PhD Program admission process

from “Student Admission Regulation of Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology”

PhD Program admission consists of several stages:
submission of an application,
formal admission interview and entrance examination

4.1.1. Standardized Admissions Process

A standardized admissions process, with standardized admissions criteria, shall be followed. A central Skoltech office (the Doctoral Research Unit) established for this purpose shall administer this process.

A variety of different approaches may be adopted by each academic program and each faculty member at Skoltech to identify and recruit potentially suitable Ph.D. students, but all potential candidates shall go through the standard, centralized application process, involving submission of a standard set of documents and application materials.

All applicants who pass successfully through a preliminary assessment of their suitability for admission by the Doctoral Research Unit will be required to participate in a formal admissions interview and entrance examination.

4.1.1. Application submission and formal interview

The admissions documents package shall include:
a letter of application (or statement of purpose),
a comprehensive curriculum vitae,
copies of all academic degrees and transcripts,
letters of recommendation,
copies of previous publications (if any),
documents indicating English language competency (e.g., standard English language test scores, such as TOEFL or IELTS, for those applicants not having English as a native language, or an English language writing sample, for those whose native language is English),
and proof of identity and citizenship.

Individual academic programs at Skoltech may impose some additional program- specific application materials over and above the standard Institute-wide requirements.

All applicants who pass successfully through a preliminary assessment of their suitability for admission by the Doctoral Research Unit are informed (receive an notification via e-mail) and invited to a formal admissions interview.

A special admissions interview committee shall be established for each applicant.
Following the results of the assessment, the Doctoral Research Unit decides on admission or non-admission of each applicant.

A written admission offer is sent (to the email address specified in the application) to those applicants regarding who a positive admission decision was made.
Applicants who received an admission offer should notify the Institute regarding their decision to accept or reject proposed offer within the timeframe specified in that offer.
Applicants who received an admission offer and confirmed its acceptance in the specified timeframe are duly admitted to the Institute by the President’s Order.

4.1.2. Minimum Admission Standards

Standard minimum entrance requirements include completion of a Masters degree (or equivalent) from a recognized legitimate university, proof of English language competency (above standard thresholds set from time to time by Skoltech, but in the first instance at least 85/120 TOEFL or 7.0 IELTS), and legal ability to reside in the Russian Federation while studying full-time at Skoltech.

Individual academic programs at Skoltech may impose some additional program-specific entrance requirements over and above the standard Institute-wide entrance requirements.

Over and above these specific requirements all applicants need to convince their respective interview committee that they possess the basic wherewithal to have a reasonably high probability of successfully completing the Ph.D. program at an acceptably high standard.

A Masters degree is defined in these Regulations to be an accredited degree at the level of the second-cycle of higher education degrees according to the classifications and rules of the Bologna Process of the European Higher Education Area, regardless of whether or not the label “master” or “masters” is applied to the degree. In these Regulations the term “masters degree” may be understood to mean “masters degree or equivalent” unless otherwise stated.

4.1.3 Amount of Prior Masters Degree Required to Be in the Chosen Field of Studies

It will typically be expected that a student entering a Ph.D. program in a particular field of masters degree (or equivalent) in either that particular academic field, or in a closely aligned field that provides the student with adequate preparation for research in the particular specialized field chosen for the Ph.D.
However, there may be cases in which a student could be admitted as a Ph.D. student without specific training in the particular field in question, but on the understanding that he or she will take appropriate coursework in that field as part of his or her Ph.D. studies.

The amount (if any) of an individual student’s prior masters degree that should be in the chosen field of his or her Ph.D. studies may be determined by following the two-step process defined in Appendix C of this document.

The primary purpose of these requirements is to ensure that all students pursuing a Ph.D. at Skoltech will have adequately mastered the basics of the field in which they are carrying out their research. In addition, imposing such requirements may enable faculty time to be deployed more efficiently and productively in the training and supervision of students.

5. Selection & Appointment of Initial Supervisor

As part of the admissions process a Skoltech faculty member shall be identified who may act as an Initial Supervisor of the student, if admitted, and who shall act in that role up to the point at which a formal individual Doctoral Committee for the student is formed. Under normal circumstances, in the event that the student passes the qualifying exam and thesis proposal defense, the Initial Supervisor will become the Supervisor for the student’s thesis research. In short, in most cases the Initial Supervisor of the student will remain the student’s Supervisor or primary Supervisor until the student graduates. However, during the period between admission to the Doctoral Program and the formation of the individual Doctoral Committee a student will be free to identify an appropriate Skoltech faculty member other than the Initial Supervisor to occupy the role of his or her final Supervisor.
Initially it will not be necessary for a full individual Doctoral Committee to be formed, but one or two Co-supervisors may also be identified if it is felt by the admissions interview committee to be appropriate. The Initial Supervisor—and Initial Co-supervisors, as appropriate—shall be formally appointed by the Institute to advise the student immediately upon the student’s admission.