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Higher education in Hungary

Hungarian higher education has a long history, dating back to the 14th century. The country’s first university was founded in 1367 in Pécs, around the same time as other central European universities, such as those in Prague, Krakow and Vienna. Due to the expansion of higher education in the last two decades, the number of enrolled students and the capacity of the institutions have increased considerably. From 1990 to 2010 the student population in higher education quadrupled, from 90,000 to around 400,000.

The Hungarian higher education system

Hungary has been taking part in the Bologna Process since 1999, whose most important goal is the creation of the European Higher Education Area. In force from September 1, 2006 the new Bologna regime three-cycle degree system has been introduced. The first degree programmes (3 to 4 years) lead to Baccalaureus/Bachelor’s degrees, while second degree programmes (1 to 2 years) lead to Magister / Master’s degrees. Unified, undivided, long-term Master’s degree programmes (5 to 6 years) are offered in some fields of study, e.g. in human medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, architecture, law and in a few programmes of art education. All Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees grant access to the labor market. Based on a Magister/Master’s degree or its foreign equivalent, PhD or Doctor of Liberal Arts (DLA) degrees as third cycle degrees can be awarded after 3 years of study.

In addition to the degree programmes described above, higher education institutions offer non-degree programmes too such as short cycle programmes, higher-level vocational trainings, postgraduate specialist training courses based on a first or second degree as well as summer universities and partial trainings in the framework of lifelong learning. Higher education programmes may be offered in full-time study, part-time study or distance learning courses.

The Higher Education Act currently in force is in accordance with the principles of the Bologna process, - three cycle degree structure (BA/BSc, MA/MSc, PhD/DLA).

Hungarian diplomas have a high prestige throughout the world. The foreign language programmes are of high standard with tuition fees quite favorable in international comparison. These, combined with reasonably low living costs provide optimal conditions for students wishing to come to Hungary.

Degree structure
In accordance with the common European higher education principles Hungary introduced the three cycle degree structure in 2006 (BA/BSc, MA/MSc, PhD/DLA). Within the framework of the multi-cycle system, BA/BSc programmes lead to a first degree whereas master level programmes require a first degree as admission criterion. There are a few fields of tertiary education (e.g. law and medical studies) where undivided long programmes have remained the standard form of study (10 to 12 semesters,) leading to a first degree but equivalent to a MA/MSc degree. All BA and MA degrees grant access to the labor market. In addition to full degree courses, HEIs offer shorter programmes as well such as summer universities and partial trainings.

Academic year
The academic year is divided into 2 semesters including 14-15 weeks of lectures and seminars followed by a 6-week examination period.

Doctoral, PhD studies in Hungary
The strength of Hungarian higher education lies in its doctoral PhD programmes and research projects. The doctoral degrees granted by Hungarian universities have great international reputation.

Joining to international networks
In the field of academic and applied research, there are many international R&D cooperations. We believe that the exchange of practices, strengthening international networking with potential partner organizations and institutes are extremely important. Hungarian research institutions take part in international research programmes.

Quality and competitiveness
Keeping up the pace with international competition poses a challenge to universities. It is an important aim to further develop the quality of institutions in order to improve the international recognition of Hungarian universities and colleges, increase their competitiveness and strengthen their role in the European Higher Education Area.

Students acquiring degrees from Hungarian universities as well as professors and researchers of the country are acknowledged at international level just like the education institutions and study programmes themselves. Each year there is a large number of students, professors and researchers joining Hungarian universities and research centers in order to extend their knowledge, acquire qualification or to conduct research.

In order to ensure high international standards, there are strict quality control measures. The Hungarian Accreditation Committee conducts continuous institutional and programme accreditation processes and monitors the quality of educational activity according to the European Standards and Guidelines.