An emerging study abroad destination, Hungary is committed to educational attainment from primary education upwards. It is determined to become an education hub and while its universities are still low in the rankings (although four are in the top 700), the Hungarian higher education sector has grown over the years (quite an achievement considering a background of severe population decline).
Hungarian universities have considerably expanded their offering of postgraduate programmes in English to attract international students, but higher education is fairly diverse in Hungary so it is recommended that you do your research before choosing an institution.
The higher education landscape in Hungary is divided between public and private higher education institutions. Most accredited institutions, which comprise universities, business schools, schools of management and arts colleges/academies offer masters programmes. A number of foreign institutions are also present. It is recommended that you check whether the institution is a bona fide educational establishment through the relevant authorities of the institution’s country of origin.
Hungarian universities follow the Bologna three-tier system: Bachelor (three years), Master (one-two years), Doctorate (three-four years).
PhD students in Hungary can be divided in two categories on the basis of their funding:
Tuition fees are not regulated at national level and you’ll find considerable variation, including in the currency used to publish those fees (in Hungarian Forint, US Dollar or Euro), or whether the fees are per year or per semester. For PhD degrees, the average tuition fees are €3,000/semester (with a range between €1,200/semester to €6,000/semester).
Erasmus Mundus programmes, while they offer scholarship options, will be subject to their own tuition fees. Check the individual Erasmus Mundus programme information.
PhD students may have to pay a registration fee which varies considerably between and within institutions, from €40-800. You may also have to pay for a student card. Health insurance will also be required (see our Student's Guide to Living in Hungary).
PhD programmes are most often delivered within doctoral schools which provide subject-specific and generic training for PhD students. You will be expected to attend compulsory and optional courses, and gain credits, in research methods and statistics, depending on your subject area.
Essentially, PhD students are involved in their own research but also in ongoing research projects, improving the research performance of their institution and being part of the research community. PhD students may also participate in teaching, which helps to develop their personal and professional experience.
Often, and based on your research project, an individual schedule will be set up under the guidance of your supervisor. PhD students begin their studies and research activities with a personalised work plan which allows their progress to be monitored. You will also be encouraged to participate in as many national and international scientific events as possible and to present papers. Kaposvar University has a handy timetable which gives an indication of the milestones which PhD students will be expected to reach.
The official language of instruction is Hungarian, but many institutions operate in English for their research activity. StudyinEurope have a handy database of programmes delivered in English by Hungarian institutions (opt for 'third cycle' in your search).
In order to complete a PhD successfully, you may have to submit a number of documents in addition to your doctoral dissertation and its electronic version:
The dissertation is likely to be defended publicly before a review committee. This may include a presentation of the thesis and a Q&A session by members of the committee and anyone else attending the defence.
The academic year in Hungary begins in September/October. Deadlines for applying can vary considerably so be sure to check with your institution.
For entry onto PhD, a Masters degree is expected, although you may also be required to have a distinction. Decisions on applications are made on the basis of:
To apply for a PhD at universities in Hungary, you will be asked to complete the procedure directly through the university by email or online. Note that some institutions may also require you to attend an interview.
You can expect to have to provide:
Universities have career services that can advise you on employment opportunities. They will have local knowledge of the labour market in Hungary and Eastern Europe, so if you intend on staying after your studies it is worth consulting with them. Unemployment has been at its lowest in the last two years. Opportunities for work in local companies may be limited but international companies are heavily present in Hungary so there may be opportunities there. If you require a visa to study in Hungary, check what the post-study employment situation is.
To find out what programmes are available in Hungary, check the FindAPhD database.