Moscow University, Present and Future
Today, Moscow University is a leading centre of Russian education, science and culture. The refinement of skills, the quest for scientific truth, the pursuit of the humanist ideals of good, justice and freedom - thatís what we see as keeping up the finest University traditions.
In June 1990, the Charter of M.V.Lomonosov Moscow State University was approved following extensive discussions at the Council of Learned Councils of Moscow University, comprised of the members sitting on the Learned Council of Moscow University, at the Learned Councils of the faculties and institutes and also at the councils of work collectives of the units that have no learned councils.
After the presentation in June 1992 at the sitting of the Council of Learned Councils of Moscow University, the Charter went into effect by the directive of the Rector of Moscow University. In accordance with the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation, Moscow University acquired the status of a self-governed Russian university.
The Council of Learned Councils of Moscow University in line with the Charter makes decisions on a major issues relevant to the University, elects the Rector. The overall administration of the University is carried out by the Learned Council of Moscow University, composed of the Rector and Pro-Rectors, the deans of the faculties and the directors of the institutes, elected representatives of tutors and researchers from the faculties and research institutes (2-4, depending on the size of the unit), one representative of undergraduates and postgraduates from each faculty; 5 members of the Learned Council representing the engineering and maintenance services of the University.
The Learned Council of Moscow University sees to the most important issues concerning research and academic work, international ties, approves the structure and the budget, awards professor titles, endorses the appointments of of faculty department heads, looks at the plans for social and economic development of the University. Sittings of the Learned Council of Moscow University are held at least once a month.
The new Charter significantly enlarged the rights of the faculties and research institutes. They have, as a result, become autonomous research and training institutions integrated into the structure of Moscow University. They are governed and function in line with faculty (institute) regulations which the Charter makes relevant to each unit concerned.
The Charter declared the ideas of democratizing University life, glasnost in decision-making and self-government aim to ensure freedom of teaching, research and spiritual refinement of the personality. In accordance with the Charter a major unit of the University is a department (laboratory, section) whose staff, undergraduates and postgraduates collectively and democratically make decisions on issues related to research, curriculum, academic and civic activities of their members.
At present, Moscow University comprises 19 faculties: mechanics and mathematics, physics, computing mathematics and cybernetics, chemistry, biology, soil science, geography, geology, fundamental medicine, history, philology, foreign languages, philosophy, sociology, psychology, economics, law, journalism, the Institute of Asian and African countries, and also 8 research institutes - mechanics, nuclear physics, the physics of microcosm, astronomy, computing centre, physical and chemical biology, anthropology, world culture. Research and teaching are done in the museums, research vessels, in the refresher centre. Altogether the University has 300 faculty departments.
Now more than 26 thousand undergraduates and about 7 thousand postgraduates are taught, and over 5 thousand specialists facilitate the refresher courses at Moscow University. The faculties and research institutes engage 4 thousand professors and tutors, about 5 thousand researchers to train them. Auxiliary and maintenance personnel consists of about 15 thousand workers.
Moscow University has at its disposal more than 600 buildings and facilities including the beauty of a sky-scraper on Vorobyov Hills. Their overall area approaches 1 million square metres. In Moscow alone, the territory of the University occupies 205.7 hectacres.
However, even these impressive figures do not meet the rerquirements of the time, modern trends in science and education. The contemporary level in the development of fundamental and applied research, its inter-disciplinary character, and also the problems pertaining to training wide-range specialists require an improvement of the economic and technical bases of the University. In October, 1987, the government made a decision to start a new project, building for Moscow University facilties with state-of-the art equipment. The design by the architect G.N.Tsitovich envisages the construction of new academic and research buildings, libraries, a swimming-pool, a stadium, a palace of culture, and other facilities for recreation and service. The new University campus will lie in Lomonosov Prospekt between Vernandsky Prospekt and Michurin Prospek creating an integrated whole with the existing layout of the buildings.
The enormous scientific potential, unique possibilities for inter-disciplinary research enables the University scientists to focus their efforts on priority and pioneering projects. Recent years have been marked by remarkable achievements in research of high-energy physics, high-temperature superconductivity, laser systems, mathematics and mechanics, reusable power sources, biochemistry and biotechnology. As for the humanities, new trends are taking shape as topical issues are examined in sociology, political economy, history, psychology, philosophy, history of culture. Every year, up to 1.5 thousand candidate and 250 doctoral dissertations in a wide variety of sciences are defended at Moscow University.
In the past year the University has been strengthened with the opening of two new units integrated into its structure - the faculty of fundamental medicine and the science park. The faculty of fundamental medicine signals that medicine has made a comeback to Moscow University after a long breakaway. The science park is designed to introduce contemporary high technologies in such areas as telecommunications, biotechnology, laser technology, and ecology.
The faculties and departments have always shown care and concern for improving standards in training specialists. And now too, much is being done to better teaching techniques when working with undergraduates and postgraduates. Some faculties have adopted a two-grade system of education (bachelor - master). The new curricula place a stronger emphasis on independent, practical and career-oriented work. To impart a humanities element to education in general, the tutors of the newly-formed inter-faculty centre of social education and the humanities teach Russian and world history and culture, philology, economics, law, the arts at the faculties of natural science and the humanities faculties. University students may create an individual curricula, attend lectures and classes specializing in several areas in different faculties. The studentsí fitness is also a matter of great importance.
Twice a week freshmen and sophomores are required to have physical culture classes and to do sports. Undergraduates may opt to go in for sports sections or fitness groups requiring additional payment.
A special feature for the courses of study in Moscow University is a combination of academic and research work, doing the general course for the chosen science and at the same time specializing in a narrow area of interest. Normally, the fundamentals are taught in the first, second and third years. The students do not major until they are senior undergraduates.
At Moscow University curruculum provides for a mix of studies and independent research of oneís own choice. Work in study groups, student research societies, and at student conferences along with seminars special seminars enables the students to make the right choice. Many student papers find their way into scientific journals and other special publications.
Some faculties - history, philology, economics, law, sociology, journalism and psychology - have evening departments, and in the faculty of journalism there is even a correspondence department.
A full academic course at Moscow University runs for 5-6 years depending on the faculty and the form of training. Before the graduation the student prepares and defends a diploma paper. As a rule, the courses of studies at the University are free of charge. But there are (at most) 15 percent of applicants now who are enrolled over and above the intake quota as paying students. Such decision made in 1992 was dictated by the market-oriented relationships gaining momentum in Russia. Every student who does well gets a state grant. Students not from Moscow are provided with accomodations in one of the numerous residency halls. University graduates work in universities, institutes, research institutions, schools, in the spheres of production and culture, as civil servants, at public and private agencies. In accordance with the Charter, students and postgraduates have their own representative bodies to deal with issues relating to student and post-graduate affairs. This structure of self-government is headed by Studentsí Council of Moscow University.
Moscow University is also a recognized centre for the improvement of professional skills. Every year, 5 thousand teachers and employees from industries, institutions and higher-education establishments participate in refresher courses. Specialists who have experience in practical work may bring their expertise up to date in a special department, so called "engineering streams", functioning at some science or humanities faculties.
Moscow University Publishing House does a very important job promulgating scientific, cultural and educational traditions of Moscow University. It produces annually over 400 titles - text-books, scientific publications, popular science, science fiction and reference running for more than 3 million copies. Subject matter encompasses virtually all branches of science - philosophy and psychology, history and economics, state and law, philology and journalism, mathematics, physics and astronomy, biology and chemistry, geology and geography. The readers justly appreciate the series called University Library that produces the monuments of philosophical, aesthetical and historical thought, memoirs as well as works of Russian and foreign literature. Scientists, researchers, specialists and all persons interested in the latest developments in physics and mathematics may make use of another series produced by the University Publishers - Physics: Ideas, Achievements, Perspectives. The series - The Great French Revolution. Documents and Studies -contains some of the most interesting research by the University historians done over recent years. Moscow University Publishing House is currently preparing to launch two new series - Spiritual Heritage - and - Readings in Philosophy - that will contain works by outstanding philosophers, historians and cultural figures.
The A.M.Gorky science library has the largest university collection of books. Its deposits house about 8 million volumes, of which 2 million are books in foreign languages. The University library caters to about 55 thousand readers lending them over 5.5 million books.
Moscow University maintains extensive international links. It is a member of the International University Association, has direct cooperation agreements with more than 60 centres and associations, with universities of Europe, the USA, Japan, China, other Asian countries, Australia, Latin America, Arab states.
Since 1946, when the University welcomed the first foreign students, it has trained over 11 thousand of highly skilled specialists for 150 countries. Every year Moscow University trains 2 thousand students and postgraduates from different countries of the world. More than 400 students do the pre-university preparatory courses for foreign citizens. The most important areas of cooperation in science and technology are: joint development of scientific projects, exchange of professors and tutors for teaching and research work, exchange of students and postgraduates for a viriety of trainee courses. Each year the University enrolls for different crash courses over 2 thousand foreigners and sends approximately the same number to all corners of the globe. At Moscow University operate the UNESCO Demography International Courses, the UNESCO Hydrology Courses, the International Biotechnology Centre, a network of courses and seminars of Russian language for foreign teachers. In 1991 they opened the French Iniversity College, the Russian-American University, the Institute of German Science and Culture. Over 60 scientists, statesmen and politicians from abroad are awarded the titles of honoured doctors and professors of Moscow University. In their turn, many prominent University scholars and scientists are honoured members of foreign academies and universities.
250 years in the history of the oldest Russian university evidence what a great contribution those it fostered have made to the cause of serving all-human ideals of freedom, humanism, good, beauty and truth.