State University - Higher School of Economics

State University - Higher School of Economics

The State University Higher School of Economics (HSE), commonly known as “Vyshka”, is a Russian University specializing in the social sciences. It was founded in 1992 as an MA training centre but soon began offering Bachelor programmes in economics. In 1996 the HSE expanded into other social sciences and began educating managers, lawyers and sociologists. Today the HSE alumni are regarded as the most employable in Russia in the sphere of economics (according to the "Commersant" edition rating based on the largest Russian employers questioning). In addition to this, the HSE is also considered to be one of the top social and economic laboratories in Russia providing academic support for Russian state administration market reforms. Regarded as the most westernized Russian high education institution “Vyshka” works in close partnership with different international institutions such as the World Bank, the British Council, the University of London, Erasmus University Rotterdam and many others.

The HSE is based in the city of Moscow, Russian Federation. The original campus was the former Gosplan Institute building, on Kochnovskyi, 3 but today the School uses many buildings throughout Moscow with the central office on Myasnitskaya street, in the centre of the city.

There are also three subsidiaries located in the cities of St. Petersburg, Nizhniy Novgorod and Perm, where about 9000 students currently study.


The HSE was founded on November 20, 1992, by Evreniy Yasin, Yaroslav Kouzhminov, Revold Entov, Oleg Ananyin and Rustem Nureev with funding provided by the European Union Committee. These founders were prominent Russian economists believing in market reforms and the HSE was established to support the new Russian reformist government plans. Today the HSE remains the main government think tank providing assistance to its reforms.

“Vyshka” aimed to renew the training of the Russian business elite 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 Kouzhminov, 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 below international 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 and the European Union Committee a new University was established. Today the University continues expanding into such areas as mathematics, philosophy and political studies.

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

Current activity

“Vyshka” is regarded as an influential academic institution in Russia. The University’s President, Alexander Shokhin, was the Russian Vice-Prime Minister for economy and finance in 1998, while the Academic Advisor, Evegeniy Yasin, was one the major economic advisors to the Russian government in late 1980s and early 1990s. Today “Vyshka” remains close to the Russian government providing its reforms with academic assistance. The School conducts research for major public sector and educational reform. The HSE was the first Russian University to introduce the 4 + 2 system and strongly supported Russian participation in the Bologna process. Being the first Russian higher educational institution able to meet new standards, “Vyshka” acted as a model to other colleges and universities. It also took an active part in introducing the State Final Examination system aimed to reform admissions to the Russian universities. It was one of the first Russian universities to use these exams as part of the admission process. Additionally the HSE is one of the most popular universities for employers in accounting, banking, consultancy, management and marketing.

Faculties and structure

There are 12 faculties in the HSE.
The faculty of economics (including the School of Statistics and Data Analysis)
The faculty of world economics and international affairs
The faculty of business informatics (including the School of Programme Engineering and the School of Applied Mathematics)
The faculty of public administration
The faculty of mathematics
The faculty of management (including the School of Logistics)
The faculty of law
The faculty of political studies (including the School of Business and Political Journalism)
The faculty of psychology
The faculty of sociology
The faculty of philosophy

There is also the [ International College of Economics and Finance] which is an autonomous department within the HSE, run with the participation of the London School of Economics (LSE). Its graduates receive the double diploma from both the SU-HSE and the LSE. Each faculty usually consists of several departments gathering tutors in some 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 sociology etc. There are also the so-called basic departments of large companies in the HSE offering specific applied courses necessary to work in these particular companies. Basic departments provide students with opportunity to apply for internshisp and to start their career in a prominent company and obtain practical knowledge in some particular sphere.


The University has three subsidiaries located in St. Petersburg, Nizhniy Novgorod and Perm. Each subsidiary is an autonomous higher educational institution under the central governance of Moscow.

Studying in the SU-HSE

Normally it takes four years to study for a Bachelor degree and two years to study for a Master degree. About 90% of HSE undergraduates apply for a postgraduate 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 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, on courses in narrower fields and conducting their own research on chosen topics.

It is considered in the University 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. It is proudly said in “Vyshka” that the faculty of economics students are taught more maths than some technicians.

At the core of the HSE teaching 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 high qualified professional with independent thinking, able to conduct the necessary research and to make conclusions himself. To achieve this the HSE students have to make a lot of independent homework, individually or in groups, while the tutors only guide and consult them. The second core principle of the HSE teaching is control. In the HSE the academic year is divided into five terms, each lasting for two months. At the end of every two-month term the students have to pass exams. All the exams in the HSE are in the written form. In addition, students have to write one or two essays during each course.

Programmes and admission

The HSE offers about 50 Bachelor Programmes, about 20 MBA programmes, 1 MPA programme and 4 MA programmes. Among them is a notable International College for Economics and Finance BS programme offering degrees from the HSE and the London School of Economics and the faculty of economics MBA programme with the participation of Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam. The HSE was the first to teach economic history and institutional analysis in Russia. Among the other courses pioneered by the HSE are econometrics, micro- and macro- economics, economic sociology and many others. Most of these disciplines were started in Russia by the researchers now teaching them in the HSE. For example the first Russian course in institutional analysis was developed by the HSE rector Y. Kouzhminov. HSE Summer Schools were established in the mid1990s and from that time they have been held regularly. There are several Summer Schools in the HSE, each one dedicated to a specific field, including the Summer School for the Institutional Analysis, the Summer School on the Labour Market Economy etc. Each Summer School offers about 15 subjects based on the regular courses of the HSE. These Summer Schools take place in July and August each year and last for one or two weeks. Some of the Summer Schools are international, for example, the 2008 Summer School “The Baltic Practice” aimed to support global student collaboration.

The students

Today there are more than 16 000 students in the HSE, about 7000 in Moscow and 9000 in its subsidiaries. About half of them are state funded. Most HSE students are Russian citizens, with about 140 international students, mostly coming from the former USSR countries, such as Belarus, Kazakhstan and Latvia. In recent years however, there have been students from other regions, including the EU countries, the USA and Japan. One of the 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 AISEC and the AGEE. Although the HSE is a very young University, it already has two alumni organizations. 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 sport, drama, debating societies and many others. Since 2006, many sporting competitions have been held, including the regular ‘Spartakiad’.


The HSE has always been a laboratory for new ideas in economics and social studies. To adopt new economic and social ideas for Russia and to give a better understanding of the Russian situation to the international scientific community is an important part of the HSE mission. There are many departments in the university conducting research on a wide range of social and economic problems, such as the [ Centre for Advanced studies] , the Institute for Macroeconomic Research and Forecast, 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 in the 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, the “Demoscope” magazine and the North Carolina University since 1992.

HSE publisher and magazines

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


Students from throughout Russia study at the HSE and the University provides them with accommodation in Moscow.


* [ Official website]

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