get in, we might see each other there! :) I was also looking on their website and it appears that they enroll 12-18 students every year, they might accept more to account for those who decide to not attend? I wonder how many people apply every cycle...?

 

Edited by Doge
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Has anyone heard anything back from either Columbia or Georgetown yet?  I mean their application deadlines were quite recent, but still, I haven't heard anything and I'd be interested to know if other people have.  

Also, echoing Doge, I'm also wondering if anyone knows how many people apply every cycle...I know that Columbia put that they would accept apps either until the 12th of January or until they felt like they had enough applicants (?) which to me seems like not too many people apply.  But I have no idea.  I assume that REECA gets a lot and that Georgetown does as well, but I'm wondering what you all think/know.

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Hi all. Lurker coming out of the shadows. 

I applied and interviewed for Harvard’s REECA. They take ten and interviewed around twenty. Would be my top choice, but obviously it’s a long shot! Also applied to Yale, Columbia, and Wisconsin-Madison. I haven’t heard anything from those programs yet, but I chatted with the program director at Columbia  and learned they only interview applicants that they’re considering for funding. 

Goodluck everyone!

 

 

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Georgetown doesn't officially say anything during the process, as far as I've been told. So the only thing you can do is check the online portal to see if they received everything. Other than that, it's a long wait to late February or early March. I don't know how many applicants they typically get, but @Doge is correct, the incoming class is something between 12-30 students at most. 

Also! Congratulations, Doge! One acceptance down, and plenty more to come! :D 

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  • 2 weeks later...

@lawine Congrats! I've also heard back and gotten into Wisconsin and Kansas. Haven't heard anything from any of the other schools yet though.

So is it safe to say if you didn't get an interview with Columbia that you're not gonna get any funding from them? But still could get in?

 

I'm expecting to hear back soon from Indiana (submitted app at the same time as my app to Ohio State) but apparently they send decisions out through snail mail only... lol

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@Doge Congrats on Wisconsin and Kansas!

So that's what it sounded like to me re: Columbia. But I also got the sense that this is a relatively new policy - so maybe they didn't go through with it this year? I haven't heard anything from my other schools. I imagine Harvard and Yale will come out the Thursday of the final week in February. That seems to be the norm.

With all the waiting, February feels like its dragging haha. 

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@Doge, Congratulations!!! :D That's so great! You'll have tons of options now! Here's hoping to some fantastic aid packages. 

@lawine Congratulations on Wisconsin! I really love Wisconsin-Madison and the program there is really snazzy. <3

February does seem slowww, though I'm really waiting until the middle of March for most of my information. Ughhh. Why do I do this to myself?

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@mrs12 Thanks! And I feel you! Feels like February's just been dragging on... can't wait for March for the decisions to all come out!

@lawine Yo me too!! I got the email from Yale this evening and it was such a pleasant surprise, really improved the crappy week I've been having haha (stuck in a group project with group members who don't do work). I'm beyond overjoyed by this, and can't really believe it! My letter also didn't mention anything about funding, and document about financial aid from the link provided in the letter says that fellowships will be mentioned in the letter, so I'm guessing we didn't get nominated for the university fellowships :/ But FLAS is separate from that I believe, so you'll probably hear back about it later. 

Oh and I got into IU Bloomington too, with a 5k per year fellowship, but possibly more funding options may be released later.

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By the way, on a separate note, for those of you really familiar with this field, how do these programs rank in terms of prestige?

I know of course the prestige of the institution as a whole matters to an extent (Harvard Stanford Yale Columbia Georgetown being the most prestigious obviously, possibly in that order?), but in the field of Russian/Eastern European/Central Asian regional studies, which departments outside of these elite universities are also considered prestigious? I've heard Indiana and Wisconsin are very top-notch in this field, but how about all the others?

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@Doge ahhh yayayay congratulations :) My thought on Yale re funding is that the center and it’s fellowships seem skewed toward PhD students. I’m waiting to hear from Wisconsin on concrete funding details, but I applied for FLAS and have been nominated for one of their Advanced Opportunity Fellowships. Also got 5K for summer research. 

Ive heard great things about both IU and Wisconsin! I think it comes down to funding and your research interests and post grad plans. I have a phone call with a Wisconsin alum whose teaching at NYU, and I’ve also been in contact with one of their current students. PM if you want to hear more about what they’ve said!

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13 hours ago, Doge said:

By the way, on a separate note, for those of you really familiar with this field, how do these programs rank in terms of prestige?

I know of course the prestige of the institution as a whole matters to an extent (Harvard Stanford Yale Columbia Georgetown being the most prestigious obviously, possibly in that order?), but in the field of Russian/Eastern European/Central Asian regional studies, which departments outside of these elite universities are also considered prestigious? I've heard Indiana and Wisconsin are very top-notch in this field, but how about all the others?

 


I'd say the same elite ones like you because of their brand name, funding and (library infrastructure). Indiana and Wisconsin also have strong traditions in Russian studies. 

But I would add and ask this: what about supervisors? How do you view the importance of your prospective supervisor in your decision-making?

I think Princeton should definitely be included, simply because of Kotkin (for his epic studies on Magnitogorsk and his biography of Stalin) and others (Cohen and Rozman, though they retired already). 

Harvard has great people too like Kramer (not sure whether he takes on students?) and Martin (though he didn't publish his second monograph since 2002/3?)

UChicago has been very strong but their two Russian historians (Fitzpatrick and Suni) left as well, though the infrastructure is still there. 

I'd coin Berkeley too for Slezkine.

I'd love to hear feedback!

On a separate note, how do you feel about the current state of Russian studies in the US? I've been reading that it has been weakening in the recent years? 

 

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3 hours ago, ignoredfab said:

I think Princeton should definitely be included, simply because of Kotkin (for his epic studies on Magnitogorsk and his biography of Stalin) and others (Cohen and Rozman, though they retired already). 

Princeton doesn't have an M.A. program, unless I'm mistaken. But good point - important to consider the faculty with whom you'd like to write a master's thesis!

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11 hours ago, lawine said:

Princeton doesn't have an M.A. program, unless I'm mistaken. But good point - important to consider the faculty with whom you'd like to write a master's thesis!

You're right. They do have some Certificate Program called REEES (Russia, Eastern Europe, Eurasian Studies) at PIIRS.

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@lawine Oh wow congrats on the Advanced Opportunity Fellowship and 5k for summer research! And thanks for the offer, I'll drop you a line about Wisconsin, but I'm mostly concerned with employability post-MA -- u know it being a terminal degree and all... I have no desire in going further into academia, and instead would like to get a think tank policy gig focused on the region or something in the private sector would be cool too.

@ignoredfab Thanks for your input, really appreciate it! I didn't apply to Princeton precisely due to their lack of a formal Master's program, but would've loved to apply... it seems that maybe they had an MA program before but it's not a thing anymore lol

Yeah when applying I looked on the different sites to read about the different professors and included some I'd potentially like to work with in my SOPs, but didn't get around to actually contacting any of them though. Yale's website isn't that user friendly tbh, hard to distinguish between the REES professors from the ones who are not, so one of these days I'm gonna take a closer look -- because I mean as the most prestigious school I've gotten into so far, unless I get a full ride at OSU or get into Harvard or Stanford, it'd definitely be my top choice. 

Also, I've heard good things about Chicago and Berkeley in this field, but when I looked for programs, it seemed like they have discontinued MA programs in REES. Chicago has some Russian-focused programs through broader social science degrees I think, but it didn't resemble the other programs, so I didn't end up applying. And Berkeley's REES just straight up doesn't have website that worked :/

And yeah in my interview with Harvard they asked who I'd like to work with, so I'd say it's pretty important! 

 

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23 hours ago, katieb93 said:

Never discount the MAEUS (Masters of European Union Studies) from UIUC.

I'm still waiting to hear back from UIUC! Haha did your profs mention when they're gonna send out decisions? Or if you remember when you heard back when you applied? Just asking cuz their deadline was relatively early (1/1).

But I actually applied for the MA in REEES not the European Union Studies program, but I imagine there's a lot of overlap between that program and yours...? 

The program at Yale also has a wider scope than the other programs -- covering not just CIS/former USSR but also EU -- so I'm guessing it's similar to the program you're finishing up now.

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@JN53 @lawine Wow congratulations you guys!!! That's incredible!

Do you guys mind saying at around what time you guys got the email? I haven't heard anything yet and I've been refreshing my email like every few minutes for the past couple days :/ Ughh I don't wanna jinx it but I'm guessing that's probably not a good sign. Блиннн... At this point I'd be happy with a waitlist tbh... lol

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