National Research University – Higher School of Economics

Higher School of Economics
Высшая школа экономики
Motto Latin: "Non Scholae Sed Vitae Discimus"
Motto in English
"Not for the school but for life we study"
Type Public
Established 1992
Budget $358M (spent in 2011)
President Alexander Shokhin
Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov
Academic staff
2,435 (data for 2015)
Students 27,000
Undergraduates 13,733 (data for 2016)
Postgraduates 5,679 (data for 2016)
Location Moscow, Russia
Campus Urban
Colors Brilliant Blue, Silver Gray[1]
Nickname "Vyshka" (Russian: Вышка, "Highie", also literally watchtower)
Mascot Black Crow
Affiliations BRICS Universities League
Website Russian English

The National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE, Russian: Национальный исследовательский университет "Высшая школа экономики", НИУ ВШЭ) is one of the leading[2] and largest universities in Russia.

The university specializes in economics, social sciences, mathematics, computer science, media communications and design. It has more than twenty departments, with its main campus located in Moscow and three additional campuses in St. Petersburg, Nizhniy Novgorod and Perm.

In October 2009, State University HSE (Russian: Государственный университет ВШЭ, ГУ-ВШЭ) received the status of a National Research University.[3]


HSE was founded on November 27, 1992, by Yevgeny Yasin, Yaroslav Kuzminov, Revold Entov, Oleg Ananyin and Rustem Nureev. These founders were well known Russian economists who believed in market reforms and HSE was established to support the new Russian reformist government plans. From the very start, HSE was able to benefit from resources under the European Communities TACIS programme.[4]

HSE aimed to renew the training of the Russian business community in economics. In the Soviet Union the teaching of political economy was dominated by Marxist ideology and could not meet international standards. From the mid-1980s Kouzminov, Entov, Nureev and Ananyin introduced new courses in mathematics, economics and statistics in the leading Russian universities. Later some of the students who attended these courses became HSE tutors. Nonetheless, Soviet education in economics was believed not to reflect market standards and a new type of education in social sciences was needed to make new Russian scientists, officials and businessmen understand the market economy. In 1991 with the support of the Russian Government a new university was established. Today the university continues to expand such areas as mathematics, philosophy, and political studies and design.

The university has established and maintained connections with international research and educational institutions including the London School of Economics, the Erasmus University Rotterdam, DAAD and many others.

Current activity

Today HSE works according to international standards of education and research. One of the main features of the university is that it uses an interdisciplinary approach to education (economists are also taught the basis of law, politics, philosophy, etc.). Another trend in the development of education in HSE is that students have fewer compulsory subjects than before, but they have a wide choice of additional subjects. HSE President Alexander Shokhin was the Russian Vice-Prime Minister for economy and finance in 1998, while the Academic Advisor Evegeniy Yasin was one of the major economic advisors to the Russian government in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The university conducts research for major public sector and educational reform. HSE was the first Russian university to introduce the 4 + 2 system and strongly supported Russian participation in the Bologna process. It took part in introducing the Unified State Exam aimed to reform admissions to the Russian universities. HSE was one of the first Russian universities to use these exams as part of the admission process.

HSE was one of the first educational establishments in Russia to introduce a system of academic credits. Each successful year of study at the university represents minimum 60 credits, which is in line with the international Education Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

The university employs a system of modules (an academic year is split into 4 modules which makes it possible to optimize student workload). Several components are used to assess students' progress. HSE publishes annual rankings of students and professors.

The future development of HSE is based its further integration into the international system of education and research. The university is one of the few Russian universities to have internationally trained academics as full-time staff members.

HSE curricula are recognized by numerous leading foreign universities, which makes it possible to carry out double-degree programmes. Student exchange programmes have also been introduced. Double-degree programmes are led in collaboration with:

HSE is recognized as one of the top three universities in Russia, alongside Lomonosov Moscow State University and MGIMO (Moscow State Institute of International Relations)

51–100 rank globally in Development Studies 151–200 rank globally in Economics & Econometrics, Sociology and Philosophy

37 rank among top universities of Eastern Europe and Central Asia

1 (best) category of world universities for the share of joint international publications

Faculties and structure

There is also the International College of Economics and Finance which is an autonomous department within HSE, run with the participation of the London School of Economics (LSE). Its graduates receive a double degree from both HSE and LSE.[5]

Each faculty usually consists of several departments that bring together scholars in a specific field, such as the departments of banking and macroeconomics at the faculty of economics, the departments of economic sociology and social theory at the faculty of social sciences etc. At HSE joint departments with large companies offering specific applied courses necessary to work in these particular companies. Joint departments (or 'departments of vocational training') provide students with opportunity to apply for an internship and to start their career in a prominent company to obtain practical knowledge in a particular sphere.

Regional branches

The university has three regional branches located in St.Petersburg, Nizhniy Novgorod and Perm. Each subsidiary is an autonomous higher educational institution under the central governance of Moscow. There are special educational and research programmes carried out in each of the branches.


The founding campus of HSE was established in 1992 in the historic Kitai-Gorod neighbourhood of Moscow. HSE's urban campus is today located across the city, and it offers students the opportunity to explore its unique neighbourhoods, museums, and many historic sites. HSE-Moscow enrols about 16,000 students in a variety of programs, including English-taught undergraduate, graduate, and summer programmes, across its schools.

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg is the cultural heart of Russia, known as Peter the Great's "Window to the West." The HSE-St.Petersburg campus opened in 1998, and is located in the historic centre of the city, near landmarks such as the Hermitage and Russian Museums. HSE-St Petersburg is home to bachelor's and master's programmes for over 2,500 students, and has two international research laboratories.

Niznhy Novgorod HSE's campus

Niznhy Novgorod HSE's campus in Nizhny Novgorod was established in 1996. A UNESCO World Heritage City, Nizhny Novgorod is a leading industrial and scientific centre, and home to five universities and nearly 100 research institutions. In addition to its degree programmes, HSE-Nizhny Novgorod also hosts a variety of summer schools for international students. Over 2,000 students are enrolled at HSE-Nizhny Novgorod.


Located near the Ural Mountains and the border of Siberia, Perm is a rapidly growing city home to a number of museums, theatres, and new art galleries. Perm was previously a "closed city" due to its Soviet labor camps and weapons factories. HSE's campus was opened in 1998 and offers programs for over 1,000 students in Economics and Finance, Management, and Business Informatics.

Studying in HSE

Normally it takes four years to study for a bachelor's degree and two years to study for a master's degree. About 90% of HSE undergraduates apply for a graduate course. For the first two years all students studying at the same faculty attend a large number of compulsory courses and several elective courses. During this time, the class sizes are relatively small (usually between 90 and 120 students). This allows a more hands-on approach than that at many other institutions. After the second year of studying students choose the field they want to specialize in. At that time there are still all-faculty courses taught to all students but for most of the time students study in separate groups of 20–30, in courses in more specialized fields and conducting their own research on chosen topics.

The university believes that knowledge of mathematics, statistics and economics is vital for all social researchers and therefore, students of all HSE faculties receive intensive training in mathematics, with the possible exception of Faculty of Law. The education also includes an extensive number of economics courses ranging from micro- and macroeconomics to institutional economics and industrial organization.

At the core of teaching at HSE there are two basic principles. The first principle is the individual work of a student. One of the key HSE goals is to educate a highly qualified professional with independent thinking, able to conduct the necessary research and to make conclusions himself. To achieve this HSE students have to do a lot of independent work, individually or in groups, while the tutors only guide and consult them. The second core principle of teaching at HSE is control. The academic year, beginning in September and ending in June, is divided into four terms (modules). At the end of every module the students have to pass exams. Most of the exams in HSE are in written form and often include both multiple choice test questions and problems for which written solutions are to be provided. In addition, there is a special emphasis on written analytical works of varying importance and volume. Students have to write one or two essays during most courses. Class participation (speeches, presentations and general participation in discussions) often plays an important role in defining the final grade for the course.

Every year, international students study at HSE in full-degree and study abroad programmes. In 2014-15, the international student body at HSE represented more than 60 countries. While many courses at the university are offered in English, 17 two-year Master's programmes are taught exclusively in English, as well as one double-degree Bachelor's programme, which is led in collaboration with London School of Economics and Political Science Science (University of London). Short-term programmes in English include Semester in Moscow, Summer University, and Doing Business in Russia, all of which are open to undergraduate and graduate students. Russian language courses are offered to international students and a special Preparatory Year programme is available for those who wish to learn the language before entering Russian-taught Bachelor's and Master's programmes. Ten doctoral programmes are also now offered in English. The Ministry of Education and Science (Russia) annually grants scholarships for international students who wish to study in full-degree programmes at HSE.

Programmes and admission

HSE offers about 60 Bachelor's programmes, about 20 MBA programmes, and over 100 Master's programmes. Among them is the notable International College of Economics and Finance BS programme offering degrees from HSE and the London School of Economics and the Faculty of Economics MBA programme with the participation of Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam. HSE was the first to teach economic history and institutional analysis in Russia. Among other courses pioneered by HSE are econometrics, micro- and macro- economics, economic sociology and many others. Most of these disciplines were started in Russia by the researchers who now teach at HSE. For example, the first Russian course in institutional analysis was developed by the HSE rector Yaroslav Kuzminov.

There are 21 English-taught Master's programmes[6] and 2 English-taught Bachelor's programmes[7] (at HSE ICEF and Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs). In addition, there is a Preparatory Year foundation programme aimed at helping international students prepare for enrollment into Russian-taught programmes at HSE. HSE also offers business education programmes and Russian as a Foreign Language courses.

HSE summer schools were first established in the mid-1990s and have been held regularly ever since. There are numerous summer schools at HSE, each dedicated to a specific field, including institutional analysis, labour market economy, information retrieval, neurolinguistics, and intangibles. Each summer school offers various subjects based on HSE regular courses. Summer schools usually take place from June to September each year and last for one or two weeks. There is a large number of international summer schools, for example, "The Baltic Practice" summer school aimed to support global student collaboration.

In 2014 HSE established a Summer University, a unique programme that offers a broad interdisciplinary selection of courses in the fields of International Relations, History, Political Science, Social Science and Computer Science. Summer University participants can earn up to 16 ECTS.

HSE's International Admissions Office and International Students Office provide support for international students on a wide array of issues, from visa processing and living accommodations to course selection and cultural activities.


Today there are about 25000 students at HSE, with 16,000 in Moscow and the rest spread across the other campuses. The majority of them study in state-funded places. International students can take advantage of government scholarships that cover the cost of tuition. Most HSE students are Russian citizens, with a growing number of international students from the former USSR countries, such as Belarus, Kazakhstan and Latvia as well as from other regions, including the EU countries, the United States and Japan.

One of HSE's main goals is to make strong connections between the students and tutors and there is already a community of HSE students, graduates and tutors. There are many organizations of HSE students and graduates. Each faculty has its own elected Student Council, which works as an intermediary between the students, the faculty administration and the tutors. HSE students work with some international student organizations such as the AIESEC and the AEGEE. Although HSE is a very young university, it already has an alumni organization. The HSE alumni club aims to maintain connections between the alumni and to provide them with support in their careers. The HSE business club's goal is to establish high standards of business culture in Russia and to help HSE graduates achieve the best results in business and commerce. During their study in the university the students have the opportunity to participate in many different leisure activities, such as sports, drama, debating societies and many others. Since 2006, many sporting competitions have been held, including the regular ‘Spartakiad’, tourist rallies, hiking and rafting trips. The Cultural Center allows HSE students to take music lessons, so that they periodically give concerts, for instance at HSE Music project centre. Two HSE students have recently become finalists of the International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs in Paris, which is widely considered to be one of the top-level competitions for amateur musicians in the world. Sona Hovsepyan dance company regularly wins awards at dancing competitions.

Student clubs and activities include:

Since the creation of the Faculty of Computer Science in 2014, several HSE students have successfully competed at various student contests including World Finals of the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest. Two second-year students have won scholarships to attend the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).

For the first time HSE Day was celebrated in 2012 and since then has become the first university festival of citywide scale.[8] Nowadays HSE Day is a tradition. Annually thousands of people celebrate this day in Gorky Park. Enyone can participate in various thematic events and have look at the life of university


HSE boasts more than 100 research centres, and more than 20 international laboratories led by foreign scholars. There are departments in the university conducting research on a wide range of social and economic problems, such as the Centre for Advanced Studies,[9] the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Education, the Institute for Historical and Theoretical Research in the Humanities. Some of these organizations were founded as Russian State Ministry of Trade and Economic Development think tanks aiming to provide assistance to Russian government economic reforms. Other began as independent research organizations, only later joining the HSE. One of the main HSE principles is the close connection between research and teaching so the university tutors usually conduct research on the topics they teach at University. HSE students are encouraged to take part in their alma mater research projects. The university conducts research for large corporations and state funded organsisations. Among these are the Regular Statistics of the Russian Federation Project or the Educational Economy Monitoring the first Russian educational economy statistics regular study. Another fundamental HSE research project is the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey which has been carried out by the HSE, the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute for Sociology, Scientific-research center "Demoscope" and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 1992.

The university provides expert analysis for Russian leadership and governmental agencies. HSE contributes to the drafting of government legislation, programmes, and policies at the federal and regional level. HSE experts have participated in various projects including: Strategy for Socio-Economic Development of Russia Towards 2020 City of Moscow Social and Economic Development Strategy Towards 2025 Russian Long-term Science and Technology Foresight – 2030 In 2014, the winner of the respected Fields medal Andrey Okunkov became the new head of the HSE International Laboratory of Representation Theory and Mathematical Physics.

HSE's international conferences and events attract leading experts from around the world. The largest of these events is the April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development, which brings scholars from many countries together with representatives from the Russian government, Russian Presidential Administration, World Bank, IMF, OECD, as well as major Russian and foreign companies. Other prominent international events that HSE has been selected to host include:

HSE regularly takes part in international scientific and technical cooperation projects and has partnerships with organizations including BRICS, G20, OECD, and UNESCO.

HSE publishing and magazines

HSE has its own publishing house that specializes in publishing books on social and economic sciences, manuals and textbooks for students.[10]


Students from provincial Russia who study at Moscow campus of HSE are guaranteed[11] with accommodation in Moscow region (there are dormitories in the city of Moscow, but most students live in the Oblast: Odintsovo and VNIISSOK a.k.a. Dubki).[12] Foreign students are accommodated in accordance with these terms (Russian). All international students are entitled to a place at one of HSE dormitories. Currently the university has 9 halls of residence and can house up to 7736 students.[13]

Honorary Professors

Honorary Professors include:


  2. "Top Universities in Russia - 2015 Reviews & Rankings".
  3. "HSE:a New Official Status".
  4. Froumin, I. (2011). "Establishing a New Research University: The Higher School of Economics, the Russian Federation". The road to academic excellence: the making of world-class research universities / Philip G. Altbach and Jamil Salmi, eds.. Washington, D.C.: World Bank (Directions in development. Human development). p. 301.
  5. "LSE and ICEF joint program".
  6. "Graduate Programmes — International Admissions — National Research University Higher School of Economics". Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  7. "Undergraduate Programmes — International Admissions — National Research University Higher School of Economics". Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  8. "HSE Day". Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  9. "Centre for Advanced Studies : National Research University Higher School of Economics".
  10. "Издательский дом : Национальный исследовательский университет "Высшая школа экономики"".
  11. «Всем иногородним студентам, постоянно зарегистрированным далее 8 ж/д зоны от Москвы, Университет гарантирует место в общежитии» — Общежития НИУ ВШЭ (Russian)
  12. HSE Dormitory (Russian)
  13. "Национальный исследовательский университет "Высшая школа экономики"". Retrieved 2016-06-19.

Coordinates: 55°45′41″N 37°38′01″E / 55.7615°N 37.6335°E / 55.7615; 37.6335

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