Master's Program

The Master’s Degree in Regional Studies: Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia (REECA) is a two-year program that offers advanced training in the history, politics, culture, society, and languages of this region. The REECA master’s degree offers an excellent foundation for any career that requires broad area expertise, a high level of proficiency in the Russian language, and superb research, writing, and communication skills. REECA alumni pursue careers in a variety of fields, including government service, non-profit management, academia, and the private sector.

The REECA program is based at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, which marshals a rich and diverse array of resources to advance the interdisciplinary study of this world region. The Davis Center’s thirty-eight faculty associates, representing nine disciplines at four Harvard schools, offer over 160 language and area studies courses each year. Harvard’s library and archival resources on the region are unmatched outside of Russia. The Davis Center hosts a full schedule of seminars, conferences, and special events that engage a dynamic and collegial scholarly community. In addition to the academic and extracurricular resources available through the Davis Center, REECA students enjoy access to superior financial aid, including academic year tuition grants and stipends, summer and academic year Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships, and summer research travel grants.

Admissions

Admission to the REECA master’s program is highly selective and takes place in a single round of competition each year. The admissions process is online at http://www.gsas.harvard.edu/apply. The application deadline typically falls in late December for matriculation in the following academic year.

Applicants to the REECA program are expected to demonstrate the potential for outstanding academic achievement at the graduate level. Candidates for admission to the degree program must hold the equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree (BA or BS) from an institution of recognized standing. In addition, applicants who are not native speakers of English must demonstrate a solid command of the language, either by achieving a satisfactory result on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or by having completed their undergraduate degree in an English-speaking institution. Successful applicants will present a superior undergraduate record, excellent academic references, high scores on the General Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and a compelling statement of purpose that makes clear how the REECA program fits in with their overall academic and/or career goals.

The most competitive applicants have completed substantial prior coursework in Russian language and area studies, especially history and the social sciences. Entering students should have completed the equivalent of at least three years of college-level Russian language. Experience in the region is highly desirable, whether studying abroad, working, or pursuing independent research.

Curriculum

The REECA curriculum is designed to offer students the flexibility to tailor their personal plan of study to meet their academic and professional goals, while also ensuring a sound understanding of the history, politics, society, and culture of Russia and neighboring countries. The standard course load is four courses per semester for a total of sixteen over the two years of enrollment. Eight of those courses are to be selected from a multidisciplinary list of courses with a substantial focus on the region. Two courses are devoted to the research and writing of the master’s thesis, which is supervised by a member of the faculty. Depending on the student’s command of the Russian language, additional coursework may be required to meet Russian proficiency standards. Students who are on track to meet these basic requirements may pursue elective coursework related to their individual plan of study, either in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences or through cross-registration at one of Harvard’s professional schools, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Before each academic term, REECA students meet with the academic advisor to revisit their plan of study and ensure that their course selections for that term advance their individual goals while fulfilling program requirements.

Career Planning

Many REECA alumni go on to pursue careers in government service, frequently serving as diplomats or analysts. Others join international non-governmental organizations, like the World Bank, educational exchange organizations, or advocacy groups working to promote human rights. REECA graduates who enter the private sector thrive in fields where their knowledge of the region informs their analysis of business opportunities and contributes to their understanding of their foreign counterparts. Some REECA alumni continue their academic study of the region at the doctoral level, often in history or political science. A small number of REECA alumni pursue a business or law degree and seek professional opportunities that engage with the region.

REECA students and alumni have access to the full range of career development, networking, and recruiting resources offered by Harvard’s Office of Career Services. In addition, the Davis Center offers REECA students and alumni additional career resources focused on the region, ranging from networking leads to career chats and workshops on topics of interest. Program alumni cite these resources as critical assets, especially in the early stages of their careers.

If you have questions about any aspect of the REECA program or the admissions process, please email reeca@fas.harvard.edu or call 617.495.1194.