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Practical Training of Students at HSE University

What does practical training mean?

Practical training or instruction is an educational activity under a given degree programme, whereby learners complete certain types of tasks, related to their future professional activities. The greater share of self-study makes practical training different from other types of coursework. There are no lectures or seminars during practical training. Rather, students have opportunities to ask questions and get feedback from their supervisors.

How is practical training organized at HSE University?

Practical training of students is organized as part of a special ‘Internship’ module under each degree programme. However, under certain degree programmes, practical training may be included as part of courses in Major or Minor blocks

What elements of practical training (PTE) are included in my degree programme?

Information about practical training elements (PTE) included in your degree programme can be found on your programme’s homepage in the ‘Practical Training’ section, which provides details about the internship programme, as well as features consolidated table with descriptions of all PTEs that you are expected to complete in the course of your study. A list of PTEs is also available in the ‘Internship’ module of your programme’s curriculum. You can also look at the curriculum on your programme’s homepage in the ‘Documents’ section.  

As for practical training organized as part of your courses, their contents are described in the course syllabus and usually comprised of various laboratory sessions, practical classes and other similar types of learning activities, which aim at developing students’ practical skills during their studies.

What types of practical training are available at HSE University?

Let’s discuss the structure of the ‘Internship’ module.

Depending on your programme’s specific features, the ‘Internship’ module in its curriculum may include up to three types of internship (elements): research, project-based and professional (work placement). There also may be certain types of internships not included in your programme’s curriculum, or, on the contrary, academic supervisors may decide to include all three PTE types in the programme’s curriculum.    

Let’s consider each type of practical training in detail:

The professional (‘work placement’) type of PTE aims at ensuring that students obtain professional skills and experience, while also guiding them through a proper professional environment and fostering specialized competencies. The settings, means and methods for student activities during this type of internship are as similar as possible to those one may experience during their future professional activities.

The following types of PTEs may be part of internships: work placements, introductory academic internships, pre-graduation internships, teaching practice, etc.

The ‘project-based internship’ type of PTE instils applied problem-solving skills for developed and substantiated project solutions, business plans or business cases, ready-made products, etc. 

The following PTEs may be considered project-based internships: applied products, applied term papers, project-based theses, etc.

The ‘research internship’ type of PTE provides research skills, thus allowing students to gain new knowledge about phenomena, objects and processes as they get to put forward and test scholarly and research hypotheses. 

The following types of PTEs may be considered as research internships: research-based theses, research-based term papers, research projects, research internships, etc.

What is an internship programme?

An internship programme is a document, which includes a description of the terms for the provision of all PTEs under one’s degree programme. The internship programme can serve as a guide for students while completing all PTEs during the entire period of study under their degree programme. The internship programme can be found in the ‘Practical Training’ section on your degree programme’s website. 

Are terms papers and theses also considered part of practical training?

Yes, the composition of term papers and thesis works are included under the ‘Internship’ module. Term papers and theses can be written as research or project-based papers. As a rule, students are free to choose the type of their term papers or theses. However, there are degree programmes where, for instance, research term papers or, on the contrary, project-based papers are mandatory.

You can find more details about formats for term papers and theses here:

You can also find further details about procedures for writing term papers in the HSE Academic Handbook at: https://www.hse.ru/en/studyspravka/kursovrab;

And, about writing thesis works: https://www.hse.ru/en/studyspravka/vkr.

What documents must I prepare in order to complete my practical training?

A precise list of documents is provided in the internship programme of each degree programme. However, all PTEs should include the following documents:

  • A PTE proposal, which is drafted by a PTE supervisor and should include a document specifying the purposes, goals, expected outcomes, terms of provision, contents for reporting documentation and other information about a specific PTE. PTE proposals feature details, which are outlined in the internship programme and further described in the PTE proposal. 
  • A PTE statement of work for interns is an even more concise document, which spells out the tasks and special aspects of PTE assignments for each student individually. Students must read PTE statements of work and grant their consent to the completion of works specific thereto by signing such statements of work. Upon signing their statement of work, students shall be thus obliged to complete the PTE and bear responsibility for the results thereof. Non-performance of said obligations for no valid reason shall be considered as an academic failure.
  • A PTE report shall be drafted as a document summarizing the outcomes achieved by a student for any project or work placement. Students should describe the tasks they have completed, as well as skills and competencies acquired during the course of work, in their reports. The final texts of term papers and theses shall be considered as a report in regards to term papers and theses.
  • An assessment record (grade sheet) is a document to be filled in by a PTE supervisor, with the grades and credits earned by a student. The assignments and PTEs shall be deemed completed only after the grades for the respective PTEs have been uploaded to the University’s virtual learning information system.

With respect to certain PTEs, a report with a final plagiarism check (via HSE University’s Antiplagiat system), as well as the academic supervisor’s and reviewer’s feedback for a thesis, may be considered mandatory (Bachelor’s thesis works may be subject to review at the discretion of the degree programme’s academic supervisor).  

When are agreements for practical training required?

An agreement for the practical training of HSE University students must be signed with industry-specific organizations, where students are placed by HSE University in order to complete their PTE. Even if an organization where a student wants to complete their practical training, i.e., a work placement, has been selected at his/her own discretion, an agreement for their practical training must nevertheless be signed with HSE University. This requirement is also stipulated in respective Russian federal legislation.

In general, HSE University has already entered into agreements for the practical training of students with industry-specific organization, or such agreements shall be signed on the part of the authorized representatives of the University’s faculties. However, if an organization where a student wants to complete the practical training, i.e., work placement, has been chosen at his/her own discretion, he/she must act as an intermediary between HSE University and the organization in order to sign an agreement. A template form for such an agreement shall be provided to the student by the study office of their respective degree programme, along with consultations on all details.

If an organization is reluctant to sign an agreement, there is an alternative solution. HSE University and such a respective industry-specific organization may exchange an offer letter, which should be sent by the University, and an acceptance letter sent on the part of the industry-specific organization. Template forms of such letters can be provided to students at the study office of their degree programme, of at their faculty’s PTE centre (if such a unit is part of their faculty’s structure), which is charged with coordinating activities under all PTEs or individual types thereof.  

After all parties sign an agreement, make sure to submit a signed copy of the agreement, or an acceptance letter signed on the part of the given organization, to your study office/ faculty’s PTE centre.

What are the procedures for PTE assessments? How does this differ from grading for courses?

PTE outcomes shall be assessed by the PTE supervisor both:

  • as a grade on a 10-point grading scale, thus reflecting the quality of the completed PTE work (or pass/fail for PTEs with a weight of one or two credits);
  • according to the total number of credits (applicable to any PTE, except for thesis works), thus reflecting the PTE workload.

What does this mean?

For example, a student has signed an assignment for completing PTEs with a maximum weight of five credits and completed the entire PTE workload, but demonstrated poor quality in their work. In this instance, five credits will be awarded by their PTE supervisor, but the grade shall be reduced due to the poor quality of the work.

On the contrary, a student may sign an assignment, but fail to complete the total PTE workload. In this case, the PTE supervisor awards him two credits, instead of five, but a higher grade can be given for good quality.

This system is applicable for any PTEs, except for thesis works, where the total number of credits is fixed in the curriculum. The total quantity of credits counted towards a student’s PTE result may be usually reduced for their project-based work.  

How to calculate the workload completed by students under PTEs?

This process is very simple! To calculate the workload completed by a student, you should multiply the total number of weeks completed under the PTE by the average number of hours per week and then divide it by 25.

25 – astronomic hours equivalent to one credit (or 38 academic hours).

For example:

The duration of your work placement is four weeks, and you have worked 40 hours’ week.

Thus:

4*40 / 25 = six credits, i.e., you will be awarded six credits at the end of your work placement.

Or, you have been engaged in an applied project almost throughout the whole year (let’s say, for 35 weeks) and spent about three working hours on your project work every week.

In this case, you will receive four credits for the project: 35*3 / 25 = 4 credits.

When would a student face an academic failure for their PTE activities?

First, this depends on the criteria for elective components in your programme’s curriculum. For example, if the PTE is mandatory under this curriculum, it must be completed by the end of the respective academic year, or within a timeframe specified in the internship programme. 

If the PTE is optional, it must be completed before the start of Module 3 of the final year of study. This usually applies to project-based works.

Second, a student may face academic failure for their PTE activities in the following cases:

  • if an unsatisfactory grade has been awarded by the PTE supervisor;
  • if the terms for completing the work specified in the PTE assignment have been violated by the student;
  • if the PTE is optional – if the student has not completed the PTE included in the curriculum before the start of Module 3 of the final year of study, or at least included in their study plan.

Instances of academic failures are described in the Regulations for Interim and Ongoing Assessments of Students at HSE University:

1. If a grade for a PTE included in a student’s individual curriculum is a ‘fail’, or if it falls below four points on a 10-point scale, he/she shall be deemed as having an academic failure, which shall be considered for the purposes of the HSE University student rating, as well as decisions regarding all matters where academic failures can be a significant factor. 

2. In those instances whereby a student is replaced or suspended prior to the end of a given PTE period, due to them failing to meet the terms for the implementation of works, lack of interim results, refusal to carry out activities as stated in the PTE statement of work without any objective reasons thereof, the works of such a student, who is acting in bad faith, shall be deemed unsatisfactory and the credits for his/her participation in the PTE shall not be awarded; this student shall be thus deemed as having an academic failure.

3. Academic failures may also arise if, by Module 3 (final semester) of their graduation year, students have failed to include in their individual curricula or complete a PTE with a credit load equal to that required by a respective modular curriculum. Should a student have an unrectified academic failure by the time when his/her studies under a degree programme end, he/she cannot proceed to take part in final state certification. 

How may academic failures for PTEs be removed?

Academic failures for PTEs may be removed through retakes, if a given PTE allows for this. More details about the organization of retakes are provided in the Regulations for Interim and Ongoing Assessments of Students at HSE University.

Otherwise, students must select a similar PTE for their subsequent provision (usually projects or term papers). The procedures for retakes may also be described in the degree programme’s internship programme or the respective PTE proposal.

What needs to be done if I want to complete a PTE, which is not included in my curriculum?

If you wish a complete a PTE that is not included in your curriculum, e.g., engage in a service project or join a project outside HSE University, such a PTE can be included in your individual curriculum upon your application (as an optional course). If you want an activity to be counted towards a PTE provided in your programme’s curriculum, make sure that you obtain your academic supervisor’s approval after drawing up a PTE-proposal and submit the reporting materials. Please note that, for certain reasons, it may be difficult to count some types of PTE, e.g., the University can send you on an internship at another organization only provided that an agreement has already been signed with this organization. As such, the University will be unable to count work placements completed at organizations, which do not have contractual relationships with HSE University. Therefore, you should carefully familiarize yourself with the internship programme under your programme and obtain approval in advance for early completion of the PTEs by writing an application addressed to your academic supervisor.

Where can I find projects based on elective components?

If an elective project has been included in your curriculum for the ongoing academic year, you may use:

- for research and applied projects – the University-wide service ‘Fair of Practical Training Elements’, or the PTE Fair (SmartPro).

- for service projects – the University-wide service ‘Project Fair’.

Students may apply any other approaches to organizing projects offered by their faculties and degree programme. You can find more information about the alternatives available for finding projects at your study office / faculty’s PTE centre.

Students are free to select projects bearing in mind their scientific and professional interests and capabilities. Students may apply for any projects from those proposed for their degree programme, using Project Fair proposals.

If a student has submitted an application for a project out of those which are NOT among recommended for his/her degree programme, this project can only be counted upon his/her request as an optional ‘extra’ course.

A project manager may reject a student's application if it does not meet the requirements specified in the PTE project proposal. If an application is approved or rejected, an automatic notification shall be sent to the student’s corporate e-mail in both cases.

What should be taken into account in the application for the project via the “Fair of Practical Training Elements”, or the PTE Fair (SmartPro)?

Projects of the following two types are available through the Fair of Practical Training Elements, or the PTE Fair (SmartPro), with respect to respective goals and outcomes:  

research projects – projects, which are focused on research activities; project participants are expected to write an article, publication, report, analytical review or note, an application for a scientific grant, teaching aid or other scientific product;

applied projects – projects, which are focused on solving or carrying out an applied or commercial task, e.g., a project solution, a business plan or business case; a custom-made product may be developed and presented as the main project outcome. 

Student applications to take part in a project can be submitted effective from the moment when the project is announced via SmartPro until the end of the registration period for the project.

When making their selection, students should submit an online application to participate in a preferred project using their login and password from their MyHSE Services Account. When filling in the application, students must write a motivation letter of up to 200 characters, answering the question: ‘Why would you like to participate in this project?’, as well as attach a CV (recommended but not mandatory).

Upon the completion of the registration for the project, the project manager shall select submitted applications and contact all students chosen for participation. If the project manager has not approved an application, the student will be notified by e-mail.

Those students who, for some reason, did not complete the online registration procedures, but were selected by the supervisor to participate in the project, after signing the assignment for the project, must submit it to the study office / faculty’s PTE centre (scanned copies are acceptable) to have a project assigned in their individual curriculum.

If a project application has been approved, but for any reason, the relevant student is unable to join it, he/she may withdraw from the project without any sanctions within the first 10 days from its starting date. In such instances, the student must send a letter to his/her programme’s office manager / faculty’s PTE centre by corporate e-mail with a request to remove him/her from the project and remove the project from his/her individual curriculum. Project managers must be copied on such correspondence via e-mail.

Please note that if a student has already signed an assignment for completing works under a project, and more than 10 days have passed since its start, the supervisor cannot cancel his/her application. To remove the project from their individual curriculum, a valid reason and the supervisor’s approval are required, e.g., a medical certificate and a letter from the supervisor that he has no objections against excluding the student from the project. The documents must be submitted to the respective programme office / faculty’s PTE centre, and only after that, may the project be removed from the student’s IC.

Please also note that, since students may choose the timeframe for their project (before Module 3 of the final year of study), their grade shall not be counted in the current rating.

Guidelines for staff members submitting applications for projects in SmartPro + Video-instructions for staff members: How to submit an application for a project

Guidelines for students submitting applications for projects in SmartPro + Video-instructions for students: How to submit an application for a project

 Attention! Applications for service-type projects should be submitted via Project Fair

service projects – projects focused on solving service tasks or providing support to HSE University’s ongoing operations; a project participant’s involvement in any event (e.g., conferences, Olympiads, tours, open days, or admission campaigns) or organizational processes (e.g., getting feedback from teachers and students, technical development of any materials, providing organizational support in class, or systematization of databases) may be demonstrated as the outcome of their project.  

How can I submit an application to take part in a service project?

Students may submit applications for service-type projects via Project Fair

Student applications for participation in projects can be submitted effective from the date when the project is announced via Project Fair until the end of the registration period for the project.

When making their selection, students should submit an online application to participate in a project using their login and password in LMS. When filling out an application, students must write a motivation letter of up to 200 characters answering the question ‘Why would you like to participate in this project?’, and attach a CV (resume) (but not mandatory). After the application has been sent, the student should receive a confirmation of delivery via corporate e-mail.

Upon the completion of registration for the project, the project manager will screen the submitted applications and contact all students selected for participation within seven calendar days. If the project manager has not approved the application, the student will be notified via e-mail.

Those students who, for some reason, did not complete the online registration procedure, but were selected by supervisors to participate in a project, upon signing an assignment for the project, must submit it to the study office / faculty’s PTE centre (scanned copies are acceptable) to have a project assigned in their individual curriculum.

If the project application has been approved, but for any reason the student is unable to join the project, he/she may withdraw from it without any sanctions within the first 10 days from its designated starting date. In such instances, the project manager shall delete the student’s application from the system.

Please note that if a student has already signed an assignment for completing works under a project, and more than 10 days have passed since the project’s start data, the supervisor cannot cancel his/her application. To remove a project from a student’s individual curriculum, a valid reason, along with the supervisor’s approval are required in such cases, e.g., a medical certificate and a letter from the supervisor that he/she has no objections to removing the student from the respective project. The documents must be submitted to the programme office / faculty’s PTE centre, and only after that, can the project be removed from the student’s individual curriculum.

Please also note that, since students may choose the time for their project’s implementation (before Module 3 of the final year of study), the grade for their project shall not be counted in their current rating.


 

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