Teaching at HSE University

Course Syllabus

The first and the most important task of a lecturer before beginning studies is to work out the course syllabus.

Syllabus is the main agreement with students on the process and conditions of training, and the educational process is organized according to it. A syllabus should include the content of the course (its goals, topics, literature for further reading) and methods of work with students (types of work, assessment principles).

Although the requirements for course descriptions taught in English have been simplified at HSE, it still needs careful examination and compliance with all the rules and terms to schedule it. And you will also need to write a short description of the course in Russian, you will probably need some help from your department.


A course syllabus must contain the following sections:

  • Course Description
    1. Course title
    2. Pre-requisites
    3. Course Type (mandatory, elective, optional)
    4. Abstract
  • Learning Objectives
  • Learning Outcomes

Course Plan

  • Reading List
    1. Required
    2. Optional
  • Grading System
  • Guidelines for Knowledge Assessment
  • Methods of Instruction
  • Special Equipment and Software Support (if required)

Approval and terms

When the syllabus is completed, it should be discussed and approved by the Academic Сouncil at your department. The approval procedure is shorter for elective and optional courses; for core subjects, it generally takes a little more time to receive approval. As the general requirement is to submit the syllabus to the commission before the beginning of the module, the lecturer is responsible for establishing the exact terms of its approval in advance.

Full-time foreign and exchange students coming from abroad choose their courses 6 months prior to the beginning of their study at HSE. Thus, if the course is taught in a foreign language, its synopsis (not necessarily the whole syllabus) should be presented to your department 6 months prior to the beginning of the semester when this course will be taught.

As soon as the syllabus is approved, the course is included in the curriculum and automatically appears in the database of the HSE courses and on the personal profile of the lecturer on the HSE website. A description is attached to the course’s profile by the website editor at the department.

A course syllabus must be placed on the website prior to September 1, regardless of the actual start date of the course and must be presented to students no later than the start date of the relevant Course.

The lecturer is responsible for the availability and quality of the syllabus put into the database of courses. If necessary, the lecturer may make minor changes to assessment formulae or sequence of topics to be learned, on the condition that the students are informed of these alterations beforehand. It is best to inform students about any changes using the LMS or via email to protect oneself against possible student complaints concerning the violation of rules fixed in the syllabus.

Procedures for development, revision and approval of course syllabuses (PDF, 281 Kb)

Appendix 1 to Procedures for development, revision and approval of course syllabuses (PDF, 481 Kb)

Appendix 2 to Procedures for development, revision and approval of course syllabuses (PDF, 49 Kb)

Appendix 3 to Procedures for development, revision and approval of course syllabuses (PDF, 37 Kb)

Knowledge Assessment

The assessment system at HSE is another significant thing to be aware of and again, needs to be included in the syllabus. During the first lesson, it is important to familiarize students with the different types of assessment that will be held throughout the academic year. There are three different types of assessment used at HSE: the ongoing, interim and final assessments.

Ongoing assessment is carried out as part of the regular and systematic monitoring of students’ academic knowledge during lectures and seminars, including distance learning courses, and other forms of studies (internships, project work, scientific seminars etc.).

Ongoing assessment is conducted by the lecturer and can be organized:

  • during an in-class work in the presence of the lecturer according to the schedule;
  • during  independent work without the lecturer with the subsequent assessment of results by the lecturer or the assistant;
  • by using the information environment for remote learning during both in-class work and independent work, with the possible automatic assessment of results. 

Ongoing assessment can be carried out in the following forms: homework assignments, tests, papers, essays, colloquiums, laboratory classes, course projects and other forms of ongoing assessment at the discretion of the lecturer responsible for teaching a particular academic subject.

The lecturer must inform the students of the results of ongoing assessment not later than 10 days after the event through various communication means, including electronic ones.

Interim assessment is aimed at assessing part of an academic subject if it lasts longer that one period, and should be held upon the completion of the module or semester. Thus, some academic subjects may not require interim knowledge assessment.

An interim assessment may be summarised by using ongoing assessment methods and/or by conducting an exam. It should be noted that an unsatisfactory result of the interim check is not a reason to deny a student access to a subsequent interim check or to the final test of knowledge on the subject.

It is important to know that the contents and procedures pertaining to interim and ongoing assessments must be specified in the syllabus of the subject and students must be informed of them during the first lesson on the given subject, and in addition, they must be repeatedly informed of the contents and procedures of exams at the last lesson before the corresponding exam on the given subject.

The final assessment which is primarily held in written form (test, essay, report, etc.) should be held upon the completion of an academic subject. The lecturer can choose the type of assessment without administering an exam. If holding an exam is not suitable for a subject, the final grade for the course coincides with the cumulative grade.

The cumulative grade is calculated on the basis of ongoing assessment results (homework assignment, test, paper, essay, etc.), wherein each form has its own weight. The process of calculating the cumulative grade must be described in the course syllabus, as well as its weight in the resulting grade. In the course syllabus, the lecturer also specifies the weight of the exam, which may not be more than 80% or less than 20%. Generally, the weight of the exam is 20%, so that the students who work hard throughout the course have an advantage. This is why an unsatisfactory grade received at an exam does not mean the same overall grade: it may be higher if ongoing assessment grades are high enough and the formula for calculating the overall grade allows for a significant weighting of the cumulative grade.

Thus, the overall grade for the course (or part of the course) is calculated from the cumulative grade and the grade received at the exam. The sum of these grades amounts to 100%.

final grade = ongoing assessments (cumulative grade) + examination grade

If the academic subject lasts for more than one module and the lecturer holds more than one interim assessment, the procedure and the formula for calculating the overall grade must be specified in the course syllabus. 


Each module is followed by an examination period, which lasts one or two weeks. Students may have exams on consecutive days, but not more than one exam per day. The duration of the exam (both oral and written) should not exceed 4 academic hours per student and this must be announced to the students before the start of the examination. It can be held between 9 a.m and 9 p.m.

Exams at HSE are generally held in written form, but in some cases may be oral at the discretion of the lecturer. No later than five (5) business days from the date of a written examination, examination papers must be released, and grades must be assigned.

The exams schedule is always announced to lecturers and students at least one week before it begins. Information on this can be found on the website and information boards around the university.

No examination may be held without a record sheet. Students not listed on the examination record sheet are not allowed to take the examination. The deadline for submitting completed examination record sheets to the programme office comes to one (1) business day after holding an oral examination or assigning grades for a written examination.

If the Course syllabus does not include an examination, the person responsible for calculating the final grade must inform the programme office (at least two (2) weeks prior to the start of the examination period) that no examination should be scheduled for the Course. Then, he/she shall set the finalisation date for the examination record sheet that should fall within the examination period

Retaking examinations

In case of a failed exam, students have the right to repeat the examination but not more than twice within one course. The first attempt is administered by the lecturers who led the initial examination and is similar to a regular exam; the second attempt must be administered in the presence of a committee composed of at least three lecturers, one of whom is appointed chairman of the committee. The examination committee may involve lecturers from other departments.

Repeated exams are allowed only after the second and the fourth modules. It is not permitted to take repeated exams in order to upgrade a positive result (above 4 on the 10 point grading scale).


At HSE there are requirements for written assignments or oral answers at exams. Their violation may bring students disciplinary penalties ranging from a reprimand and an unsatisfactory grade up to expulsion from the University.

The lecturer is responsible for elimination of the following violations of academic standards:

  • Cheating,
  • Repeated submission of the same written assignment,
  • Plagiarism,
  • Forgery,
  • Fabrication of data and results.

To check the course and graduation papers written in English against plagiarism you may use the electronic system “Turnitin”.

Likewise, students may appeal against the results of interim and final assessments for the following violations of their rights:

  • Incorrect wording of questions, questions outside the scope of the curriculum, mistakes in the answer options in assignments and tests;
  • Violation of the interim and final assessment procedures by the lecturer;
  • Non-compliance with evaluation methods;
  • Circumstances hindering an objective evaluation.


HSE has internal regulations concerning plagiarism. If you come across an issue that can be characterized as plagiarism, please follow the guidelines described in Procedures for Applying Disciplinary Measures for the Violations of Academic Standards for Student Paper at the National Research University Higher School of Economics.

Grading System

HSE has a 10-point grading system, which corresponds to the 5-point scale officially used in many other Russian educational institutions and the European scale ECTS.

Unlike the 5-point grading system, in which 5 is excellent and 1 is poor, the 10-point scale makes assessment more nuanced. To facilitate the grading process, please use this simple scheme:

Pass-Fail Exam

PASS 4-10
FAIL 0-3
Numerically Graded Exam
GOOD 6-7 4
POOR 0-3 2
Grades for all the assessment types should be integers ranging from 0 to 10 points. The grade rounding rules must be described in the course syllabus.

During the course, the lecturer registers interim results in student performance record in the LMS.

Grades received at the exam and other tests must be also registered in the examination record sheet (printed or an electronic version) formed by the Programme Office before the exam. The cumulative,  exam and overall grades are put in the exam record in numerical form on a ten-point scale and in text form (“excellent”, “good”, “satisfactory”, “unsatisfactory”)  on a 5-point scale.

The exam record sheet must be signed by all lecturers carrying out the exam and submitted to the Programme Office (in original or scanned copy by email) within one working day. Students who are not present at the exam should be registered as “absent” on the examination record sheet.

The overall grades are put in electronic student’s grade books in their account in the LMS by the Programme Office manager.

Regulations for Interim and Ongoing Assessment of Students (approved May 2017)

Appendix 1 to Regulations for Interim and Ongoing Assessment of Students.pdf
Appendix 2 Interim assessment record sheet.pdf
Appendix 3 Interim assessment record sheet research seminar.pdf
Appendix 4 Interim assessment record sheet term paper.pdf
Appendix 5 to Regulations for Interim and Ongoing Assessment of Students.pdf
Appendix 6 Individual curriculum.pdf
Appendix 7 to Regulations for Interim an..ing Assessment of Students ICEF.pdf
 Appendix 8 to Regulations for Interim and Ongoing Assessment of Students NES.pdf

The new version of the Regulations for interim and ongoing assessment approved by the HSE Academic Council on October 09, 2020 will become effective on October 19, 2020

Teaching Assistants

HSE lecturers can apply for a teaching assistant from the body of HSE graduate or undergraduate students. These assistants are paid by the university for their work. 

Teaching assistants may be chosen from those students who do not have grades below 8 points on mid-term assessments in the academic subject they are recruited for, or those who have been recommended by the department responsible for teaching this subject, as well as post-graduate students recommended by the department responsible for the course.

It must be also taken into account that the teaching assistant should not:

  • be studying at a course level in which the subject is taught;
  • be recruited simultaneously by two or more lecturers;
  • be recruited simultaneously in two different subjects;
  • be recruited to conduct academic or research seminars, as well as to develop and implement subjects that are being included for the first time in a division’s curriculum;
  • work at the University in a teaching position or provide teaching services to the university under a civil law contract (for students of Master’s programmes or postgraduate students)

Teaching assistants help lecturers in preparing for a lecture or a seminar, participate in conducting lessons, and engage in the preliminary evaluation of students’ work, but the final grades are to be determined by the lecturers. It is important to remember that teaching assistants must always operate under their mentor’s supervision and are not permitted to carry out teaching activities on their own. The lecturer is responsible for the quality of a teaching assistant’s work.

Applications can be submitted by a lecturer or by the head of the department twice a year. If a subject is continued in the next academic year, a new application for teaching assistant must be submitted. To clarify all the details on applications and terms, please contact the designated person at your Faculty. 

Practical Recommendations

  • Here are some practical tips that will help you fulfill your teaching duties at the University.
  • Make sure your course syllabus contains complete/updated information about the assessment procedure, the methods of grades calculation, the timing and forms of written and other types of work. 
  • Make sure your course syllabus is included in the HSE courses database and is available on your Profile Page.
  • Update your Profile Page regularly. Make sure it contains all the necessary and current information.
  • Create a profile of your course in the LMS.
  • Prior to the beginning of studies, inform the Programme Office in the department of your preferences regarding the course schedule (preferred days of the week and hours) and your wishes will be taken into account as far as possible.
  • Course schedules are placed on the Faculty bulletin boards not later than 3 days prior to the beginning of classes, and the exam schedule not later than 7 days.
  • Inform students about types and features of assessment procedures and also of their achievements to date one week prior to assessment procedure.
  • Register students’ achievements in the Student performance record. It's best to do it in LMS.

How to reserve a room and facilities for studies

When planning a course, if you have special requirements for the room (arrangement of tables and a board, the Internet, computers, an interactive whiteboard, etc.) for the duration of the whole course, it is necessary to inform the Programme Office in your department of your needs two weeks prior to the beginning of the module.

If you need a laptop, a projector, speakers or access to the Internet to conduct one or several lectures/seminars, please ask your coordinator to assist you with submitting an application to the appropriate department 3 days prior to the beginning of the event.

Fund for Educational Innovation

The HSE Fund for Educational Innovation aims to identify and reward the university’s best instructors, involve the best graduate and postgraduate students in teaching, support innovative educational developments, and spread the best teaching practices. Twice a year the Fund collects applications for participation in the competition for original developments in the field of education. Competition categories include:

  • an original interdisciplinary curriculum program,
  • an original model of organizing an undergraduate and Master's level research seminar,
  • an original methodology for conducting seminars,
  • an original course on developing students’ academic skills,
  • original program for a discipline training workshop,
  • a ‘freestyle category’ for those who do not see in these categories a description of their conceived and implemented pedagogical innovation, original idea or element of the educational process.

Application Deadline

Documents for the fall round of the competition are usually accepted in September. Application deadlines will be announced in spring on the HSE website and the website of the HSE Fund for Educational Innovation.

Application Procedure

Complete a standard application form and prepare attachments with a description of the completed or planned development. Email these documents to the contact person and submit a signed hard copy of the application documents to the Fund for Educational Innovation at  Room G 613, 11 Pokrovsky blvd, or by fax to +7-495-621-43-72.


Oksana Chernenko +7 (495) 621-43-72, ochernenko@hse.ru 

For details please check the website of the Fund for Educational Innovation.