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Higher Attestation Commission ( , abbreviated , VAK) is a name of a national government agency in Russiamarker, Ukrainemarker 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 ( ) is operating in Bulgariamarker.

Russia and the former Soviet Union

During the Soviet Unionmarker, 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, the agency became the Higher Attestation Commission of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science, taking similar duties in the Russian Federationmarker.

The responsibilities of the Commission include:
  • coordinating Dissertation Councils in Russian universities and research institutes;
  • promulgating regulations concerning awarding of academic degrees;
  • awarding the degrees of Candidate of Science and Doctor of Science, 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.


Fields of study

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

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

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