Balkan Languages and Literatures

Destroy the myth: from the imaginary Balkans to reality

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This Bachelor’s study programme provides a complex education in the field of history, ethnology, culture, and literature of the entire complicated region of the Balkan Peninsula. The aim of this study programme is to introduce the Southeastern European region to the students. Among other things, this approach corresponds to the current trend towards supporting area studies.

The study is suitable for gifted students who are not afraid to untangle the Gordian knot of the historically burdened relations among the Balkan nations and to get deep into the mysteries of Balkan languages, primarily those spoken in the southeast of the Balkans.

Historical-cultural and literary theoretical parts of the study focus on the entire Balkan region, i.e. on Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Greece, and partially Romania. Students are also led to master two of the South Slavonic languages which will open for them – together with the knowledge of at least one other foreign (world) language, and with basic orientation on one other non-Slavonic language of the Balkans (Greek, Albanian, or alternatively Romanian) – the possibility to work virtually in the entire area of the Slavonic and non-Slavonic Balkans. The knowledge obtained in the theoretical and methodological courses of the Bachelor's studies also serves as a basis for the follow-up Master's degree in Balkan Studies.

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After successfully completing his/her studies the graduate is able to:

  • speak and write in two South Slavonic languages (B2 level), i. e. Serbian or Croatian and Bulgarian or Macedonian
  • characterize the development of the studied national literatures in literary theoretical and cultural-historical context
  • characterize the key features of the historical development of the Balkans, to master the basics of heuristic technique and to define important ethnographic specifics of the Balkans
  • orient himself/herself in academic literature in the fields of literary theory, linguistics, history, and ethnology
  • apply the acquired theoretical knowledge and practical skills in concrete areas of his/her future employment (translation and interpreting, journalism, helping the development of bilateral Czech-Balkan relations)
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These Bachelor's studies offer a complex philological, historical, and geographical education, suitable for creative work in cultural institutions, tourism, journalism, publishing houses, lower-level and middle management, translation of academic and literary texts, and interpretation, and in working as an expert on the Balkans.

It is also possible to find employment in the sphere of commerce and finance, including travel and holiday companies (e.g. Czech travel companies and agencies which focus on the Balkans, or alternatively Czech branches of Southeastern European companies). Graduates could use their language competence in translating and interpreting non-technical texts and speeches.

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These Bachelor's degree studies are a standard duration of six semesters. The students must gain at least 180 credits during their study. The Balkan Studies Bachelor's degree is only a single-subject study. Compulsory and selective courses in the given study programme form almost the entire amount of the required 180 credits.

The composition of the study plan mirrors the broad geographical character of this study programme. For this reason, the emphasis is placed on active mastery of the studied South Slavonic languages, on students’ orientation in their grammatical structures, and on the development of the literatures of Balkan nations from ancient times to (approximately) the mid-twentieth century. For this purpose, students also need to master the basics of relevant academic disciplines – represented by introductory courses in linguistics and literary theory. One of the integral parts of Balkan Studies is the broadly conceived study of the historical development of the Balkans (with proper historical introduction), and also supplementary education in ethnology – consisting of an introduction to this discipline and of selected lectures on ethnology of the Balkans.

Students have to apply to write their Bachelor's thesis no later than the end of the semester preceding the last semester of their studies (when they take the Bachelor's thesis seminar). The studies are concluded by a thesis defence and the final state exam.

In the Bachelor's single-subject study programme, students have to obtain 180 credits, of which:

150 credits for compulsory courses

3 credits for elective courses

4 credits for a two-semester course in a foreign language

4 credits for philosophy

4 credits for physical education

15 credits for the Bachelor's thesis seminar

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The Bachelor's final state exam consists of two parts:

1) Bachelor's thesis defence – The main body of the thesis has to contain at least 70,000 characters (approx. 40 standard pages). Possible attachments to the thesis (an index, questionnaires, copies of texts, documents, and so on) do not count. You can find more information at: http://www.phil.muni.cz/wusl/home/pracoviste/~vnitrni-cleneni/jihoslovanska-filologie/informace-pro studenty/POKYNY%20PRO%20PSANI%20DIPLOMOVYCH%20PRACI%20%28Seminar%20jihoslovanskych%20filologii%20a%20balkanistiky%29.pdf/view

2) An exam testing students' theoretical knowledge of the given study programme. This part, in a written and an oral form, examines the students' competence in the languages they studied (Serbian or Croatian and Bulgarian or Macedonian). The written part of the language exam consists of a translation from and into the studied language and an essay in that language. The oral part consists of testing the knowledge of basic linguistic disciplines and the knowledge of the historical development of the literatures of the Slavonic nations in the Balkans, where the emphasis is put on the students’ own reading, and their ability to analyse a literary work. Students then have to show their orientation in the historical development of the Balkans and their knowledge of the geography, culture, and ethnology of the nations in the Balkan Peninsula.

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The graduates can continue their education in the follow-up Master's degree studies in the same field. However, they can also choose to continue their studies of only one language – in which case they can opt for the Master's degree in Combined South-Slavonic Studies.

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Field of study specifications

Field of Study: Balkan Languages and Literatures
Abbreviation: BAK
Code: 7310R022
Type: Bachelor's degree programme
Degree: Bc.
Accreditation: to 31/7/2016
Programme: B7310 B-FI Philology
Faculty of Arts
Field of study guaranteed by:
Faculty of Arts
Field guarantor:
prof. PhDr. Ivo Pospíšil, DrSc.