HSE University Launches Its First Combined Master's-PhD Track
HSE University is offering a new form of support for students who choose to pursue a career in academia – a combined Master's-PhD track. The competition is open for first-year master’s students in state-funded places. Sergey Roshchin, HSE Vice Rector, spoke about the interesting features of the combined track.
In many countries, there is a type of postgraduate programme—a structured PhD—with the master’s level included. When a student applies for such programmes, they attend master’s courses during one or two years; then, in some cases, they earn a master’s degree and proceed to writing a PhD thesis. There is no separate procedure for the PhD programme application. This path bridges the gap between master’s and doctoral studies.
In Russia, leading universities, including HSE University, have developed an initiative to create similar combined programmes several times. Despite the existing institutional obstacle—the need to pass entrance exams during the transition from the master’s to the doctoral programme—we believe that this idea has a lot to offer. It was actively discussed during our work on the HSE Development Programme up to 2030, which later included the concept, and this year, a decision has been made to proceed with its implementation.
The combined Master's-PhD track is a form of support for younger colleagues who graduate from the bachelor’s programmes and understand that they want to work as researchers. For those who choose the combined track, the individual master’s curriculum is coordinated and adjusted by the relevant doctoral school according to the topic and the goals of their research. The academic supervisor of the student’s master’s thesis is potentially the academic supervisor of their PhD thesis. Meanwhile, the students get all the basic parts of master’s education.
Obviously, academic research consumes a lot of time and resources. Several years ago HSE University faced the problem that doctoral students aren’t able to survive on an ordinary scholarship, so it launched the Full-time Advanced Doctoral Programme with increased scholarships and opportunities to participate in paid projects at the university and beyond. Those who choose the ‘combined track’ will receive similar support: the scholarship will be 50,000 roubles for the master’s level and 70,000 roubles for the doctoral level.
For this track, we would like to select students who do not simply ‘want to do research’ but who have already gained some experience in research during their bachelor’s studies and have published co-authored or individual papers. The selection process will be as open and transparent as possible, in line with the approved procedure. The research achievements will be considered and discussed in the relevant university departments, and experienced colleagues will evaluate the prospects for each student and the possibility of supporting them as part of the new track.
Of course, students selected for the combined track, in case they successfully graduate from the master’s programme, will have to apply for the doctoral programme in accordance with the rules that have been set for everyone. We have no doubt that their level of knowledge, competencies and involvement in the academic environment will boost the quality of their portfolios, which will help them successfully pass the doctoral programme entrance exams.
This year, the combined Master's-PhD track will have 50 slots. These slots are not distributed among master’s programmes in advance; rather, the idea is to enrol the best students regardless of their specialization and the doctoral school in which they plan to write their theses.
In the next academic year, we will continue this project and announce a new selection. Fourth-year bachelor’s students at HSE University and other universities can consider the combined track as an opportunity for further professional development.
I hope that implementing this project will promote an inflow of talented young researchers into the field of academia and that after graduating from the doctoral programme colleagues will successfully defend their theses and come to work at universities and research centres, becoming part of both the Russian and global academic community.
Four people have received this award for their achievements in the field of Computer Science: two HSE University graduate students, one doctoral student, and Sergei Obiedkov, Deputy Dean for Research and International Relations at the Faculty of Computer Science.
For the past month, all dissertation defenses at HSE have been conducted online. However, this format is far from new: over the past two years, more than 80% of defenses at HSE University were conducted with at least one committee member attending remotely.
In the 2020-2021 academic year, students of the HSE Master's Programme ‘Cognitive Sciences and Technologies: from Neuron to Cognition’ will be able to additionally apply for a continuous Master’s/PhD track. Studying in a single programme, they will participate in the international project iBRAIN, organized by leading European universities.
The first admissions period for HSE’s doctoral programmes continues. The PhD programme in Economics is one of the programmes still accepting applications. Doctoral candidates of the programme have the opportunity to defend their dissertations before the specialized dissertation council and receive a PhD from HSE University.
Of the original 300 students enrolled in doctoral programmes set to graduate this year, only 126 reached the final stage of the process—the dissertation defence. While congratulating the recent class of graduates, HSE Vice Rector Vyacheslav Bashev noted that such a large attrition rate testifies to the seriousness of those who have made it to graduation. ‘Though many of you work, you continue to invest in yourselves intellectually,’ he said.
HSE master’s programme alumni and an HSE doctoral student received an international Catalyst Grant from Digital Science in support of the development of their startup, MLprior, a service for researchers and scientists. HSE News Service spoke with Vladislav Ishimtsev, one of the startup creators, about the biggest ‘thorns’ in researchers’ sides, artificial intelligence, and the possibility of a machine uprising.
Alina Pertseva, who earned her PhD in Philosophy from the Doctoral School of Philosophy at HSE in 2017, defended her dissertation at two universities at once — HSE and the University of Paris VIII. In an interview with the HSE news service, Pertseva discussed how she managed to do this and how the Russian and French approaches to research differ.
On September 11, Ivan Smirnov, graduate of the HSE Institute of Education doctoral programme, defended his Candidate of Sciences (Education) on ‘Differentiation of students by academic performance in a social network’. His thesis consists of four articles which had been published in academic journals, as well as a description of the study methods, design and main outcomes.
A new English-taught PhD track in Educational Measurement and Testing has been launched by the HSE Institute of Education. It is the only programme of its kind in Russia and most European countries. International students can apply for Russian government scholarships until March 31, 2018. General application round is from August 1 until September 14.
After Two Master’s Degrees in India and Norway, Indian Student Chooses HSE for Doctoral Studies in Political Science
Ashish Kumar Singh hails from a place called Raebareli, a city of about 3,000,000 people located in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. He recently joined the doctoral programme in Political Science at HSE, a decision he says was motivated by discussions he had with a professor from HSE who was visiting the Russian Centre for Science and Culture in New Delhi