St Petersburg University, one of the first Russian universities, has awarded Candidate of Sciences, theses defended according to the University’s own rules and regulations. Five researchers were awarded a degree at the meeting of the University’s Academic Council.

September 1, 2016, the two Russia’s leading universities, MSU and SPbU, were entitled to hold thesis defenses according to their own rules and regulations. Following a long-standing tradition to award the university’s own degrees, SPbU set high standards to form dissertation councils.

At the TASS press conference, SPbU’s Rector Nikolay Kropachev and Senior Vice-Rector Ilia Dementiev told about what makes thesis defenses in the oldest University in Russia different from those held according to the VAK’s rules and regulations.

“This defense procedure was in Russia up to 1917. St Petersburg University is the first university in Russia that has revived the tradition and set high standards to award the degrees of Candidate of Sciences and Doctor of Sciences. Importantly, the right to hold its own thesis defenses is a great responsibility for the University. Academic community is closely following how the defense procedures are held at the University and what the theses focus on. It means that our dissertation councils must work better than anyone else’s”, — said Nikolay Kropachev.

Surely, the best guarantee for the quality of the theses and effective evaluation is openness and transparence. All the theses and their reviews are published in advance at the University’s web-site. The text of the thesis must be both in Russian and English. It makes the theses available nationally and globally.

The right to hold the thesis defenses to its own rules and regulations is a revised tradition: the University had awarded its own degrees before the Revolution and revised the tradition in 2013.

Before the legal act was enforced, 13 researchers had been awarded SPbU’s Ph.D., and after 21 researchers have been awarded a degree according to the University’s rules and regulations. Five of them were awarded a degree of Candidate of Sciences: History (Bakhtier Alimdzhanov), Law (Patimat Gusseinova) and Philology (Evgeniia Mitkina, Tatiana Kornilieva, and Eleonora Shabunina).

The name of the University is a guarantee of excellence and quality – it stakes its reputation on the quality of each degree awarded.
SPbU’s Senior Vice-Rector Ilia Dementiev

“In the academic community, it is important where you have been awarded a degree, — said Ilia Dementiev. — The place where you defended a theses is important, primarily due to the level of expert evaluation that the dissertation councils are responsible for”.

Now, if you are planning to defend your theses, you can choose how you are going to do it: in a new or old format. This transition period is up to September 1, 2018, then the VAK’s dissertation councils are to be closed, and the defense procedures are to be held according to the University’s rules and regulations only.