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Regular version of the site

HSE Art and Design School Welcomes English-Speaking Students

© Mikhail Dmitriev/ HSE

The HSE Art and Design School is pleased to announce new English-language undergraduate programmes in Communication Design and Environmental Design. International applicants are invited to apply for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Studying at HSE Art and Design School

Founded in 2013, the HSE Art and Design School has emerged as one of Russia’s leading educational institutions in design and contemporary art. In developing the School’s curriculum, leading Russian designers and professionals in design, media, arts and advertising drew upon their own professional experience as well as cutting-edge international practices.

The curriculum is project-based: from the first lesson, students begin working on a project of their own conception under the guidance of class curators. The first year of study is dedicated to ‘the language of design’: students learn basic techniques to develop design products while mastering the tools used by designers today, such as software, graphic packages, 3D technology, web technology, and animation technology. The second year focuses on the development of students’ systemic and conceptual approaches to design, and students choose the profile in which they will further develop their skills. In the third year, students gain experience working with complex design projects and briefs by real customers. Students get hands-on experience in the industry and cultivate professional relationships with potential employers. During this time, students begin preparing a capstone project, which must contribute to the professional design community in a significant way.

At the HSE Art and Design School students become experts in global contemporary design and arts, learn the ins and outs of Russian and international design, familiarise themselves with the profession through project-based work resembling that of leading design studios, and immerse themselves in the cultural life of a vibrant global capital

The School’s new international programmes fully correspond to their Russian-language counterparts in both content and standards. The only difference is the language of instruction. The courses are led by lecturers and curators of the Art and Design School who are fluent both in Russian and English.

HSE offers over 200 graduate programmes, so students of the Art and Design School often collaborate with students from other faculties on joint projects. Such collaboration allows students to view their projects from a different perspective and further develop their own unique approach to design. In addition, in their second or third year, students are required to choose a minor in a field other than their major. This requirement encourages students to both diversify and personalize their academic experience. . Possible minors include neural network technologies, world economy, business informatics, management, urbanism, law, Asian studies, contemporary politics, and others.

Communication Design (BA Programme in Design)

In the BA programme in Communication Design students master the visual language that can be used to convey brand identity, packaging, advertisements, infographics, websites and applications. The academic program of Communication Design at HSE ART AND DESIGN SCHOOL is headed by Alexandra Kuznetsova, a graphic designer and contemporary artist who has worked as the art director of Imperial magazine and the designer of Snob, a popular Russian magazine. As Alexandra Kuznetsova notes, ‘Today design is the most important conductor of information, and a designer is a master of instant meaning, outrunning a long word with a quick picture.’

Students of the Communication Design programme choose one of three specializations: Branding, Multipage Publications, or Motion Design.

The programme emphasises practical experience: from the first day students participate in the day-to-day realities of the industry and get hands-on experience in their chosen field. Students create a graphic composition and posters before proceeding to develop a full brand identity and integrated brand. Students design a multi-page publication in their chosen format (booklet, magazine, book, etc.), create animated films, and develop visual projects. As students progress in the programme and the complexity of projects steadily increases, students are forced to get creative, improvise, and develop their own unique approaches to designing tasks.

Environmental Design (BA Programme in Design)

In the Environmental Design track students learn how to create a comfortable environment and convey a complex message through graphic art. Students blend concept with utility when creating furniture, interior spaces, urban environments, or landscapes. Alexander Dzhikia, curator of the track, says, ‘When organizing a space, the designer becomes even more important than the architect, because he sees the person in the environment and livens up the environment’.

The HSE Art and Design School aims to train dynamic, well-rounded modern professionals, so in addition to mastering designer tools and developing projects (which for the Environmental Design profile may include an art object, a curated exhibition design, a spatial design, urban environment objects, a residential building design, a public space, and other projects), students attend classes in art practice, as well as lectures on art history and design. Courses in art practice are aimed at developing students’ contemporary art skills in order to expand their creative horizons, while courses in art history and design introduce students to the key stages of classical and contemporary art, the principles of artistic creation, and the use of art in designer work.

Within a year, students of each track create at least four full-scale projects, each of which is defended before a committee consisting of lecturers and invited design professionals. All projects are stored in the student’s online portfolio, which tracks the student’s professional development. A high-quality portfolio also enables students to build a reputation for themselves among peers and employers alike, which in turn helps them obtain starting positions higher than those typically offered to recent graduates.

Students and lecturers regularly place highly in international design competitions, and the HSE Art and Design School prides itself on being an active participant in the global professional design community, thereby expanding the opportunities for its students and graduates exponentially.

How to apply:

  1. Submit an application online
  2. Choose a date for the Russian language test

The Russian language exam is administered remotely. The exam schedule and syllabi are available here. International applicants who don’t have sufficient knowledge of Russian may enroll in the Preparatory Year, where they take Russian language classes and learn the ins and outs of the University.

  1. Pass a creative competition. Applicants must first prepare a project that complies with the requirements. This is followed by a Skype interview on the topic of art history.

  The creative project should include a series of works (6 to 12) that are united by a single theme, concept, and stylistic vision. The theme of the project is of the applicant’s choosing and must speak to his or her creative potential and level of artistic thinking. The HSE ART AND DESIGN SCHOOL offers topic suggestions, but applicants are not bound to them.  If an applicant wishes to choose a different theme for their project, the exam commission will consider such a project on an equal basis with those that have been suggested, so long as the project components form a cohesive series.

Projects must be created independently by applicants on their own . They must be submitted as a presentation of 15 slides or less and sent via email as pdf files to in.design@hse.ru with ‘design_undergraduate’ in the subject line. The projects can be done using any technology (computer or manual), but should constitute a stylistically unified series of works. The results of the creative competition are assessed on a 100-point scale. The minimum number of points required to successfully pass the exam is 60.

Communication Design track

Project topics: a country, city, school, museum, gallery, exhibition, book, theater, club, concert, factory, airport, public organization, shop, clothing brand, cafe, etc.
Project types: a series of posters; a series of covers (for a CD, book, magazine, etc.); a series of font compositions; branding; a series of packages; infographics; outdoor advertising.

Environmental Design track

Applicants are invited to choose a practical purpose for their project. This could be the creation of:
  • residential interiors (bedrooms, children's rooms, living rooms, bathrooms, billiard rooms, space liner cabins, etc.),
  • public spaces (offices, bars, restaurants, hotels, verandas and terraces, concert halls, exhibition and museum spaces, etc.),
  • landscapes (garden spaces, park spaces, urban spaces, etc.).
Project types: object-spatial compositions; a series of images that visualize space; sketches or layouts of a series of interior elements; a series of images for facades, or a series of items, such as furniture, for example.

  In addition, the applicant must successfully pass an interview on the topic of art history, which is usually conducted via Skype. The interview is conducted individually and involves an interactive dialogue between members of the exam commission and the applicant. To successfully complete the interview, you should be ready to discuss at least two authors, artifacts, styles, or artistic trends of each the following periods in the history of art and culture: Antiquity, the Early Middle Ages, the High Middle Ages, the 14th  century, the 15th century, the 16th century, the 17th century, the 18th century, the 19th century, and the 20th century. Members of the admissions committee determine the historical periods to be discussed during the interview and ask additional questions. During the interview, the examination committee evaluates the applicant’s general cultural knowledge, their knowledge of professional design and art history, and the compatibility of the applicant’s interests and expectations with his or her chosen profile. The interview does serve as the sole basis upon which a student’s application is evaluated; rather it is one component of the applicant’s overall application grade.


Uliana Aristova

Professor at HSE Art and Design School, Design Programme Academic Supervisor

'This multi-stage selection process helps us choose multi-faceted, talented individuals who will shape the way we live, think, and communicate in the 21st century. Multiculturalism and mutual influence of various cultures from different countries enhance design quality. We are already accepting applications from international students and have received, for example, several applications from prospective students in Mongolia. We encourage students from all over the world to apply: in contemporary society, design is a powerful communication tool in cultural comprehension of the present and creating our future.'

The HSE ART AND DESIGN SCHOOL is situated in the heart of Moscow, thereby placing students in close proximity to famous Moscow museums, galleries, and new creative spaces. Our students live in university dormitories and enjoy access to all university facilities. In the summer students travel to different regions of Russia with curators to collaborate on design projects connected to Russian culture (see, for example, the expedition to the Russian North).

The HSE ART AND DESIGN SCHOOL invites young people from all over the world to join our team.   
web-site: design.hse.ru
e-mail: design@hse.ru; in.design@hse.ru 
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Icons made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com (licensed by CC 3.0 BY)

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