'HSE is the Best Choice for Those Who Want to Carry out Research in Education'
Ivan Smirnov graduated from his master’s programme in Paris and hadn’t really considered coming back to Russia. But that was before he learned about the full-time advanced doctoral programme at HSE. The programme has some unique advantages among Russian programmes, which make it comparable to European PhDs.
According to Alexander Sidorkin, Academic Director at the HSE Doctoral School of Education, ‘The doctoral programme in Education is the first of its kind in Russia. We have modelled it on PhD programmes at other leading global universities, and have tried to meet internationally competitive indicators of quality. From the start, the programme was conceived as inter-disciplinary, with a broad scope of research themes. All PhD students are immersed in the real research work of the Institute's research centers. Education is a field that has a unique ability to bring together interdisciplinary perspectives to address specific societal problems.’
As Ivan states, there were three main reasons for choosing HSE. ‘First, the bursary, at over 60,000 roubles, allows you to cover your expenses, including renting a flat in Moscow, so you can fully focus on carrying out your research. Second, HSE is a leading university with international ambitions and, most importantly for me, it is developing dynamically. Third, the full-time advanced doctoral programme includes an internship abroad at any university you choose, so I knew I wouldn’t find myself in isolation for three years and would be able to stay competitive on the international academic market’.
The doctoral programme requires (and supports financially) a study visit outside Russia, as this is an essential part of HSE doctoral training. ‘The visit helps PhD students to see how their research fits into the international agenda, and how it measures up against international peers. It is extremely important to know what you and your ideas are worth outside the sheltered environment of your home institution. We find that most students gain in confidence, and often bring home with them new research strategies and sometimes even joint publications. In other words, it works very well,’ says Alexander Sidorkin.
Additionally, the laboratory and the academic supervisor are essential in the choice of the doctoral programme. Ivan was somewhat wary of returning to the Russian academic environment, but as his academic supervisor, Alexander Sidorkin, had worked in the U.S. for 20 years, they easily found a common language. ‘It was after talking to him that I made my final decision’, said Ivan.
Doctoral students can change the topic of their thesis during the first year of the programme. Some of them know from the very beginning that they want to continue the research started as a master’s student, but most of them change the topic or even come from other fields. In this case, it’s almost impossible to make the right choice of topic from the start.
Ivan’s research is dedicated to reproduction of inequality in the digital era. Instant access to almost the whole of human knowledge and millions of users in social networks mean that people are no longer limited to their immediate environment and, theoretically, can overcome the vicious circle of reproducing inequality. But it is still unknown whether this takes place in fact, or there is an inverse effect. ‘In order to answer this question, I am collecting unique data from social media about hundreds of thousands of school and university students. This allows me to evaluate the effects of segregation in the virtual space and the role of social networks in overcoming the initial socio-economic status’.
Ivan is interested in general scientific research and its application to social issues and the problems of education. ‘I look at publications in topical journals. My recent internship was very helpful in terms of this. As a result of the internship, along with Professor Stefan Thurner from Section for Science of Complex Systems, Medical University of Vienna, I prepared a paper, which is now under consideration for a journal. Where I will live and what I will do after graduating from the doctoral programme, depends on many factors. One of the options is a post doc position in the U.S. or Europe, and then coming back to Russia and opening a new laboratory doing research at the junction of data science and education’.
Ivan believes that ‘the HSE Institute of Education is a leading research centre in educational studies in Russia. Leading researchers and experts work here. Everything related to education is useful in some way, so this is definitely the best choice for those who want to carry out research in education’.
Applications are now being accepted for HSE doctoral programmes. The 2018 procedure is similar to that used by many international universities: exams can be sat online and in English, and HSE can now confer its own academic degrees. Sergey Roshchin, HSE Vice Rector, told the HSE News Service about how the procedure has changed.
Ekaterina Vasilevskaya is a second year student on the full-time advanced doctoral programme, and also a visiting lecturer at HSE. Since 2016, she has participated in the 'Health Literacy and Its Impact on Weight-Related Behaviors in College Students’ research project at Florida International University, USA. In her interview for the Doctoral School of Psychology, Ekaterina spoke about being admitted to the HSE doctoral programme, and her studies.
New regulations simplifying admissions to HSE’s doctoral programmes have been approved. The procedure includes two application waves that consider personal achievements, and offers more opportunities for those who speak foreign languages. Vice Rector Sergey Roshchin told us more about the changes.
How are students and graduates adjusting and adapting to the realities in their educational and career trajectories? What role does culture play in the sociology of education? How are attitudes towards higher education changing? These are just some of the many questions being addressed over the course a two-day conference entitled ‘Cultural Sociology and Education: Meanings, Choices and Trajectories’ that is being held on December 1-2 at the HSE Institute of Education in Moscow. HSE News Service has spoken to two conference participants, James Hurlbert of Yale University and Amy Binder from University of California, San Diego.
A good knowledge of algebra and geometry helps schoolchildren to solve some other types of tasks, including applied ones. These are the findings made by researchers from HSE, Stanford, and Michigan State University in a joint study.
Doctoral schools provide an opportunity for international doctoral students to undertake part of their study or research at HSE. The university offers two types of traineeships – research and study. The study stay involves taking courses from the HSE doctoral schools. The research stay offers the opportunity to work with a particular academic advisor or at an international research laboratory or centre; gain access to international full-text and abstract databases, journals and books; and attend graduate seminars.
Portrait galleries of renowned scientists, research laboratories right next to large classrooms and auditoriums, educational programmes for students and principals – these are just a few of the things discussed during an excursion around the HSE Institute of Education as part of the Open House project. Victoria Malova, a second-year student in the Evidence-Based Education Policy master’s programme, and Denis Federiakin, a second-year student in the Measurement in Psychology and Education master’s programme, served as the tour guides for the day.
From October 20-22, 2016, the Russian Association of Higher Education Researchers held its 7th International Conference ‘University between Global Challenges and Local Commitments’ at HSE Moscow. This annual event brings together researchers and educators who are interested in higher education development to discuss challenges and goals facing universities and their stakeholders (students, faculty, administrators, graduates etc.).
Disciplining students for a variety of activities, such as downloading papers from the internet, engaging in plagiarism or cheating on exams may not work when academic dishonesty is so commonplace at university that even top performers tend to follow the crowd in this. Indeed, academic misconduct can be self-perpetuating: if a student gets away with cheating once, they are more likely to cheat next time, according to Natalia Maloshonok.