REECA Master’s Program

The Master of Arts 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 program will prepare you for a career that draws on broad area expertise, a high level of regional language proficiency, and superb research, writing, and communication skills. Our graduates go on to become leaders in their chosen field, whether in non-profits, academia, government, or the private sector.

Who Are Our Students?

Each REECA cohort includes eight to 10 students whose diverse academic, personal, and professional experiences inform their study of the region. While most REECA students major in international studies or a related field in college, some take a less traditional path to graduate school. They may have grown up and been educated in the region, spent a year or two working or volunteering there, or simply read every book they could find on a country of interest. Some REECA students serve in the U.S. Army and are training as foreign area officers. Whatever brought our students to us, they all share these qualities: 

  • An insatiable curiosity about the forces that shape phenomena in the region;
  • The ability to flourish in an academically challenging environment;
  • A commitment to excellence and high achievement.

If this sounds like you, we encourage you to apply to the program.

Program Curriculum

As a REECA student, you'll study the history, politics, society, and culture of the region, build a high level of proficiency in one or more relevant languages, and gain skills to help you succeed in your chosen career after graduation. Together with the director of graduate studies, you'll design an individual plan of study and revisit it before each new term to ensure that you make the most of your short time with us. A full course load at Harvard is four courses (16 credits) per term, and you'll complete 16 courses (64 credits) for the REECA master's, typically distributed like this: 

  • 6 or more courses on the history, politics, and society of the region;
  • 1 methods course to prepare for your thesis research;
  • 2 courses to develop, research, and write your master's thesis;
  • 2–4 language courses to demonstrate a high level of proficiency (some students fulfill the language requirement by exam);
  • Electives to bring the course total to at least 16.

You'll meet most of your core requirements by taking classes in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, but you could also cross-register for a few classes at a Harvard professional school, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After your first year in REECA, you might spend the summer doing thesis fieldwork, an internship, or intensive language study — very likely with funding from the Davis Center.

Applying to REECA

The REECA application deadline falls in early January to join the program the next academic year. You'll apply online at

As part of the application, you will need to submit:

  • Transcripts for all post-secondary study;
  • Three academic references;
  • Statement of purpose (up to 1,000 words);
  • Academic writing sample (up to 3,750 words);
  • Resume or CV;
  • Demonstration of English proficiency (see GSAS website);
  • Optional: GRE scores (use ETS code 3451; no department code required).

Harvard Griffin GSAS does not discriminate against applicants or students on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry or any other protected classification.

Financial Aid & Grants

If the REECA program is right for you, don't let concerns about your ability to pay get in the way of applying. We work very hard to make the program affordable for all our students. Most REECA students receive at least some grant support, and many students receive full tuition and living expenses throughout the program. Some types of support include:

Davis Scholarship

  • Full tuition and stipend for a student from the former Soviet Union;
  • Renewable for the second year of study;
  • Eligible students will automatically be considered; no separate application required.

Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS)

  • Up to $18,000 for tuition and a stipend of $20,000 covered by FLAS;
  • Remaining tuition and required health fees covered by REECA;
  • Open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents;
  • Awarded one year at a time; many students receive two years of FLAS support;
  • Funding comes from the U.S. Department of Education;
  • Separate application required.

Summer Travel Grants for Research or Internships

REECA students receive funding for summer thesis research travel or for living expenses while doing an unpaid internship. We're proud to have funded every REECA student who has requested summer research or internship support since 2010.

Professional Development Grants

REECA students also receive small grants from the Davis Center to cover the cost of professional development opportunities outside the classroom. Students have used these grants to cover travel to a conference to present their work, take advantage of professional networking opportunities, or acquire new technical skills for their post-REECA career.

External Sources of Funding

We will do everything we can to make tuition and living costs affordable for you while you're enrolled in the REECA program. Our students do their part to make this possible by securing as many external grants, scholarships, and fellowships as they can. It's never too early to start researching and applying to these sources, since many of them have very early deadlines. Here are a few places past REECA students have found success:


Alumni Making a Difference

My goal for REECA was to position myself to work as a journalist and media producer on projects that speak to me. It's been a dream to go from temp, to associate producer, to full-pledged producer at WBUR on "Anything for Selena."


Kristin Torres AM '19

Podcast Producer, WBUR

Related Insights

The country’s security depends on long-term commitments from the West, Davis Center alum Eric Ciaramella writes for Foreign Affairs.

The former U.S. presidential advisor and Davis Center alumna speaks with Russia Matters about all the above, plus turmoil and elections worldwide, Trump, and the Russian leader's adeptness at using others' weaknesses to his advantage.

The war has made Azerbaijan more important to both Europe and Russia, raising Baku's star perhaps higher than it's ever been, while Moscow's sway in the Caucasus is at a nadir, writes Davis Center alum Joshua Kucera.

Related Events

Past Event

Learn about the REECA  A.M. program in this virtual info session.

Past Event

In his new book, Graham offers a practical vision of U.S.-Russia relations, identifying blind spots that prevented Washington from crafting a policy to advance U.S. interests without provoking Moscow.

Past Event

Join us for a talk by Domitilla Sagramoso of King’s College London's Department of War Studies. Webinar open to the public; in-person event open to Harvard ID holders only.