Higher Attestation Commission

Higher Attestation Commission (Russian: Высшая аттестационная комиссия, Ukrainian: Вища атестаційна комісія, abbreviated Cyrillic: ВАК, Latin: VAK) is a name of a national government agency in Russia, Ukraine and some other post-Soviet states that oversees awarding of advanced academic degrees. Due to translation differences, these committees are sometimes translated as the "State Supreme Certification Commission" or other similar variation; the common Cyrillic-based acronym of VAK remains a constant with all versions.

A commission of a similar kind (Bulgarian: Висша атестационна комисия) operated in Bulgaria until 2010, when it was abolished as part of a reorganisation of academic structures.[1]

On December 9, 2010, the Higher Education Commission of Ukraine was merged into the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.[2]

Russia and the former Soviet Union

During the Soviet Union, the Higher Attestation Commission under the USSR Council of Ministers (also abbreviated as VAK) oversaw and controlled the awarding of advanced academic degrees and academic ranks in all of the USSR. With the fall and break up of the Soviet Union, separate Higher Attestation Commissions arose in the newly independent nations. For example, the Russian agency became the Higher Attestation Commission of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science, taking similar duties in the Russian Federation.

The responsibilities of the Russian Commission include:

  • coordinating Dissertation Councils in Russian universities and research institutes;
  • promulgating regulations concerning awarding of academic degrees;
  • awarding the degrees of Candidate of Sciences and Doctor of Sciences, upon the recommendation of the Dissertation Council in the university or research institute where the defense of the dissertation took place;
  • awarding the academic rank of Professor;
  • making decisions on equivalence of foreign degrees awarded to Russian citizens.

The Higher Attestation Commissions in other nations have similar responsibilities.

Fields of study

Scientific degrees awarded VAK were classified into an established list of specialties, grouped into the following major sections[3]

01.00.00Physics and Mathematics 09.00.00Philosophy 17.00.00Art Studies
02.00.00Chemistry 10.00.00Philology 18.00.00Architecture
03.00.00Biology 11.00.00Geography 19.00.00Psychology
04.00.00Geology and Mineralogy 12.00.00Law 22.00.00Sociology
05.00.00Technical science 13.00.00Education 23.00.00Political Science
06.00.00Agriculture 14.00.00Medical Sciences 24.00.00Culturology
07.00.00History 15.00.00Pharmaceutics 25.00.00Earth Sciences
08.00.00Economics 16.00.00Veterinary 26.00.00Theology
  • positions 20.xx.xx were occupied by military sciences,[4] position 21.xx.xx are kept in reserve since abolition of "naval sciences" at 1980th.

See also


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