The end of the Cold War and the enlargement eastwards of NATO and the EU represented turning points in the history of Eastern, East-Central and South-Eastern Europe. Although once called “the East”, this area has in recent years moved to “the West”, raising many questions as to its identity and prospects. Will “the East” change and meld into the globalising world, or relapse into obscurity and its typical old diseases? Straddling “the East” and “the West”, Prague is an ideal place to ask these questions and to seek answers to them.
Balkan, Eurasian and Central European Studies (BECES) is a two-year English-language Master’s degree programme fully accredited by the Ministry of Education of the Czech Republic. It offers the English-speaking audience a deep and versatile exploration of “the East”, understood as the territory composed of Central Europe, the Balkan peninsula, and the countries of the former Soviet Union, including the those in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Primary attention is paid to modern history, politics and diplomacy, as well as to fundamental social, cultural and economic problems.The programme also offers students the chance to learn or improve their knowledge of the Czech language and some other languages of the area.
The programme’s core courses provide an overview of crucial aspects of the area from an analytical and multidisciplinary perspective, while elective classes allow students to create their own specialisation. The aim of the programme is to help students write a Master’s thesis of sufficient quality to merit publication. Through the university’s network of exchange programmes, talented students may also be offered the opportunity to make a brief research visit to another country in the area. By developing the student’s knowledge of the Czech milieu and language, the programme may also serve as an access-point to some of our Ph.D. programmes. The programme is deliberately structured to take advantage of the multidisciplinary nature of the Faculty of Social Sciences, and students will be encouraged to make connections between different fields of study, learning to combine a global perspective with attention to detail and local interests. It is an excellent stepping stone to developing an academic career in any of the Faculty’s academic disciplines, as well as a valuable source of analytical skills and practical background knowledge that can be applied in professional life.
After completion of the Balkan, Eurasian, and Central European Studies programme, the students will acquire an advanced level of graduate education including a good command of one or two languages of the area as well as a broad and, at the same time, deep knowledge of the region studied. They will be capable of open but critical understanding and conceptual thinking, and of appreciating cultural diversity. This intellectual equipment will provide them with an opportunity to continue their self-education and find work related to the problems of the studied area in both the public and private spheres.