Doctoral education in Russia in the educational field
an interdisciplinary discourse

Bednyi B.I.

Dr. Sci. (Physics and Mathematics), Professor, Director of the Institute for Postgraduate and Doctoral Studies of the National Research Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod, Nizhni Novgorod, Russia

Rybakov N.V.

Deputy Head of the Department for working with dissertation councils of the Institute for Postgraduate and Doctoral Studies of the National Research Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod, Nizhni Novgorod, Russia

Sapunov M.B.

Cand. Sci. (Philosophy), Chief Editor, Journal “Vysshee obrazovanie v Rossii” (Higher Education in Russia), Moscow, Russia

DOI: 10.7868/S0132162517090148
ID of the Article:

For citation:

Bednyi B.I., Rybakov N.V., Sapunov M.B. Doctoral education in Russia in the educational field: an interdisciplinary discourse. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2017. No 9. P. 125-134


The article focuses on the current state of doctoral education in Russia and treats it as a topical social and pedagogical problem. The authors’ conclusions are based on the statistical data concerning the development dynamics of doctoral schools during the last 25 years as well as on the results of a survey of motivations and professional prospects of doctoral students in Russia. This is a context for exploring the problematic situation in educational sciences caused by the varied and even ambiguous treatment in literature of the purpose, structure, contents of doctoral programs, and the financial model for their implementation. From the standpoint of sociology and pedagogy of higher education, the paper analyzes the judgments and assessments of higher education researchers relating to a new model of doctoral student training and the development of the institution of doctoral education as a whole. The authors note that the key issue in today’s discussion concerns determination of its purpose and functions. They also analyze the reasons of low efficiency of the Russian system of doctoral education in relation to the realization of its main function, the reproduction of human resources of science and higher education, and discuss feasible measures to increase effectiveness of doctoral programs. The authors come to the conclusion that the model of doctoral education in Russia demonstrates certain features of social dysfunction as the traditional functions of this system have ceased to be adequate to current socio-economic conditions and do not fully meet the interests and needs of social groups interested in reproduction of research and teaching personnel. As a priority, the paper sets the goal of forming a multi-dimensional model of doctoral education based on sociological and pedagogical studies of values, interests and motivations of main actors in educational, scientific, and innovation activities involved in preparation and certification of highly quality academic and research personnel. The authors believe that the formulation of a program for relevant empirical studies requires some conceptual resources of the modern sociology.

sociology of education; research and teaching personnel; doctoral education; multidimensional model of doctoral education functions; dysfunction; efficiency of doctoral schools


Barnes B.J., Randall J. (2012) Doctoral Student Satisfaction: An Examination of Disciplinary, Enrollment, and Institutional Differences. Research in Higher Education. No. 53: 47–75.

Bednyi B.I., Gurbatov S.N., Mironos A.A. (2010) Effectiveness Indicators of Phd-Programs in the Field of Exact and Natural Sciences. Vysshee obrazovanie v Rossii [Higher Education in Russia]. No. 7: 11–23. (In Russ.)

Bednyi B.I., Kazantsev V.B., Chuprunov E.V. (2014) Research Schools as Organizational System for Training of PhD-Students. Vysshee obrazovanie v Rossii [Higher Education in Russia]. No. 6: 34–42. (In Russ.)

Bednyi B.I., Kuzenkov O.A. (2016) Integrated “Academic Master – PhD” Educational Programs. Vysshee obrazovanie v Rossii [Higher Education in Russia]. No. 5: 21–32. (In Russ.)

Bednyi B.I. (2017) A New Postgraduate School Model: Pro et Contra. Vysshee obrazovanie v Rossii [Higher Education in Russia]. No. 4(211): 3–16. (In Russ.)

The Bologna process: Results of the decade. 2011. Moscow: Research center of problems of quality of training (In Russ.)

Brazhnik E. I., Lebedeva L.I. (2008) Organization of research work of master degree students in higher education institutions in Russia and France. Pis’ma v ehmissiya offlajn [The Emissia Offline Letters]. No. 12. URL: 2008/1292.html (accessed 01.02.17). (In Russ.)

Bourdieu P. (2005) The scientific field. In: Sotsiologiya pod voprosom. Socialnye nauki v poststrukturalistskoi perspective [Sociology in Question. Social Science in Post-structural Perspective. Almanac of Russian-French Centre of Sociology of the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences]. Moscow: Praxis. (In Russ.)

Carter-Veale, W.Y., Tull, R.G., Rutledge, J.C., Joseph, L.N. (2016) The Dissertation House Model: Doctoral Student Experiences Coping and Writing in a Shared Knowledge Community. CBE Life Sciences Education. No. 15. DOI: 10.1187/ cbe.16–01–0081

Cheng M., Taylor J., Williams J., Tong K. (2016) Student Satisfaction and Perceptions of Quality: Testing the Linkages for PhD Students. Higher Education Research & Development. No. 35(6): 1153–1166

Gergen K.J. (2001) Social Construction in Context. London: SAGE Publication.

Gruzdev I., Terentev E. (2016) Life after PhD: What Careers Do PhD Students in Russia Consider? Higher Education in Russia and Beyond. No. 3(9): 20–21.

Habermas J. (2006) Moral consciousness and communicative action. Saint-Petersburg: Nauka.

Klucharev G.A., Savenkov A.I., Baklanov P.A. (2016) Russian science personnel: issues and methods to solve them. Sotsiologicheskiye issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. No. 9: 117–125. (In Russ.)

Kravchenko S.A., Salygin V.I. (2015) A new synthesis of scientific knowledge: the making of interdisciplinary science. Sotsiologicheskiye issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. No. 10: 22–30. (In Russ.)

Maloshonok N. (2016) Doctoral Students’ Reasons to Pursue a PhD as a Cause of Low Completion Rate of Russian PhD Programs. Higher Education in Russia and Beyond. No. 3(9): 18–20.

Markin V.V, Voronov V.V. (2016) The training of highly qualified personnel in the discourse of the Bologna process: highway versus roadside. Integratsiya obrazovaniya [Integration of Education]. No. 2(20):164–175. DOI: 10.15507/1991– 9468.083.020.201602.164–175. (In Russ.)

Mironos A.A., Bednyi B.I. (2016) On the Issue of Final State Certification in the Postgraduate School of a New Type. Universitetskoe upravlenie: praktika i analiz [Journal University Management: Practice and Analysis]. No. 3: 118–128. (In Russ.)

Nazarenko A. (2015) Education and Science in University: Clash of Institutional Logics. Sociologiya vlasti [Sociology of Power]. No. 4(27): 133–158. (In Russ.)

Osipov A.M., Ivanova V.A. (2016) Institutional functions as a “threshold” issue of contemporary sociology of education. Sotsiologicheskiye issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. No. 1: 117–124. (In Russ.)

Raychuk D. Yu., Minina N.V. (2016) About Positioning Postgraduate School in a Three-Tier System of Higher Education. Vysshee obrazovanie v Rossii [Higher Education in Russia]. No. 4 (200): 33–41. (In Russ.)

Senashenko V.S. (2013) On Some Problems of Preparation Specialists of Higher Qualification. Vysshee obrazovanie v Rossii [Higher Education in Russia]. No. 4: 54–58. (In Russ.)

Sheregy F. E. (2009) Dysfunctioning of the Russian professional training. Trud i social’nye otnosheniya [Labour and social relations]. No. 12: 23–31. (In Russ.)

Sztompka Р. (2001) The concept of social structure: attempt of generalisation. Sotsiologicheskiye issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. No. 9: 3–13. (In Russ.)

Toshchenko Zh.T (2013) New trends in the development of Russian sociology. Sotsiologicheskiye issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. No. 4: 3–13. (In Russ.)

Vershinin I.V. (2016) The debate about postgraduate study abroad: key issues and trends. Nauka. Innovacii. Obrazovanie [Science. Innovation. Education]. No. 2: 61–72. (In Russ.)

Zborovskiy G.E., Shuklina E.A. (2006) Sociology of Education: tasks and paradigms. Vysshee obrazovanie v Rossii [Higher Education in Russia]. No. 1: 131–138. (In Russ.)

Content No 9, 2017