Balkan Languages and Literatures

Destroy the myth – on the way from the imaginary Balkans to reality.

Master's degree programme, full-time study mode, single-subject, Czech, 2 years 
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The aim of this follow-up Master’s degree study programme is to deepen student knowledge obtained in the Bachelor’s degree study programme of Balkan Studies, and to develop their academic competence and their ability to conduct independent research. Students learn to independently identify and critically interpret key historical phenomena in the Balkan Peninsula, to reflect on the connections between them, and to comment on current political and cultural affairs in this region. Students also gain the ability to interpret primary sources and to compare them with the academic literature in the fields of historical, literary historical, ethnological, and philological studies of the Balkans. They learn to see historical and cultural facts, phenomena, and processes in the context of research findings from related and unrelated fields of science, and to use the expert knowledge and skills obtained in their education not only in practice, but also in research and its application or popularization. Students improve their practical knowledge of two Slavonic Balkan languages and the theoretical reflection of those languages, i.e. morphology, lexicology, phonetics, phonology, and syntax. They also gain practical knowledge of the basic skills necessary for translation and interpreting, and of the shifts in contemporary language which shape its present form. A significant part of the studies also provides a deep insight into Czech-Balkan cultural and political relations in the past and in the present.

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

  • communicate in an oral and a written form in the languages of their choice at a very high level (C2 level)
  • compare and analyse the theoretical knowledge of the studied languages in a broader Slavonic context, from a synchronic and a diachronic point of view
  • characterize the development of the studied national literatures in literary theoretical and cultural-historical context and draw comparisons between individual Balkan literatures
  • write a scholarly text on a given topic, present it in a meaningful way, and discuss it
  • demonstrate a strong orientation in academic literature about Balkan studies
  • analyse the processes of linguistic, literary, and historical development in the Balkans
  • put the acquired knowledge into a broader context and use it in journalistic work
  • apply the acquired theoretical knowledge and practical skills to concrete areas of possible future employment (translating and interpreting, helping the development of bilateral Czech-Balkan relations, working in the diplomatic service)
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This study programme provides a complex philological and area studies education which is suitable for creative work in cultural institutions, tourism, journalism, publishing houses, in lower-level and middle management, in translating technical and literary texts, in interpreting, and in working as an expert on the Balkans.

Graduates can also find employment in national and multinational organizations, as well as in organizations working in the countries of Southeastern Europe. To these institutions, graduates offer an ability to demonstrate a strong orientation in complicated interethnic relations which can help to solve a number of local problems peacefully. As experts in the field, graduates can take part in UN peace missions and other similar missions and organizations. They should also be prepared to influence the Czech public through media, providing a true picture of the situation in the Balkans. Graduates can work in diplomatic services, for which students go through frequent practical trainings in representative offices of the Czech Republic in Balkan countries.

Graduates are well equipped even for work in science, particularly if they choose to continue with a doctoral degree study programme.

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The regular length of the Master’s degree study programme is four semesters. In contrast to the Bachelor’s degree study programme, the Balkan Studies Master’s degree study programme is conceived both as single-subject and double-subject study programme. During the study programme, single-subject students have to earn at least 120 credits, double-subject students have to earn 70 credits in their primary, and 50 credits in their secondary field of study.

The Master’s degree study programme deepens and broadens the knowledge obtained during the Bachelor’s degree study programme in all of their four aspects. The course structure is designed such that the Master’s degree courses are directly linked to the Bachelor’s degree courses and that the comparative character of the study programme is maintained. Due to the short duration of this form of study and the limiting impact of the obligation to take the double-subject study programme into account in the creation of the course composition (double-subject study programme has only half of the credits for obligatory courses that the single-subject study programme does), some courses are only type B/selective instead of being obligatory.

During their study programme, all students have to earn 4 credits for passing an exam in one of the following languages: English, French, German, Spanish, or Russian. Courses in foreign languages are provided by the Masaryk University Language Centre. If a student has already passed the exam during the Bachelor’s study programme, it is possible to have it recognized.

The requirements for completion of a follow-up single-subject Master’s degree study programme:

86 credits for type A/required, type B/selective, and type C/elective courses

36 credits for Master’s thesis seminar I, II (BKB501, BKB502)

4 credits for a foreign language exam

Double-subject students only enrol for type A/required courses (70 credits in their primary, and 50 credits in their secondary field of study). These students do not have to enrol in any type B/selective or type C/elective courses from the offer, because the amount of credits from type A/required courses is completely sufficient for one subject of their double-subject study programme.

The requirements for completion of follow-up double-subject Master’s degree study programme:

40 credits for type A/required courses

30 credits for Master’s thesis seminar I, II (BKB501, BKB502), or 10 credits for Master’s minor thesis seminar (BKB500)

2 credits for a foreign language exam

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Students have to apply for writing their Master’s thesis at the latest by the end of the semester which precedes the semester when students enrol in the Master’s thesis seminar I. The follow-up single-subject Master’s degree study programme is concluded by a thesis defence – the main body of the Master’s thesis has to contain at least 140,000 characters (approx. 80 standard pages) – and by passing the final state examination. The Master’s final state examination consists of four main parts. The first two parts focus on linguistics and test active mastery of the language – obtaining practical language skills and competence at the C2 level, theoretical and practical mastery of the grammar of studied languages, knowledge of linguistic terms and methodology, and orientation in relevant academic literature – that means testing the overall level of expert theoretical knowledge of the studied language, using both a synchronic and a diachronic approach. The third part of the exam focuses on literary theory and tests the knowledge of literary theoretical terminology and methodology, the ability of students to demonstrate an orientation in relevant academic literature and to characterize the development of the studied national literatures in literary theoretical and cultural-historical contexts. The fourth part focuses on cultural history and thoroughly tests the knowledge of historical and political developments in the Balkans, their ethno-cultural development, and the orientation in relevant academic literature and the ability to apply the obtained knowledge in contemporary political situation.

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After completion of the Master’s degree study programme in Balkan Languages and Literature, it is possible to continue further studies in a doctoral degree study programme. At the Faculty of Arts, students can apply for admission in the field of linguistics (Paleoslavonic and Slavonic Languages), literary theory (Theory and History of Slavonic Literatures or Comparative Literary Studies), history (General History), or area studies (Philological- Area Studies).

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Field of study specifications

Field of Study: Balkan Languages and Literatures
Abbreviation: BAK
Code: 7310T022
Type: Master's degree programme (following the Bachelor's one)
Degree: Mgr.
Accreditation: to 31/12/2024
Programme: N7310 N-FI Philology
Faculty of Arts
Field of study guaranteed by:
Faculty of Arts
Field guarantor:
prof. PhDr. Ivo Pospíšil, DrSc.