Double Degree is Double Value
On June 2nd the double degree master’s programme of the HSE Faculty of Public Administration and the London Metropolitan University Department of Law, Governance and International Relations was validated. Elena Guseletova, Head of this project and Head of the HSE International Educational and Research Center of Public Administration Department of International Cooperation, told us about this process and the new programme.
— Ms. Guseletova, what does the word ‘validation’ mean in education?
— This is a process of evaluation and confirmation of joint or franchising programmes in foreign universities. International universities carry out a validation of joint educational programmes to evaluate them and approve their implementation.
— So, validation takes place before the launch of a new programme. Please tell us more about it.
— The joint programme between the HSE and the London Metropolitan has been developed for more than a year. But we signed the agreement on cooperation with this university as long ago as in 2004 and since 2005 the students of our faculty have attended a special Summer school on public administration organized by the London Metropolitan University Department of Law, Governance and International Relations. This year we are preparing a new agreement which includes the validated double degree programme. Now we are just waiting for legal confirmation. The validation was a major milestone on the way to launching this double degree programme and signing a new agreement with our partners.
— What did the validation process look like?
— We began by finding out which programme would be interesting for joint implementation for the faculty and the department. Then we selected a team from the HSE teaching staff who were able to implement it. Our English partners meant we had to read courses in English, and that’s why it was necessary to find someone who speaks English fluently. Then each of the lecturers developed a specific course together with a colleague from London Metropolitan . Then they had a two-week internship in the Great Britain. And only after that did a validation commission come here to the Higher School of Economics.
They were interested in where the classes would take place, if there was a sufficient IT resources; whether the qualification of our lecturers has been tested. They met Olga Moshkova, HSE Director for International Relations, who told them about the university’s development programme, which really impressed our guests. The members of the commission looked at our library, we showed them the book storage facilities and our e-catalogues. The final stage was an interview with all programme participants. In the end we were rewarded with a successful validation, and now, after all formal procedures, we can start student enrolment.
— Will enrolment take place this year?
— Yes, but applicants should first enter the HSE master’s programme. This is a prerequisite for enrolment in double degree programme. We have two master’s programmes: in State and Local Administration and in Health Care Administration and Economy. Students from both programmes can apply for the joint programme with London Metropolitan University.
— And what will the examinations for the double degree programme will be and when will they take place?
— To enter the HSE it is necessary to pass examinations in both the area of specialization and English. During the first semester Students study HSE courses in Russian. In addition to this, they get an intensive English language course in order to prepare them for an examination in December. In order to enter the programme, they need to score a minimum of 6.0 in IELTS. The first enrolment should be at least15 people. During the second semester, Students will study subjects in English as part of their double degree programme.
— If I understand it correctly, all classes will take place in Russia at the Higher School of Economics?
— Yes, and this is why our programme is different from the others, where the students spend one year in Russia and the other one abroad, which is often too expensive for most students. Our programme makes it cheaper and easier to get two degrees. But if they want to study in London for a semester or two, we can give them the opportunity, but they need to pay the full price of the programme at London Metropolitan University. The disciplines studied in London will be passed here.
— What will the education be like? Is it different from what our students are used to?
— The titles of the subjects are similar to those that are already taught at the HSE. For example, Project Management or Public Policy-Making and Strategic Management. But nevertheless, public administration is shown from a different perspective. The focus is on a comparative analysis of the Russian and the British systems of public administration.
The methods of teaching will also be different. There will be more teamwork, there will be presentations and preparation of projects, roleplay, situation analysis and independent work. A special focus will be on the provision of educational quality in line with the requirements of the British system, which involves written examinations, double evaluation and evaluation from an external examiner.
All student work will have to pass through this double evaluation system: from a lecturer who reads the course, and from his British colleague. Some work will also be evaluated by an external examiner who will be appointed from another British university. The master’s thesis is written and defended in English.
— How many subjects in total will a master’s student have to study to get both degrees?
— In total there will be six subjects in the programme. If a student studies them all and defends his master’s thesis in English, he will get two diplomas and a master’s degree from the London Metropolitan University. If he studies all six subjects, but writes his thesis in Russian, he will get a HSE diploma and a London University diploma of postgraduate education, but he will not get a master’s degree. If during the two years a student sucessfully completes only three subjects out of six, he will get a HSE diploma and a certificate from London Metropolitan University.
— The new programme is rather difficult, and it puts a big responsibility on you. Aren’t you afraid?
— Of course this is a difficult work. We need to make sure all requirements are met. The British side works very strictly. If they say that the work should be submitted by 12 p.m. on a certain date, then at 12.05 it will not be accepted. There will probably be more potential problems which we cannot see yet. But our team is strong. Apart from myself, among the teachers of the programme will be Natalia Ivanova, Professor at the Department of Organization Theory, Nikolay Kilshch, Associate Professor at the Department of Theory and Practice of Public Administration, Evgeniy Styrin, Associate Professor at the Department of Public and Local Service, Sergey Parkhomenko, Deputy Dean for Master’s Studies, and Anna Klimova, Associate Professor at the Department of Organization Theory. So I believe we can overcome any difficulties. This is very important for us, since with the start of this programme our faculty is rising to a new level. The programme graduates will certainly take respectable positions in business and society and will be able to get prestigious employment. When a person gets both a Russian and European education, he will be of double value for many employers.
Elena Kalinovskaya, HSE News Service