HSE and University of Bologna sign new agreement on dual-degree programme
Students in HSE’s Political Analysis and Public Policy master’s programme who have studied for at least a semester at the University of Bologna and successfully defended their thesis will be able to receive degrees from both universities. Similarly, Italian students who study for a semester or a year at the HSE will have the same opportunity.
The universities will select the first group of students for the dual-degree programme as early as this summer. In Russia, this will include students from HSE’s Political Analysis and Public Policy master’s programme, and in Italy, students of the University of Bologna’s master’s programme in international relations. No more than five individuals from each school can be admitted to the dual-degree programme in 2014. HSE’s Department of Public Policy said the highest chance for selection lies with “motivated students who speak English confidently (the programme is in English) and are capable of conducting public policy research in an international and global context.”
In order to have the chance to receive two degrees, students must accumulate between 30 and 60 credits at the partnering university, that is, study at the university anywhere between a semester and a year. Students will have their first semester at their “native” university, after which they can chose from one of three options in continuing their education. Students are suggested to complete one of the following at the partnering university: (1) their second or third semester, (2) their second and third semester, or (3) their third and fourth semester.
The students themselves decide where – in Russia or in Italy – they will defend their master’s thesis. It is necessary to defend the thesis once in front of a committee that will consist of instructors from both the HSE and the University of Bologna.
This is far from being the first joint project between the Public Policy Department and its partners from Bologna. One might recall, for example, that master’s students with a human rights specialization are able to participate in the international programme European Regional Master’s Degree in Human Rights and Democracy in South East Europe (ERMA) and as a result receive three diplomas – one from the HSE, one from the University of Bologna and one from the University of Sarajevo.
Work on the dual-degree programme lasted for five years, beginning in 2009 when a framework contract was signed for cooperation between the Higher School of Economics and the University of Bologna. Agreeing on all the terms was not a simple matter. “When substantial agreements on the joint programme had already been reached, a stumbling point ended up being the different requirements for the timeframes and formats of enrolment at Russian and Italian universities,” Nina Belyaeva, the head of HSE’s Public Policy Department, recalls. “Often, the legal systems of different countries are not too well fitted for the quickly developing reality of academic partnership. In such situations, only well-established contacts and experience in cooperation help to ultimately carry out what was conceived,” she said.
Over the last five years, the department and its Italian partners actively developed teacher exchanges. Nearly 50 individuals took part in the student exchange programme in this time: 27 HSE students from eight departments and divisions (public policy is an interdisciplinary area) went to Italy, and 21 students from the University of Bologna came to study in HSE’s master’s programme. In addition, the HSE and the University of Bologna signed an agreement in 2013 on a joint advanced postgraduate programme in political science.
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