Two Additional HSE – Moscow Programmes Receive International ZEvA Accreditation
The Central Agency for Evaluation and Accreditation (ZEvA) determined that the HSE Bachelor’s programme in ‘Sociology’ and the HSE Master’s programme in ‘Comparative Social Research’ meet international educational quality standards. Both programmes have been accredited unconditionally for six years.
In their final report, the experts—representatives of leading European universities—noted the ‘excellent learning environment’ that the HSE School of Sociology has created for its students. The ZEvA commission praised the School for its clear aim of ‘producing articulate, confident and independent personalities with highly developed self-management skills.’ In the agency’s assessment of the programme in Sociology and the programme in Comparative Social Research, students and alumni demonstrated ‘a high level of commitment to their university’ and ‘excellent communication skills’.
The English-language master’s programme ‘Comparative Social Research’ examines sociology from a global perspective. Students of the programme participate in interregional and international quantitative and qualitative research, and they have the opportunity to lead their own projects. A double-degree programme in partnership with Western universities and the programme’s international composition of students and teachers provide a strong foundation upon which graduates can pursue international academic careers.
The ZEvA experts expressed confidence that the knowledge and skills students gain in these academic programmes give them ‘high chances of finding employment in various professional fields.’ In addition, they are ‘able to relate their academic knowledge to the social context and realities in which it is acquired.’
The agency representatives noted the high level of internationalization that the School of Sociology at HSE University has achieved, both in terms of research and pedagogy. ‘The Master's Programme ‘Comparative Social Research’ demonstrates a particularly strong international profile,’ they said. The experts were ‘impressed by the excellent qualifications, the international profile and the open, self-reflected mindset of the teaching faculty.’ There is no doubt, the report says, that ‘the lecturers as well as the faculty leadership attach high importance to the quality of teaching and to their own professional role as teachers.’
Christian Fröhlich, Academic Supervisor, Master's Programme ‘Comparative Social Research’
As an international, English-taught MA programme aiming to attract the best Russian BA graduates and students from all over the world, this international accreditation from the renowned ZEvA means for us an highly important acknowledgement of the high quality of the "Comparative Social Research" programme and its equivalence to the education at West-European and international universities.
The expert panel carefully screened every aspect of our programme's life: they talked with students, graduates, employers and teaching staff, they reviewed the quality of the teaching environment in every detail. As a result, they were strongly impressed, among others, by our strong and internationally orientated teaching staff and by the team spirit among students and teachers. We are very glad to receive such a strong recognition of our many years of effort.
The ZEvA experts note that the School’s ‘infrastructure and equipment are modern and in very good condition, providing a motivating atmosphere and enough work-space for students.’ Among the programme’s advantages, the experts also noted the campus’s location in the city centre and that ‘the overall atmosphere amongst students and staff seemed very collegial, open and engaged.’
Olga Kuzina, Programme Academic Supervisor, Sociology
I think that our German colleagues rightly saw and highly evaluated the atmosphere of cooperation that has developed in our programme between teachers and students. Our educational programme eschews the type of education in which students simply memorize and regurgitate whatever their teachers teach them. Rather, we endeavor to create a space in which students engage in the joint search for answers to pressing sociological questions, partake in open discussions, and develop critical judgment. Our teachers and students are curious and passionate people who teach and learn from each other.
HSE sociology students acquire more than skills and knowledge. In their report, the agency experts identify the main aim of the School of Sociology as ‘producing articulate, confident and independent personalities with highly developed self-management skills.’
The Bachelor's programme in ‘Sociology’ prepares specialists with the necessary skills to analyze and make recommendations in the economic, political, and social spheres. A distinctive feature of the programme is the close connection it maintains between teaching and research, as well as its emphasis on practical project work. Graduates of the programme meet the highest labor market requirements in market research, public opinion, advertising and public relations, and academic research.
According to Olga Kuzina, ‘after talking with graduates, our German colleagues also noted that the programme curriculum not only provides skills and knowledge, but also contributes to the development of very important personal qualities, including independence of judgment and developed skills of self-management—the ability to make decisions and take responsibility for them.’ ‘However, these abilities cannot be developed without hard work, so the flip side is a high workload, both for teachers and students. But I have no doubt that the result is worth the effort,’ says Olga Kuzina.
Earlier, ZEvA accredited two St. Petersburg HSE programmes (‘Political Science and World Politics’ and ‘Comparative Politics of Eurasia’) and five Moscow campus programmes (‘International Private Law’; ‘Law of International Trade, Finance and Economic Integration’; ‘Political Science’; ‘Applied Politics’; and ‘Politics. Economics. Philosophy’).
The Central Evaluation and Accreditation Agency (ZEvA) specializes in the assessment and accreditation of the quality of education and management in higher education. It is one of the founders of the ENQA (European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education), which shapes approaches to quality assurance in higher education. The agency's assessment is based on the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ESG).