‘Working in Academia Is My Lifelong Desire’
Majid Sohrabi is a 28 year-old student from Iran currently enrolled in a doctoral programme at the HSE University Faculty of Computer Science. Before starting his PhD, he graduated with honours from the university’s Master of Data Science programme. In addition to studying, he also works as an assistant at the School of Data Analysis and Artificial Intelligence and a research assistant at the Laboratory for Models and Methods of Computational Pragmatics.
With the enrolment campaign for state-funded places on doctoral programmes now underway, Majid told the HSE News Service about doctoral studies and teaching opportunities at the university, as well as the international vibe in Moscow.
Choosing the Top University in Russia
I was always interested in seeing the world, studying at top universities, and getting more experience by living and studying abroad. My journey started from the first semester of my bachelor's programme in 2013. I invested in my language skills, research, teaching, and participation in conferences and competitions, etc. I also heard about the beauty of Russia and its nature, and about Moscow itself. HSE University is the leading university in Russia, with high global rankings and multiple interesting programmes taught in English. I was aware that HSE has four different campuses, but I decided to study in the capital of Russia.
The website is straightforward, and all the information you need about the university and the application process is easy to access and available, which is very important for new applicants.
Additionally, HSE's generous offer of a full-tuition scholarship for the Master of Data Science programme motivated me to select HSE University-Moscow (this university was my only choice—I didn't apply to other universities in Russia).
And now, a full-tuition scholarship for my PhD and a job offer as an instructor and research assistant are a strong motivation to collaborate with the top university in Russia. It is the dream of all people who love academic life, and why should I miss this chance as an international person looking for daily growth and progress?
Some other key features of HSE University and the Faculty of Computer Science are the facilities, numerous international laboratories, and professional faculty members with many research interests.
The university creates opportunities for students to easily find their path and their interests in order to become good researchers.
Making the Most of Moscow
I moved to Moscow in November 2021, and to be honest, I expected very cold weather. But in my opinion, the weather is not that harsh—at least it's tolerable for me. All my expectations about the beauty of the city and HSE University, as well as about the professionalism and quality of the latter, are satisfied.
I like the city vibe because it's alive and filled with people of different nationalities. As an international person, I enjoy learning about Russian culture, and there are a lot of places to visit and a mix of modern and historical architecture together. Moscow is a good place to learn about all these things and enjoy modern life.
The main difficulty is the shortage of time. Working as an assistant, research assistant, and PhD student is challenging. But fortunately, I enjoy academic life, and this is the reason why I overcome hardship in this way.
A common problem for all international students is finding a job without Russian language knowledge. I know Russian ‘чуть чуть’ [a little]. I am attending a Russian language course provided by the Russian Language Centre at HSE University. The hardest word that I heard is ‘достопримечательности’ which means ‘sights’.
Teaching, Research, and Future Plans
My first experience of teaching was during my bachelor's programme in my country. What makes teaching at HSE special is collaborating with students of different nationalities and backgrounds who are looking for daily learning. They are hungry for knowledge.
My research mainly concerns medical data analysis. For my PhD I'm working on neural ordinary differential equations for bifurcation analysis, which applies to blood flows. The student topics that I supervise concern medical imaging, natural language processing, and machine learning techniques. I have been working under the supervision of Dr Vasilii Gromov for my master's and now PhD thesis, and with School Head Dr Sergei Kuznetsov.
Regarding the future, firstly, I plan to defend my PhD thesis successfully. Secondly, I would be happy to continue my collaboration with the Faculty of Computer Science at HSE University. Working in academia is my lifelong desire.
The Russian government scholarship (Quota) is a competitive application process for international applicants seeking state-funded places on doctoral programmes. Foreign citizens, stateless persons, and Russian nationals residing abroad who hold a master’s or specialist degree can apply for tuition-free PhD studies.
The application deadline for 2023 admissions is March 1, 2023. For more information about the scholarship and the application process, please see the university’s page on funding opportunities for doctoral programmes.
Zaruhi Hakobyan, master’s graduate of the HSE University Faculty of Economic Sciences and research scientist at the University of Luxembourg, is involved not only in research but also in organising academic events for young scientists and students. As a foreign graduate of HSE University, Zaruhi was nominated for the HSE Alumni Awards ‘for her tireless enthusiasm in popularising economic science, teaching, and research at the international level’ and made the shortlist.
‘Studying at HSE Was a Chance for Me to Get to Know Some Supportive Seniors, Knowledgeable Professors, and Wonderful Friends’
On August 4, 2023, a pre-defence of the thesis on ‘Refugee-Host Community Conflict over Assimilation, Integration, and State Legitimacy: The Case of Rohingyas in Bangladesh’ by Md. Reza Habib will be held at HSE University. The preliminary defence will take place at a joint meeting of the HSE School of Sociology and the International Laboratory for Social Integration Research. Md. Reza Habib shared his experience of studying and preparing his PhD with the HSE News Service.
Wenrui Zhang, from China, is a recent graduate of theMaster’s in Economics and Economic Policy at the HSE UniversityFaculty of Economic Sciences. Having successfully defended his master’s thesis on the impact of COVID-19 on the incomes of vulnerable groups, Wenrui has set his sights on publishing his research and enrolling in adoctoral programme at the university. The HSE News Service interviewed Wenrui about his achievements so far and his goals for the future, and also spoke to Prof.Elena Kotyrlo, his academic supervisor.
Why do international students at HSE University decide to pursue a career in academia? What fields in economics are relevant to PhD students? Richard Asiamah from Ghana and Alesya Bukreeva from Uzbekistan are current master’s students at the Faculty of Economic Sciences, but have already received scholarships from the faculty to continue their studies as doctoral students at the university. Below, they share their experiences, while Denis Melnik, Academic Director of the Doctoral School of Economics, suggests some tips for the application process.
On March 16, the results of the Open Doors International Olympiad for master’s and doctoral applicants were announced. The competition is organised by the Association of Global Universities with the support of the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia and the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo). HSE University is one of the Olympiad’s organisers and the site of its distributed project office.
Wai Yan Phyo Naing first came to HSE University from Myanmar to enrol in a master’s programme at the Faculty of World Economy and World Affairs in 2015. After graduation, he decided to pursue a PhD at the Doctoral School of International and Regional Studies. On February 16, 2023, he successfully defended his dissertation on ‘Evolution of Myanmar’s Policy Towards China (1988–2020)’.
Ion Frecautan chose to pursue his doctoral studies at HSE University because of its reputation as a leading research university and its extensive academic infrastructure. With the latest enrolment campaign for doctoral schools now underway, we spoke to Ion about his green finance research at the Faculty of Economic Sciences, his activities as a lecturer, and more.
On February 1, 2023, HSE University will open admissions to its doctoral schools. The Doctoral School of Economics has held a webinar for prospective students, which attracted participants from various parts of the world. Materials and feedback from the webinar, as well as information on applications, are now available on the Faculty of Economic Sciences website.
The first stage of the Open Doors: Russian Scholarship Project for prospective master’s and doctoral students has concluded. The winners of the competition get an opportunity to study at Russian universities for free. HSE University is among the most popular universities on the project.
The MendiT Research Lab, based at the HSE University Doctoral School of Arts and Design, will become a resident of the GES-2 Cultural Centre for a month from June 5th. The researchers will introduce members of the urban community to the lab and explore the practices of mending clothes together with them. Some of the lab participants told the HSE News Service what it's like to be searching for a method and object of research.