Master's Program (MARS-REERS)

The Harriman Institute administers the Master of Arts in Regional Studies — Russia, Eurasia and Eastern Europe (MARS-REERS) through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences for those wishing to focus on a multidisciplinary approach to the study of contemporary Russia, Eurasia and Eastern Europe (the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and the Balkans). The program provides intensive exposure to the politics, international relations, modern history, and cultural and social formations of the region, with both a country-specific and trans-regional focus. Applicants should have some prior language training and must exhibit proficiency equivalent to three years of an East European or a Eurasian language in order to graduate.

The program is tailored to meet the needs of persons entering professional careers, mid-career professionals, as well as students preparing for entry into doctoral programs, and those with a professional degree, such as the J.D. or M.B.A., who want to gain regional expertise.

The program may be completed in one or two years.

Degree Requirements

In addition to the language requirements, the program requires completion of 2 Residence Units and 30 points of credit, including a master’s thesis and nine regional courses from 3 different disciplines including Anthropology, Art History, Business, Economics, History, International Affairs, Literature, Law, Political Science and Sociology. All students are required to take the Harriman core interdisciplinary colloquium, Legacies of Empire and the Soviet Union (History: Political Science  GR8445).

Master's Thesis

All students must register for a two-semester MA Thesis Regional Studies Seminar ( Research G4020) taught by Professor Elise Guiliano.  Students must first enroll in section 1, a one-credit seminar, which focuses on conceptualizing and writing a formal thesis proposal. Students will develop the proposal under the guidance of the seminar instructor, and through a process of peer review in which students read and critique each other’s work-in-progress. At the end of the semester, the thesis proposal may be shown to potential faculty advisors. Once two faculty advisors are secured, the thesis proposal must be submitted to the MARS program advisor along with a proposal form signed by the faculty advisors.  Students will receive a letter grade in the seminar.

The following semester, students must register for section 2 of Reasearch G4020, a two-credit thesis course, during which students will work independently with their faculty thesis advisors while writing their thesis.  The advisors will assign a final grade to the thesis that will serve as the grade received in this course.

Program Contacts

The MARS program advisor, Rebecca Dalton, can assist you with questions regarding program requirements, GSAS policies, and registration. All students must meet the MARS program advisor every semester they are enrolled and submit a signed degree form tracking their progress towards the degree.

The MARS program director, Professor Elise Guiliano, can assist you with questions on courses, thesis topics, research questions, and other academic questions.


Limited funding is available to MARS-REERS students.

The MARS Student Fellowship is awarded annually to one full-time first-year student and one full-time second-year student. The fellowship provides partial tuition. MARS applicants will automatically be considered for the Student Fellowship. Continuing students should submit the MARS Student Fellowship application during their spring semester.

The MARS Program Assistant Fellowship is awarded annually to one full-time second-year student. The Fellowship provides full tuition plus a stipend. Program Assistants work 13-15 hours per week at the Harriman Institute. Applications are due in the spring.

Good Academic Standing

To be considered in good academic standing, students must make satisfactory academic progress as determined by their department. Satisfactory progress for MARS-REERS candidates includes but is not limited to:

  1. Acquiring an advisor
  2. Meeting time-to-degree requirements for the M.A. and the M.Phil. degrees
  3. Completing degree requirements and maintaining superior quality of work
  4. Meeting with the program advisor in the first two weeks of each semester to complete the registration approval form.
  5. Maintaining a B+ average of all courses.
  6. Registering for no more than 5 courses a semester.  You must get approval from the program advisor to register for 5 or more classes.
  7. Taking no more than one incomplete a semester.  All coursework must be completed by the following deadlines or IN will change to the grade of F. Deadlines are June 30th for fall courses and December 31st for Spring and Summer courses.

For more detailed information on the program including academic policies, please see the program guide.


Application to the MARS-REERS program is through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS).

Deadline for Fall Admission: January 15th (applications will be accepted until May 1st on a space available basis only).

Deadline for Spring Admission: November 15th

Applications must include a 10-15 page writing sample, a resume/CV, GRE scores, and TOEFL scores for non-native English speakers.

Applications are online.

For further inquiries, please call Rebecca Dalton at 212-854-6239.