The Thesis Defense Procedure at NUST MISIS to Move Closer to European Model

The United Dissertation Research Council has started its work on the implementation of NUST MISIS’s rights to award degrees independently. The previous Dissertation Research Council on the Higher Attestation Commission will continue its work until August 31st, 2018, and afterward will cease operations.

The NUST MISIS United Dissertation Research Council will perform functions that are currently carried out by the Russian Federation Higher Attestation Commission and the Russian Ministry of Science & Education. Such responsibilities include forming expert councils and commissions, developing criteria for evaluating work, issuing documents on academic degrees, and other functions.

The developed model of self-awarding scientific degrees will bring the defense procedure closer to the adopted international standards of certifying scientific personnel. Like in Western universities, the Commission of scientists engaged in research in the same field will gather for the defense procedure. With this method, there is no need to appoint official candidates.

Research will be presented in the following way: the thesis is submitted in the form of a manuscript written based on the results of the scientific research conducted by the author. The applicant will be required to write the work in both Russian and English. In the second step, they have the right to review the thesis in English, which is both relevant to international students and helps to attract a wider range of international scientists to the evaluation procedure.

A separate Expert Committee with leading PhD-holding experts on the dissertation topic, as well as representatives of third-party scientific and educational organizations, including international ones, will be formed to evaluate each work. In order to give an opinion on the possibility of awarding a degree, the Commission members evaluate the applicant`s thesis and their responses to questions and comments from the thesis reviews. The NUST MISIS United Dissertation Research Council will make the final decision.

Mikhail Filonov, the NUST MISIS Vice-Rector of Research & Development, noted that independent awarding academic degrees will improve the efficiency of postgraduate studies:

“The high expert evaluation of works is maintained thanks to NUST MISIS’s human and scientific resources, as well as the possibility to attract world leading scientists, but at the same time — the time to review theses is reduced by 2-3 times. The implementation of the proposed model will allow us to seriously reduce bureaucratic burden on the applicant and increase the number of defended theses. This will allow the University to strengthen its position as a leading Russian and global scientific and educational center in the fields of metallurgy, materials science, and mining”, he said.

Despite the significant changes, many aspects will remain unchanged. The usual two-level system of academic degrees — doctor of sciences and candidate of sciences — will remain the same. Like before, all applicants will have the opportunity to give a notice of appeal against violations of the procedure for consideration of the thesis and the defense procedure. The pre-defense procedure will also remain the same. The decision of the organization where the work was carried out is required to submit the thesis work to the United Dissertation Research Council. The requirements for the availability of publications in the Higher Attestation Commission publication list will remain at the same level.