Postgraduate Student Day in Russia Date in the current year: January 21, 2024

Postgraduate Student Day in Russia

Postgraduate Student Day (also translated as Graduate Student Day) is informally observed in Russia and some other former Soviet republics on January 21. In Runet, the holiday is sometimes referred to as International Postgraduate Student Day, but it is virtually unknown outside Russia.

The main goal of postgraduate education (called aspirantura) in Russia and most other former Soviet republics is to train highly qualified specialists with a Candidate of Sciences (kandidat nauk) degree. This scientific degree is usually considered to be at the same level as a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) degree in most countries, and is officially recognized and often translated into English as such.

Postgraduate studies in the Soviet Union were first organized in 1925 to train research scholars and lecturers for universities and research institutes. Back then, the term aspirant (postgraduate student) was used to refer to students undergoing training for further scientific work and teaching. In 1932, universities and research institutes began to assign their postgraduate students to specific departments, and defending a dissertation became a prerequisite for successfully finishing one’s postgraduate studies.

Two years later, the Council of People’s Commissars adopted a resolution “On Academic Degrees and Ranks”. It introduced two academic degrees (Candidate of Sciences and Doctor of Sciences) and six academic ranks (assistant, docent and professor in universities and junior research assistant, senior research assistant and full member in research institutes). In 1937, the academic ranks of junior research assistant and senior research assistant were transformed into full-time positions in universities and research institutes.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, most of the former Soviet republics inherited the existing system of postgraduate education and certification of university faculty members and research scientists. Although this system has undergone some transformation in Russia, its main principles have largely remained the same.

Postgraduate Student Day in Russia is celebrated on January 21, because on this day in 1925 the Council of People’s Commissars approved several resolutions and regulations that laid the foundation for postgraduate education in the Soviet Union and, by extension, in present-day Russia. It has been celebrated annually since 2008.

Despite having no official status, it is becoming increasingly popular among Russian postgraduate students. Outside Russia, Postgraduate Student Day is celebrated in some Ukrainian and Belarusian universities and research students, but it is considerably less popular in this countries.

The holiday is usually marked with concerts, award ceremonies, conferences, seminars, an other events and activities organized by administrations of universities and research institutions, as well as by postgraduate student organizations.

Interestingly, Postgraduate Student Day is celebrated just four days before Russian Students’ Day, but this is just a coincidence.

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