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HSE University Moves All Classes Online: FAQ

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HSE University Moves All Classes Online: FAQ

Starting March 17, HSE University students will study remotely until the end of the academic year. Below you will find answers to faculty and students' most frequently asked questions.


Beginning March 26, the City of Moscow has temporarily blocked all subsidized student transport cards (also known as 'social' [transport] cards). The passes will not be operational until April 14, 2020, pending further notice. If you have prepaid the current month (or several), you balance will be temporarily frozen on the card. Once the ban to use student transport cards is lifted, you can reactivate the card at any Moscow metro ticket office. The measure is aimed at reducing the number of people using public transport in Moscow. You can find official information here (in Russian).


How will the online courses be organized?

Students will continue to participate in their classes by using online platforms, online courses, and programmes such as Zoom or Skype. Classes that cannot be taught remotely will be postponed until a later date. Specific plans will be determined by programme managers, so you can get detailed information from your programme study office.

What about internships?

They will be completed remotely.

Will summer schools and student expeditions take place?

It has been decided to postpone the student expeditions until the fall (wherever possible). Unfortunately, summer schools that were planned for the summer of 2020 are cancelled.

If students study remotely, will the university be closed?

We are not closing our campuses. Libraries and cafeterias will continue working. There will still be opportunities for individual face-to-face consultations.

Moreover, the University is not cancelling research events. However, it is strongly recommended to move these events to online formats. It is not recommended to organize events for more than 50 people. The right to make the final decision rests with the organizers.

Updated March 18: How do I know what format my classes will be in?

First of all, ask your instructor (via email, for example). Information regarding the transition of classes to an online format will be available soon. Check your programme website for timetable updates

Updated March 18: Will the new measures in place affect students in evening or online programmes?

The Rector’s order, which was signed March 16, to transition all HSE educational activity to an online format, pertains to students of all departments and programmes, including evening and online ones.

Updated March 18: Will doctoral students also study remotely?

Yes, all students—doctoral, master’s, and undergraduate—will continue their studies remotely.


Mid-terms start on March 23. How will students take exams?

The exams of the 3rd module will be rescheduled for the summer and will be held simultaneously with the final exams of the 4th module. At that point, the university will have the opportunity to organize remote exams. An additional week will be added to the exam period of the 4th module in order to accommodate exams from the 3rd module.

What about final certification exams and thesis defenses for seniors?

These will be held remotely, just like module 4 exams.

Updated March 18: How will students take state exams or defend their theses?

Like the 4th module exam session, these will be conducted remotely.

Updated March 18: Will entrance exams for doctoral programmes be postponed?

There are no plans to postpone entrance exams to HSE doctoral programmes. All exams will be conducted remotely. Information about this is available here. Instructions on how to access and take specific programme exams will be sent to applicants at a later date.


I live in a dormitory. Should I leave?

HSE University does not plan to close the dormitories. Whether to stay there or return to your hometown is entirely up to you.

If elderly relatives or other people who might be at risk live with you at home, it would be wiser to stay in the dormitory in order to avoid exposing them to additional danger. HSE University will do everything within its power to ensure that students can comfortably study online.

It is important to understand that if at least one resident of the dormitory tests positive for COVID-19, the university will be forced to immediately quarantine the entire building. Of course, in this case, HSE University will ensure the wellbeing of its students.

Please note that one of the main risk factors in the current situation is public transport. We strongly recommend that students, especially those who live in Odintsovo and Dubki, refrain from using it. If you do have to use the public transport, avoid trips during rush hour.

Updated March 18: If I am preparing to leave the country, do I need to notify someone?

According to HSE rules and regulations, dormitory residents must notify the dormitory administration about their departure and indicate when they plan to leave and return. This is standard protocol that is unrelated to measures taken in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated March 18: If I go home for the period during which all HSE courses are to be conducted remotely, what will happen with my dorm room?

If a student wishes to go home for the duration of HSE’s distance learning measures, they will not lose their place in the dormitories. When the protective measures on campus are lifted, students will be able to return to their dorm rooms. For this reason, students may leave personal items in their rooms upon departure.

Updated March 20: If I leave the dormitory, will my housing fees be discounted or reduced?

All students who decide to go home for the duraiton of the distance studies will be exempt from paying dorm fees for the period from March 2020 until May 2020.

Updated March 18: If I temporarily move out of my dorm, can I return there before the end of the year?

This possibility remains, but it is recommended not to do so until the protective measures HSE has implemented are lifted.


Updated March 18: Will tuition costs be adjusted in light of the University’s transition to online learning?

No, tuition costs will not be recalculated or adjusted for the educational services provided in the online format.

Updated March 18: If a required course is postponed until next year, will this affect a student's ability to qualify for a state-funded scholarship or tuition discount? If a student receives a discounted tuition rate in summer what will be the tuition fee for the postponed course? Will it take into account the previous tuition discount or the most recent one?

If a course is postponed for external reasons (such as the coronavirus outbreak), it does not count against a student. Students who wish to be considered for state-provided scholarships or tuition discounts will not be docked in the review process for not having taken courses that were cancelled. They will only be evaluated based on their performance over the previous two semesters in the classes that they have taken.


Updated March 19: Can I use the library?

Due to additional protective measures against the spread of the coronavirus on campus, no more than 50 people can be in a campus library at a time.

If you need to visit a campus library that can accommodate more than 50 people, please check the current occupancy (updated in real time) of the library you would like to visit.  

Use caution, and use HSE libraries’ electronic resources when possible.

HSE University libraries are now open from 10 am till 9 pm.

Updated March 25: How can I remotely get a library card so that I can use the library’s online resources?

To remotely obtain a library card and access the HSE library resources, fill out an online registration form. Within two business days, you will receive a registration confirmation and a library card number, which you can use to access library resources remotely.

Updated March 17: I already have an HSE library card. How can I remotely access the library’s electronic resources?

To obtain remote access, follow the directions and fill out the form available here. In order to activate your registration, be sure to use your HSE email account.

Updated March 17: How can I return books that I’ve checked out from the library?

In order to prevent the spread of coronavirus on campus, the return date for all books currently checked out from the library has been extended to July 15, 2020.

If necessary, books can be returned earlier than July 15 during the library’s working hours. Check the library’s hours here.

International students

Updated March 17: What should international students do? Is it worth returning home while it is still possible?

If you are an international student and would like to return to your home country, you should notify your programme study office and the Centre for International Student Support and indicate the dates of your departure and return. Students who live in HSE dormitories should additionally provide the dormitory management with this information.

Updated March 17: I am an international student from a country that has closed its borders. Will HSE University help me return home?

Questions related to restricted entry to a particular country should be addressed to the appropriate government authorities. For up-to-date information regarding the current entry and exit procedures for your home country, contact your country’s consulate or embassy.

Updated March 17: I am a foreign citizen and was planning on going home for a month. Due to the current situation, it is likely I will not be permitted to return to Russia. If I can’t return to HSE, will I be penalised or expelled?

From March 17 to the end of the academic year, HSE has transitioned to distance learning for all students. Therefore, students can study remotely, whether they are in Moscow or abroad.

At the same time, students should note that the Russian government has restricted entry to Russia for all foreign citizens from March 18th until May 1, 2020. In addition, the Foreign Ministry is temporarily not accepting visa applications or issuing visa invitations to foreign citizens for purposes of academic study.

You can, however, continue your studies at HSE remotely from your home country. In this case, you will need to notify your programme study office.


Are administrative staff also being moved online?

HSE recommends that teachers and researchers work remotely if they can. Administrative staff will continue to work as usual.

Other questions

I still have questions. How can I find our more?

Contact your study office first. If they cannot help you, email us at community@hse.ru. We will do our best to answer your questions and publish them here.

It is important to keep in mind that these circumstances in which HSE University finds itself are unprecedented. It is to be expected that some decisions will take time. We will promptly post all updates here, as well as on our official social media accounts. All of the latest updates are posted in Russian on the STUDLIFE page.