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Elective courses: general information

By choosing elective courses students can customize their learning process to match career goals and perspectives.

Students choose elective courses in September (1st year students choose courses for the 1st semester, all students choose Open Optional Courses), December (courses for the 2nd semester of the current study year) and at the end of Spring/beginning of Summer (for the 1st semester of the following study year).

Choice is made using SmartWay system.

Three steps (rounds) to include elective courses into your individual curriculum:

1. select courses you want to study and send an application,

2. check statuses of your application, if an application is declined – choose another course,

3. choose subject units to determine your schedule.


SmartWay system

Home page of the SmartWay system contains the following elements:

My curriculum (to choose core and elective courses from degree programme curriculum, including MAGOLEGO, General Courses)

Additional courses (to substitute courses from your curriculum or customize learning process)

Optional courses (to choose optional courses provided by your faculty and Open Optional Courses)

English (to choose English language courses - for bachelors and specialists)


In My curriculum you will be able to see elements of your curriculum. Click on the following elements to learn more.

For bachelors and specialists

  • Major
    • Core professional
    • Elective professional 
      • Elective courses
      • Research seminar
  • Minor (chosen via separate selection campaign)
  • General courses
  • Data Culture

For masters

  • Major
    • Core professional
    • Elective professional 
      • Elective courses
      • Research seminar
  • Minor (chosen via separate selection campaign)
  • Key seminars

Please note that some courses in My curriculum will be assigned automatically. These courses will be highlighted in gray – you won’t be able to change them in SmartWay system. However, you will be able to choose subject units (lecture and seminar groups) during the third selection round if a course has more than one subject unit.

In My curriculum you will be able to choose General courses, MAGOLEGO and all of the other elements of the curriculum.

“Additional courses” section is used to choose courses offered by different educational programmes. Can be used to substitute courses from student’s curriculum (should be approved by your academic supervisor).

“Optional courses” section is used to view or choose optional courses provided by student’s faculty and Open Optional Courses. Optional courses are not offered by every faculty, so this section may be disabled.

“English” section is used to choose or view assigned English language courses. For most educational programmes these courses are planned only for 1st, 2nd and 4th years (for bachelors only).

Selection campaign timeline

Timeline for the selection campaign for the 2nd semester of 2022/2023 academic year. Moscow time

  • Course preview (12:00 December 5 - 9:00 December 6)

    During this period you will be able to log into SmartWay to get acquainted with the system interface and look through the list of available courses. You will not be able to select any courses during the preview period.

  • 1st round (10:50 December 6 – 18:00 December 7)

    During selection round you should:

    • Open “My curriculum” section;
    • Look through the list of elective courses and schedule (including General and MAGOLEGO courses, if they should also be selected);
    • Send applications for selected courses.

    For courses with no additional selection places are distributed according to the time application was submitted. Application status (Approved/Declined) will be available in up to 30 minutes.

    If there are extra places available, a student whose application was declined due to late application submition will recieve a notification (notifications may be sent with delay, check SmartWay for most relevant data).

    If a course implies competitive selection, applications will be approved or declined by a professor before the start of the second round. Selection is based on student's rating if not stated otherwise; before submitting an application for a course that implies competetive selection, a student should read through course abstact to figure out competetive selection principles. Application limit is set beforehand; a student will not be able to submit an application if the limit has been reached (applications that were submitted earlier will be reviewed).

    During the 1st round you may also select Open Optional Courses and Optional Courses provided by your faculty. If you have recieved an approval from your academic supervisor you may also select courses from Additional courses section (see Changing learning trajectory by choosing additional courses).

  • Selection process

    Before the start of the second selection round all your applications for the courses that imply competitive selection will receive “Approved” or “Declined” status in your SmartWay account.

  • 2nd round (10:50 December 12 - 23:59 December 13)

    1st year bachelor's and specialist students will be able to select English language courses (after taking a test).

    In case your application for a course that implies competetive selection receives “Declined” status during the second round you should select a new course (not necessary if a course can be taken in another semester/academic year, e.g. MAGOLEGO courses). During this round all the courses with places left are available (regardless of 1st round selection). If you application was declined by a professor, you cannot resubmit it.

    If all your applications were approved, you don’t need to participate in the 2nd round.

  • Distribution of the remaining students (courses)

    Students who did not select the required amount of courses (credits) during 1st and 2nd rounds are distributed between courses by prorgammes managers (please contact your programme office after the campaign). You can select MAGOLEGO courses in the SmartWay system only, no additional distribution is allowed.

  • 3rd round (10:50 December 19 – 20:00 December 20)

    During the 3rd selection round students look through the schedule and select time slots (groups they will attend lectures and seminars with) for each course. Students make up their own schedule based on options provided for every course. Students themselves are responsible for schedule overlaps.

    All students must participate in the 3rd selection round!

    If a student did not select time slots (schedule) during the 3rd round - they should contact their programme office after December 21. Refusal to participate in the 3rd selection round is not a viable reason to skip classes.

  • Distribution of the remaining students (time slots)

    Students who did not select time slots (schedule) due to some technical issues should contact their programme office.

Changing learning trajectory by choosing additional courses

Choosing courses from “My curriculum” and “Additional courses” sections a student may pursue one of the strategies:

  • Make choses based on programme’s office recommendations, working curriculum (educational programme curriculum)
  • Partially substitute their curriculum courses with elements from “Additional courses” section without changing total amount of credits or field of study (for example, choosing courses offered by allied educational programmes). If both requirements - standard credit volume of a higher educational programme and allied field of study – are met, a student gets a degree without additional procedures.
  • Choose additional courses not included in working curriculum. If these courses are within an allied field of study, a student may take more courses in one year and skip some in another. If courses are not within allied fields of study – see.
  • Substitute working curriculum courses with courses not corresponding with educational standard of their area of study. There are two options:
    • Choose “HSE Bachelor” study track. A student can choose any courses within the amount of credits stated in their agreement. No area of study will be stated in student’s diploma. Students are required to transfer from budget-funded to fee-paying place.
    • Include courses to their curriculum as additional modules (part of a degree programme) – see.

Any deviations from the list of courses recommended by your educational programme should be approved by academic supervisor.

What should I do if I exceed standard credit volume?

A student has a maximum amount of credits they can get during their period of study (standard volume of a higher educational programme). Listed below are guide numbers for full-time programmes:

  • bachelors: 4 years – 240 credits, 5 years – 300 credits;
  • specialists: 5 years – 330 credits;
  • masters: 2 years – 120 credits.

For additional information see your programme’s curriculum. Where to find: programme’s website – Documents (right side column) – Degree Programme Curriculum – choose your year of enrollment – click on pdf-file under “Curriculum”. Standard volume of your educational programme is stated in the line “Degree programme”, column “Credits”.

All credits above standard volume are considered additional modules. Different types of additional modules may have different prices.

Exceptions are open optional courses, elements of practical training (projects) and courses provided by a faculty (optional courses). 


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