FASt Track MA


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.

About the Program

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.

Program Schedule

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)

Methodology Seminars

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.

Area Concentration and Elective Courses

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

MA Portfolio and Final Exam Procedure

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.