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The Department of Slavic Languages would like to welcome you with this Graduate Student Handbook which will attempt to clarify the policies and procedures specifically related to graduate study in the Department and familiarize incoming graduate students with the Department as well as with life at Brown and in Providence.






                        Being a Teaching Assistant/Teaching Fellow

            Preliminary Exams

                              a.Written Comprehensive Examination ...         

                              b.Oral Examination in the Field of


            The Dissertation

                        Procedure ……………………………..      

                        Proposal ………………………………      

                        Defense ……………………………….       

Academic Code…………………………………       

            Resources & Services

                        People ………………..…………………    

                        Courses ………………………………….   

                        Libraries …………………………………   

                        Computers ………………………………   

                        Language Lab ……………………………   


                        Career/Study ……………………………..  

                        Teaching Resources ……………………...  

                        Slavic Studies Colloquia…………………  

                        Travel Fund ……………………………… 



            Getting Around ………………………………………           

            Entertainment ……………………………………….

            Food …………………………………………………

            Miscellaneous ……………………………………… 


            A:  Summary of requirements for Master’s Degree... 

            B:  Guidelines/criteria for awarding financial aid …   

            C:  Guidelines for writing a CV ………………….   

            D:  Guidelines for writing a cover letter …………    



The Master DegreeThe Master's degree is often sought as a terminal degree by students planning careers in fields where advanced work is useful but a doctorate is not required. Work for this degree may be in Russian language and literature or in Slavic linguistics. The Master's program normally consists of eight semester courses approved by the Department. A spoken and written command of Russian is required of candidates for this degree as well as a reading knowledge of another Slavic language or French or German. A thesis is not required. A student enrolled in full-time study can expect to complete all requirements for the master's degree within one academic year.

The PhD DegreeThe doctoral program in Slavic Studies, in addition to its considerable strengths in literature and linguistics, allows for variable degrees of interdisciplinary and intercultural studies. Students work with departmental faculty as well as with faculty in related fields such as Comparative Literature, Theatre and Performing Arts studies, History, Political Science, and International Relations. Students in our program are prepared to become flexible and innovative scholars in their research and teaching, who address varying teaching and research needs in the future job market. Outstanding library holdings in Slavic languages, literatures, and cultures at Brown, courses available through the Brown-Harvard Exchange Program offer yet additional exciting venues for research. Besides receiving training in related disciplines, the doctoral students amass experience in teaching languages and literatures. Mentoring in teaching occurs in various contexts: in language and literature courses, where they serve as teaching assistants, in the interdepartmental foreign language teaching methods course (and related practice), and in seminars at The Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning. Students will receive extensive advice on research strategies, conference presentations, and publication of their research.


The PhD program in the Department of Slavic Languages offers a PhD in Slavic Studies with varied degrees of interdisciplinary scope.

1. 16 graduate-level courses, including

  • Theory and Methods of Foreign Language Teaching (HISP2900)
  • Two to four courses in a secondary field (to be determined in consultation with the DGS).
  • A minimum of FOUR 2000-level graduate seminars. (For sample courses for different student profiles, see below)

2. Teaching (minimum 3 semesters)

3. Reading knowledge of the second language related to the student’s specialization. A standard of professional competence should be maintained within the area of likely specialization. For example, a student intending to specialize in Slavic cultural studies will offer an appropriate language competence in Russian and one more Slavic language, normally Czech, or Polish. A student specializing in Russian modernism within the European context will offer competence in French and/or German, or Italian. Normally this requirement will be satisfied through advanced course during the first year.

4. Qualifying examinations (see below)

5. Dissertation and defense: Students should submit the doctoral thesis prospectus to the thesis director and the DGS by October 1 of their fourth year.

6. Students whose primary Slavic language competence requires them to take language courses below the 100 level may do so in consultation with the DGS, but those courses will not count toward the course requirements for the Ph.D.


The requirements stated above are intended to provide training and preparation in the field of Slavic Studies with a reasonable time (five to six years) and with financial support. Efforts will be made to provide teaching experience not only in a Slavic language, but also in Russian literature, culture, and history. The timetable envisioned allows for the completion of course work, the preliminary examinations by the end of the third year, submission of the doctoral thesis proposal during the fourth, and one or two years of work to complete the doctoral thesis. Students will be supported by scholarships during their first year, teaching fellowships and assistantships during their second to fourth years, and a dissertation fellowship during their last year.

1st year:  Complete, among other courses, the Theory and Methods course for graduate teaching assistants (HIP2900) to prepare for teaching.

2nd year: Form the examination committee. Start teaching assistantships. Talk to the DGS about the written examination.

3rd year: Complete the written examination by late September. Complete the oral exam by the end of the year.

4th -5th years: Teaching assistantships, dissertation work and course work.

5th or 6th year: Dissertation defense, completion of manuscript.

Being a Teaching Assistant (TA)/Teaching Fellow (TF)

Teaching and working along with professors is an important part of

graduate students' education and professional development for the job market, and TA and TF appointments are an honor.

Work Load:

Teaching Assistants and Teaching Fellows will work 15-20 hours a week, which includes contact hours, grading, office hours, and preparation time. Graduate students should be aware that they might have fewer contact hours in literature courses and more preparation hours compared to teaching assistants and fellows who teach language courses.

Graduate students who are more advanced in their studies may have more hours (20 or closer to 20) than graduate students who are beginning their studies.   

Responsibilities of TAs

  • Teaching in literature/culture/film courses might involve attending all lectures, arranging and proctoring screenings, giving 1-2 lectures per semester to the class, grading papers, and leading discussion section(s).
  • For language courses, average expectations for TAs are to teach 2-4 hours per week, do specified amounts of grading, and plan lessons (with help). TAs will be provided with instructional materials to some degree, especially during the first year of teaching, but are also expected to work with increasing independence on developing teaching materials and language tasks for students as they acquire more teaching experience.

Responsibilities of TFs

  • A Teaching Fellow is responsible for organizing and teaching one entire course in consultation with the department. The responsibilities of TFs thus include planning lessons and discussions, and writing the syllabus, class schedule, and examinations.
  • The department encourages graduate teaching fellows interested in creating new courses to meet with the members of the department and to make a course proposal to the department. 

Teaching assistantship assignments

  • The department considers both the staffing needs and professional needs of each student when assigning teaching assistantships.
  • Students who are writing their dissertations may be asked to teach a course.


Preliminary Examinations for the Ph.D. in Slavic Studies consist of two components of testing Graduate Students (GS): the Comprehensive Written Examination (CWE) & the Specialized Oral Examinations (SOE).


To pass the CWE, GS must demonstrate sound conceptual understanding of the questions in their essays and sufficiently synthesize information based on their courses, readings, and relevant scholarly works.

To pass the SOE, students must show that they are capable of conducting independent research and are equipped with methodologies required for the line of research, leading to their dissertation work.

Normal Timeline and Required Activities:

2nd year: Go over the suggested reading list in the Department office. Consult with faculty members about the exam preparation. If you wish to be tested in such fields as history, theater, art, etc. consult with the DGS and appropriate faculty in formulating your reading lists.

3rd year-Fall Sem.: Take the Prelim Preparation course (SLAV2970). Make every effort to bring your drafts of previous exam questions to faculty for comments. Start conversations with faculty to determine the field of specialization on which you will be examined (the SOE committee should be formed no later than March).

3rd year-Spring Sem.:

February (1st week): Take the CWE, which will consist of 7 parts (approx. 1 hr each), focused on the following areas of Russian Literature: 1. Pre-19th century; 2.19th cent. to circa 1835; 3. 19th-cent circa 1835-1860; 4. 19th-cent. circa 1860-1890; 5. Symbolist period up to the 1st Congress of the Writers; 6. the rest of the 20th cent.;  7. Literary Theory & Criticism; each will offer a choice of TWO questions & seek ONE essay-length answer. Sample questions are on file in the Department for review. CWE will be administered on 2 days (3.5 hrs each); each area will be based on the Department’s List of primary, secondary, & theoretical texts (about 40-50 texts in total per area in consultation with faculty), covering the chronological range of literary & cultural history in question. Each CWE will be followed by a feedback conference, serving 3 possible functions:

  • To announce the student either passed or failed the CWE
  • To provide an opportunity to pass the CWE when the GS’s answers were on the borderline. S/he has the chance to address what the department considered insufficient in the CWE.
  • To provide another opportunity to pass the CWE in early May, in the event that GS does not pass the written in February. Upon successful completion of the second exam s/he is allowed to take the

SOE in early September of the 4th AY; should GS fail the CWE in May, s/he will not be allowed to proceed to SOE stage.

March: Students must pass the CWE in order to continue on to the SOE & declare their intention of taking the SOE at least 8 weeks prior to the exam; they must submit the projects in writing to the entire Department no less than 2 weeks prior to the examination. Approval of the written project must be given by each member of the SOE Exam Committee in writing to the DGS before the SOE can be scheduled. The Committee will consist of 3 Slavic faculty (including joint-appointments); a professor who is not a member of the Department may serve on the committee at the discretion of the DGS in cases where a specialty isn’t covered by our faculty.

May (1st or 2nd week): Take the SOE, which provides an opportunity to begin focused research, leading to the dissertation, and to gain experience in professing the profession. SOE Format:

  • The exam will consist of a GS presentation on 3 topics, chosen in advance by the student in consultation with the exam committee, all members of which will attend the SOE, in addition to other Slavic Dept. faculty.
  • The topics should be dissertation-related, but formulated in such a way as to examine the student from the perspective of their scholarly preparedness for the completion of the dissertation. In other words, while one of the topics should be directly related to the dissertation, the other two should explore the critical methodology that will be used, or the cultural/literary context for the main subject.
  • These presentations should be article length projects with extended bibliographies, and may become a part of the dissertation. The three projects have to have a significant range and should not overlap.
  • The student will present a short version of each topic orally (20 minutes each). The presentations will be followed by questions on its content and relevant bibliography (about 30-60 minutes).

May (2nd or 3rd week): Dissertation Proposal: Passing of SOE allows students to declare the Dissertation Committee (usually composed of the SOE Com. members) of 3 or more faculty; the Committee may include 1 faculty from other unit at Brown or other university. Submit the Dissertation Proposal (to be approved by the Committee, signed by DGS & filed with the Department by the end of the 3rd AY. Depending on circumstances, the dissertation focus & the composition of Dissertation Committee may change over the course of the next two years at the request of a GS or a faculty member; such change must be approved by DGS. No changes are allowed during the three months prior to the planned Dissertation Defense, unless extreme circumstances arise.



Ideally, the student should know his/her topic or at least his/her area of specialization well before taking the preliminary exams. The student should enlist a director for the dissertation as soon as possible after passing the prelims, or in a best-case scenario, even before taking the exam. If the student has not yet decided on a director, an informal advisor should be selected to guide the initial stages of the work on the dissertation proposal.

The Proposal

 After consultation with members of the faculty and, normally (but not exclusively) after you have passed the preliminary exams, you should arrive at a tentative topic. You should then write up a detailed project description of approximately 5 pages in length. This description should contain the following:

a. a statement of the problem or an expanded title of the dissertation

b. tentative hypotheses (what do you hope to find and prove in your dissertation, what are your expectations on the basis of the material you are already familiar with?)

c. research methods and procedures (e.g., library, interviews, etc.)

d. a description of your approach (e.g. statistical, structural, psychological, etc.)

e. a preliminary bibliography

f. a brief description of the work that has already been done on your topic, and a statement of what you hope to contribute in your dissertation.

g. the name of your director and at least one other reader. Normally there will be two other readers, but the second may be named at a later date.

A written proposal should be submitted to a dissertation committee consisting of at least three faculty members selected by the student, at least two of whom must be active members of the Slavic Department. The proposal will not be considered as officially accepted until it has been signed by all members of the dissertation committee and submitted to the graduate representative for signature and filing. Normally the proposal should be submitted and filed towards the end of the semester following the preliminary examination, but it can be filed earlier. Once the proposal has been filed and all other Departmental requirements have been fulfilled, the graduate student officially becomes a Candidate for the PhD degree.

The Format

When you are ready to begin work on your dissertation, you should contact the Graduate School for the current guidelines regarding format. If you want to know what dissertations look like, the Rockefeller Library has circulating copies of all dissertations. Also, the Department library has non-circulating copies (on shelf, behind glass doors) of recent dissertations, and a listing of the authors and titles of all dissertations written for the PhD in Slavic Languages at Brown. Doctoral dissertations in the Department of Slavic Languages will normally be written in English. Doctoral dissertations can be written in other languages only with the written consent of all official readers of the dissertation, which should be secured before the candidate begins work on the dissertation.

The student is encouraged to complete the dissertation as rapidly as possible, ideally within two years after passing the preliminary examination, since chances of funding become increasingly limited.

The Defense

Once completed, the dissertation is defended by the student in a final examination. A copy of the dissertation should be filed in the Department, available to all members of the Department faculty, at least a week before the defense. This defense, which is normally oral, lasts for about two hours and consists of a presentation by the student of the results of the research, followed by questions from faculty. The student may choose whether or not the final examination is open to other students.

Department Copy

A bound, permanent copy of the dissertation in its final form, as well as a copy of the dissertation abstract, should be given to the Department for inclusion in the Department library.


Written work submitted in fulfillment of course and degree requirements, including term papers and Ph.D. preliminary examinations, is governed by the policies enunciated in the “Tenets of Community Behavior and Academic Code” published annually by the Office of the Dean of the College (or any succeeding documents governing such policies).  All new students at Brown, including graduate students in the Department of Slavic Languages, are asked to sign an acknowledgment certifying understanding of these policies, and to return that acknowledgement to the Dean of the Graduate School.  Violations of the Academic Code that occur in connection with work done by students in the Department of Slavic Languages are subject to the sanctions spelled out in this document.

With specific reference to written preliminary examinations, whether typed onto a computer disk or written in longhand, students may not use any study aids whatsoever, excepting language dictionaries when their use has been formally approved in writing by the Graduate Representative and placed in the student’s dossier in advance of the examinations.  Passages memorized from published sources, including English translations thereof, must be enclosed in quotations marks and identified by reference to the source.  Failure to identify such passages is normally considered to be an instance of academic dishonesty and may subject the examinee to the sanctions described in the Academic Code.  These strictures apply to a pervasive pattern of unattributed sources.




Department Chair can advise you on any problems or questions, academic or otherwise.

Director of Graduate Studies will help you to plan your academic program each semester, as well as provide information and advice on other academic matters including prelims and dissertations.  The advisor also signs your yellow registration and course change forms.

Academic Office Manager, Gisela Belton or Administrative Assistant, Joyce Jameson, can assist you with any administrative problems and answer most questions.  Room 113, ext. 3-2689

Fellow Graduate Students, especially those who have been here for a few years, are an excellent resource for questions of all.

Faculty and their fields of expertise

The program’s vigor derives from Brown’s faculty strengths, actively engaged in the study of Russian, Czech, and Polish cultures.

Claude Carey, Associate Professor of Slavic Languages:

19th and 20th century Russian Literature, and Russian Language.

Linda Cook, Professor of Political Science and Slavic Studies:

Politics of the Russian Federation, and post-Soviet or East European States.

Lynne deBenedette, Senior Lecturer of Slavic Languages:

Language acquisition and teaching practice, foreign language teacher education and the professional development of language instructors.

Svetlana Evdokimova, Professor of Slavic Languages and Comparative Literature:

19th-and 20th-century Russian literature and culture. Pushkin, Tolstoy, Chekhov.

Masako Ueda Fidler, Professor of Slavic Languages:

Slavic linguistics, discourse analysis, and cognitive linguistics, Czech language pedagogy.

Abbott Gleason, Professor of History, Slavic Studies, Watson Institute:

Russian and East European history and culture.

Vladimir Golstein, Associate Professor of Slavic Languages:

Russian culture, religion, philosophy, and poetry, of the past two centuries. Lermontov, Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Tsvetaeva, and Bulgakov. 

Spencer Golub, Professor of Theatre Speech & Dance, Comparative Literature, and Slavic Studies:

Russian theater, Modern Drama.

Patricia Herlihy, Professor Emerita of History and Slavic Studies:

Russian history.

Alexander Levitsky, Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures:

18 th-20th c. Russian literature, Czech literature, Slavic prosody, poetry, theory & practice of translation, Derzhavin & his Epoch, Russian art history, Fantasy.

Robert Mathiesen, Professor Emeritus of Slavic Languages:

Slavic linguistics and philology, Slavic and European Middle Ages, History of Magic.

Michal Oklot, Assistant Professor of Slavic Languages:

Russian and Polish literatures of the 19th and 20th centuries, Slavic history of ideas, Central European Modernism, and literary theory.


List of courses for students seeking PhD in Slavic Studies

2000-level courses

  • Eighteenth-Century Russian Literature (RUSS)
  • Movements and Genres in Russian Literary Culture (RUSS)
  • Seminar in Russian Literature (RUSS)

                  Eugene Onegin

                  Russian Romanticism

                  Death and Immortality in Poetry

                  Derzhavin and His Epoch



                  Poetic Structure


  • Discourse Analysis of Russian (RUSS)
  • Language Variation in Czech and Russian (SLAV)
  • Russian Decadent and Symbolist literature (RUSS)
  • Slavic Contributions to Literary Theory (SLAV)

Courses that are cross-listed with another department:           

  • Revolution as a Work of Art (cross-listed with TSDA)
  • Russian Theater and Drama (cross-listed with TSDA)
  • Seminar in the History of Early Modern Europe (HIST)
  • Seminar in European social History in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (HIST)
  • Research Seminar in Early Modern Europe (HIST)
  • Problems in Modern Jewish History (HIST)
  • Proseminar in Political Theory (POLS)
  • Democratic Theory, Justice and the Law (POLS)

1000-level courses

  • Love, Adultery and Sexuality (cross-listed with COLT)
  • Russian Culture: From Peter the Great to Putin (cross-listed with HIST)
  • Russian Cinema (cross-listed with MCM)
  • Nabokov
  • Russian Novel
  • Looking for a Centre: Central European Modernism
  • Spirituality in Russian Literature
  • Contemporary Czech Society and Literature
  • A Tale of Two Cities: Prague and St. Petersburg
  • Russian Fantasy and Science Fiction
  • Václav Havel: Dissident, Playwright, and Politician
  • Russian Modernism and the Arts (cross-listed with History of Art and Architecture)
  • Literature and History: Russian Historical Imagination in the European Context (Cross-listed with Comparative Literature)
  • Sociolinguistics (with Case Studies on the Former USSR and East Europe) 
  • Nabokov
    The East Slavic World to 1800 (HIST)
  • Modern Russia to the Revolution (HISY)
  • Twentieth-Century Russia (HIST)
  • Politics of the East European States (POLS)
  • Russian Poetry and Poetics (RUSS)
  • The Russian Novel (RUSS)
  • Approaches to Russian Literature (RUSS)
  • Tolstoy (RUSS)
  • Dostoevsky (RUSS)
  • Pushkin (RUSS)  
  • Chekhov (RUSS)
  • Twentieth-century Soviet and Post-Soviet Literature (RUSS)


John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library (The Rock), 10 Prospect Street: Brown’s main library, housing collections in the social sciences, humanities, and fine arts.  As a graduate student, you can check out books for eight weeks.  Your student ID serves as your library card.

Slavic Library, Marston Hall, Room 205: the library houses a collection of Slavic books as well as department dissertations, past preliminary exams, Slavic journals and teaching materials.  There is a catalogue list to aid in research for both literature and linguistics, by using the shelf list document on the computer in Room 205 you can search for specific volumes found in that room.  We appeal to you – be considerate of your peers in the profession and do not take books from the library, unless you sign them out with the office staff.  You can also access Josiah (the University Library card catalog) from the computer in 205.  There is a phone in the library which can be used for local calls by first dialing 8.  This room is also a good place to study.  The TV is hooked up to the satellite so many faculty and students enjoy watching daily Russian news broadcasts.  When you leave the library, don’t forget to close the windows and lock the doors.

For a comprehensive list of Brown’s libraries, see the Graduate Student Handbook.

Harvard College Library: For a description of library privileges for Widener, Houghton, Pursey and several other libraries see the graduate advisor of the academic department manager.


[Note:  this information is subject to change]  There are computers in Room 205 along with a small printer and for general use a laser-printer across from Rm. 202 is networked.  There are also computers and a printer in the Graduate Student Office – Room B-11.

The Office Computing and Information Services (CIS) provides technical and software support as well as training, consultation and documentation to the entire University community.  The CIT Building, is located behind Marston Hall, has both Mac and IBM computers available for use by all members of the Brown community.  In addition to the clusters in the CIT, there are also public computer clusters in the Sciences Library and the Rockefeller Library. See the CIS webpage for rooms, hours of availability and software.  They are staffed with consultants who can answer your computing questions.  Free laser printing is available from the printers in the clusters; scanners are also available.  Training seminars and mini-courses are offered throughout the year.  Also, you set up your computer account at the CIS Customer Services window (lobby of CIT Building).

There is a computer store located in the basement of the Brown Bookstore, where you can buy a computer.

For HELP from a computer consultant, call ext. 3-7457.  This phone is manned by student consultants who can handle most problems.


The Language Lab located on the second floor of the CIT Building has state of the art materials for language learning.  These include:

            Audio and Video Cassette Tapes

            Computerized Language Instruction/Exercises

            Interactive Video Disk Exercises

            Daily/Weekly Telecasts of Russian and Czech programs.

There are instruction manuals in the lab.



There are excellent career-planning resources available at Brown.  The Career Development Center is located in The Hemisphere Building, 167 Angell Street.  Current students receive 10 complimentary request mailings. Once you have used your 10 complimentary mailings or you graduate – whichever comes first – there is a processing fee of $5.00 per request mailing. (Each individual address constitutes one request).

See the second-floor rotunda of Marston Hall for Job Announcements, Fellowships, Conferences, and Study-Abroad Opportunities.  Faculty hours, class schedules, etc. are posted on the bulletin board outside the Department office on the first floor.

There is a Cross-Registration program with Harvard if you’re interested in taking a course in Slavic that isn’t offered here.  There is also an Exchange Scholar Program with several other universities.


As Brown graduate students, we are fortunate to have the Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning at our disposal.  About twice a year the Center offers a Teaching Forum by a university professional that focuses on a particular aspect of college teaching.  The Center also sponsors the Sheridan Seminar Workshops, an interdisciplinary series that addresses various aspects of teaching.  Even if you are a first-year student and are not teaching yet, these programs can help you to prepare for the experience.  The staff of the Center will also evaluate your teaching technique.  At your request, they will video tape your classroom experience and discuss their findings with you.  A certificate showing participation in the program is awarded to students who successfully complete a core requirement of meetings and participate in the practice teaching evaluations.  Not only is the certificate handy for your CV, but the workshops are a great way to meet fellow graduate students in other departments.  In addition, the Center publishes a newsletter and other materials to assist graduate students who teach.

The Slavic Library houses a collection of resources faculty and graduate teaching staff have developed over the last few years that includes Russian newspapers, Xeroxes, games, maps, and pamphlets.  In addition, language teachers can make arrangements with the Language Lab to receive video tapes of recent satellite broadcasts of Russian news to use in class.


The Department insures the quality of graduate and undergraduate education at Brown offering a Slavic Studies Colloquia which typically involve presentations by invited Slavists, Brown faculty and graduate students based on material from their research as well as academic non-research interests.  Slavic graduate students may wish to read parts of a work in progress such as the dissertation.  Papers written specifically for class are also welcome.  The colloquia provides a good practice for the often nerve-wracking experience of giving a first conference paper.  Both the Chairperson and the Graduate Advisor welcome suggestions for colloquia topics.


See Graduate School Website: Conference Travel


Procedures have been adopted to address grievances and complaints of various kinds.  They include, for example, resolution of graduate student grievances of an academic nature, as well as other types of complaints.  Please see the Department Graduate Representative or Chair or the appropriate dean of the Graduate School for further information.


As a graduate student here in the Department of Slavic Languages, hopefully your life will not consist of living in the library for the better part of the day and night.  You’ll need to go shopping, run errands or find some fun.  Most of you probably just moved to the East Side of Providence (not to be confused with the town of East Providence which is on the other side of the river) so we are including information that might be handy to someone new to the city.  Of course, you will soon become familiar with the area, but this is just to get you started.


During the daytime hours perhaps the best way to get around the East Side is on foot.  However, at night this is not recommended.  Crimes such as rape, muggings and harassment do occur at a much greater rate then one would imagine.  Travel by bike is another good option.  Bicycles get stolen on campus so make sure you get a really good lock such as Krytonite.  If you live off-campus and do not have a car there

 are several resources available to you.  Even if you live close to campus you are strongly urged to make use of them.  The shuttle makes stops and pickups at various points on a set route and set time schedule of the campus area.  If you do not live near the designated pick-up and drop-off points, the Brown Escort Service is for you.  They will bring you right to your front door.  You only need to be near a telephone, so that they can let you know when the van is ready to pick you up. –For schedules, maps & policies see  The Student Telephone Directory also contains maps and times.  If you don’t like riding about in vans, a Safewalk Service is available at ext. 3-1079 or  All these services are free so please take advantage of them.


Providence does have a public transportation system. RIPTA UPASS –It’s FREE!–Swipe your Brown ID and take a seat on any RIPTA bus or trolley –anytime and anywhere in the State at no charge!  The bus can also get you to the zoo.  The zoo is not to be missed.  It features wild beasts like elephants and polar bears but it also boasts some fine specimens of RI livestock including the famed RI Red Chicken.  The zoo is located in the middle of Roger Williams park where you can picnic, play tennis, rent a paddle boat or just go for a walk.  You can also take a bus to Newport or South County beaches.  An information booth and the bus stops are downtown in Kennedy Plaza.  For more information on the bus, call 781-9400 or

Peter Pan runs hourly buses to Boston and to Logan Airport.  You can catch the bus in Kennedy Plaza or at the terminal on North Main Street.  In addition, Peter Pan makes daily non-stop trips to New York City.  They also travel to Atlantic City, Woods Hole, and a host of other locations.  For information call 751-8800 or


The train station is situated in downtown Providence near the Capitol.  There is a commuter rail (MBTA) to Boston which operates during peak commuter times.  Amtrak also operates from this station.  For travel to Boston, Amtrak (1-800-872-7245) is much more expensive than the MBTA Commuter Rail ( or 617-222-3200).  If you plan to travel to Boston by train, check the commuter schedule first.  Both methods take about an hour.


As mentioned earlier, during daylight hours, your feet will serve you well.  It is an easy walk to downtown and most parts of the East-Side.  There are several interesting neighborhoods to discover, the most obvious of which is Thayer Street which is filled with college-oriented shops and restaurants.  Wickenden Street (end of Hope Street, towards the bay) is a funky little enclave with coffee shops, trendy bohemian eateries, a good Indian restaurant, and art galleries.  If you travel down Angell Street you will run into Wayland Square.  The Square features some upscale boutiques, bookstores, bread store, and restaurants.  Past Wayland Square is Blackstone Boulevard which is great for power walking and jogging.  The Boulevard is the equivalent of a 3-mile track lined with million dollar homes.  But don’t exercise at night without a friend.



If you like to go to the movies there are several options open to you. 

The closest standard multiplex theater is in downtown Providence at the Providence Place Mall.  Providence Place Cinema 16 has a full menu of hit movies and stadium seating. 

On Thayer Street, the Avon cinema shows first-run art films and foreign films and double features of second-run films.   The Avon is a full-price cinema with reduced-price matinee shows.  You can also purchase a 6-movie pass, which significantly lowers the price per film.

The Cable Car Cinema offers the same type of films as the Avon.  Instead of conventional seats, they have couches for a more cozy and comfortable setting.


Trinity Repertory Company (also in downtown Providence) is a world famous company.  They often offer reduced price student tickets, “rush” tickets two hours before the show, pay what you can nights and college nights. (See for more details)

Brown Theatre runs year-round at Leeds Theater on campus.  Check the Dept. of Theatre, Speech and Dance website for more information.


Certainly, after getting acquainted with Brown you will find your own places to hang out, but we just wanted to mention the popular Graduate Student Lounge (aka Piano Lounge) or the Graduate Center Bar (aka GCB).  Located in the Grad Center, the GCB has pool tables, video games and, of course, a full bar.  Happy hour is also legal in RI. (See Graduate Student Council website

for more information.)



If you live in graduate housing (Miller Hall), chances are that you are on a meal plan and will be eating in the contract dining halls such as the Ratty.  Most graduate students who aren’t on a meal plan eat lunch in the Ivy Room (located below the Ratty).  The food is priced a la carte.  You can get soup, salad, sandwiches and full meals and it’s not outrageously expensive.  Some students bring their own lunches and just eat them in the Ivy Room.  In Faunce House (next to the Main Green), the Blue Room is a good place to pick up a snack; there is also a convenience store in the basement of Faunce House.


If you aren’t on a meal plan you’ll need to find a grocery store to do your shopping.  Both grocery stores listed are about a 15-minute walk from campus.

Eastside Market is located on Pitman Street and carries health and gourmet foods as well as standard supermarket fare.

Whole Foods is a store on Waterman Street that carries only serious health foods.  This is great if you are into macrobiotic or holistic food.  In addition, they have superb vegetables.  Be warned that even if something is all natural, such as Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, they might not consider it good for you and you won’t find it there.



There are two post-offices.  The larger of the two is located on Thayer Street and the other is located on the first floor of J. Walter Wilson on Brown St. You can have your personal mail delivered to Box E, Marston Hall, 20 Manning Walk, Brown University, Providence, RI  02912-9105 if you desire.  Since space is limited, it is suggested that packages be sent to your home address.  University mail and department memos will be placed in your mailboxes.


The Brown Bookstore stocks most textbooks and supplies needed for courses.  The Computer Store is located in the basement of the Bookstore.


Your Health Service fee covers visits during the school year.  There is an additional fee if you would like coverage in the summer.


If you are interested in student government, please speak with our Graduate Student Council Representative.


If you are interested in exercising, you can make use of the pool, squash courts, tennis courts, weight room, etc.  Call to see when they are available for general student use.  The Athletic Department offers intramural exercise classes in both aerobic and strength-training each semester.  There is a fee for these courses.  During the winter, you can ice-skate on your lunch break at the hockey rink.  They even play music.

The first edition of the Graduate Student Manual was compiled by graduate students in August 1991.  It continues to undergo revision annually.  Our thanks to everyone for their contributions.


Appendix A

Summary of Requirements for the Master’s Degree

  • 1 year of full tuition (8 tuition units)
  • 8 courses in the Department
  • A major Slavic language, normally Russian

A new graduate student will normally take a graduate Russian placement examination upon arrival at Brown; the new student must pass this examination, or pass an exemption from it.

A no-credit (1/2 hours per week) practicum in Russian will normally be required of all students receiving the Master’s degree who are not enrolled in Russian

  • Two major papers involving graduate-level research, approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

  • A reading knowledge of a second Slavic language or French or German.

The following courses do NOT count towards satisfying the Department’s 16 required courses for the PhD:

  • Courses designed to give a reading knowledge of French and German.
  • Advanced practical Russian language courses, including RUSS1110-1120 and other high-level practical language courses (although they may be a requirement for receiving financial aid as a teaching assistant or teaching fellow).  Note, however, that these courses are acceptable as part of the course requirements for the Master’s degree.

Appendix B


Financial aid to graduate students will be awarded on the basis of superior academic performance and, where evidence exists, on superior performance in the classroom as a teacher.  Both criteria will be taken into account.

The awarding of financial aid to graduate students is normally determined on a year-to-year basis.  Since the amount of financial aid from University sources available for graduate study fluctuates from year to year, there is normally no guarantee of automatic continuation of aid.  However, a student whose academic record and effectiveness or potential as a teaching assistant are consistently superior can normally expect to receive some form of financial aid for three to four years.

Superior performance will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria: (1) grades and incompletes; (2) adherence to the Department’s guidelines for satisfactory progress in the program, including the taking of preliminary examinations and progress in completing the dissertation; (3) effectiveness or potential as a teaching assistant.  These criteria will all play a role in the allocation of financial aid.  Students should bear in mind that the Department’s resources vary from year to year, and that this may affect the amount and type of any aid offered, even when progress is deemed satisfactory.

Appendix C


A curriculum vitae is the academic equivalent of a resume.  Although there is no absolutely correct way to organize a CV, a few basic guidelines should be observed.  Overall, the CV should present your past experiences concisely and in a well-organized manner, so that your reader can become familiar with your background at a glance.  This is not the place for elaboration and explanation.  Be sure to make your CV aesthetically pleasing and easy to read.  Use white paper.

The basic categories included in your CV are quite obvious – Education, Professional Experience, etc.  But there is also room for optional categories which should be chosen according to what you wish to highlight.  For example, if you are applying for a teaching position and you have a great deal of teaching experience, you might want to create a category call Teaching Experience and another entitled Related Experience rather than grouping everything under one category such as Professional Experience.  In doing this, you are emphasizing your teaching background just in the way that you’ve organized your CV.  Below is a list of categories.  Asterisks appear next to those considered more basic.  The remainder are some optional categories which you might want to consider depending on your own strengths and what stage you are at in your academic career.




            Professional Experience*

            Other Experience (or Related Experience)*

            Academic Honors and Awards

            Teaching Interests

            Research Interests


Professional Activities*



            -membership in professional organizations


            -date of birth and citizenship (if pertinent)


-List names, and university affiliations, and also note that references are on file in Career Development Center, Box 1907, Brown University, Providence, RI  02912


A model CV follows.



Telephone Numbers


1996                 Ph.D. expected, Department of Slavic Languages Brown University

1991-present       Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Slavic Languages, Brown University (Prelims 6/93)

1989                 M.A., Russian Language and Literature

                        Boston University

1988                 Moscow State University, semester abroad

1986                 B.A., Stanford University, Department of Physics


(in progress)       “Sex, Death and Symmetry: Tolstoy’s Legacy”

                        [Include brief description of thesis.]


1991                 Joe Doe Dissertation Fellowship

1990                 Brown University Presidential Award for Outstanding Performance as a Teaching Assistant


1991-92             Teaching Fellow, Brown University

                                    First Year Russian

1989-91             Teaching Assistant, Brown University

                                    Russian For Reading

Your NAME,   p.2


1991                 Tour Guide, Anniversary Tours, New York, N.Y.

Led a group of high school students on a two-week tour of the RUSSIA.

1988                 Freelance Interpreter

Interpreted for visiting specialists at Mass General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts



1992                 Translation of “Something” by N.N. Nobody Soviet Theater, 1991:4


1991                 Iskander’s Vision

                        Connecticut and Rhode Island Chapter of AATSEEL,

                        Yale University

1990                 Notes From Over the Edge: A New Look at Dostoevsky

Fifth Annual Ivy League Graduate Students’ Conference, Columbia University


1990-94             Member of AATSEEL, AAASS


Russian (fluent), Faeroese (fluent) Quechua (native speaker), Macedonian, French (reading knowledge)


                        Turkish citizen, J-1 visa

References are on file at Career Development Center, Box 1907 Brown University, Providence, RI  02912

Appendix D


The cover letter accompanies your CV when you apply for a job.  It is important not only because it is the first thing your prospective employer sees, but also because it allows you to “target” the job in a way that your CV does not.  Whereas the CV says “This is what I’ve done”, the cover letter says “This is WHY what I’ve done make me the perfect candidate for this position.

The cover letter should be brief, (approximately a page or a page and a half, single-spaced) but it should be loaded with pertinent information about you and your qualifications.  Your writing should be succinct, but not lifeless.  The tone should be confident without sounding boastful, and wherever possible, don’t be afraid to let some of your personality come through.  For example, if you are applying for what is acknowledge to be an especially trying job as a tour guide in Russia, you might mention how your sense of humor has gracefully gotten you through similarly difficult situations.  This should be done subtly and briefly, in a sentence or two.  Another example is an application for an academic position.  In this case, you might include a short paragraph describing your dissertation.  You would also want to include a paragraph which outlines your teaching and research interests.

Below are some tips for writing a successful letter.


                                                                        Your name



employer’s name




            State which position you are applying for.


I am responding to the recent notice for the position of Lecturer in your department.


Here, you should state what your current position is (if you have one), list your qualifications (only highlight what is already contained in your CV).  This would be the place to mention your teaching and research interests and briefly describe your dissertation.  Next, begin targeting the position by demonstrating an understanding of what the job entails and giving the reasons why you are particularly qualified.  You might find it helpful to refer back to the words in the position announcement in demonstrating your knowledge of what the employer is looking for.

            USEFUL PHRASES

- My CV provides a detailed description of my experience, but allow me to highlight those reasons why I think I am particularly qualified for this position.

- One aspect of this job which I find especially attractive … because I have worked as a …

- In addition to teaching, I have a serious interest in research.  I am currently working on…

- The administrative skills which I acquired in my position as Assistant Director of International Programs at Blah-Blah University also recommend me for this position

- In the past years, I have also done such and such, skills which would translate especially well into the position in your department.


Start by mentioning what you are enclosing with the letter.  You might also state here why you are interested in the job at this stage in your career, but if the reasons are obvious, this isn’t necessary.  If you are applying for a teaching job, you should mention whether or not you will be attending the AATSEEL meeting held in December, since first-round interviewing often takes place at this conference.  Always close with a statement of appreciation and politely encouraging the recipient to contact you.


Enclosed is my CV, which reflects both my current research interests and my teaching experience, and a letter of recommendation from my current employer.  I appreciate the time you have taken to review my credentials.  I look forward to hearing from you.



Always give your letter to either professors or respected colleagues for review and criticism.  Try to select those who have reviewed cover letters and job applications before, and request that they be as objective and critical as possible.  Both you and your reader should proofread carefully.  Don’t forget to sign the letter!