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Data Culture

What is Data Culture?

Data Culture is a university-wide project at HSE, the key aim of which is to help all students develop the skills needed in data-driven environments and while working with digital products, including data collection, processing and analysis, as well as automation using computer technology. The project has been running since 2017 and covers all undergraduate educational programmes.

About the development of digital competencies (from 2020 intake year)

How can one advance their digital skills while studying at HSE?

According to the Concept for Developing HSE University Students’ Digital Skills, each student must master the minimum required level of digital skills while completing undergraduate studies. The minimal level for a given field of study is indicated in HSE University’s Educational Standard.  

The educational elements, which are focused on digital skills development, as well as their volume in credit units, shall be stated in the curriculum of the degree programme and can vary from one course in the Data Cultural module to a series of educational elements (several courses, electives, optional courses, research and project seminars, individual projects, etc.) 

Students’ acquisition of the minimum required level of digital skills is ensured regardless of the customization of courses, as specified for their degree programme.

What digital skills are students required to master?

HSE identifies three cross-curricular skills, which each highly qualified specialist should demonstrate:

  1. Digital Literacy: for using digital technologies and tools for processing information in order to attain personal, educational and professional goals, as well as carrying out team projects in the digital sphere while observing basic security requirements, ethical and legal norms.
  2. Algorithm Thinking and Programming (Programming): from the setting of tasks and developing algorithms and solutions to using the latest programming tools. 
  3. Analysis of Data and AI Methodologies (Data Analysis): from using mathematical methods and models for retrieving knowledge to solving professional tasks and developing new approaches.

There are three main levels * for programming and data analysis skills: beginner / basic / advanced. 

For digital literacy, the level is unified: these skills must be acquired by all students. 

In addition to cross-cutting skills, curricula also include core courses in the given field of study which are aimed at building subject-specific digital skills. For example, working with software for editing video, images and sound, analyzing social networks, processing data from physical experiments, etc. 

* There are also professional and expert levels, but these are mastered by students of certain programmes, e.g. within the framework of separate tracks and specializations, postgraduate level.

What does the independent assessment score affect?


During the independent obligatory assessment, students of all Bachelor’s degree programmes must demonstrate three cross-curricular digital skills at a level no lower than deemed necessary for the respective programme, as well as have the option of confirming more advanced abilities.  

The assessment is carried out separately from the final assessment of learning outcomes for courses, focused on digital skills development.


The score received for each independent assessment is to be included in diploma supplement. Along with it, HSE will issue a Certificate on Digital Skills upon successful completion of the assessment. 

The student’s integrated DS score will be calculated. It is defined as the minimum value from the level of mastering Programming and the level of mastering Data Analysis, subject to mastering Digital Literacy. 

Example: the beginner level of mastering digital skills implies the ability to demonstrate Digital Literacy skills, as well as Programming and Data Analysis at the beginner level or at the beginner level for one and at a higher level for another skill. 

If a student does not receive a passing grade for one of the independent assessments and the results fail to be at the level determined as minimum, this will result in academic failure, which must be rectified by the end of the student’s Bachelor’s studies. To this end, there are two attempts at a retake.


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