Columbia University in the City of New York


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).

What You Need to Know

The MARS-REERS 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.

All applications to the program are processed through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. For more information about applying visit the MARS-REERS Admissions page.

Current Columbia undergraduates interested in the MARS-REERS program should also consult the Harriman BA/MA Program page for additional information.

Degree Requirements

  • 30 points of graduate credit
  • 2 residence units
  • Harriman core interdisciplinary colloquium, Legacies of Empire and the Soviet Union (RERS G8445)
  • 9 regional courses from 3 different disciplines including Anthropology, Art History, Business, Economics, History, International Affairs, Literature, Law, Political Science and Sociology
  • Advanced knowledge of a regional language (proficiency equivalent to three years of an East European or Eurasian language)
  • A master’s thesis
Harriman Courses

Course Listings

The list below provides an overview of our course offerings to help students make decisions and plans for the upcoming semester. Please note that this schedule may be subject to change, and students are encouraged not only to revisit this page but also to confirm the course listings in the online Directory of Courses and Vergil, where course descriptions and class meeting times will be posted.

Regional Requirements

The course lists on our website fulfill regional course requirements for the Harriman Institute Certificate, the MA in Regional Studies: Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern Europe (MARS-REERS), and SIPA Regional Specializations. Further course details may be found by visiting the appropriate department’s website.

Any course marked with an asterisk (***) must be approved for regional credit by a Harriman advisor prior to enrollment. For Harriman's approval of courses not listed which you believe may fulfill regional requirements, please contact Rebecca Dalton.

Language Requirements

The following languages satisfy the Harriman Certificate & MARS-REERS language requirements and are currently being offered: Armenian, Czech, Hungarian, ***Persian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbo-Croatian-Bosnian, ***Turkish, Ukrainian, and Yiddish. Please consult the Directory of Classes for language times and sections.

MA Thesis Requirements

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 Research 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.

MA Thesis Guidelines

The thesis is a work of substance and length requiring research that draws together ideas developed in the course of a student’s interdisciplinary studies. Students should start thinking about a topic as they begin their coursework.

Review Thesis Guidelines >

Thesis Proposal Form

After completing Section 1 of the MA Thesis Regional Studies Seminar (Research G4020) and securing two thesis advisors, students must submit a thesis proposal to the MARS program advisor.

Thesis Proposal Form >

Financial Aid

First Year Fellowships

Merit-based fellowships are available for first-year MARS-REERS students. There is no separate application, the GSAS application will be used by the admissions committee to award funding.

Second Year Fellowships

There is significant funding for the second year of study for MARS-REERS students. The Institute’s Fellowship Committee makes all fellowship decisions. Candidates may apply for more than one fellowship.

Summer Opportunities

Every year the Harriman Institute awards funding for Columbia student travel, research, and language study in and about Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern Europe.

Questions about the MARS-REERS Program?

For further information, please email or call the Harriman Institute.