Higher Education Programmes for Foreign Students in Hungary
Studiengänge in Ungarn für Studierende aus dem Ausland
Programmes des Études Supérieurs pour des étudiants étrangers
Academic Year 2004/2005
Pursuing studies abroad is always a challenge and an adventure at the same time. It is an experience that may have a determining impact on a student’s professional life and career, as well as in friendships and, in general, on human relations as they develop and expand.
In today’s knowledge-based society there is a strong tendency for students to spend one or more semesters at a foreign university or college in order to improve their knowledge and to gain new experience and information.
Studying abroad presents multifarious challenges. Not only will you have to cope with the country’s bureaucracy, in addition you will have to accommodate to new cultural traditions and phenomena. This is by no means an easy job, but of course it is also an excellent opportunity for students to prove their adaptability and resilience – to themselves and to others. In the global competition young people’s future prospects are enhanced by studying abroad as the working environment is becoming increasingly international and companies demand inter-cultural skills and competence.
This publication is intended to arouse your interest in pursuing undergraduate or graduate (Bachelor’s and Master’s as well as PhD) studies in Hungary. In addition to giving an overview of programmes, information is provided about the Hungarian higher educational system, the degrees awarded, and, of course, about Hungary in general.
We hope that you, reader and prospective foreign student in Hungary, find in this publication the information which is most important for you, that you gain useful professional experience and fond memories during your studies in Hungary, while enjoying the hospitality of our country, and making the most of the opportunities offered by its rich culture and natural heritage.
Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Serbia and Montenegro
Number of students involved in higher education:
Number of Hungarian treasures included in the
World Heritage List of the UNESCO: 8
ungarian statehood looks back upon a history of a thousand years. According to historical documents, King (Saint) Stephen, the first Hungarian monarch, bade his son Prince Imre to be open and hospitable. When foreigners visiting Hungary are asked what they think of the Hungarians, hospitality is indeed among the most frequently mentioned characteristics.
Hungary can boast of long-standing traditions, an unrivalled natural and architectural heritage, and a rich flora and fauna. The World Heritage Committee of UNESCO has inscribed eight Hungarian locations on the World Heritage List: the Buda Castle District and the Banks of the Danube; Andrássy Avenue; the Village of Hollókő; Hortobágy National Park; the Caves of Aggtelek; the Millenary Benedictine Monastery of Pannonhalma founded by King (Saint) Stephen; the Early Christian Cemetery in Pécs (Sopianae); the famous wine region of Tokaj; and the Cultural Landscape of Lake Fertő (Neusiedlersee).
Hungary has made a substantial contribution to the world’s intellectual heritage. Thirteen Nobel Prize laureates have been Hungarian-born, including acclaimed litterateurs and scientists Philipp E. A. von Lenard, Robert Bárány, Richard A. Zsigmondy, Albert von Szent-Györgyi, George de Hevesy, Georg von Békésy, Eugene P. Wigner, Dennis Gabor, John C. Polanyi, George A. Olah, John C. Harsanyi and Imre Kertész. Other prominent scientists who have contributed to the enrichment of human knowledge include Loránd Eötvös, Leó Szilárd, Tódor Kármán and Edward (Ede) Teller. In the world of music mention should be made of Ferenc Liszt, Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály. Hungary has provided testimony of her high intellectual potential in every walk of life.
And last but not least, Hungarian diplomas have a high prestige throughout the world. The programmes are of high standard with tuition fees quite favourable in international comparison, and the costs of living are much lower than in other countries.
What you need to know about the Hungarian higher educational system
Hungarian higher education has a long history. The first Hungarian university was founded in Pécs in southern Hungary over 600 years ago, in 1367. The current dual system of universities and colleges emerged in the late 19th century.
Admission requirements for higher education
According to the Higher Education Act No 80 of 1993, the basic requirement for admission to college (non-university higher education institution) and university graduate education is the Hungarian secondary school leaving certificate (Érettségi bizonyítvány), or a foreign equivalent, or a degree obtained in higher education. The secondary school leaving certificate is conferred after eight years of primary education followed by four years of secondary education in a comprehensive/academic secondary school (gimnázium) or vocational secondary school (szakközépiskola). It must be noted that the division of the twelve years of study may vary: it may also be divided into 4 or 6 years of primary education and 8 or 6 years of secondary education.
Admission to higher education institutions – with some exceptions – is based on the applicants’ secondary school achievements and on the results of the competitive entrance examinations.
Higher education institutions
Hungarian higher education has a dual system consisting of universities (egyetem) and colleges (főiskola). Universities are such higher education institutions that are able to organise courses in more than one field of science and within a field of science in several branches; carry out scientific research activity and have accredited PhD/DLA courses. Colleges organise more than one training course in a branch of science or in a field of the arts. Hungarian higher education institutions are autonomous, state or non-state institutions recognised by the state. The Hungarian higher educational system consists of 68 state recognised institutions (a list of these institutions can be found on www.om.hu/english). Institutions that offer programmes in foreign languages are listed in the tables below.
Accreditation and quality assurance
The Hungarian Accreditation Committee established in 1993 is responsible for accrediting and evaluating the quality of teaching and research at higher education institutions. It assesses the standard of education and research in each higher education institution at least every eight years (institutional accreditation) based on a detailed self-assessment of the institution and the report of a visiting committee. The Hungarian Accreditation Committee also examines the curricula, the qualification requirements as well as the quality of the academic staff and the teaching facilities (programme accreditation).
Degrees and qualifications
Hungarian universities and colleges grant degrees following a binary pattern. Colleges and universities grant “Főiskolai oklevél” (college-level or Bachelor degree) and universities award “Egyetemi oklevél” (university-level or Master degree). The duration of training in the Hungarian language at college level requires a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 4 years of study, while the length of education at university level is a minimum of 4 years and a maximum of 5 years (one of the few exceptions is the medical course, where the duration of education is 6 years). The duration of the courses in foreign languages in some cases is 1 year longer than the corresponding Hungarian courses. Students complete their education with a final examination consisting of the preparation and defence of a dissertation, oral and/or written examinations prescribed in the qualification requirements and – in certain programmes – the performance of practical work.
Beyond university and college graduate education, 2 types of post-graduate programmes are offered by higher education institutions. First, further specialisation degrees can be awarded after college or university graduation. These further specialisation programmes lead to new qualifications. Studies may vary from one to three years' duration.
Secondly, universities provide training leading to a doctoral degree, which is the only scientific degree available in Hungary at present. The condition for applying for doctoral training is a Hungarian university degree or its foreign equivalent. Higher education institutions link admission to entrance examinations and often to additional criteria (e.g. professional experience). The duration of the training is at least 3 years, at the end of which a doctor of philosophy (PhD – doktori fokozat) or a doctor of liberal arts (DLA – mester fokozat) degree is conferred depending on the field of science.
The obligatory use of the ECTS compatible credit system was introduced in September 2003, but several higher education institutions had already been using it since the middle of the 1990s. According to the government decree on the introduction of the credit system, one credit corresponds to 30 hours of student workload. The minimum number of credits for a college-level degree is 180 for a 3-year training, 240 credits for a 4-year training; for a university-level degree it is 240 for a 4-year training, 300 credits for a 5-year training, and 360 credits for a 6-year training; for a further specialisation degree it is 60, while for the doctoral degree it is 180.
The assessment of knowledge may occur, generally in five grades: excellent (5), good (4), satisfactory (3), pass (2), and fail (1) or with the classification: excellent, satisfactory, fail.
In general, the academic year of higher education institutions consists of two semesters, namely the autumn and the spring semesters. The autumn semester lasts generally from the beginning of September until the end of January. The spring semester lasts from the beginning of February until the end of June. In general, both semesters include a 15-week period for lectures, seminars and practical work and a 6-week examinations period.
How to apply?
The following pages contain some information about conditions of application and the home pages of institutions that offer programmes in foreign languages. You can choose the most appropriate form of study that suits your requirements. You will find all the information you need about conditions of application, together with the necessary application forms, on the home page of the institution.