Presidential Academy completes postgraduate admissions

12 November 2021
Presidential Academy completes postgraduate admissions

The Presidential Academy has completed enrollment for postgraduate programs. Its new PhD students will be doing research and working on their dissertations for the next few years. They will write articles for research journals, speak at academic conferences and take their first steps as university professors. Tatyana Guslistaya, Head of Postgraduate and Doctoral Programs at the Presidential Academy, comments on this year’s postgraduate admissions process, and shares who the new PhD students are and why RANEPA postgraduate courses are attractive for applicants in an interview below.

- How would you comment on the results of this year’s postgraduate enrollment period compared with the last?

- Compared with last year’s figures, we have had far more people interested in enrolling in the Academy’s postgraduate courses this year. The total number of applications has grown, both for places with state grants as well as for courses taught on a fee-paying basis. As a result, more people competed for a place, and the eventual intake was also higher this year. I will cite a few figures to substantiate my conclusions – we have received 50% more applications for places for students with state grants, and 80% more for places for fee-paying students. This means more than four people competed for each place on average, with the strongest competition for Jurisprudence programs (6.5 applications per place). The second most popular field of study was Mass Media and Information and Library Science (5.6 applications per place).

- These people have spent four years working on their Bachelor's degree, and two more to earn a Master's. What makes them want to invest three more years to do a postgraduate course at the Academy?

- Firstly, not all of these applicants have their degrees from the Academy. A lot of people want to join us after completing Master's programs at other universities in Moscow or in other regions. Moreover, a large percentage of our new PhD students have earned their degrees years ago. Although postgraduate studies have lately been considered the third stage of higher education, it is not just another diploma, but a path towards research and teaching. The ultimate goal of postgraduate studies is first of all to prepare to defend a thesis and earn an advanced academic degree. The Presidential Academy opens this door for them and even offers potential future employment to the new research fellows it has trained. Many of our applicants have individual achievements, which confirms my statement.

- What do you mean by individual achievement?

- Almost 20% of our applicants already had publications in peer-reviewed journals approved by the Higher Attestation Commission, or included in international citation bases. About 13% of personal files included recommendations from the departments these people would be joining, which means they have already agreed with an academic supervisor for their future dissertation research.

Just so you’d understand, according to the curriculum, a postgraduate student is not required to publish their first scholarly article until the middle of their second year. The fact that an applicant already has a research supervisor and a recommendation means they have also chosen a topic for research and obtained some results; the recommendation letter usually acknowledges those results. In addition, the number of winners of academic contests has almost tripled among this year’s applicants; 15 of them are winners or finalists of the I Am a Professional Olympiad.

Overall, more than 70% of those who applied for our postgraduate courses this year had various individual achievements, and their entrance exam scores were also high. For the most part, we have people who are well prepared and oriented towards research.

- What attracts applicants to the Presidential Academy programs?

- As I said, the goal of postgraduate studies is to prepare for the defense of a dissertation. The Academy is one of the few universities that is authorized to independently award academic degrees. The Presidential Academy has dissertation councils in almost all fields of postgraduate study. It should also be noted that dissertation councils at the Academy are set up specifically for each dissertation. In addition to official opponents, the council includes experts on the topic.

PhD students at the Presidential Academy are often recruited to participate in grant projects and major research. They also have ample opportunities to try teaching, in undergraduate or graduate programs. A convenient schedule also plays an important role. Many of our PhD students have jobs, often in high managerial positions, which we certainly take into account when scheduling classes.

- What would you wish the new PhD students who just got enrolled this year?

- First of all, the Postgraduate and Doctoral Programs Department congratulates all new students on getting admitted. The Presidential Academy’s postgraduate programs are designed to prepare the participants for their PhD defense procedure in the best possible way, including in our independent system of awarding academic degrees. You have taken your first step in your research and teaching career, and I wish you every success on your journey.

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