The KU Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies (CREES) offers an accelerated graduate program for students wanting to complete their REES MA within a 12-month or 18-month period. The accelerated FASt track is open to all graduate students, but specifically designed for Foreign Area Officers (FAOs).

CREES has been training FAOs for over 30 years and our graduates consistently rate the REES program at KU as one of the most FAO friendly. Our close proximity to Fort Leavenworth, the intellectual center of the U.S. Army, adds a unique benefit for our students, both military and civilian. CREES has a long history of collaborating with the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and several of our alumni staff the Foreign Military Studies Office.

According to Kansas state law, active military, veterans and their dependents enrolled at KU receive in-state tuition status – a cost-savings of thousands of dollars. In addition, the high quality, low cost of living in Lawrence, KS makes the REES MA program at KU one of the most enjoyable and affordable in the country for military personnel, both active and retired, and their dependents.


In order for students to complete the required 30 credit hours of intensive REES language and area courses within a 12-month period, CREES has designed a carefully planned schedule that not only meets the military requirement to complete the MA within a calendar year, but also provides an in-depth and comprehensive REES-area education and expertise.

For FASt Track students, the crucial issue is language preparation. Our program requires advanced level competence in a REES-area language, which includes Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Czech, Polish, Russian, Slovene, Tajik/Farsi, Turkish, Ukrainian, Uyghur, and Yiddish.

Because of this requirement, we highly recommend that FASt Track students be at an advanced level of target language prior to beginning their program at KU. Advanced language knowledge will allow FASt Track students to focus on their required area content courses and complete their MA program within the 12-mo time frame.


FASt Track graduate students typically begin their program during the Summer (beginning of June) and graduate the following Spring (end of May). The 30 credit hours are broken down as follows:

  • 3 methodology seminars (9 CR)
  • 2 courses in your area of concentration (6 CR)
  • 4 disciplinary courses outside of your area of concentration (12 CR)
  • 1 advanced language course at 500 level or above (3 CR)


GIST 810: Thesis/Project Writing (3 CR)
Area Concentration course (3 CR)
Elective course (3 CR)

REES 898: Methodologies Seminar (3 CR)
500 level Adv. Language course (3 CR)
Area Concentration course (3 CR)
Elective course (3 CR)

REES 899: Capstone Seminar (3 CR)
Area Concentration course (3 CR)
Elective course (3 CR)
Elective course (3 CR)


FASt Track students are required to complete 3 methodology seminars. GIST 810 gives FASt Track students a jump-start on their portfolio requirements. REES 898 emphasizes learning the tools and methods necessary to study this region of the world.  In REES 899, students write an interdisciplinary research paper using materials in the student’s chosen target language. Before enrolling in REES 899, the student must have completed an advanced language course in the target language.


The REES MA program offers courses in 5 thematic areas. Each MA student choses a thematic area of concentration, determined by their personal interests and professional goals. They are then required to take elective courses in the other thematic areas for a full and complete understanding of the REES world area. The 5 thematic areas are:

1) Literature and the Arts

2) History

3) Political Science

4) Philosophy and Religion

5) Economics, Business & Geography


CREES has replaced the traditional written MA exam and thesis with a progressive academic examination model known as the MA portfolio, a body of work that showcases the student’s interdisciplinary knowledge and expertise of the REES world area. At the end of the student’s final semester, the portfolio is read by a committee of three graduate faculty and tested through a 90-minute oral examination. Click here for more info about this exam method.


For FAOs:

Graduate Military Programs: the interdisciplinary REES MA program at KU is one of the longest established in the nation, having trained over 150 FAOs since 1964. The KU Office of Graduate Military Programs (GMP) was founded specifically to foster collaboration with the advanced military educational programs at Fort Leavenworth, as well as many other U.S. military institutions.

CREES frequently partners with GMP on security-related conferences and speakers, and in recruiting active-duty officers, reservists, and retirees into REES-related programs at KU. Since 2008, KU has hosted the Wounded Warrior Initiative, so that service personnel who have suffered injuries in the line of duty can complete Master’s degrees and then return to active duty.  

Beyond Campus: KU is an attractive choice for graduate study not only because of the quality of the academic program, but also because of the quality of life in Lawrence. With a population of 80,000, Lawrence has the charm of a small Midwestern city. The city boasts about its quality schools, a range of housing options, a wide variety of activities and organizations for families and children, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Moreover, Lawrence, as a college town, has a number of outstanding cultural and athletic events. Lawrence is only 25 miles from Kansas City, and 40 miles from Ft. Leavenworth.

The best endorsements of the REES program at KU and Lawrence come from FAOs who have completed the program. The following current and former KU students have agreed to field any questions you might have about the REES program or life in Lawrence:

Randy Masten MAJ (48C)
REES MA, 2003; LTC instructing at Command & General Staff College

Shawn McManamy, Major, United States Army REES MA, 2009; after April 2010, he will serve in the US Embassy, Moscow.

Raymond Hackler, Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army REES MA, 2006; Psychological Operations & Eurasian Foreign Area Officer

AER Information

AERs: If you are completing your program and graduating this year, please remember to submit the following material to your REES MA Advisor before you leave campus permanently:

  • Your AER (DA Form 1059-1); make certain that all the information on the top is filled in and accurate;
  • Two (2) official copies of your complete KU transcript, showing award of degree. When you submit your request for transcripts at Registrar's Office, be certain to ask that it be sent to Dr. Renee Perelmutter at the CREES Office, but that it not be sent until after Award of Degree has been posted;
  • The dates and results of your APFT and height/weight data;
  • A list of "buttons" that you want pushed in the AER narrative: what do you consider your greatest achievements at KU to have been? Categories might include: academic performance, achievements, extracurricular activities, leadership, and whatever else you wish to have mentioned. This is not the time to be modest.

FAO Resources

FAO Home Page

Foreign Area Officer Association

George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

Trent Williams, Assistant Director
Office of Graduate Military Programs | 785-864-7508

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