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Why Study Eurasia?

In its various forms (the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and the post-Soviet space), Eurasia has been the scene of some of the world’s most spectacular dramas during the last three centuries, including the rise and fall of empires and the successes and stagnations of strikingly different political and economic systems. It has followed a path from one of the world’s largest empires to the birth of nation states. It has been the battleground for the Napoleonic War, Civil War, and the horrors of two World Wars. During a turbulent history, the people of Eurasia experienced the contrasting forces of autocratic monarchy, socialism and fragile democracy, atheism and religious fundamentalism, and multiculturalism and ethnic conflict. Russia, Central Asia, the South Caucasus and Russia’s western neighbours have been testing the ground for political and economic theories, which left legacies that are still felt today. IMARES enables students to learn about the geopolitical space, the path of its development, the theory and the practice of different political and economic regimes throughout its history, and the ways in which these past experiences continue to influence developments today.

The IMARES Program

Through a combination of lectures, seminars, and self-study, our students learn, talk, and read about a variety of topics, including revolutions in Saint Petersburg, Islam in Russia, democracy in Kyrgyzstan, reforms in Georgia, nation-building in Ukraine, foreign policy dilemmas in Armenia, economics in Belarus, border control in Tajikistan or security issues in Azerbaijan. Students will also have the opportunity to experience Russia’s history and culture first hand, through a trip to the medieval Russian town of Veliky Novgorod and a two-week study module in Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan on the Volga River. The mosques and churches of Kazan are a testament to the history of Kazan as a city famous for Christians and Muslims living peacefully side-by-side. Thus, Kazan provides the ideal setting for the study of crucial aspects of Russian and Eurasian cultures, imperial and post-imperial history and contemporary moderate Islam.

Extra-Curricular Benefits of IMARES

In addition to its core academic content, the IMARES course offers extra-curricular benefits: the IMARES workshop series introduces expert guest speakers, with whom IMARES can discuss specialist topics. Previous speakers include businessmen from the Russian Forbes list, the President of the European Council, the former head of the Belarusian state TV and Radio, a variety of researchers and decision-makers from both Russia and abroad.

Furthermore, all IMARES students are offered a course in Russian language, tailored to suit their ability, from beginner to advanced. Combined with the experience of living in Russia, the development of Russian language skills gives IMARES students a far greater understanding of contemporary Russia. Such a level of understanding can only be gained by actually spending time here in Russia, and experiencing the country for yourself.

IMARES Students

In terms of their backgrounds and prior experience, IMARES students are often as diverse as the topics they study at the EUSP. Whether you are a historian, political scientist, sociologist, or language specialist, studying at EUSP will give you the opportunity to broaden your horizons and gain new perspectives on your course of study. While our course modules are accessible to students of all backgrounds, the chance to engage in academic discussions with other students from different countries, cultures, and academic fields will offer fresh perspectives on the topic at hand. To find out more, please read the testimonials of previous IMARES students.

IMARES – An Investment in Your Future

The IMARES faculty members spare no effort in making sure that all the IMARES courses are both informative and interesting. The extra-curricular workshops, course of Russian language study, and experience of living here in Russia all add to the value of the IMARES course for your future career. Our alumni have gone on to further courses of academic study (including PhD programmes), and careers in NGOs, business, politics, journalism and the private sector. Whatever your career aim, the experience of a year in Russia studying on the IMARES programme will significantly enhance your CV and offer you a unique personal experience.

The program starts twice a year. The fall semester starts in the beginning of September. The spring semester starts in the beginning of February. You may choose whichever starting point you prefer.

We accept students on a rolling basis, so early admission is possible.

Degree requirements

In addition to registering for two residence units (one for each semester) an IMARES student must take at least six courses during the year. The program consists of two divisions:

  • Politics and Economy
  • Society and History.

It is strongly recommended that students choose their major area and observe the 4+2 configuration, accordingly:

  • at least four courses in the students major area of interest;
  • at least two courses in the minor area.

(Please note that language courses do not count towards course requirements.)

MastersEssay: 12 ECTS credits

All students must submit a Masters Essay for the evaluation by two faculty members, one being the academic advisor. Each essay, generally resulting from research undertaken for a seminar or a colloquium, must be sponsored by an EUSP faculty member and be an original piece of research, interpretation, or analysis based, at least in part, on primary source materials. Essays generally must be 5075 pages in length, fully footnoted, and include bibliographies. Essays must be within the students major area of interest and deal with a topic directly related to the students chosen program of study during the year. Essays must be submitted during the academic residence period by the designated deadline. Students who submit essays after the original period of their academic residence will be subject to extended residence charges.

Courses from other Programs and Transfer of Credits

Two courses from ENERPO and MARCA programs or from other EUSP departments can be selected for credit and accumulated as part of your MA degree requirements if the choice is approved by the IMARES Academic director. Please note that the majority of courses at the five EUSP departments are taught in Russian. In order to acquire transfer credits, students must fulfill respective course requirements. In such credit-transfer courses students will have to produce an acceptable course paper (essay) of direct relevance to Russian history, politics, culture and society, the USSR, Eurasia or the post-Communist states. The paper can be submitted either in Russian or in English. The number of courses for auditing is not limited.

Time Constraints

It is expected that students in the IMARES program complete all the degree requirements over the course of one academic year. However, certain exceptions can be made for those who wish to improve their command of Russian and thus would opt to complete all the requirements over the period of two years. Such students will have to register for two full residence units in the first year and for extended residence in the following year.


Program requirements

The applicants must hold minimum a BA degree by the date of enrolment. Having some prior knowledge of Russian is an advantage in terms of everyday life, however,the Program is designed to encourage the participation of those who have not studied the language before. IMARES welcomes students from all arts and humanities backgrounds; to apply, one need not hold a degree in Russian, Soviet, or East European Studies. IMARES major requirement is that students be highly motivated, and also devoted to and capable of rigorous study. Letters of recommendation, grade-point averages and transcripts of previous academic work, statements of purpose that describe research interests, professional experience, personal achievements, and scholarly potential are all taken into account when admission decisions are made.

From July 2011 IMARES has been granted the respective status of a

U. S. Departmentof Education for study loan programs. It is the first program of this kind in Russia. MARCA and EnerPo will follow from July 2012.
Given the current condition of Russian governmental spending on education, and the relevant regulations, Russian financial aid is available only to Russian citizens and permanent residents. Some limited financial aid may be available from the EUSP based on the applicants need. Here are some web addresses where you can look for financial aid sources to support your studies in the IMARES program.
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