• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

Double Degree Programme in Political Analysis and Public Policy: The Long Road to Success

The HSE Public Policy Department and the University of Bologna are launching a double degree master’s programme in Political Analysis and Public Policy. The programme focuses on political analysis and its application in preparing policy recommendations for decision makers in diverse fields. Nina Belyaeva, Head of the HSE Department of Public Policy gave an interview to the HSE news service about future challenges and her hopes and expectations for the programme.

― In our last previous when we discussed the winter school on The European Convention on Human Rights: The Principle of Non-discrimination, you mentioned that there was an agreement in the pipeline about a double degree, and now, at last it has been finalised...

― Yes, getting the agreement with Italy has been a very long journey, and all aspects of it are important. Overcoming the initial problems has made us stronger. We were up against combining two education systems based on different principles, different ways of evaluating the workload, duration and complexity of the academic year, of registering results. Anyone setting up a double degree programme is going to have to deal with issues of this kind. These differences are a problem for the actual running of the programme too. Our education is extremely demanding, and our attitude to quality is much stricter. We have to align the systems, and construct them so conditions are the same for everyone, and foreign students feel they are team-mates with our students. We’ve spent an enormous amount of time dealing with this. We introduced time limits, admissions and releases, and a great deal else which needed to be foreseen at the start. One of the hitches was that in Bologna the academic year starts in October but students are enrolled in November. There is no selection process so many people who are late or change their minds, are disappointed realising that the course doesn’t suit them, drop out in the first term. Whereas we have to enrol students in August otherwise they won’t be acknowledged as ours. We can’t get around this - it’s a legal matter. We are trying to find ways to get over this hurdle and will have an additional Call for Applications in June-July for those who haven’t even started at Bologna University, but are keen to study there, and we will choose students from among them, hoping that they will enrol and won’t drop out, that they’ll study there for a year and then come and cope with the workload for a year at HSE.

― Who kind of specialists will graduates of this programme be? What kind of career will they be looking at?

― The main area of employment for our graduates is in research centres, human-rights organisations, and political think-tanks. We can overcome the barriers in the field of rights infringements through analysis. We need experts who can write analytical texts, help to write policy papers, find solutions for government bodies. The demand for protecting rights is growing in businesses and in government departments. We have this stereotypical view that human rights is just for activists but in fact, businesses also need to understand rights. They need to know whose rights we are talking about, how they are affected and who defends them and how.

There are a lot of civil-society organisations now that need people who understand how the interests of society, government, business and local community join up. We have an impressive set of courses on conflict resolution and negotiations. Business needs consulting and analysts. Our graduates work on company strategy management to help businesses improve decision making. They also work in global and local think-tanks, business associations and large corporations. 

More and more of our graduates are working in national, regional and international government agencies. The demand for specialists in management spheres with defined subject fields is growing. Many of our graduates find jobs in universities and academic institutions. We support graduates who want to do further study or start a PhD.

― How will the course be organised? Will part of it involve study in Italy?

― In the first year students will be at their home university and in the second they will go to their host university abroad. Students love travelling and we encourage that. It’s an international exchange, learning how to try different things, but when it comes to the degree, we want to be sure that students will at least fulfil the minimum requirements of the courses.

When it comes down to it there will be five people from our side and five from theirs. Because of the high wastage we intend to select ten people and have a contest. If someone doesn’t get onto the Master’s, they can still join the exchange programme. 

The course will be taught mainly in English and we need to ascertain that the foreign students know it well enough. They will have to present their TOEFL results or a motivation letter, a certificate of English or a sample of writing which shows they can write analytically in correct English. The main thing is that both sides should understand the risks...In the past, double degree agreements were rather different - there weren’t any obligatory requirements. Now we have mutual responsibilities, we have included an interim joint stage to test knowledge. We are going to invite our colleagues from Bologna to be on the exam commission, for the final assessment as well. We are planning to let students do final oral exams on Skype in the future. We hope that our experiment will help the HSE to develop this model for agreements where both sides have obligations at all stages, in enrolment, support, curating the course, etc. Bologna University has students from all over the world and we hope that among them are some who want to get a Russian academic qualification.       

Foreigners want to work in Russia. Some of them are romantics who have fallen in love with Russian culture. Russia intrigues them with its problems, and many come here to study its independent civil-society organisations and get practical experience working with them. Volunteering is well developed in Italy and part of the culture. If Italians see an opportunity to go into social work, they won’t let it pass - it is prestigious and could help their career.

There is definitely a demand and our job is to provide the logistics, keep up the level of interest and find a format where we value each other not just for the titbits. A double degree is an institutional framework for cooperation between organisations, which recognises the benefit of the other’s experience. We see an enormous advantage in institutional culture, how much academic culture predominates the administrative side. We hope that we also will put academic interest first. They respect our culture of giving time to students, our culture of integration. We are attracted to the academic culture of discussions, research, flexibility, for students to be able to change their academic path. We hope our programmes will increase and create a single culture, this is the idea of global learning. It took us five years to make this agreement and it is a good example of in-depth integration.

Ekaterina Solovova, specially for the HSE news service

See also:

Political Analysis and Public Policy Programme Leads to Exciting International Career

After graduating two years ago from HSE’s Master’s programme in Political Analysis and Public Policy, Svetlana Kosmakova took a job with the International Committee of the Red Cross as a Migration Program Officer. She recently spoke with Sanjay Rajhans of the HSE News Service about her studies at HSE, the trajectory of her career, and what advice she would offer prospective students in Political Analysis and Public Policy.

Educational Experience in Russia

Matthew Boadi-Ampong from Ghana is a first-year student of Master’s programme in Political Analysis and Public Policy. He has shared his impressions of studying at HSE and living in Russia.

HSE Graduate Applies Lessons to Work in Indonesian Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Cultural Affairs

Since 2008, Indra Prasetya has been working as Chief of Protocol at the Indonesian Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Cultural Affairs. A graduate of Gadjah Mada University with a degree in Social and Political Science, the 33-year old native of Kebumen, Indonesia went on to spend two years in the HSE Public Policy Department studying Political Analysis and Public Policy.

Student from Morocco: from Winter School to HSE Master's Program

Hamid Ait-El-Kaid is a second-year student from Morocco of the Master's programme in Political Analysis and Public Policy. His first exposure to HSE took place during a Winter School for prospective students in February 2014. After learning about the Public Policy programme, he decided to apply to HSE.

Migration Expert Stresses Importance of Diversity Ahead of Panel on European Refugee Crisis

On October 22, the HSE Public Policy Department and the Course on Comparative Migration Policy will hold a panel discussion on the European refugee crisis. Dr. Mahama Tawat, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences and a specialist in comparative migration policy, will serve as one of the panel members. Dr. Tawat recently spoke with the HSE news service about his research interests, what attracted him to HSE and his views on tolerance and diversity.

Policymakers Are Like Modern Sisyphuses

On April 13-17, the HSE Public Policy Department will host aseries of lectures by Professor Philippe Zittoun, an internationally recognized expert in policymaking and policy research. He is currently Research Professor in Political Science, University of Lyon (LET-ENTPE); Research Fellow at PACTE, Science Po Grenoble; and Vice-Chair of the Research Committee "Public Policy and Administration" of IPSA. He was a Visiting Professor at Yale University in 2010.

Is Increased Democratization Domestically Linked to Improved Government Performance in Eastern Europe after the Cold War?

Thomas J. Volgy, Professor at the School of Government and Public Policy, University of Arizona USA and Executive Director of the International Studies Association is a political scientist specialising in international politics, democratic processes and domestic public policy. At the XV International April Conference this year Professor Volgy will be delivering two papers, one on his own and one with two fellow academics. We asked him to tell the English News service  more about them and about his work with HSE.

Winter Lessons at HSE

On 31st January to 2nd February 2015 HSE held its annual International Winter School. The Department of Public Policy and Master Programme in Political Analysis and Public Policy headed by professor Nina Belyaeva took part in the event. The Winter School welcomed participants from Germany, France, China, Japan and other countries.

HSE Winter School: The Whole World in Miniature

From January 24 to February 4, HSE's Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs hosted an international winter school. Sixty students from across the globe (Korea, Japan, China, Germany, Italy, Poland, Egypt, Morocco, to name but a few) came together for 12 days and were plunged into the hustle and bustle of daily life in Russia.

Political Scientists from Five Continents Gather at the HSE to Discuss Workings of Public Policy

On May 28-29, 2014, an international academic conference ‘Analytical Communities in Policy Advisory Systems at the Global and Local Level: Comparative Analysis of Policy Impact’ took place at the HSE.