Baltic Studies is a double or single major bachelor’s degree having a standard programme length of six semesters.
The Department of Linguistics and Baltic Studies at Masaryk University’s Faculty of Arts alternates between two different tracks (two different versions) of the Baltic programme known as Baltic Studies (L). Both tracks at the bachelor’s level are based off languages studies with one track focusing on Lithuanian, known as Baltic Studies (L), and the other, Baltic Studies (F) with a focus on Finnish. Both tracks cover the cultural-historical dimension as well. Furthermore, both versions of Baltic Studies are accompanied by the study of Estonian and (less extensively) Latvian.
The double major option is standard with the Baltic Studies programme. The Baltic programme is conceived so that it can logically be paired with a number of diverse majors, such as philology (Slavic, Germanic, Nordic and other studies), history, political science, linguistics, art theory and history or ethnography. Furthermore, Baltic Studies as a single major is possible as well.
During the first year of studies, students take part in several introductory seminars that cover methodology and the basic conceptual apparatus of linguistics, literary science, history and ethnography. The entry-level Baltic seminar is conceived as a class on natural a social geography which provides students with a basic orientation of Baltic spaces.
There are four kinds of language courses: A – explanation of language systems (four semesters), B – grammar and conversational practice in the given language (six semesters), C – reading and analysis of texts (four semesters), D – intensive practice (six semesters). The language courses are connected to one another, meaning that completing a course with a “lower” number is a prerequisite for taking the next course with a “higher” number; for example, only after the course A(1) is completed can a student enrol in the A(2) course, and thus after finishing A(2), the student can continue on to A(3). This applies to courses B, C and D as well.
Cultural-historical courses are comprised of lectures on history and cultural aspects of regions through which Baltic studies can be accessed (regions of Eastern Slavs; Lithuania, Poland and Prussia; Latvia and Estonia; Finland and Scandinavia). In addition to these courses, students are required to read (albeit translations) and analyse the assigned body of literature associated with the region and period that was covered in the lectures according to the guidelines. The schedule of these cultural-historical blocks is not fixed each semester (as opposed to the language courses).
With the single major programme, the side-by-side study of language and cultural-historical aspects is preserved from the double major programme. Whereas double majors of the bachelor programme are required to have command of one language of the Baltic Sea region (Lithuanian or Finnish), single majors must have command of two languages: students can choose a combination of Lithuanian+Finnish, Lithuanian+Estonian or, also, Finnish+Lithuanian, Finnish+Estonian. The study of these languages does not happen all at once: the primary language is studied from the first year for three years, whereas the second language starts in the second year and continues on for two years. The two different variations of the Baltic Studies bachelor programme are preserved, with Finnish and Lithuanian courses being opened alternatingly every other year. Students complete extensive linguistic courses A, B, C, D for the primary language and four semesters of courses B and D for the second language.
The cultural-historical component of thematic blocks is preserved from the double major programme (the oldest history of the Baltic region in the European context, Lithuania and Poland between Russia and Prussia as well as others) and semester survey courses on the developments and cultural connections of the relevant languages of the Baltic regions (Baltic, Finno-Ugric, Slavic, Germanic). The block of introductory methodological seminars (linguistics, literary science, history, ethnography) is the same as with the double major programme.
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The Baltic Studies major is offered alternatingly in two different versions: one version has Lithuanian as the primary language (in this case, the student can additionally choose between Finnish or Estonian as a second language) or Finnish is the primary language (the additional language is then Lithuanian or Estonian).