We welcome applicants with traditional and non-traditional preparation in the field, as long as their foreign-language, linguistic, and literary-studies skills are strong. Applicants should show knowledge of Russian (or the language of the student's major field) equivalent to the Slavic courses Russian 113 and Russian 114 (4th year level Russian).
Formal training in literature or linguistics is highly desirable for admission. In order to anticipate the language requirement, the candidate for admission should also have a reading knowledge of French or German, although this is not a prerequisite.
All applicants to the Department are required to submit an extensive writing sample in English. The GRE Test requirement is optional for AY 2020-21 admissions cycle due to COVID-19. Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the TOEFL exam, and achieve a minimal score of 80 on the Internet based test (IBT), or to receive a degree from an institution where the language of instruction is English. Applications without TOEFL results (where applicable) will be considered incomplete.
The Director of Graduate Studies will be happy to answer e-mail inquiries from prospective students during the fall. The Department will interview finalists for admission by Skype in late January and early February. Right now (in fall 2020), we expect that the pandemic will prevent us from arranging campus visits for admitted students in the spring, but we will arrange for admitted students to speak with our faculty and graduate students, and with each other, on Zoom.
More information about graduate programs at Harvard can be found at The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences website. For instructions on how to apply see the "Admissions" section and the Admission Application.