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Russian University degrees on Western scales. Defining the issue.

Russian University degrees on Western scales.

Defining the issue.

 

  

By Dr. Andrei V. Pomyalov

 

Andrei V. Pomyalov asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this book 

Copyright © 2016 Andrei V. Pomyalov

All rights reserved.

PREFACE

It is very little known in the West that the study process in Russian universities is 2 to 3 times more intense than in Western universities so that within 4 years of study Russian students manage to acquire volume of knowledge and skills equal to some 10 years of study in Western university (see EXAMPLES). Today this fact can be easily discovered through the Web, yet it remains largely unknown – both in Russia and in the West. It is funny enough that Russians are also unaware of that basic difference in study process at Russian and Western universities. As strange as it may sound.

It turns out that no one has ever made detailed comparison of Russian and Western/American university degree programs. For this reason modern usage of Western degree names in Russian universities is very peculiar. They have their students study almost 3 times more than they need for a similar NAME of degree in American/ Western university. Normally Russians have their students do total coursework * of USA PhD+MS+BS programs for a degree of Russian "Bachelor" only(Fig. 12).....Most often they even make them do it double -in 2 different fields - for a single degree of Russian "Bachelor"(Fig.14). Sometimes they make their students do coursework covering that of 3(three!) USA PhD+MS+BS programs in 3 different fields - for a single 4 year degree of Russian "Bachelor"(Fig.15) (3*(PhD+MS+BS) for BS(Ru)).

 This book series is to clarify the subject of matching “Russian” university education standards to “Western” university degrees standards.

In fact this book is first ever quantitative description of Russian University Degree Programs in Western terms.

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*Coursework (Course Work) or Curriculum of a degree program or Program Curriculum – set of courses that a student has to take, study and pass in order to qualify for that degree.

 

Degrees and Specialties:

BS/ SB – Bachelor of Science/Science Bachelor

MS/SM- Master of Science/ Science Master

M.Eng.- Master of Engineering

PhD – Philosophy Doctor

El.Eng.- Electrical Engineer

EE- Electrical Engineering

EECS- Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

University names

MIT- Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.

BMSTU (МГТУ Баумана )- Bauman Moscow Technological State University, Russia.

MIPT (МФТИ) – Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Russia.

MSU (МГУ) – Moscow State University, Russia.

INTRODUCTION

  It is practically unknown in the West that Russians study at their universities longer semesters, twice more intensely within each semester, have twice longer final exam and reading sessions and so on (Fig.1 a,b).  They just work much harder – both in studies and in teaching. They just work much harder than we do here in the West. And, naturally, they manage to do more within the same timeframe of 4 or 6, or 9 years of university studies.

As the result students in Russian universities get and comprehend 2 to 3 times more information than the students in US and European universities do for the same time of studies. And they also get 2 to 3 times more skills for the same time spent on a degree program in their Russian universities [1]. Basically 4 years of study at Russian university are equivalent (in its coursework load) to ~10-12 years of study at the US/EU university in similar specialty. Sounds a bit strange but actually it is quite apparent and understandable. Examples are in Fig.2 through Fig.22.  However, the strange news is that vast majority of Russians themselves actually don't know all that.  That Russian unawareness is the main reason of such a peculiar usage of Western degree names in modern Russian universities when the Bachelor name is placed upon 4-year Russian university graduates who receive 3 times more training than Western Bachelors do. And that Russian usage of Western degree names in Russian universities it’s not only peculiar, it’s largely misleading, misleading to the extent of being deceptive. It’s really misleading to place the Bachelor name upon Russian 4-year university graduates who have qualifications far more exceeding those of Western Master Degree. It’s really deceptive to place the Bachelor name upon Russian 4-year university graduates who have qualifications of 9-year Western Engineer degree at least [2].  It is really misleading action on the side of Russian universities.  The only justification is that Russians really don’t know yet how their university degree programs correlate with Western ones.

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[1] Actually factor 2-3 in time of studies leads to factor 10-15 in the total volume of acquired knowledge. – Because the synergy of various disciplines in coursework often makes them multiply rather than just add to each other.

[2] In their academic knowledge Russian 4-year graduates have far stronger qualifications than Western 9-year graduates do. In their practical/research experience Russian 4-year graduates are equal to 7-year training at Western university at least.

DEFINING THE ISSUE.

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What may be the social and market implications of this situation with so misleading usage of Western degree names in Russian universities?

 Since the collapse of USSR, specifically since 1992, Russian universities use Western degree names for the degrees of Russian university graduates and they apply those names wrong way. It’s already over 20 years that such a misleading usage of Western degrees names in Russian universities goes on. In 2012 Russia joined Bologna process and this “deceptive” usage became the official one for Russian degrees in Europe. This way Russian universities are downgrading the established HIGH value of Western(EU/American) standards in university education. They undermine the market value of EU/American type of Bachelor placing same “Bachelor” name upon their 4-year university graduates who receive 3 times more training than and have qualifications of 9-year American Engineer degree at least. In their ignorance, consciously or not Russian universities are downgrading the established HIGH value of university education in the whole world. One needs to know that and evaluate Russian degrees right way – despite the deceptive usage of Western degree names in Russian universities. We need to do that if we want to keep the established HIGH value of university education in the world.

ANALOGY: It’s very much like oil trading in the world market. For example: you are selling oil in international market, for $50 per one barrel. Barrel is internationally well known as 31.5 gallons or 119 liters. 

Now imagine that some newcomer in international oil market starts selling an oil "barrel" of different volume and this newcomer sells the new “barrel” for the same $50.  They call it same name, a barrel/Bachelor,  but its volume is not 119 liters, it's not even  less than 119 liters (such attempt would be understandable), - no, this 50-dollar oil “barrel” is  about 1800 liters or 500 gallons("Russian barrel"). These newcomers are not cheating, they really think it's a barrel, 1800 liters, they just didn't check on that. This oil trading newcomer didn’t really check what was the volume of internationally known unit named “barrel”. Why?- because some 20 years ago some dishonest trader used to buy from them their oil for $50 per 1800 liters saying that barrel is actually 1800 liters.  Sounds a bit stupid, and that may be stupid behavior on the side of such "oil trader". But on the side of other oil sellers it looks like this newcomer is breaking the oil market.

 They are changing the definition of barrel, they cut down the oil prices, – so they just bring mess into the international oil market.

That’s basically very much similar to what we have with Russian universities as newcomers in the international market of university education.

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EXAMPLES

There are plenty of specific comparative examples of Russian and Western degree programs in chapter ILLUSTRATIONS in Fig.2 through Fig.22 

The simplest example in Fig.10a shows 4-year degree program in EECS  at Radio and OptoElectronics Department of Russian BMSTU/(МГТУ Баумана). Compared with MIT degree courseworks in similar EECS specialty this Russian 4-year program from BMSTU fully covers in its coursework cumulative training of MIT BS+MS+PhD/El.Eng.  degree programs (specialty RF/MW systems). This Russian program from BMSTU covers MIT BS+MS+PhD/El.Eng. programs in similar EECS specialty not only in its size, but also in content,  topic coverage and in course level. Course topic, content and level correlation is shown in Fig.23, 24 as course to course comparison pattern.

 In Figure 2a,b two 4-year degree programs in Physics from 2 different universities are shown in same scale: the big one being called “Bachelor” degree in Russia while the small one is called Master of Physics degree in Oxford, UK. All that is the case as well as the fact that they study same spectrum of subjects in Russian MSU (МГУ) and in Oxford university. The difference basically is that in Russia they study it 3 times stronger – deeper, wider, at higher level – and, notice, within the same timeframe of 4 years. This is how much one has to study to get a 4-year Physics degree- in Russian Moscow University (MSU- МГУ) and in Oxford University (UK). In other words it is Coursework/Curriculum required to qualify for a 4-year degree in Physics. Both degree programs how the course work that a student has to do to meet degree requirements. Course topic, content and level correlation between 4-year degrees from Russian MSU and UK Oxford programs is shown in Fig.5 as course-to-course comparison pattern.

 Another example: 4-year Physics degree program from Russian MIPT/МФТИ shown in Fig.14a,b fully covers in its coursework 2(two) different MIT BS+PhD programs – that of BS+PhD in Physics AND that of BS+PhD in Applied Mathematics. Such 4-year MIPT. This coursework shown in Fig.14 a,b is the MANDATORY coursework  that every 4-year student has to do by the end of 4th year of studies at Physics Department of Russian MIPT.

There are even more striking examples. In Fig.16 shows 4-year degree program in EECS at Electronics Department of Russian MIPT. Compared with MIT EECS degree courseworks this Russian 4-year program in its coursework fully covers cumulative training on MIT BS+MS+PhD/El.Eng. degree programs(specialty micro/nano and opto electronis). More than that - the 4-year Physics degree program from Russian MIPT*/МФТИ shown in Fig. 16 fully covers in its coursework two more 9-year MIT programs-in in Physics and in Applied Math. Such 4-year MIPT*(МФТИ) program of training represents standard size of training for every student receiving 4- year Russian degree at Electronics Department of Russian MIPT*(МФТИ, ФФКЭ).

 

Just to illustrate the quantitative side of the situation: Any Doctoral Program in the West stays well within 2000 hours of instructions by its total required coursework(BS+MS+PhD/DS) [3]. Any Russian 4-year degree far exceeds 2000 hours of instructions by its required coursework. That’s it.

  Within 4 years of study at Russian universities they have 35 to 40 final exams. Each final exam is a graded one. Each final exam implies oral and written tests in one subject/course. Normally such subject/course is 1 semester course, sometimes a subject takes 2 semesters with finals in each semester. On each such subject before the final exam students have to:

1. go through 2-3 quizzes within semester,

2. submit individual solutions of several(3-and up) Problem Sets,

3. do the homework requested by small group instructor(additional to Problem Sets),

4. attend lectures on this subject,

5. attend and participate in seminars/classes on this subject,

6. prepare some reports(projects) on some chosen topics within the course subject- as requested by small group instructor.

7. get permission of access to final exam through the non graded pre-final test.

Total of non-graded pre-final exams is normally 45-52 for 4 years of study. This number is a bit bigger than number of final exams since on some subjects they have 2 pre- finals.

[3] Only technical subjects relevant to Specialty training are counted: Engineering, Computer Science, Math, Physics, Chemistry(if relevant), etc.. NOT counted are: Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, Sports, Languages, etc.. Detailed description of counting technique and methods of comparing programs courseworks/curricula can be found in my book “Russian Engineering and Science Schools on the American Scale”. 

ILLUSTRATIONS

 

Fig.1a (below). Study load in Russian and USA universities.

First 4 years. Year structure: Instructions, reading, exams.

[Coursework (Course Work) or Curriculum of a degree program or Program Curriculum – set of courses that a student has to take, study and pass in order to qualify for that degree.*]

Instructions here are hours of teaching: it means time of lectures, classes/recitations and guided labs

 

Fig.1b(below). Study load in Russian and USA universities. First 4 years.

[Coursework (Course Work) or Curriculum of a degree program or Program Curriculum – set of courses that a student has to take, study and pass in order to qualify for that degree.*]

Instructions here are hours of teaching: it means time of lectures, classes/recitations and guided labs

 

Fig.2a(below). Physics. Russian 4-year degree vs 4-year Oxford(UK) degree. MSU.

This is how much one has to study to get a 4-year Physics degr ee- in Russian Moscow University(MSU- МГУ) and in Oxford University(UK). Coursework/Curriculum required to qualify for a 4-year degree in Physics. This is the course work that a student has to do to meet degree requirements.

In this Figure(Fig. 2a) two 4-year degree programs in Physics from 2 different universities are shown in same scale:

(a) the big one being called “Bachelor” degree in Russia while

(b) the small one is called Master of Physics degree in Oxford, UK.

The difference is factor 2 to 6 – in every direction of training.  Yet, they study same spectrum of subjects in Russian MSU and in Oxford university. The difference basically is that in Russia they study it 3 times stronger – deeper, wider, at higher level – and, notice, within the same timeframe of 4 years. See Fig.3 to Fig. 5.

Russian program from MSU covers Oxford program not only in size, but also in content, topic coverage and in course level. Course topics, course content and course level correlation is shown in Fig. 4 as course to course comparison pattern.

Instructions hours here are hours of teaching: it means time of lectures, classes/recitations and guided labs

 

Fig.2a(above)

Fig. 2b(below). Physics. Russian 4-year degree vs 4-year Oxford(UK) degree. MSU.

[* This is how much one has to study to get a 4-year Physics degree- in Russian Moscow University(MSU- МГУ) and in Oxford University(UK).*]

Fig.2b(above). Physics. Russian 4-year degree vs 4-year Oxford(UK) degree. MSU.

***

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Russian University degrees on Western scales. Defining the issue.

It is very little known in the West that the study process in Russian universities is 2 to 3 times more intense than in Western universities so that within 4 years of study Russian students manage to acquire volume of knowledge and skills equal to some 10 years of study in Western university. Today this fact can be easily discovered through the Web, yet it remains largely unknown – both in Russia and in the West. It is funny enough that Russians are also unaware of that basic difference in study process at Russian and Western universities. As strange as it may sound. It is practically unknown in the West that Russians study at their universities longer semesters, twice more intensely within each semester, have twice longer final exam and reading sessions and so on. They just work much harder - both in studies and in teaching. They just work much harder than we do here in the West. And, naturally, they manage to do more within the same timeframe of 4 or 6, or 9 years of university studies. As the result students in Russian universities get and comprehend 2 to 3 times more information than the students in US and European universities do for the same time of studies. And they also get 2 to 3 times more skills for the same time spent on a degree program in their Russian universities. Basically 4 years of study at Russian university are equivalent (in its coursework load) to ~10-12 years of study at the US/EU university in similar specialty. Sounds a bit strange but actually it is quite apparent and understandable. However, the strange news is that vast majority of Russians themselves actually don't know all that. That Russian unawareness is the main reason of such a peculiar usage of Western degree names in modern Russian universities when the Bachelor name is placed upon 4-year Russian university graduates who receive 3 times more training than Western Bachelors do. And that Russian usage of Western degree names in Russian universities it’s not only peculiar, it’s largely misleading, misleading to the extent of being deceptive. It’s really misleading to place the Bachelor name upon Russian 4-year university graduates who have qualifications far more exceeding those of Western Master Degree. It’s really deceptive to place the Bachelor name upon Russian 4-year university graduates who have qualifications of 9-year Western Engineer degree at least. It is really misleading action on the side of Russian universities. The only justification is that Russians really don’t know yet how their university degree programs correlate with Western ones.

  • Author: Andrei V. Pomyalov
  • Published: 2017-07-10 15:50:12
  • Words: 9235
Russian University degrees on Western scales. Defining the issue. Russian University degrees on Western scales. Defining the issue.