Higher Attestation Commission

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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]

Code Field Code Field Code Field
01.00.00 Physics and Mathematics 09.00.00 Philosophy 17.00.00 Art Studies
02.00.00 Chemistry 10.00.00 Philology 18.00.00 Architecture
03.00.00 Biology 11.00.00 Geography 19.00.00 Psychology
04.00.00 Geology and Mineralogy 12.00.00 Law 22.00.00 Sociology
05.00.00 Technical Sciences 13.00.00 Education 23.00.00 Political Science
06.00.00 Agriculture 14.00.00 Medical Sciences 24.00.00 Culturology
07.00.00 History 15.00.00 Pharmaceutics 25.00.00 Earth Sciences
08.00.00 Economics 16.00.00 Veterinary
  • Notice the gap of 20-21: these positions were occupied by Marxist topics during the Soviet era.

See also


  1. Закон за развитието на академичния състав в Република България
  2. Указ Президента України № 1085 від 9 грудня 2010 року «Про оптимізацію системи центральних органів виконавчої влади»
  3. Разделы перечня научных специальностей

External links