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'Diverse Opportunities Await Our Graduates in Russia, Asia, and Other Countries of the World'

'Diverse Opportunities Await Our Graduates in Russia, Asia, and Other Countries of the World'

Flickr/Vincent Lee

In 2018 HSE launches a new BA double degree programme in Economics and Politics in Asia. It will be offered jointly by the Kyung Hee University (Republic of Korea) and HSE. Its Academic Supervisor Denis Shcherbakov talks about the programme’s structure and all that it offers.


Denis Shcherbakov

Why we created the programme

Since the 1950s, Asian Studies programmes in international universities have taken one of two different approaches: Oriental Studies, or International/Regional Studies. We take this second approach. Regional Studies covers, for example, East and South-East Asia or the Middle East as one of the regions in the world, focuses a little less on culture, religion, philosophy, literature, which are the primary areas of exploration for classical oriental studies. Instead, the focus is on: international relations and politics in the region or in particular countries, their economies and participation in international economic relations and the nuances of business activity in the country/region.

In recent years, we’ve seen a significant expansion in the Russia’s economic, trade, and political relations on the Eastern track. Business circles in China, Korea, and Japan are interested in greater cooperation with partners in Russia. Our programme will train specialists in this area. One can say with complete confidence that our graduates will have great prospects for career growth in Russia, Asia, and elsewhere.

Kyung Hee University’s role in implementing this programme

The Faculty spent a long time considering which international partner to select for this joint programme. We considered European and American universities with strong departments producing Asian studies research. But in the end we decided that Asian Studies is best studied in Asia. This offers students the opportunity to engage in additional language practice, and to get the latest information from teachers at Asia’s leading universities – first hand.

The programme offers all students a full year abroad in their third year

Korea was not selected by chance. Historically, Korea has been a crucial link in the China-Korea-Japan triangle. A lot of goods, technologies, as well as literacy, culture, and religious, and philosophical values moved from China to Japan via Korea. The reverse is also true: in the 1970s, after the Japanese ‘economic miracle’, Japanese corporations’ investment and technologies were channelled first to Korea, and then to China. Korea was in the first wave of new industrial countries – the ‘Asian tiger’.

We ended up selecting Kyung Hee University, a leading Asian university in regional studies. Its graduates include the current President of South Korea Moon Jae-in, leading Korean diplomats and politicians, top-managers at leading national and international corporations, and the President of the World Taekwondo Federation Dr Chungwon Chuoe.

The theoretical section of the programme offered by Kyung Hee University will be delivered by tutors at the College of International Studies, and that offered by HSE will be provided by tutors at the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs.

What courses will students take?

The structure of this new programme includes introductory and basic courses, as well as elective options. All these courses – apart from Asian languages – will be offered in English. For international students, Asian languages will also be taught in English.

Introductory courses will provide the foundation for students’ further studies in applied and specialised disciplines. They include: Introduction to Economics, Introduction to Political Science, Introduction to International Relations, Statistics for Social Science, among others.

Basic courses offer vital research and professional insight into the region, in this case – East Asia: East Asian International Relations, East Asian Economic Development, State and Society in East Asia, Modern and Contemporary History of East Asia, among others.

Elective courses offer students the chance to focus their studies on a particular country: China, Korea, or Japan, and also to gain practical insights in one of a number of specialisations: Global Business, or International Relations – with a focus on East Asian countries.

An important element in this programme will be the study of Chinese, Korean, or Japanese languages. More teaching hours will be devoted to these languages as part of this programme than in any other programme in the country.

This programme offers all students a full year abroad in their third year. Students choose their country and language of specialisation on enrolment, and additional areas of specialisation after completing their first year.

How are the internship and double diploma systems managed?

On enrolling on this programme, students simultaneously enroll in both universities. Their first two years are spent studying at HSE. During the first semester of their third year they study in universities in China, Korea, or Japan (depending on the language they chose), which enables them to hone their language skills and pass the requisite exams.

Those studying Korean will study at Kyung Hee University’s College of International Studies. Its Korean language programmes are known for being the best in Korea and the world. Those studying in partner universities in China and Japan will be taught at universities such as: Tsinghua University, Fudan, Shanghai International Studies University, The University of Tokyo, Waseda University, and Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University.

In the second semester of their third year, students will be taught at Kyung Hee University, where they will study practical disciplines in their basic and additional specialisations, and sit exams. Students will be able to get visas for Korea in Korean Embassies in Japan and China, saving them the time and money of an additional trip back to Russia.

Their fourth year at HSE will be focused on pre-diploma internships in companies and organizations that have partnered with the course, preparing their final qualifying work, and a number of general courses: International Trade, International Business, International Organizations, Russia in Asia-Pacific: Challenges and Opportunities, among others. At the same time, students will continue to strengthen their consecutive and simultaneous translation skills.

If the pass the state exams in Asian language, and defend their graduate qualifying work, graduates from this programme will receive:

  • A state diploma in international regional studies from HSE
  • A Bachelor of International Studies (Chinese/Korean/Japanese Studies) from Kyung Hee University
  • An appendix to their Kyung Hee University diploma in Global Business or International Relations

What kind of applicants are right for this programme?

We welcome motivated applicants with a good knowledge of English and the desire to pursue a career in economics and international relations in Asia. This programme, like all programme offered at the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs, is very intensive and demands patience, commitment and hard work from its students.

The most important thing is not to be discouraged when, alongside good and outstanding grades, you see the odd ‘B’ or ‘C’.

As a Harvard professor I know says, ‘If you only have outstanding grades in all your courses, then why would you need to come to us to study? It would seem you know everything already.’ And you can always re-sit or resubmit tests or work graded B in HSE and Kyung Hee University.

There are fees applicable to this course. Its cost (around 500,000 RUB), and a system of reductions for applicants will be approved and endorsed by the Academic Council.

What will graduates go on to do?

Our graduates will boast a profound understanding of economics, politics, and international relations in East Asia, and the nuances involved in doing business in these countries. Thanks to the specially developed approach to language-teaching, graduates will be fluent in these Asian languages and will sit internationally-recognised exams to receive certificates attesting to their language skills.

Two higher-education diplomas, recognized worldwide, as well as skills and knowledge of international business or international relations will ensure graduates are able to go on to work in major Russian and international companies and banks, federal and international bodies, and media organizations that operate in and with Asian countries.

The high level of training provided, and diplomas from prestigious universities in Russia and Korea will also enable graduates to enrol in MA programmes in leading Russian and international universities, including in Asia. They will be able to pursue an academic career, and study for their PhD.

Video message from the Dean of the Faculty for International Regional Studies at Kyung Hee University, Mr Pak