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New Master’s Programme Partners with European Universities to Offer Dual Degrees

In the Faculty of Humanities’ new master’s programme, Cultural and Intellectual History: Between East and West, students will study the history, culture, and traditions of Eastern and Western Europe from the Middle Ages to now. The programme, which begins accepting applications in 2017, also offers students the opportunity to receive a diploma from a partner university abroad.

Opportunities in the Programme

The programme is being carried out in cooperation with the University of Cologne (Germany) and the University of Warsaw (Poland). This is why future master’s students must select their specialisation before the programme begins in order to choose the German or Polish track. This assumes that students will study one of the languages more in depth. ‘Before beginning the programme at the university, students who choose the German track will, among other things, have the opportunity to complete an intensive language course prepared by our German colleagues from Cologne,’ comments the programme’s head, Ekaterina Boltunova.

The academic schedule of the master’s programme includes a semester-long study abroad at the partnering university. The Russian students therefore have to be prepared to travel to Germany or Poland depending on the track they select. In turn, HSE’s Moscow campus hosts Polish and German master’s students who have selected the Russian specialisation at their home universities. Upon finishing the course, HSE students will receive two diplomas – one from HSE and one from the foreign university. This is the Faculty of Humanities’ first dual-degree programme.

The programme views Eastern and Western Europe as a single cultural and intellectual field that, for a number of reasons, has formed different traditions in the areas of science, culture, and politics. ‘Our objective is to study the development of Eastern and Western Europe in terms of intellectual and culture cooperation,’ Ekaterina Boltunova adds.

Our main idea is to make this a platform that allows for cooperation among HSE’s various humanities-focused master’s programmes and schools

There will be a mix of required classes and electives; specifically, 30% of the programme is made up of core classes and 70% electives. ‘This approach allows students to rely on support from Academic Council tutors to set up an individualised plan of study depending on the student’s particular interests and objectives,’ Boltunova notes. In addition, students will be able to join one of the Faculty of Humanities’ seven programmes – Visual CultureApplied Cultural StudiesHistory of KnowledgeHistory of Artistic Culture and the Art MarketPhilosophical Anthropology, Philosophy and the History of Religion, and Foreign Languages and Cross-cultural Communication.

‘The programme is structured based on the umbrella-project principle. Our main idea is to make this a platform that allows for cooperation among HSE’s various humanities-focused master’s programmes and schools. In addition, future students will be able to select courses from a list of approved master’s programmes at the University of Cologne and the University of Warsaw, and they will be able to take the classes during their time in Germany or Poland,’ Boltunova explains. 

Required courses include academic writing (in English), contemporary problems in cultural studies, history and cultural research methods, a modern language (Polish or German), and one ancient language – Latin, Ancient Greek, or Old Church Slavonic.

Who is the Programme for?

To a large extent, the programme is aimed at people who hope to build an academic career for themselves. ‘In other words, we are more a first step before getting a post-graduate degree or PhD rather than a next step after finishing undergrad’ Boltunova highlights. ‘On the other hand, though, the programme will also appeal to people interested in expanding their intellectual capabilities, obtaining information on contemporary research in the humanities, and systematising the knowledge they already have.’

The knowledge and skills students obtain in the programme can be applied in the academic sphere when they continue on in a PhD programme. Graduates will ultimately be able to work as professors, university instructors, and researchers, or they may chose to work at various organisations and company divisions related to setting policies in the fields of culture and education. Graduates of the programme will also be in high demand outside of the academic realm, for example by taking part in humanities-related analytical projects at large Russian and international companies, including those related to the digital humanities.

‘The competitive edge that our graduates will have when searching for work after the programme will also come from internships, including those at institutions like the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art (Moscow), the Archive of Eastern Europe (Bremen), and the Pontifical Oriental Institute (Rome), as well as from their participation in the joint Summer School of HSE and the University of Cologne and University of Warsaw called “Philology Between East and West: Key Skills,”’ Ekaterina Boltunova says.

How Does One Enter the Programme?

The programme's languages of instruction are Russian, English, and either German or Polish. This is why, upon entering the programme, students must be fluent enough in Russian and English to fully comprehend the courses taught in these languages (upper-intermediate is acceptable, but advanced preferred). In addition, the student’s third language – Polish or German – must be at least at the low-intermediate level.

Selection is competitive, and students will be chosen in several stages. The student may be required to present a portfolio, along with any diplomas he or she may have, a cover letter in English, recommendations, etc. This may be followed by an interview with the programme’s directors in English. ‘It will also be to the student’s advantage to have an international certificate that certifies his or her foreign language abilities. This includes TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, CAE, BEC, and more,’ Boltunova concludes.

Other selection criteria include the student’s analytical abilities, prior (academic) research experience, specific research results, capacity for development, personal motivation, as well as knowledge of foreign languages.

The programme has 15 state-funded spots for Russian students and 10 for foreign students. Other students wishing to finance their education themselves can also apply.

 

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