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New HSE Master’s Programme Focuses on German-Speaking Countries

New HSE Master’s Programme Focuses on German-Speaking Countries

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The Faculty of Humanities is now accepting applications to its new Master’s programme, ‘Germanica: History and Modernity’ for the fall of 2020. The programme gives students a wide-ranging knowledge of the German-speaking regions of the world—Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The programme is taught in Russian and German. Applicants’ proficiency of German will be verified upon admission. Professor Petr Rezvykh, the programme’s Academic Supervisor, discusses the features of the programme.

German Expertise is Never Out of Fashion

One of the enduring hallmarks of Russian foreign policy is to strengthen Russia’s cooperation with German-speaking countries. This is primarily due to the expansion of Germany's leadership in the European Union and the importance of its trade and economic relations with the Russian Federation. In a review by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Foreign and Diplomatic Activities of the Russian Federation in 2018’, Germany was identified as ‘a key European and global partner of our country’, and the importance of developing relations with Austria and Switzerland was also noted.

A particular interest in these countries is also observed in Russian society.

According to 2010 census data, German ranks fourth among the languages that Russians speak after Russian, English, and Tatar. In addition, Rosstat survey data shows that Germany is one of the ten most popular tourist destinations for Russians. Russia is home to growing German business activity, and intercultural relations between Russia and German-speaking countries continue to develop: they implement joint initiatives in research, culture, and education.


2020 marks a particularly significant moment in Russian-German cultural relations. The year has been declared the Russian-Austrian Year of Literature and Theater, and it is the third and final year of the German-Russian Year of University Cooperation and Science 2018-2020 (Deutsch-Russisches Jahr der Hochschulkooperation und Wissenschaft 2018-2020). In addition, the Year of Germany in Russia will commence in August 2020.

There is no doubt that the dialogue between Russia and the German-speaking countries will continue to expand and grow more diverse. And that means that the demand for specialists who can serve as intermediaries between the two regions will only increase. HSE University’s new Master’s programme, ‘Germanica: History and Modernity’, is an answer to this growing demand. Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the history, cultures, and current state of German-speaking countries.

Brand New Format

An analysis of Russian and foreign educational trends in German studies at the Master’s level shows that German studies is most often taught as a philological discipline with an emphasis on German literature, linguistics, and language pedagogy. While some universities are developing programmes that focus on the economics, politics, and culture of German-speaking countries, or even the region’s tourist industry, there are very few comprehensive, multidisciplinary programmes in the world that prepare students to work in various fields of intercultural dialogue between Russia and the region. And in Russia, there are no programmes of this kind at all.

Now HSE offers this kind of programme. Our students will study the political, economic, and legal systems of German-speaking countries, as well as master their history and culture — because without this it is impossible to understand the region as it is today. In addition to gaining a comprehensive knowledge of the region, students will gain skills that put their proficiency in the German language into use. This will allow our graduates to be effective communicators in intercultural dialogue.

Faculty members for the programme have been selected with these aims in mind. Our faculty includes both Russian experts in German-speaking countries and colleagues from these countries. So students will not only gain a deep knowledge of German culture, but also gain experience with interacting with representatives of it.

‘The Key to German Culture’

Programme requirements fall within four frameworks:

 Theoretical. Students master the conceptual frameworks and methodologies of regional studies.

 Interdisciplinary. Students gain the analytical tools necessary to negotiate the political, legal, and economic spheres of German-speaking countries.

 Historical. Students gain an understanding of the historical processes that have shaped the German-speaking region; courses cover intellectual history and the history of ideas.

 Linguistic. Students improve their fluency in German and gain the skills necessary for working with German-language texts.

Elective courses in fine art, cinema, music, and theater are also offered for in-depth study of various areas of German-speaking culture.

A central component of the master's programme is research. As part of a research seminar, students will analyze German-language materials and participate in subject-specific master classes. The practical course ‘Academic Textual Analysis’ will teach students how to work with secondary sources in German, and the course, ‘Kulturschlüssel: Deutsch’ (‘Key to German Culture’), will focus on how to effectively orient oneself, search for information, and evaluate media sources in German-language public discourse.

A unique element of the programme is its focus on helping students develop linguistic and communicative skills that they can put into professional practice. For example, students will learn how to select material for media projects related to German-speaking culture, how to work on blogs, write press releases, and participate in discussions. These skills can be used in remote work, which will increase graduates’ flexibility on the labour market.

Analysts and Experts

Graduates of the programme will be well-suited to work in German-speaking environments as representatives and promoters of Russian culture and products and in Russia as experts on a wide range of issues related to German-speaking countries. Graduates will be well-equipped for careers as analysts, consultants, and experts in state and business agencies, the media, cultural institutions (such as foundations, museums, libraries, and publishing houses), as well as in research and education.

Potential employers include Russian representative offices of German foundations; international departments of regional administrations, large cities and businesses; large German companies (Siemens, Miele, Bosch, Rödl & Partner); and Russian non-profit organizations working with Germany (for example, the International Union of German Culture, Institute of Ethnocultural Education).

Negotiations are underway with a number of these kinds of organizations to arrange internship opportunities for students of the programme.

‘Germany Is for You!’

To gain admission to the ‘Germanica: History and Modernity’ Programme, applicants must successfully undergo a portfolio evaluation, interview, and German language testing (level B1). Applicants who submit documentation verifying their German language skills (such as a Goethe Institute certificate of the appropriate level or TestDaF) will be exempt from language testing. Note that an applicant’s portfolio should speak to his or her academic activity in projects with Germany and other German-speaking countries.

We welcome applications from those who have deeply studied German at the undergraduate level. The programme will be well-suited for students who hold a bachelor’s degree in socio-economic or humanities fields related to foreign languages, international relations, and area studies. Students who studied German in primary school but majored in a different field during their undergraduate studies may also be competitive for the programme, depending on their German language proficiency.

Admissions to HSE’s Master’s programmes are now open. International students can apply online. To learn more about HSE University, its admission process, or life in Moscow, please visit International Admissions website, or contact the Education & Training Advisory Centre at: inter@hse.ru,  or via WhatsApp at: +7 (916) 311 8521.

See also:

‘The Admissions Process Was Fairly Simple’

In 2022/23, HSE University will be offering 45 English-taught master’s programmes in a variety of fields ranging from maths and economics to social sciences and humanities. International admissions are open until August 15, 2022 but early-bird applications will be eligible for full-tuition scholarships. Several first-year master’s students have shared their experiences of getting into the university and starting their studies.

HSE and the Ruhr-University Bochum Sign Cooperation Agreement

The agreement establishes a student- and academic-exchange programme and the opportunity for joint educational and research project development. The agreement was signed on April 8 with the participation of representatives of the government of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Master’s Programme in Comparative Social Research Now Offers a Double Degree Option

HSE has signed an agreement for a double degree programme with the Free University of Berlin in Germany. The agreement encompasses the Master's programme in Comparative Social Research and its German counterpart will be the ‘East European Studies’ programme.

DAAD Increases Scholarships for German Students at HSE

Since 2013, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has cooperated with HSE. This year, a record number of scholarship places will be available for German students to study in HSE short-term programmes through the Go East initiative.

'Germany Has No Alternative to Good Relations with Russia Based on Mutual Understanding'

On 1st December students and teachers at HSE met the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany in the Russian Federation, Rudiger von Fritsch.

German Students Сomplete Internship Programme ‘Doing Business in Russia’

From September 28 to October 2, 2015, an induction module of the Doing Business in Russia internship programme took place in Moscow. Twenty-seven new German students came for the autumn semester, and those who are completing their internships presented their final company-based projects. The programme is supported by HSE, the German Embassy in Russia, the German-Russian Foreign Trade Chamber, and DAAD.

‘All of You Carry the Name of the University’

On June 3, HSE Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov met in Berlin with university alumni living in Germany, as well as with students and postgraduate students who are currently continuing their studies at Humboldt University. During the meeting, they discussed the development of the Higher School of Economics, differences in approaches to the educational process at universities in Russia and Germany, and the prospect for transferring certain Western practices to the realities of Russia.

German Students Enjoy Internships in Russia

From 30th March to 3rd April, 50 German students attended a session of the Business in Russia programme, run jointly by HSE and DAAD and the German Chamber of Foreign Trade since 2012. Students on the programme do six-month internships in German company offices in Russia and prepare group projects on various themes, under the guidance of HSE professor Natalya Guseva.

Annual Symposium of the Association of German and Russian Economists ‘Innovation: the Way towards Continued Growth? German-Russian Experience Exchange’

The annual symposium of the Association of German and Russian Economists (dialog e.V.), which is open to all who are interested, will take place in Moscow on May 23-25. The dialog e.V. Association has held the symposium for 15 years in a row and is in its own way a platform for creating and developing the Russian-German contact network in the fields of economics, politics, management and education.

Russia and Germany: Current Situation, Lessons, and Cooperation

An international workshop, ‘Germany’s Transformation after its Unification: Current Situation and Lessons for Other Countries’ was held on September 12th and 13th, 2013 at the HSE. The workshop was organized by the HSE in collaboration with the Liberal Mission Foundation and with the support of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation.