Individual Approach and Original Courses
Sergey Lando, Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics, told us what prospective undergraduate and postgraduate students will meet at the Faculty in 2010.
- Sergey Konstantinovich, why should a prospective student who is fond of maths choose the Faculty of Mathematics specifically in the HSE?
- Firstly, the number of purely mathematical faculties in our universities is not high. If we consider Moscow, until recently it was only Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics at the MSU, and our faculty is in fact only the second one specializing in maths. Our faculty is not large - we enroll 40 undergraduate students for state-paid places - and this is one of our advantages. We can afford to pay individual attention to each student, and our system starting from the first year of study is designed for an individual approach to education. And the four-year course lets those students who have not yet finally decided what they want to do in their later life get a good mathematical education which can be applied to any area.
Communication with colleagues from the other faculties of the HSE and other universities makes me confident that they lack postgraduate students well prepared in maths, and the Faculty of Mathematics is capable of becoming a supplier of qualified people for ‘neighbouring'master's courses. But of course we shall welcome our graduates if they decide to continue their education at their home faculty.
- How can a prospective student evaluate his chances for successful enrolment? What requirements should he meet?
- We anticipate that our prospective students will have a strong interest in maths and that their study of the subject will not be limited by preparation for the entrance exam. However, we do not require knowledge of very complex topics from their future university course. Interest and readiness to work are the key qualities we look for in our potential students.
- What do your have for your undergraduate students? What courses should they prepare themselves for?
- Firstly, they should understand that there will be a lot of mathematics, and all the mathematical courses are original. A great deal of attention is paid to geometry, topology and combinatorics - this is our ‘brand-name set'. In addition, starting from the first year we offer the students a broad choice of research seminars where they can get experience of individual work which will be useful regardless of what specialization they choose in future. I want to emphasize once again that we carry out intensive individual work with students and discuss with them educational tasks as well as research problems for which no one has found solutions yet. We also have non-mathematical courses such as economics, sociology, philosophy, and study of those courses is aimed to make students'choices upon graduation easier.
- Sergey Konstantinovich, as for the master's course, what are students supposed to meet with here?
- The Master's course is still terra incognita for us, since this year's enrollment will be the first in the faculty's history. Those who will wish to enter it will have to pass a written examination in maths and a qualification exam in English with a grade of ‘pass'/'not pass'.
- Many prospective students might be interested in whether the faculty has any international relations.
- First of all, I'd like to note that all our staff members have international contacts. Most of our teachers have worked in leading international universities, and, for example, one of our professors, Takashi Takebe, came here from Japan, where he taught in the Universities of Tokyo and Ochanomizu. Of course we believe that these professional contacts will soon result in joint master's programmes which will allow our students to have internships in the largest mathematical centres of Europe and Northern America.
I'd like to mention one more unusual programme which our Faculty participates in. This is the Math in Moscow programme initiated by the Independent University of Moscow. It has existed for 11 years and welcomes mathematics students from leading American and Canadian universities. Recently the programme has become linked with the HSE Faculty of Mathematics, and our teachers have been delivering some of their courses in English.
- What can you say about the career opportunities for graduates of the Faculty of Mathematics?
- Graduates with a good education in mathematics are always in demand in the banking sphere, financial and IT companies. While we do not specifically teach, for example, programming, the mathematical basis our students get lets them quickly master the programming skills necessary to work with modern information technologies. And of course we believe that some of our graduates will continue into postgraduate education and become strong researchers in maths able to work in leading mathematical centres in Russia and internationally.
Oleg Seregin, HSE News Service