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Russian & East European Studies Certificate Program

This certificate program is designed for students majoring in any field, but specifically for those majoring in Russian, political science, history, geography, and international studies, as well as for non-majors.

Its purpose is to enable students interested in the Russian and East European area to take a coordinated series of courses and to receive a formal certificate signifying this specialization.

The Russian and East European Studies Certificate Program is open to all students seeking a bachelor’s degree from UWM, to those who previously received a bachelor’s degree from UWM or any other accredited college or university, and to those who do not plan to pursue a college or university degree (non-degree students) but who have a strong interest in this topic. To be admitted as non-degree students, individuals must meet regular university admission requirements. Students currently involved in baccalaureate studies who successfully complete the requirements of the program will be awarded the certificate at the time of graduation. Students who already have a bachelor’s degree and non-degree students receive the certificate upon completion of the program requirements.

To obtain the certificate, students must complete at least 18 credits including the requirements in either of the following two tracks:

Track One

  1. 9 credits in upper division courses from the appended list of courses in area history, political science, geography, and foreign languages and literature, or substitutes as approved by the Committee.
  2. demonstrated mastery of one of the languages of the region, as measured by the Committee. In the past, this level of proficiency was usually achieved by successfully completing 4 semesters of classroom study in the language. Note: should a student already have a demonstrated mastery of one of the languages in the area without needing formal course work, he/she will be required to complete 9 additional credits in courses approved for the certificate.

Track Two

  1. 9 credits in upper division courses from the appended list of courses in area history, political science, geography, and foreign languages and literature, or substitutes approved by the Committee.
  2. an additional 6-9 credits in courses covering the area from the appended list of courses, or substitutes approved by the Committee.

In both tracks, students will be required to have completed at least 18 credits in courses required for the certificate. At least 9 advanced credits must be completed successfully at UWM.

In both tracks, students must achieve a minimum grade point average of 2.75 in all courses taken for the certificate, including language courses.

Students should be aware that not all certificate courses are taught regularly. They are advised, therefore, to plan well ahead in choosing courses needed for the certificate. A maximum of 3 credits in advanced independent study courses (699) may be applied toward completion of certificate requirements. Other appropriate courses taught by the area faculty, but not on the list, may be taken with the approval of the Chair of the Russian and East European Studies Committee. When necessary, requests for other substitute courses will be considered by the committee, provided they are made well in advance of graduation.

Approved Courses

Ethnic Studies

250     Selected Topics (w/subtitle)    


330     Europe: East and West
364     Central Europe   


238     Poland and its Neighbors to 1795
239     Poland and its Neighbors, 1795-1914
295     Historical Encounters (East European topics)
340     Early Russia through Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, and Catherine the Great
341     Imperial Russia: From Despotism to the Bolshevik Revolution
343     The Soviet Union: From Lenin to Gorbachev
345     The Modern Balkans: War and Democracy
346     Poland and its Neighbors, 1914-1945
347     The Rise of Modern Poland, 1945-Present
348     Poland and its Neighbors, 1945 to the Present
367     Women in Soviet Society: A Historical Survey

Political Science

302     Politics of Eastern Europe
310     Politics of the Soviet Union and its Successor States

311     Russian Foreign Policy
333     Topics in Comparative Politics (Russian or East European topics)
371     Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict


All courses


All courses

Slavic Languages

All courses

Current Faculty

Faculty Coordinator: Joseph Peschio, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Foreign Languages and Linguistics/Slavic

(414) 229-4948 |

Shale Horowitz: Associate Professor of Political Science

(414) 229-2399 |

Biography: Shale Horowitz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science. His research focuses on international and ethnic conflict, and on the politics of international economic policy. In the area of Russian and Eastern European Studies, his work has examined the causes and consequences of post-communist ethnic conflicts and the sources of post-communist democratization and market reform. He taught for a year at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, and has done research in many countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. He is also the instructor for the United Nations Summer Seminar.
For more information, see his web page:

Donald Pienkos: Professor of Political Science

(414) 229-4239 |

Don Pienkos is Professor of Political Science and Faculty Coordinator of the International Studies Major at UWM. Along with Dr. Philip Shashko (History), Don is one of the founders of the Russian and East European Studies certificate program who continues to teach at UWM. Don's regularly teaches courses on the Politics of the Soviet Union and its Successor States (PolSci 310) and the Politics of Eastern Europe (PolSci 302). His current research focus is on Polish and East European politics and foreign policy.

Philip Shashko: Professor of History

(414) 229-4207 |

Neal Pease: Associate Professor of History

(414) 229-5205 |