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.
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.
Doctoral Students Need the Support of Not Only Their Academic Supervisor, but Also of Other Faculty Staff
To successfully defend a doctoral dissertation, PhD candidates need not only the support of their academic supervisor and close friends and relatives, but also system-wide assistance from the university department or faculty where they study. However, HSE University researchers have found that such support can take different forms and that each has a different effect on how confident a student feels in their ability to successfully defend their dissertation. The results of their study were published in the journal Higher Education Quarterly.
Abdul-Raheem Mohammed from Ghana has recently defended a PhD dissertation in cognitive psychology at HSE University via remote procedure. Abdul-Raheem and his academic supervisor, Dmitry Lyusin, talked to the HSE News Service about their cooperation, the advantages and complications of remote PhD defence at HSE University, and the prospects of cognitive science in African countries.
International students interested in joining HSE University can apply for full-tuition scholarships from the Russian government. Applications for the 2022/23 academic year are open from March 1–11. We spoke to HSE University doctoral students about their work and about how scholarships have helped them pursue their research goals.
‘Gaining Practical Knowledge and Learning to Do a Lot in a Short Time’—The Life of an HSE PhD Student
Milica Simonovic, from Belgrade, Serbia, is a doctoral student at the HSE University Faculty of Economic Sciences. She is currently working on her doctoral thesis on corporate governance and intellectual capital disclosure. We interviewed Milica to find out more about her thesis and her experience of the university’s application process for PhD students.
Alaa N. Assaf is a doctoral student at HSE University’s Faculty of Law. In addition to doing research for his PhD thesis, he teaches undergraduates. Alaa has shared his thoughts on studying international law, life in Moscow, and what he misses about teaching in person.
HSE University continues to develop its new study format for students embarking on a research career: the Combined Master's-PhD track. This year, there will be 75 places for Master’s students on the track—two thirds more than last year. HSE Vice Rector Sergey Roshchin talks about the appeal of the combined-track option, how to enrol, and the achievements of last year’s applicants.
'When We Find Something That Doesn’t Work Well Enough, We Replace It in Order to Develop a More Effective Approach'
The winners of the third annual Ilya Segalovich Award were recently announced in Moscow. Established by Yandex, the award promotes the scientific endeavours of young researchers from Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan in the field of Computer Science. Among this year’s winners were three HSE students, including Alexander Grishin, a Doctoral student of the Big Data and Information Retrieval School of the HSE Faculty of Computer Science. Alexander spoke to us about his work, research challenges, and why he was surprised to receive the award.
The British Educational Research Association, BERA, has announced the winners of its Early Career Researchers Award, founded this year to recognize emerging researchers. The new award’s first two winners are Saule Bekova, Research Fellow at theInstitute of Education of the Centre of Sociology of Higher Education, and Binwei Lu of Durham University (UK). In the announcement, the organizing committee praised them as ‘outstanding scholars’ and noted the potential significance of their research for the field of education.
At the 2021 RusCrypto Competition, HSE PhD student Anastasia Malashina (MIEM) won the student report category by the unanimous decision of the competition committee, which included the directors of the RusCrypto-2021 Association, members of the programme committee, and experts in the field of computer security. Anastasia spoke with HSE News Service about her presentation.