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Summary of Degree Programme

Field of Studies

39.04.01 Sociology

Approved by
Protocol №51 dated 20.12.2013
Last Update
Protocol №1 dated 26.06.2019
Network Programme


Length of Studies, Mode of Studies, Credit Load

2 years

Full-time, 120

Language of Instruction


Instruction in English

Degree Level


Double-degree Programme


Competitive Advantages

This programme provides students with the theoretical and methodological skills they need to investigate and analyze the similarities and differences among nations, cultures, and other social groups in order to understand how contemporary societies, social issues, and conflicts around the globe evolve. The aim is to provide the theoretical and methodological instruments in order to shed light on the differences between nations, cultures and other social groups. In the seminars and lectures our students investigate social problems and issues in today´s world from a perspective of interconnectedness between social actions of individuals at different levels of collectivity, such as, for example, societies and cultures. Our programs provides in-depth insights into how the individuals approaches to social reality, using either quantitative methodology for investigating norms and values, or qualitative methodology for accessing the individuals interpretations of their life-world.

We realize this approach by implementing an entirely English-speaking class room. The teaching staff comprises of lecturers from all over the world. They either work at HSE or are invited research fellows from your partner universities. Our students benefit greatly from discussions with these international experts and their advice on coursework and MA thesis. Our international lecturers bring about a global atmosphere of learning, which is highly demanding as well as participatory. At the same time, our students gain international experience either by going abroad for study exchange, internship or within one of our Double-Degree Tracks, or by conducting international comparative research during their internship or project activities in Russia.

Professional Activities and Competencies of Programme Graduates

Graduates are well-equipped for international careers in academia or research. Many of students go on to doctoral programmes at partner universities (or at HSE). Others begin their careers as research associates at international organizations such as the World Bank, the International Labour Organization, OECD, UNESCO, and UNICEF.  To have mastered the programme, graduates must have gained universal and professional competencies. Graduates of the program will have competitive advantages from acquired competences on the academic market and the practical methodological skills to also apply their knowledge within the non-academic sphere (including the ability to write scientific articles and compose analytical documents for governmental and international organizations, international businesses and NGOs).

In accordance with the Federal Educational Standard for the 39.04.01 Sociology specialization, students shall acquire the following competencies:

  • independently master new research methods
  • conduct research in an international environment
  • conduct research in fundamental and applied areas of sociology
  • forecast social phenomena and processes, identify socially significant problems and propose solutions based on relevant scientific theories, concepts, approaches and social technologies
  • process and interpret social, demographic, economic and other relevant empirical information using the explanatory capabilities of modern sociological theory
  • manage projects in the field of public opinion research, organization of marketing services, and  social expertise of management decisions in various areas
  • disseminate sociological knowledge and advise employees of management bodies, enterprises, institutions and organizations when dealing with social issues

Graduates of the programme will be prepared for the following professional tasks (defined by the Federal Educational Standard for the 39.04.01 Sociology specialization):

  1. Scientific and research-related tasks
  2. Social-technological tasks
  3. Analytical tasks
  4. Expert and consulting tasks
Programme Modules

The programme’s study plan is focused on training our students to conduct theory-orientated and methodologically rigorous empirical research in comparative perspective. The programme structure rests on three pillows:

Core courses 

Compulsory courses on quantitative methods will give not only deeper insight into descriptive statistics and the use of the software package R, but also convey knowledge about inferential statistics. But students also need to pass courses about qualitative methods of social inquiry. At the same time, our compulsory courses provide a deeper understanding of the concepts and models of comparison in social science. In addition, each year we organize a course on applied comparative sociology taught by an invited international guest lecture (for example, on social capital in western and post-communist societies or political sociology).

• Elective courses 

Elective course are assembled each year and offer various topics in methodology and issue-related social science. Students can choose from a pool containing courses on data analysis, such as big data, social network analysis and life-course analysis, but also courses on social inequalities, gender, and public policy.

Research preparation and conduct

  • Research Seminar

The Research seminar is dedicated to preparing and supporting the Term paper and the Master Thesis. Throughout a two-year comprehensive course students gradually learn how to search for, process and analyze data; conduct research for and write academic papers, and present research outcomes. It runs throughout the year and provides a platform for students to develop their research questions and project designs. Here we learn and discuss the practical side of academic work from finding suitable research topics to publishing in international peer-reviewed journals

  • Internship (10 weeks in the 3rd semester)

During their third semester students undertake a research internship with one of our many partner institutions in Russia or abroad to collect and analyze data for their Term Papers and MA theses under the supervision of international experts from the programme’s network, including West-European partner institutions and to the International Laboratory of Comparative Social Research at HSE.

  • Project "Comparative Social Research” 

Starting from the first semester, students get involved in empirical research projects by the international teaching staff of the programme. By assisting at all stages of the process, they collect valuable experience in conducting international research projects.

Master Thesis


Options for Students with Disabilities

This degree programme of HSE University is adapted for students with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities. Special assistive technology and teaching aids are used for collective and individual learning of students with SEN and disabilities. The specific adaptive features of the programme are listed in each subject's full syllabus and are available to students through the online Learning Management System.

Programme Documentation

All documents of the degree programme are stored electronically on this website. Curricula, calendar plans, and syllabi are developed and approved electronically in corporate information systems. Their current versions are automatically published on the website of the degree programme. Up-to-date teaching and learning guides, assessment tools, and other relevant documents are stored on the website of the degree programme in accordance with the local regulatory acts of HSE University.

I hereby confirm that the degree programme documents posted on this website are fully up-to-date.

Vice Rector Sergey Yu. Roshchin

Summary of Degree Programme 'Comparative Social Research'

Go to Programme Contents and Structure