Slavic Language and Literature Scholarships

Explore the Rich Literary Heritage of the Slavic Languages

Slavic (or Slavonic) languages are spoken in Eastern Europe (for example, Belarusian and Ukrainian), Central Europe (Slovak, Czech, and Polish), the Balkans (including Bulgarian, Serbian, and Croatian), and northern Asia (Russian). Many of America’s immigrant communities take pride in supporting education in the languages and literatures of the countries from which their ancestors came, meaning they fund scholarships to encourage students selecting those fields.

Americans are most familiar with Russian literature, but other countries like Poland, Croatia, and Ukraine have developed rich literary traditions, despite the chilling influence of the Soviet regime. Some of the more obscure bodies of work, like the Macedonian and Kashubian, have not been fully translated, meaning knowledge of the languages in which they were written is essential.

Note: Since Russian is considered a language vital to national security, there are special scholarship opportunities available that do not apply to the other Slavic languages. You can read more about them here.

slavic language scholarships

Scholarship Programs

National Endowment for the Humanities, Collaborative Research Grants

The National Endowment for the Humanities is a government agency that promotes education in fields like philosophy, history, literature, and languages. It provides the Collaborative Research Grants to teams of scholars who want to work on a specific humanities-related project. The Scholarly Editions and Translations grants are perfect for students who want to translate works currently available only in their original Slavic languages.

Standards for these translation grants are high, but if you produce a sound proposal of obvious merit and present a qualified team, there is a good chance of winning approval (44 percent of recent applications have succeeded). The grant period is flexible, from one to three years.

National Resource Centers, Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships

The National Resource Centers program is also funded by the government in order to promote studies of other languages and cultures. The Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships initiative hands out money through participating universities. It provides financial aid to undergraduates and graduate students focusing on modern languages, including Slavic tongues.

Undergraduate awards are for $10,000 and graduate awards for $18,000. You should ask your language department’s FLAS coordinator for more information.

University of Wisconsin (Madison), Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

The University of Wisconsin’s Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures administers the Michael and Emily Lapinski Undergraduate Scholarship for undergraduates or graduate students in Polish studies. The award pays tuition, and you must submit a cover sheet, statement explaining your choice of Polish studies, transcript, work sample, and two reference letters.

Wayne State University, Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

Wayne State University’s Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures maintains a Slavic Scholarship Fund, from which students who have distinguished themselves academically receive scholarships. You must be studying the Polish, Russian, or Ukrainian language and literature, and scholarship terms are flexible.

University of Pittsburgh, Russian and East European Summer Language Institute

The University of Pittsburgh’s Russian and East European Summer Language Institute, in which students can earn one year of college credit, offers graduate students full tuition scholarships for the Beginning Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian course. The course is held in Pittsburgh for six weeks, then moves to Montenegro for four. Montenegro is adjacent to Bosnia and Serbia, so all three languages are spoken there.

University of Washington, Slavic Languages and Literatures Department

The Slavic Languages and Literatures Department at the University of Washington offers three scholarships for Slavic studies:

University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

The University of Illinois’ Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures hands out the Vekich Scholarship to undergraduates and graduate students in South Slavic languages. The award underwrites course materials for a Bosnian/Croatian/ Serbian class, and winners are also eligible for a study-abroad fellowship of $500 toward a summer language course.