UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


MA Comparative Russian and Eurasian Politics Handbook

Key Contacts

UCL Programme Director: Dr Aglaya Snetkov 

Room 419, 16 Taviton Street


Office hours:

Term 1: Wednesday 10.30-11.30, Thursday 10.30-11.30

Term 2: Wednesday 10.30-11.30, Thursday 10.30-11.30

UCL Programme Administrator: Svetlana Smirnova 

Education and Student Support Office – Room 341, 16 Taviton Street


tel: +44 (0)20 8138 7027 

After you complete your first year at UCL, you will be joining HSE St Petersburg, where you will study during your second year, and most importantly, will complete and defend your dissertation. Transition to HSE St Petersburg starts in March (you will receive transition packs, attend an induction section, receive information about visas etc.); right now please focus on your first year and practicalities in London. However, if you believe you have urgent questions about the second year, feel free to contact HSE St Petersburg. Note that you will have a chance to meet and talk to the university representatives in September.

NameRoleUniversityEmail Address
Ivan GrigorievAcademic Programme Director HSE St. Petersburg 


Degree Structure

You can find all the information you need about the modules below on the Module Catalogue

Year 1: 60 ECTS (120 UCL credits) at UCL 

You take 75 UCL credits (37.5 ECTS) of compulsory modules, plus a choice of at least one module in Russian and Eurasian Politics options, and a choice of a methodology module.

Compulsory (75 UCL credits, 37.5 ECTS)

SEES0085: Russian Politics (30 UCL credits, 15 ECTS)

SEES0128: Qualitative Methods (15 UCL credits, 7.5 ECTS)

LANGUAGE: Russian, Estonian or Ukrainian (30 UCL credits, 15 ECTS)


At least one chosen from Russian and Eurasian Politics modules: 



And at least one methodology module chosen from:

SEES0103: Comparative Analysis in Social and Political Research (15 UCL credits, 7.5 ECTS)
SEES0106: Introduction to Discourse Analysis (15 UCL credits, 7.5 ECTS) Not running in 2021/2022
SEES0083: Quantitative Methods (15 UCL credits, 7.5 ECTS)
SEES0095: Advanced Quantitative Methods (15 UCL credits, 7.5 ECTS) Prerequisite: Quantitative Methods, must be taken in Term I
SEES0107: Understanding and Analysing Data (15 UCL credits, 7.5 ECTS)


Optional modules: Politics, History, Culture and Society 

  • SEES0117: Political Sociology (15 UCL credits, 7.5 ECTS) 
  • SESS0094 Governance in the Era of Global Complexity: Eurasia and Beyond (6 ECTS/15 UCL credits) 
  • SEES0089 Nations, Identity and Power (6 ECTS/15 UCL credits) 
  • SEES0102 Migration in the European Union (6 ECTS/15 UCL credits)  
  • SEES0111 Sexuality and Society in Russia and Eastern Europe (6 ECTS/15 UCL credits) 

Up to 7.5 ECTS can be taken from other MA programmes at SSEES or from other UCL departments with the permission of the Programme Co-ordinator.


Year 2 (60 ECTS/120 UCL credits) at HSE St. Petersburg 

Compulsory (72 UCL credits, 36 ECTS)

Dissertation (48 UCL credits, 24 ECTS)

Internship (12 UCL credits, 6 ECTS)

Project seminar + Project (12 UCL credits, 6 ECTS)

Methodology. At least one of 2 (12 UCL credits, 6 ECTS):

Computational Text Analysis (12 UCL credits, 6 ECTS)

Social Network Analysis (12 UCL credits, 6 ECTS)

Optional modules: Politics, History, and Society (32 UCL credits, 18 ECTS):

Russia in World Politics (12 UCL credits, 6 ECTS)

EU-Russia Relations (12 UCL credits, 6 ECTS)

Artic as a Global Region: History and Politics (12 UCL credits, 6 ECTS)

Internet in Non-competitive Politics (12 UCL credits, 6 ECTS)

Cold War Conflicts (12 UCL credits, 6 ECTS)

Historical, Political and Economic Integration of BRICS (12 UCL credits, 6 ECTS)

Nationalism in Soviet Union and Post-Soviet Russia (12 UCL credits, 6 ECTS)*

* If equivalent not taken in year 1 at UCL.


Please check the Moodle page for specific deadlines. 

The dissertation forms an essential part of your overall degree and much of the research training you undertake facilitates the writing of a substantive research-based dissertation of 20,000 words. The dissertation is worth 24 ECTS (48 UCL credits) of your second-year work. 

Dissertation Timeline
Year 1

  • Start thinking about your topic, methods and sources: Now
  • Dissertation Introductory Workshop: November
  • Dissertation Proposal Deadline: February (to be submitted on Moodle)
  • HSE St. Petersburg Consider Dissertation Proposals: March-April
  • Students contact their UCL advisor: End of April/Beginning of May
  • Students Receive Feedback from HSE St. Petersburg and UCL Advisor: May 
  • Dissertation Workshop: Early June (after examinations, end of term 3)
  • Submit Presentations to Partners: Mid-June

Year 2 (indicative submission deadlines, TBC)


The aims of the dissertation are:

  • to provide you with an opportunity to pursue independent research on a subject of your choice;
  • to enable you to test your analytical skills in producing a substantial piece of written work with a high level of analysis, judgement and clarity of expression;
  • to allow you to undertake some original research or to investigate an original hypothesis;
  • to allow you to illustrate your achievements during the programme, including your knowledge of appropriate research methods and, if appropriate, language;
  • to contribute at least 25% of the assessment for the MA degree;
  • to prepare you for an MPhil/PhD or any research project that might follow in your future careers; and
  • to provide you with experience of designing, managing and delivering a large year-long project


You are expected:

  • to choose an original research topic;
  • to make an independent contribution on your chosen subject;
  • to search for existing literature and/or data on the subject, including classic works, up-to-date publications, periodical and internet sources;
  • to demonstrate knowledge of secondary sources on the subject and your ability to assess critically other authors’ views and to structure your own argument;
  • to take into account historical background and theoretical frameworks, where appropriate;
  • to identify, as appropriate, empirically testable hypotheses, research methods strategies, and analytical arguments;
  • to demonstrate skills of critical thinking; and
  • to develop your organisational, analytical and stylistic skills;

Topic, Proposal, Supervisor

The dissertation preparation process will be discussed at an introductory session at the end of the first term. You must choose your dissertation topic while at UCL. The dissertation title should be formulated to establish the topic clearly but without making it inflexible through excessive detail. You are required to submit a preliminary proposal and on the chosen methodology by the middle of the second term of year one. When choosing a topic, you should bear in mind that your primary supervisor will be from HSE St. Petersburg. Students will also be assigned an advisor at UCL SSEES who you should contact in early May to arrange one meeting. The aim of this session is to fine-tune the proposal, identify key research questions and discuss preliminary readings. In term three you submit a more detailed, revised proposal and present it to other students in one of the dissertation workshops. The revised proposals and presentations will be sent to HSE St. Petersburg. All students should expect to be assigned a supervisor at HSE St. Petersburg before the start of the second year.

It is very important that you start to gather materials for your dissertation in year one and during the summer before the second year. The range of available resources varies across the second year partner universities so you are encouraged to gather materials from the UCL library while in London. Ideally, you might also use the summer to begin work on the literature review or background analysis. This will enable you to make the most of the research opportunities in the second year as you will be able to devote more time to the empirical material, where appropriate. However, you will continue to have access to UCL's e-library throughout the second year.

Choosing a Dissertation Topic

There are few restrictions on the topic of the dissertation. To a large extent the choice of your research subject should be guided by your underlying academic interests. The only strict constraints are that it should be relevant to both the Central and East European region and to your study track. Ideally, your dissertation might be focused on economic, political or historical aspects of your year two country but this is not a requirement. Dissertations that draw on local materials include those that: undertake surveys or in-depth interviews; that exploit the materials in local archives; that rely on local media; that use local/regional statistics and so on. 

In choosing your topic it may help to bear the following in mind:

  • The title should be reasonably broad initially – there is plenty of time to make the specific question clearer as year 2 approaches.
  • The dissertation should address a problem or question, and the problem you address should be related to your study track and to the CEE region.
  • Most interesting research tends to start from problems or from theory. Data gathering and analysis, choice of methodological approach etc. tend to come later. Unless you start from problems or theory, there is a risk that your dissertation will evolve as rambling, descriptive and potentially pointless.
  • As your ideas develop, write down, in one or two sentences, what the problem or question is that you are trying to address. That is, write down what the point of your dissertation is.
  • Read first: in formulating the proposal, you should do some general reading around the topic. This will enable you to start to identify more specific research aims or hypotheses. It is important that you have some understanding of the existing literature before you plan your own study in too much depth.
  • Keep in mind that ultimately you should be working towards using the available sources (primary or secondary) in a novel way, to address a question that has not been directly addressed before. You therefore need to identify gaps in the literature or new ways of analysing/comparing the existing literature. For example, there may be lots of material on the politics of climate change in Estonia but a gap may exist for drawing together equivalent material on the Baltic region more generally.
  • Identify a project that is feasible within the time and language constraints that you face. In particular, if your project will involve fieldwork, you will need to be very organised, and realistic about what you can achieve.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I choose courses from other (non-SSEES) departments in UCL?

Up to 7.5 ECTS can be taken from other MA programmes at SSEES or from other UCL departments with the permission of the Programme Coordinator..

Can I choose more/less than 60 ECTS in one year?

No. Please make sure that you have exactly 60 ECTS. Portico will not let you proceed with your module registration if you choose more/fewer courses.

How do I decide which courses to take?

You can read about courses on the SSEES website, ask your Programme Administrator or visit your Personal Tutor for more advice.

Can I change courses once lectures have begun?

You are encouraged to find out as much as possible about the courses on offer. Course changes will be allowed only in exceptional circumstances. If you must change a course, please contact the Programme Administrator immediately – but please note this will not be possible if it is too late in the term.

How many classes should I attend?

On the timetable you will notice that there is more than one tutorial group for each course. You only need to attend one group (in addition to the lecture). Tutorials can take place every week or every fortnight, please check carefully! You will be allocated to a group, please check your online timetable for information. If your tutorial group clashes with another class, you can request to be transferred to a different group to avoid the clash by filling in the online form here. Switching of groups is not usually permitted if there is no timetable clash and would be only allowed in exceptional circumstances. Attendance at classes is monitored!

Where do I find any forms I need?

You can find the forms on the Current Students page on the SSEES website.

I have Extenuating Circumstances, what do I do?

You can find all the information you need for extenuating circumstances on the Forms, Policies & Guidelines tab on the SSEES website.

Please speak to your course tutor or administrator if you experience any problems with your courses.

The Scheme of Award

For the above Masters Programme the final Award is calculated using an Overall Average Mark.  Individual Modules are weighted according to their credited value and the overall mark represents the mean average of the credits undertaken. (Credit-weighted mean average rounded to two decimals.)

Numerical Marking Scheme

Letter Grade Marking Scheme 


A weighted mark greater or equal to 69.5% 


A weighted mark greater or equal to 68.5% AND Modules of at least 70.00% in at least 50% of the credits. 


A weighted mark greater or equal to 59.5% 


A weighted mark greater or equal to 58.5% AND Modules of at least 60.00% in at least 50% of the credits. 


Meets Award Requirements. 

In a Student does not meet the above requirements they will be considered for an interim Qualification if they meet the required learning outcomes and credits. Please see the Academic Manual for more details. 

Consequences of Failure of a Module

Students who obtain a mark below the condoned mark range will be required to re-enter that examination at the next normal occasion. Students with no (EC) Extenuating Circumstances will be permitted one re-assessment opportunity.

Students awarded the degree or who have passed a module will not be permitted to repeat assessment of that module.

 Assessment Criteria

The equivalence scale and criteria for assessment across UCL and HSE is as follows:

HSE grade:

Converts to UCL mark:

UCL mark range:

Converts to HSE grade:










































Student Support

Starting a course at a new university, possibly in a new city or even country can be a daunting experience for anyone, regardless of age or background. The most important thing to remember is that there are many sources of advice and support available for every aspect of your life at UCL from the moment you arrive until you graduate and beyond.

Full details of the support available to you can be found on the Support & Wellbeing pages.

You’ll also find some key links below. Your Personal Tutor will also be a key point of contact for you if you are experiencing any difficulties.

Students with physical or mental health concerns are encouraged to make contact with the available support services as early as possible so that UCL can put in place reasonable adjustments to support them throughout their studies. However there may be occasions when a student’s physical or mental health, wellbeing or behaviour is having a detrimental effect on their ability to meet the requirements of their programme, or is impacting on the wellbeing, rights, safety and security of other students and staff. In such cases UCL may need to take action under the Fitness to Study Procedure.

Further Information

Education and Student Support Office

The Education and Student Support Office is based in Room 341 on the third floor of the SSEES building.

Contacting the Office

The preferred and most effective form of communication with the office is via email. Please include the following information in all emails to enable a prompt response:

  • Full Name
  • Student Number
  • Degree Programme and Year of Study (e.g. First year student)

If you need to visit the Student Administration Office in person, the front desk is open during the following times:

10:00 am – 4:00 pm – Monday to Friday

How we contact you

SSEES will mainly use email to contact you about various matters. When you register with Information Systems you will be allocated a UCL email address - this is the address which will be used to contact you. It is very important that you check your UCL email regularly.

Once your email has been set up, please ensure that you have set up a standard signature that shows your name, student number and programme. This will speed responses to your queries up when you email the Programme Administrator or other departments at UCL.

Education & Student Support Administrative Assistant 

The Education & Student Support Administrative Assistant  acts as the first point of contact for all enquiries when you visit the Education and Student Support Office. Additionally, the Education & Student Support Administrative Assistant should be the first point of contact for any requests to extend a deadline.         

ssees-student @ucl.ac.uk

0207 679 8770

Additional Contacts

The academic administration of your course is managed locally at SSEES, but for most other administrative tasks you will need to contact central UCL administrative departments. Offices that it may be useful to be aware of include:

The Student Enquiries Centre

Student Fees 

Student Funding

Student Accommodation

Term Dates

TERM                              DATE

First Term                    Monday 27 September 2021 to Friday 17 December 2021

Second Term               Monday 10 January 2022 to Friday 25 March 2022

Third Term                   Monday 25 April 2022 to Friday 10 June 2022

College Reading Weeks are the weeks beginning Monday 8 November 2021 and Monday 14 February 2022


CLOSE – Thursday 23 December 2021 at 5.30 pm RE-OPEN – Tuesday 4 January 2022 at 9.00 am


CLOSE – Tuesday 12 April 2022 at 5.30 pm  

RE-OPEN – Tuesday 19 April 2022 at 9.00 am

Bank Holidays

CLOSED – Monday 02 May 2022

CLOSED – Thursday 02 June 2022  

CLOSED – Friday 03 June 2022 

CLOSED -  Monday 29 August 2022

Term dates and closures 2021-22

NOTE: We encourage students to undertake internships during the summer. However, please keep in mind that the academic year in your second year university may start earlier than at UCL.

Key Information

There are several important documents that include key information relating to your programme, your responsibilities as a student, and the rules and regulations that govern your registration. These can all be accessed via the Current Students page of the SSEES Website.

Student Handbook

The Student Handbook contains key information relating to operation of your programme within SSEES, including details about key dates, coursework submission, penalties that may be applied to your assessment, and contact details.

This document is updated annually to reflect any changes in policy and it is important that you ensure you refer to the handbook for the appropriate academic year.


Your timetable is available online.

Please ensure that you check the timetable regularly for any changes, including changes to the location of your classes.

Coursework Submission

Assessed coursework needs to be submitted online via Moodle by the deadline set in order to avoid late penalties. All work submitted for assessment should be anonymous.

Late Submission Penalties

Planning, time-management and the meeting of deadlines are part of the personal and professional skills expected of all graduates. For this reason, UCL expects students to submit all coursework by the published deadline date and time, after which penalties will be applied.

If a student experiences something which prevents them from meeting a deadline that is sudden, unexpected, and significantly disruptive and beyond their control, they should submit an Extenuating Circumstances (EC) Form. If the request is accepted, the student may be granted an extension. If the deadline has already passed, the late submission may be condoned i.e. there will be no penalty for submitting late.

Further information: