Despite its format, students of the program can enjoy all the perks available within traditional programs, including varied discounts and access to the university’s coworking spaces, libraries, startup accelerators, as well as cultural and sports events.  

Classes will be offered online via the educational platform Yandex Practicum (link in Russian). Prospective students can preview the platform and complete a short online course to learn more about the university’s online Master’s programs. Among the program's distinctive features is YaGPT – Yandex’s own neural network that can summarize class content in a few seconds. 

The program is designed for everyone interested in design and generative neural networks, as well as Bachelor’s and Specialist’s graduates. It will benefit both students considering a career change and those who already have some experience in the field. Drawing skills aren’t mandatory; all necessary tools are covered within the curriculum. 

In the program, students will master key designer’s tools (Figma, Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, Blender, Adobe Illustrator, and Tilda), explore how modern neural networks (e.g., Midjourney, Shedevrum, and Stable Diffusion) work, and learn to use them the right way. Furthermore, the program’s lecturers will teach them how to select fonts, colors, and compositions, develop an identity and signature style, convey ideas and messages through visual images, create infographics and 3D graphics, including animated ones, and rely on user psychology to model user-friendly interfaces. 

“Neural networks can generate a picture in a matter of seconds, but they lack visual experience, creativity, and understanding of how designs work to produce a wholesome, eye-pleasing interface. Designers, on the other hand, possess all these characteristics, and if they learn to use AI to their benefit, they’ll be able to come up with high-quality products and stand out in the job market. Together with our colleagues from Yandex Practicum, we created the first online Master’s program in Russia that brings together the fundamentals of design and contemporary practices,” shares Alena Dzhumagulova, the head of the program and a lecturer at ITMO’s Faculty of Software Engineering and Computer Systems.

Each semester, students will be assigned a project, be it building a mobile app, generating a showreel, creating a signature style or identity, developing and animating 3D and 2D graphics, video editing or sound design, or making a website. The project activities are meant to help students practice their skills while being guided by Yandex experts. 

“Our projects are based on genuine problems that designers have to face at companies or studios. These are cases from Yandex and other companies’ experiences, as well as tasks of freelance designers as we aim to show different aspects of the job and varied tasks that designers do in real life. Nevertheless, we understand that real-world problems can scare students. That’s why all cases are tailored by our experts so that our students can handle them and thus gradually boost their skills,” notes Lina Aleksyunaite, a product manager of the Innovative Technologies for Graphic Design program at Yandex Practicum. 

Graduates of the program will receive a state-recognized diploma by ITMO University along with a retraining certificate by Yandex Practicum. They will become all-round specialists competent to apply for varied mid-level positions, either full-time or freelance. For instance, they might work as graphic or communication designers; generate and animate 3D graphics for advertisements, movies, or video games as 3D designers; produce audio and video effects as motion designers; or build user-friendly interfaces for websites and apps as UX/UI designers. 

To enroll in the program, submit your application via Yandex Practicum’s website (link in Russian), as well as prepare your documents, portfolio (not necessarily connected to design), and letter of motivation explaining why you’re interested in the profession.