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Regular version of the site

Exchange Programmes and Short-term Internships, or ‘Where to Go for a Semester’

HSE has an impressive list of partner universities around the globe. Moreover, student exchange agreements have been signed with quite a few of them. The main condition for almost all student exchange agreements is as follows: guest students do not have to pay tuition fees to the host university. Of course, this condition doesn’t resolve all financial issues, since participants have to find money for their trip, as well as pay for accommodation and meals throughout their studies or internship. Several tools are in place that can help solve these problems:

  • Student mobility grants offered by the Faculty of Mathematics;
  • Scholarships offered by host universities;
  • Scholarships by international foundations and grants assigned by the Russian government under intergovernmental agreements.
    These travel grants are competitive, which means that you can apply, but there is no guarantee that your application will be approved. You can learn more about financial support below.

    But first, we would like to discuss where you can go to study.

Agreements signed by HSE and its partner universities can be quite general (covering all areas of studies), or subject-specific, such as agreements on student exchanges in subject areas like mathematics. Each agreement includes a maximum number of students who can participate. If the number of applicants exceeds this quota, participation shall be granted on a competitive basis. In this regard, subject-specific agreements are the better option. For instance, you may apply for competitions as part of such agreements. You may compete only with math students, or, otherwise, with participants from all study programmes. Nevertheless, we have a lot of agreements, and serious competitions take place relatively rarely. Final decisions on inviting students for exchange programmes or internships are made by host universities.

What do ‘student exchange’ and ‘internship’ mean? Student exchanges take place at the university level and, as such, this doesn’t mean that every student who goes in one direction will be necessarily replaced by a student from the host university going in the other direction. Each student applies solely for their own trip. Exchange students usually attend courses as part of regular programmes (most commonly, undergraduate and Master’s) at the host university. It is very rare when universities organize enrolment in special short-term courses for students from partner universities. So, to understand what courses you may be offered, simply check the websites of the partner university’s regular programmes.

Please note that Master’s courses are often taught in English, while most undergraduate courses are taught in the host country’s national languages (the University of Luxembourg is one of the few exceptions in this regard). Requirements for exchange students usually include an obligation to attend and pass exams for a certain number of courses. In addition, research internships don’t include (although don’t prohibit) attendance of classes. Internships in mathematics are research projects supervised by a scholar from a host university or research centre. That’s why the main thing in internship planning is choosing a future supervisor and negotiating the terms with him/her.

Area-specific agreements in mathematics. The list below includes not only departments with which we have agreements, but also areas of mathematics in which these departments are strong. We have also included application dates and links to some useful resources.

Kyoto University, Department of Mathematics. Our faculty assigns special-purpose funds for cooperation with Kyoto University. That’s why, if you are willing to go there and participate in a long-term (up to half a year) internship, or in a short-term event (such as a conference), you have very good chances of receiving funding. Kyoto University is very strong in representation theory, geometry, and dynamical systems. Also, RIMS (Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences) is one of Japan’s most active mathematics centres. At any moment, it hosts many visiting professors and researchers from all over the world. There are also a lot of events in mathematics to choose! If you want to enroll in the exchange programme, please contact Alexandra Skripchenko at sashaskrip@gmail.com.

University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Mathematical Sciences. Our agreement with the University of Tokyo only covers Master’s and doctoral programmes. The university’s strong areas include algebra, geometry and topology, and analysis. If you want to enroll in the exchange programme, please contact Takashi Takebe at ttakebe@hse.ru.

University of Luxembourg, Mathematics Research Unit. This is the country’s only university. Instruction is provided in three languages (Luxembourgish, English, and French). Most of the students are international. The university offers intensive courses in mathematical physics and number theory. Also, the Erasmus+ project offers additional funding: a reimbursement for transfer expenses of up to EUR 1100, as well as a monthly scholarship of EUR 800 (for up to 5 months). If you wish to enroll in the exchange programme, please contact Vladlen Timorin at vtimorin@hse.ru

Leiden University, Mathematical Institute. This is one of the oldest Dutch universities (e.g., Christiaan Huygens is one of its graduates). It is very strong in number theory. Please note that, in order to participate in a student exchange with Leiden, you must have a valid international certificate indicating English language proficiency. Obtaining such a certificate requires time. Applications are accepted by Leiden University by April 1 (for autumn semester trips), and by October 15 (for the spring semester), respectively. If you want to enroll in the exchange programme, please contact Vladlen Timorin at vtimorin@hse.ru. Please don’t wait until the deadline to make your application.

University of Nantes, Mathematics Department. The Mathematics Department at the University of Nantes and its close affiliate, Jean Leray Laboratory of Mathematics, form a large international research and educational centre (employing over 100 staff members). Every year, it holds various international conferences and hosts regular seminars in almost all areas relating to pure mathematics. Traditionally, algebraic geometry and topology, differential geometry, and dynamical systems have been the strongest areas of study and research at Nantes. If you are interested in enrolling in the exchange programme, please contact Alexandra Skripchenko at sashaskrip@gmail.com.

École Polytechnique (Paris). A renowned ‘elite university’ founded by Gaspard Monge, a famous mathematician. Over the years, this institution has employed Ampère, Cauchy, Fourier, Hermite, Navier, Painlevé, Poinsot, Schwartz, and other renowned mathematicians. Proficiency in French is needed to participate in the exchange programmes, since the courses are only taught in French. But there is also a research internship programme, open for Master’s and doctoral students. Proficiency in English is enough for participation. Laurent Schwartz Centre of Mathematics offers the internships. The deadline for exchange programmes is in mid-April, and for internships, in December. Please notify us about your plans in advance! If you want to enroll in exchange or internships programmes, please contact Alexandra Skripchenko at sashaskrip@gmail.com.

Ecole normale supérieure (Paris). This is probably the most prestigious ‘elite university’ in France. If you want to enroll in its exchange or internships programmes, please contact Alexandra Skripchenko at sashaskrip@gmail.com.

General agreements. We’ve only listed the most interesting locations in terms of mathematics and added our comments. Please refer to the full list of universities where you can go for exchange programmes. Applications for spring semester exchanges should be submitted in September.

Lancaster University (Great Britain). According to the website of its Department of Mathematics: ‘The principal research activity in pure mathematics at Lancaster over the last 20 years has concerned mathematical analysis and a strong international reputation has been established in this field. During the last five years, an algebra group of similar strength has been created and recent new posts have established a probability group. In addition, a group has been formed intersecting between algebra, analysis and combinatorics study geometric rigidity theory.’

University of Cologne (Germany). The areas of research pursued by this university’s Mathematical Institute include algebra, number theory, geometry and topology, and differential equations. Please note that Cologne is located in 15 minutes from Bonn, which is home to the Max Planck Institute and the Hausdorff Research Institute, Germany’s largest mathematical research centres. Deadlines for the University of Cologne are May 1 and November 1, respectively. If you are interested, please inform us on your plans in advance!

Humboldt University of Berlin (Germany). Humboldt University, one of Berlin’s oldest universities, whose famed past graduates include Karl Marx and Max Planck, is one of the main organizers of a joint mathematical doctoral programme in Berlin. As part of this doctoral school, many interesting courses in mathematics are offered. Furthermore, Berlin is also one of the world’s largest mathematical centres (Free University of Berlin and the Technical University of Berlin are also located there).

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (Germany). The Department of Mathematics is quite big at this institution. Its key research areas include algebraic geometry, mathematical physics, differential geometry, and logics. There also is a technical university in Munich, which is also strong in mathematics.

University of Bologna (Italy). The University of Bologna is one of the oldest (founded in 1008) and largest in the world. Mathematics here is represented by mathematical logics, numerical analysis, and mathematical physics.

University of Tromsø (Norway). The world’s northernmost university, which is located beyond the Polar Circle. Mathematical studies are quite active here. For example, it hosts the regular Sophus Lie Seminar.

University of Oslo (Norway). This university’s Faculty of Mathematics carries out interesting work in fields such as algebraic geometry and analysis.

University of Helsinki (Finland). Applied mathematics is actively studied here (including applied analysis methods), while pure mathematics is less active.

University of Basel (Switzerland). Switzerland’s oldest university, whose graduates include Daniel, Jakob, and Johann Bernoulli, as well as Leonhard Euler. The university currently includes strong research teams in such varied fields as algebra, geometry, number theory, and computational mathematics.

If you want to go somewhere else… Please note that, even if we don’t have an agreement with an university or research centre that you might want to visit, this doesn’t automatically mean that you would have to pay for a tuition or internship. In many cases, host organizations are ready to accept students for free, or even pay for their scholarships (e.g., certain universities in Israel do this). Furthermore, we can try to reach an agreement collectively. If you know where you would like to go, but need help and advice, please contact Vladlen Timorin at vtimorin@hse.ru.

Financial assistance for travel and accommodation expenses. Financial assistance is assigned on a competitive basis and, if a trip is long-term, this usually cannot cover 100% of expenses. Starting from next year, funding for exchange students at international partner universities will be assigned through the HSE Endowment.

In addition to long-term internships, the faculty’s students can participate in conferences, seminars and schools organized both by Russian and international research and educational institutions. Such trips usually last from a week to 1.5 months.

In 2015 – 2016, the faculty’s students participated in many events, including: the international summer school for students ‘Modern Mathematics’ (Bremen, Germany); summer course ‘Rationality Problems in Algebraic Geometry’ (Levico Terme, Italy); French-German summer school ‘Galois Theory and Number Theory’ (Konstanz, Germany); 5th School-Conference ‘Lie Algebras, Algebraic Groups and Invariant Theory’ (Samara, Russia); Kupcinet-Getz International Science School (Rehovot, Israel); school and conference ‘Group Representations in Dynamical Systems and Geometry’ (Marseille, France); summer school in geometry (Utrecht, the Netherlands); XX International School Poisson 2016 (Geneva, Switzerland); and summer school ‘Transversal Aspects of Tilings (Île d'Oléron, France).

Such trips are funded by the faculty. Students’ applications are accepted throughout the academic year, but no later than 1.5 months before a planned trip.

Applications in open format should be addressed to Evgeny Feigin. An application should indicate the aims and dates of the trip and include a link to the relevant event’s website, as well as the requested amount of funding, the purpose of this funding, and the other sources of financing (if applicable). The application should include an attached invitation from the host organization and/or confirmation of participation. In addition, your academic supervisor should write a recommendation letter about the trip addressed to Evgeny Feigin.

Study Initiative Support Committee at the HSE Faculty of Mathematics (in Russian)