New Master's Programme Will Help Develop Understanding of Modern Russia through Scientific Methods
In 2019, HSE is launching a new master's programme in Russian Studies that will be taught in English. Admissions for international students have already started. Boris Makarenko, the programme’s Academic Supervisor, spoke with the HSE News Service about the features of the new programme.
Unlike other programmes with similar titles, our programme does not focus on studying the works of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky (although we also study them, as culture is the heart of everything); rather, it focuses primarily on political sciences. Our students will graduate as experts in political science.
Many of us recall the lines of Fyodor Tyutchev: ‘Russia cannot be understood with the mind alone, no ordinary yardstick can span her greatness.’ Many of us are also familiar with Winston Churchill's statement that Russia is ‘a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.’ Both quotes imply that Russia cannot be studied academically, that its understanding needs some kind of magic. We want to challenge this view.
Each country is unique, but it can and should be studied. We will study modern Russia using modern scientific methods.
Let's start with the most attractive point for international students, which is that our main campus is located in the centre of Moscow near the Kremlin and other attractions. Studying will be pleasant, and for a very small cost, students can live in a comfortable dormitory.
The main feature, of course, is very strong theoretical knowledge that we offer to students. Despite its name, HSE is not a university that specializes only in economics. HSE's acknowledgement in international rankings in political and social sciences confirms this fact.
HSE lecturers are skilled professionals who are ready to translate their knowledge in English and pass it on to anyone who wants to learn from it. Our teachers are not only academic staff, but they also serve as advisers to the federal government and regional governments, as well as business consultants. Our approach is scientific but also practically oriented.
After enrolling in the programme, the first step is to take the compulsory courses in social and political science. But this is only part of the curriculum. Thanks to a large list of elective courses, one can build an individual curriculum.
Elective courses can be chosen from two large pools. For example, these can be courses in Russian economics, demography, international relations and many others. There are no particular courses in Russian history, but nearly every subject somehow includes a historical component.
Learning Russian is not required, but those who feel like studying it will be offered a Russian-language course.
The programme provides a considerable amount of research work. A special methodological seminar will help students learn how to conduct research. Students will be able to test their knowledge during a wide variety of internships.
Seminars and lectures are held after 16.00.
Different countries have different international relations with Russia, but diplomacy is always in demand, and our graduates will be able to pursue a career in this field. They will also be in demand in public administration, international business with Russian participation or in Russia itself. Quantitative methods that can be learned in the programme will be useful for those looking to work in consulting or auditing. An academic career is also an option.
In other words, our graduates will be able to establish themselves in any field that requires specialists that can ‘unwrap a mystery inside an enigma.’
How to apply
Entrance exams for the programme in Russian Studies include the portfolio competition. Russian language proficiency is not required for international students; a good command of English is enough. International certificates in English should be attached to portfolios. Without a certificate, students’ language proficiency will be checked via a Skype interview.