European Studies

Master's Degree

The European Studies Council formulates and implements new curricular and research programs to reflect current developments in Europe. The geographical scope of the council’s activities extends from Ireland to the lands of the former Soviet Union. Its concept of Europe transcends the conventional divisions into Western, Central, and Eastern Europe, and includes the Balkans and Russia. The U.S. Department of Education has repeatedly designated the council a National Resource Center under its HEA Title VI program. Further information on the council and the Graduate Certificate of Concentration in European Studies is provided under Non-Degree-Granting Programs, Councils, and Research Institutes in the Bulletin.

The council administers an M.A. program in European and Russian Studies. This M.A. program is unusual in its embrace of the entire spectrum of European nations and cultures. The requirements permit students to choose a particular national or thematic focus, geared to their individual interests and language skills, while requiring that they acquaint themselves with the traditions and issues associated with the other parts of Europe. Students specializing in Russia and Eastern Europe, for example, will concentrate their efforts in that area, but will also take courses that may concern Europe-wide problems or the countries of Central or Western Europe. In this way, the program translates the political realities and challenges of the post-Cold War era into a flexible and challenging academic opportunity.

Fields of Study

European languages and literatures; economics; history; political science; law; music; sociology and other social sciences.

Special Requirements for the M.A. Degree

In all cases the policies of the Graduate School must be followed. Any questions regarding these policies should be addressed to your assistant or associate dean. Please refer to: and

When applying to the program, students will specify as an area of primary concentration either (1) Russia and Eastern Europe, or (2) Central and Western Europe. All students must complete sixteen term courses (or their equivalent) in the various fields related to European and Russian studies. Students are required to take at least one course in at least three of the four fields relevant to the program, specifically, history, literature, social sciences, and law (i.e., three courses altogether). For the purposes of this program, “history” includes history of art, history of science, and history of music. One of the sixteen term courses may be taken for audit. For students focusing on Russia and Eastern Europe, two of the sixteen required courses (excluding language courses) must concern the nations of Central and Western Europe. Conversely, for those focusing on Central and Western Europe, two courses must concern Russia and Eastern Europe. E&RS 900, Proseminar in European and Russian Studies, is required in addition to the sixteen courses and should be taken in the first year of the program. E&RS 900 is taken as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory and may not be taken for audit.

For the purposes of this program, language courses in European languages count toward the sixteen required courses, even though they have undergraduate course numbers and undergraduate grade modes. If students take a course of language study to fulfill degree requirements, the language course may not be taken for audit. Students with previous language preparation may in certain cases receive documentation of their language proficiency on the basis of this work. By the time the degree is completed, all students must demonstrate L4 or better proficiency in two European languages besides English. Those wishing to focus on Russia and Eastern Europe will need to demonstrate knowledge of Russian or an Eastern European language; those focusing on Central and Western Europe will need to demonstrate knowledge of one of the appropriate languages. In all cases, students are required to demonstrate proficiency in two European languages by the end of the third term at Yale. The only exception to this rule is completion of the appropriate full sequence of Yale language classes, certified by the Yale instructor or the director of graduate studies. Students who wish to take Yale department examinations in French, German, Italian, Spanish, or other West European languages should register for a complete examination (with reading, oral, and grammar portions) with the appropriate Yale department. Students with Russian competence must receive the grade of 1+ or higher on the ACTFL/ ETS Rating Scale as administered by the Slavic Languages and Literatures department at Yale, including reading, oral, and grammar portions. Students with competence in an East European language (such as Polish, Czech, Ukrainian, Hungarian, and others by special arrangement) or other European languages must take Yale department-administered examinations. In all cases, students will comply with the Policies and Regulations of the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, especially regarding degree requirements and academic standing.

Through agreements the MacMillan Center has negotiated with the Professional Schools, CES offers joint master’s degrees with the Schools of Law; Public Health; and Forestry and Environmental Science. Application for admission must be made both to the Graduate School and to the relevant Professional School, with notation made on each application that it is to be considered for a joint-degree program.

The Master’s Thesis

A master’s thesis is required. The master’s thesis is based on research in a topic approved by the DGS and advised by a faculty member with specialized competence in the chosen topic. M.A. students must register for E&RS 950, which may count toward the sixteen required courses. E&RS 950 may not be taken for audit. Students may register for an additional independent study to prepare topics and begin research. The master’s thesis must be prepared according to department guidelines and is due in two copies on an early-April date in the student’s second year as specified by the department.

Program materials are available upon request to the European Studies Council, Yale University, PO Box 208206, New Haven CT 06520-8206.


E&RS 648a/GLBL 811a/HIST 788a, Social Movements in Comparative Perspective
Becky Conekin

In this seminar we explore post-WWII social movements and their legacies across Western Europe and the United States. Examining both the actuality and symbolic character of these movements in contemporary history, we analyze the political, social, and cultural meanings of protest and its impact on class, generational, gender, and racial relations in Western Europe and North America. In addition, if students have specific interests in Eastern European and/or Latin American countries, they may bring these into the discussion and write on them in a comparative perspective in their final paper. We discuss different national histories and discourses about identity, while exploring the varied geographies of the Cold War. We then move to a more thematic approach focusing on, for example, civil rights, antiwar and student protests, and countercultural politics. We conclude with a brief look at the social movements that developed out of the 1960s. T 1:30–3:20

[E&RS 652b/INRL 549b, The European Union’s Contemporary Challenges]

E&RS 900a, Proseminar in European and Russian Studies

An interdisciplinary seminar designed to provide broad exposure to key topics in modern European studies. It introduces the various topics, issues, research, and faculty encompassed by the European Studies Council. Special attention is given to Eastern and Western Europe as well as the humanities and social science disciplines. Seminar meetings are combined with the Modern Europe Colloquia and feature speakers from the Yale faculty and other academic institutions. This seminar is required for first-year European and Russian Studies M.A. students but is open to all graduate and professional students.

E&RS 940a or b, Independent Study
By arrangement with faculty

E&RS 950a or b, Master’s Thesis
By arrangement with faculty

Complete application information, forms, and deadlines are found at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences website.