HSE Philology Program: An Overview

What to expect and how to prepare for HSE Philology.

HSE Philology Program: An Overview

Right when I started writing this article, I felt like everything was going bad. I had too much homework, too many lessons, too much research work to do before the end of the semester. I thought it was a mistake to choose to write on this topic. Now, when I’m finishing it, it seems like it was the perfect thing for me to think through and write about.

The reasons I wanted to write about specifically my program are that I think it would be wrong to make it seem like I know everything about some other program, based on a couple of students’ interviews and I think our Russian philology is pretty different from anything in the universities all around the globe.

Context matters

Firstly, what is philology? Well, it’s a science of text but at the same time so much more than that. This is the first thing you should consider when applying or thinking of applying to a Philology program. It’s never just about the text. The history behind it, the place and era when it was written, the philosophical and social ideas and phenomena that were popular at the time… even a special way of thinking and analyzing. That is why there are so many subjects that are not connected to literature (at a first glance), like history, many foreign languages, sociology, philosophy and many more. Let alone strong university education basis, Philology gives you an opportunity to become a specialist in humanities as a whole.

Prepare for a lot of reading

You guessed it. There will be a lot of reading involved. Not too much but still a lot. However, I am only a first-year student, so I asked a girl who was in her third year right now about what she thinks of the studying process.

It gets easier but harder at the same time. You will have to read whole books to prepare homework for a very short period of time. Don’t relax too much but don’t stress out either. At the end, we’re all humans and this is not unmanageable. You can do this!

Prepare for a lot of writing!

This obviously includes tons of research that you’ll have to do but also some extra stuff. In HSE, you’ll have to participate in social projects organized by professors or students. In many cases, you’ll have to fill up a table, make an analysis or thesis - so essentially, write something. 

How to prepare

My first tip is not to panic. There is no need to read anything outside the compulsory school program. Take your time and relax, as there will be plenty of stress during the study year.

Second tip is strongly connected with the ‘Context matters’ part. Because it really does matter. If you want to get all the good grades and become the top student, you should learn the skill of finding out the context of any text you’ve been given. It will help you so much with the course work, the lectures, the seminars, the homework — you name it! And, frankly speaking, there are always questions about the year when the text has been written, some people’s names that are important for understanding the text or the era or really anything about it. So, when you’re given a text to read, find out the year, the author(s), the backstory and ideology that might have influenced it. Super important! 

Finally, time management. I’ve only started my university journey but already understand this is key, at least for me. You will save so much time and, which is much more important, your mental health and strength by planning all the work that you have to do. There will be an article on time management by itself too, so stay tuned! 

In conclusion, I think Philology is a unique program with some amazing subjects and it’s in your hands to make your time in HSE even more enjoyable!

Text by
Zhanna Dyakonova