ITMO: ITMO Launches First-Ever Project-Based Master’s Programs for Future IT Specialists

The new format will let students design their own learning track, choose courses that they genuinely enjoy, and, most importantly, work on technologically challenging projects under the supervision of top-tier IT professionals.

Audience and features
The program is specifically designed for students with a solid background in IT wishing to enhance their knowledge in certain fields and gain experience in project activities, including team management.

Unlike other programs, it allows students to take only those courses that are essential for their projects and professional development. Inspired by the Agile methodology, the program focuses primarily on project activity. Students can forget about exams and semesters. Now, they have one-to-two-month timeframes, during which they must perform the tasks given to them and bring their projects to a certain stage. Instead of exams, they must present the intermediate results of their work, and disciplines turn into courses that students can choose together with their mentors. Each course is focused on a specific problem that students must solve. At the same time, they can pick up courses from other programs, online courses accepted by the university, and staff training courses from the university’s partners, if it’s necessary for their projects.

“Among its key benefits is an opportunity to balance study and work, as well as individual learning tracks. Now, students don’t only have their own curriculum but also can adapt them to their needs by picking certain courses and approaches. In doing so, they are guided by mentors who create lists of training materials necessary for solving each project problem. And, finally, students can turn their two-year experience into a thesis and add it to their portfolios, too,” says Dmitry Muromtsev, a senior researcher at ITMO’s International Research Laboratory for Intelligent Data Processing Methods and Semantic Technologies.

The proposed projects meet modern requirements and involve the use of state-of-the-art technologies. As emphasized by the program managers, these projects are not only much more interesting but also a lot more complex.

“I’d like to stress that project-based programs are not easy. Every project will have a specific set of required skills and expertise that students will need. Mentors will select candidates for each project based on these requirements,” explains Pavel Kustarev, the head of ITMO’s .

How to apply
At the moment, ITMO’s Faculty of Software Engineering and Computer Systems offers two project-based Master’s programs: and . Here’s how you can apply:

Submit your documents for one of the programs at
Take the entrance exams
Choose one of the projects on the faculty’s , thoroughly study the requirements, and apply for the desired project
Complete an interview with a mentor of the chosen project
During interviews, mentors will pay special attention to applicants’ expertise and skills necessary for the projects. The program implies continuous cooperation with mentors, colleagues, the faculty’s staff, and potential employers.

Dmitry Muromtsev and Pavel Kustarev at the presentation of the project-based Master’s programs
Dmitry Muromtsev and Pavel Kustarev at the presentation of the project-based Master’s programs

Currently, students can choose from 15 projects proposed by both ITMO University and the program’s educational partners, including , MTS, Luxoft, GS Labs, Nexign, Syntacore, and others. The list of partners will gradually expand and include other industrial partners of the university.

Kirill Bushuev, the representative of Deutsche Telekom IT Solutions, believes that such collaboration is a great way for IT companies to find highly qualified specialists for rather complicated tasks.

“For us, it’s an amazing opportunity to find prospective employees who are ready to collaborate at all stages of the project and understand the full pipeline of work. This transition will help them improve their personal traits and professional skills, and thus adapt to work at IT companies,” says Kirill Bushuev.

Given its specific nature, only 20-25 people will have the chance to get into the project-based Master’s programs. As explained by the program managers, it’s due to the fact that all students must have the opportunity to work individually with their mentors, the faculty’s staff, and employers.

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