Hungary

Hungary is a country in Central Europe. Hungary’ Fundamental law (functioning as the constitution) ensures the freedom of scientific research and artistic creation, the freedom of learning for the acquisition of the highest possible level of knowledge and the freedom of teaching. The State has no right to decide on questions of scientific truth; only scientists have the right to evaluate scientific research. Higher education institutions are autonomous in terms of the content and methods of research and teaching; their organisation is regulated by an act. Higher education is governed by a sectoral act and the related government decrees regulating its implementation. These stipulate the most important provisions and rules applicable to the operation of higher education. Several other relevant government decrees and ministerial decrees stipulate partial regulations. Furthermore, various acts on the system of public finances and its sub-systems also apply to the operation of higher education institutions depending on their status and whether or not they rely on public funding.

RegionCentral Europe
CapitalBudapest
LanguageHungarian
Population9,772,756
Expenditure on higher education1,6 %
Unemployment3,35 %
EuroUniversities in top 1000
EuroUniversities in top 2500
EuroUniversities in top 5006
EuroUniversities in top 100023
Students380,900
Foreigner students4,9 %
Enrollment rate in higher education48,2 %

European Country Ranking
Central European Country Ranking
YearOverallResearch EmploymentInnovationInternationalizationInfrastructureEducational potential
202077,0915,813,41511,6511,210,04
201972,611313,511,8912,9611,210,06
201875,4413,113,415,0612,1511,310,43
201771,6813,21115,7413,398,59,85
201672,1713,313,815,4211,38,59,85
201580,2418,1513,815,8813,279,439,71
Statistics of the higher education

Pursuant to the justification of the Higher Education Act (submitted to the Parliament before adoption), the Hungarian higher education system aims, while serving the public good, to transmit competitive knowledge, to ensure the nation’s intellectual and economic development, to provide transparent and competitive theoretical and practical education, to perform basic and applied scientific research and pursue innovation, as well as to educate the new generation of academic staff s and researchers. Hungarian higher education institutions promote the high standard of higher education taught in Hungarian language in the Carpathian Basin and worldwide and preserve higher education activities connected with Hungary, the Hungarian language and culture.

Higher education institutions are autonomous institutions; their autonomy mainly covers educational and academic activities and research. Their organisational order and operation can be adjusted within the regulatory framework and their management should comply with the Act on Public Finance and the Act on State Property.

Pursuant to the Higher Education Act, the core activities of higher education institutions include education, academic research and artistic creation. The educational core activity of higher education institutions extends to include  higher education vocational trainings, Bachelor programmes, Master programmes, doctoral programmes and post-graduate specialist trainings. These core activities are undertaken exclusively by higher education institutions.  Higher education institutions are responsible for identifying and recognising students with outstanding skills and abilities capable of outperforming syllabus requirements, as well as disadvantaged and multiply disadvantaged students, and are liable to facilitate their professional, academic, artistic and sporting activities.

Universities, universities of applied sciences and colleges (non-university higher education institutions) qualify as higher education institutions in Hungary. Universities are higher education institutions authorised to provide at least eight Bachelor and six Master programmes, offer doctoral programmes and award doctoral degrees, provided that at least sixty percent of their teaching and research staff employed directly or on a public service employment basis have a doctoral degree, operate students’ academic workshops and are able to provide studies in foreign languages in some of their programmes. Universities are authorised to offer programmes in every educational cycle.

Universities of applied sciences are  tertiary institutions with at least four Bachelors programmes and two Masters programmes, and with at least two dual trainings (if its accreditation includes engineering, IT, agriculture, the natural sciences or business studies), having at least 45% of their teaching and research staff employed directly or on a public service employment basis have a doctoral degree, operate  academic student workshops, and are capable of offering foreign language courses at some of the departments.

Colleges are tertiary institutions having at least one-third of their teaching and research staff employed directly or on a public service employment basis have a doctoral degree. Colleges are entitled to operate academic student workshops.

Universities, universities of applied sciences and colleges are also authorised to provide training that do not result in a higher education degree (higher education vocational training, post-graduate specialist training).

In Hungary, higher education institutions may be established individually or with another right holder by the state, a nationality government, a church with legal entity, a commercial entity with a seat in Hungary, and by any foundation, public foundation registered in Hungary, an organisation carrying out religious activity, and in certain cases defined by law, a board of a private tertiary institution financed by an international organisation that exercises the rights of founders and maintainers of the institution. It is the right of the individual exercising founder to undertake tasks in connection with the operation of the higher education institution. The higher education institution is established based on a state recognition by the parliament.  State recognised institutions are listed in Annex I. of the Higher Education Act. The Hungarian Rectors’ Conference is entitled by law to represent higher education institutions and to protect their interests.

The government and the Minister responsible for Higher Education play a key role in the governance of higher education; they fulfil tasks related to organisation, development and legality control and, in the case of state higher education institutions, they exercise operator’s rights. Operator control should not affect the autonomy of the higher education institution granted in the matters of the scientific subject and contents of education and research.

The Educational Authority is an administrative body established by the government, acting as a higher education registration centre: it registers higher education institutions as well as the start or modification of their activities. It also carries out official inspections and keeps an official register on institutions. Furthermore, it operates the higher education information system (a central system based on data provided by HEIs – as the LXXXIX Act on educational registration from 2018 states it.)

The Hungarian Accreditation Committee is a national expert body promoting the supervision, assurance and evaluation of the quality of higher education, scientific research and the scientific quality of artistic creation, which participates in procedures related to higher education institutions, with special regard to doctoral schools. The National Doctoral Council is a body consisting of the chairs of the doctoral councils of higher education institutions, adopting positions in affairs related to doctoral programmes and the conferral of doctoral degrees.

The Higher Education Planning Board promotes the link between tertiary education and the labour market. The Dual Training Council ensures quality assurance and assessment of the work-based learning component of dual training. The Council of National Scientific Students’ Academic workshops is responsible for the national representation and coordination of students’ academic and artistic activities pursued in higher education institutions and the national representation and coordination of the students’ academic workshops movement as well as the organisation of nationwide scientific and artistic forums for students. In Hungary, the national representation of students is performed by the National Conference of Students, while the national representation of students pursuing doctoral studies is performed by the Association of Hungarian PhD and DLA Students.

The three-cycle degree structure, in accordance with the Bologna Declaration (signed in 1999), was introduced in September 2006.

The multicycle system offers education within the Qualifications Framework of the European Higher Education Area and the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF) at Bachelor (BA/BSc) level that lasts for 6-8 semesters (EQF level 6), which can be followed by Master (MA/MSc) level courses of a maximum of 4 semesters  (EQF level 7). The third cycle provides doctorate programmes (EQF level 8). Prerequisite for participating in a doctorate programme is a Master degree or equivalent. Besides multicycle courses, there are a few study fields where education remained undivided (long-cycle) leading to a master degree. Prerequisite for participating in a doctorate programme is a university, or Master degree.

There are also post-graduate specialist trainings for graduates holding a Bachelor or Master degree, launched by higher education institutions, which do not lead to another degree.

In addition, there are (short-cycle) higher education vocational trainings of 4 to 5 terms provided by higher education institutions which are conditional on the secondary schoolleaving examination and result in an advanced vocational qualification at EQF 5 level. Part of the ECTS credits obtained during this training must be recognised by relevant Bachelor programmes, as provided for by law.

The law does not stipulate the structure of the academic year. It only provides a definition for the academic year as a 10-month period, consisting of term time and (an) exam period(s). The law also defines the semester, which is a 5-month period. Consequently, higher education institutions are free to structure the academic year as they wish. However, since the law specifies all time-related provisions in semesters (e.g. the length of eligibility for state-funded places), it is impossible to structure the year other than in semesters or quadmesters/quarters because it would create difficulties in interpreting or complying with the law as well as the usage of finances. Therefore, most institutions have semesters consisting of a term-time of 14-15 weeks and an exam period of 4-6 weeks. The autumn term usually starts at the beginning of September and ends at the end of January. The spring term usually starts at the beginning of February and lasts until the end of June. Pursuant to the law, in full-time studies, each semester consists of at least 200 classes and full-time education has to be offered on working days, five days a week.

Bachelor

Branches of Study

Hungary introduced the Bologna three-cycle degree structure in pilot projects in 2005 and in all Bachelor programmes in 2006. (These mainly replaced the four /five year long programmes of the former education system) Any higher education institution fulfilling accreditation requirements is entitled to launching a Bachelor programme.

The length and structure of Bachelor programmes are regulated by the Higher Education Act and related government and ministerial decrees, in particular the 18/2016. (VIII.5.) EMMI decree. There are 15 BA/BSc programmes in public and private institutions in the following fields of study (and of the following ECTS credits): agriculture [180+30], humanities [180], social sciences [180], IT [210], law and public administration [180], economics [180], engineering [210], medical and health studies [240], teacher training [240]; sports [180], science [180], arts [180 / 300], art mediation [180]. Religious BA programmes are provided by private government-dependent (church funded) higher education institutions. The National University of Public Service (NUPS) was established by merging of several institutions and faculties. It provides education in the field of Public Administration, National Protection and Military services, however, there is a separate law and a set of government decrees on the NUPS, its programmes and its operation.    

A typical Bachelor programme lasts 3 years and is of 180 ECTS credits but in some fields of study there are programmes lasting for 3 and half years (180+30 ECTS) or for 4 years (240 ECTS). These programmes are included in the official list of degree programmes defined in a governmental decree.

In terms of expected outcomes, Bachelor programmes belong to the first cycle of the qualifications system developed for the European Higher Education Area and represents level 6 of the National Qualification Register. (Which is compliant with level 6 of the European Qualifications Framework, based on the Referencing Report approved by the Advisory body of the EQF). These general outcomes (standards) were regulated in a ministerial decree in 2006 in accordance with the Dublin descriptors. The more specific outcomes of each programme (usually developed by consortia of higher education institutions) are in compliance with the outcomes specified in the ministerial decree. Both the specific outcomes of the programmes and the programmes to be launched are accredited. At the time of this report a new piece of legislation is under preparation that updates the output standards (based on learning outcomes) taking the descriptor categories of the Hungarian National Qualification Register into account. This legal act is the result of a year-long cooperation between representatives of tertiary education programmes, external stakeholders, experts of the ministry responsible for higher education and independent experts.

There are no centrally defined regulations on the internal phases of the programmes. However, the framework regulation of the programmes divides the fields of knowledge into two categories (grounding knowledge and vocational knowledge) and allocated credits to them in order to give guidance for programme planning. Furthermore, a legal act sets out that if, within a programme there is an option for specialisation, or module, which may lead to a separate vocational qualification then these modules or specialisations must also be subject to an accreditation procedure.

Admission Requirements

Every Hungarian citizen has the right to undertake studies in programmes fully or partially financed through scholarships granted by the Hungarian state or pay full tuition. Passing an upper secondary school leaving examination is a general requirement for admission to higher education. The government defines the secondary school leaving examination criteria for each Bachelor programme. 

The higher education institution makes its decision on admission on the grounds of the performance of applicants, based on the standard national ranking in the case of application for entry into higher education vocational trainings, Bachelor programmes and long programmes. In the case of special programmes and doctoral programmes, the higher education institution shall make its decision in connection with entrance on the grounds of the performance of applicants.

Applicants for Bachelor studies are not required to sit for an entrance examination; the condition for admission was to reach a certain number of points comprising of upper secondary grades and the grades obtained at the secondary school leaving examination. Higher education institutions offering education in the same programme can also define standard oral examination criteria for each programme.

The government ensures equal opportunities for disadvantaged students, for persons on unpaid leave while nursing their children, for persons receiving parental benefit, child care support, maternity aid, maternity allowance or child care allowance as well as for persons with disabilities and persons belonging to a national minority when determining the number of state-funded places and the entrance examination criteria by allocating places and awarding extra 40 points to such persons in the admission procedure, or exemptions from certain admission criteria.

The government – after consulting higher education institutions – annually publishes the capacity of each institution (that is, the maximum number of students to be admitted) broken down by fields and also the minimum scores required for admission into higher education (as a quality criterion). According to the government decree on admission requirements, only students with scores 240 or above may be admitted to higher education; and students with scores 280 or above to Bachelors or single-cycle programmes. The minister responsible for higher education defines each year the minimum score for admission for the state funded spaces of each faculty. Consequently, the minimum admission score might even exceed 450 in the case of some faculties. A central computerised algorithm ranks the applicants of each programme and, on the basis of the programme’s admission capacity (approved of by the minister), it provides a list of successful applicants, which, in turn, determines the minimum score points necessary for entry to the programme concerned.

Applicants may submit their application to more than one institution and/or programme: on their application form, they indicate their preference of the institutions/programmes by ranking them and are admitted to the first one for which their score is sufficient. Students admitted to a study programme – provided that they make a declaration – become eligible for state scholarship.

The admission procedure and admission requirements are regulated in a government decree. Information on admission (including programmes to be launched by institutions and the expected number of entrants) is provided by the Educational Authority (http://felvi.hu), which also handles applications and operates the abovementioned computerised system (calculates the scores of applicants and ranks them). The Educational Authority also records and manages official data. Admission criteria and procedures are regulated by a government decree.

Curriculum

The regulatory framework of the training programmes is not institution specific, but rather focuses on the programmes. The Minister responsible for Higher Education has determined the exit requirements (expected outcomes) of the first cycle (in accordance with the generic descriptors of the EHEA qualifications framework). A regulation framework (description of learning requirements and learning outcomes) is developed for each bachelor programme by consortia of cooperating higher education institutions. These learning requirements and learning outcomes contain the name and credit value of the programme, exit requirements, standards (in terms of learning outcomes), main fields of knowledge to be taught, specific requirements of the final thesis, foreign language requirements, traineeship requirements. The minister responsible for higher education publishes them in a decree and includes the programme in the Qualifications Register. The learning requirements and learning outcomes of a programme are applicable to all higher education institution which wishes to launch such a programme – they can develop the curriculum and programme documentation accordingly.

The institutions elaborate their curriculum based on the training and outcome requirements of the programme and the relevant legal framework. Consequently, the law regulates the minimum number of contact hours per term (200) and the general rules of credit allocation (in accordance with the ECTS). The accreditation guidelines of the Hungarian Accreditation Committee specify the minimum requirements for resources (e.g. minimum number of full-time staff, staff with PhD title, capacity and infrastructure). These regulations have a significant impact on the curriculum and the actual implementation of degree programmes. The programme package (curriculum and programme documentation) is assessed by the Hungarian Accreditation Committee in a preliminary programme accreditation, following which the Educational Authority registers the programme and the programme can be launched.

It is possible to offer degree programmes in a foreign language or develop degree programmes to be launched in a foreign language. However, due to the requirements to be met for accreditation and the insufficient foreign language skills of staff, few higher education institutions actually undertake it; they prefer to launch foreign language mirror programmes of their already existing, accredited programmes, which does not require an accreditation procedure.There are national minority language and culture degree programmes, where the language of instruction is the language of the national minority concerned. (E.g. there are German minority, Croatian minority, Romanian minority, Ukrainian minority, Serb minority, the Slovak minority, the Slovenian minority specializations within the Bachelor programmes of German studies, Slavic studies, Romance languages undergraduate (Bachelor) programmes, for which the language of education is the respective national language and / or the language of the home country of the minority.

Teaching Methods

There are no central (governmental/ministerial) guidelines for teaching methods and learning environment – and they are often not regulated at institution level either. As regards learning environment, accreditation requirements contain some infrastructural-technical criteria (concerning the availability of a library, computers, etc.).

It is traditions and established practices that teaching is most often based on. Evaluations of recent years focusing on the introduction of the multi-cycle education system have pointed out that more conscious and deeper changes are necessary in order to improve the quality of the first cycle programmes and to achieve the objectives of the education.

New teaching and learning management methods as well as innovative technology are used at the initiation of individual teachers or teams of teachers, however, according to research studies, they seem to be fragmented and isolated even within an institution.

The characteristics of organising degree courses are closely related to the forms of learning, e.g. sandwich courses and blended learning techniques are more often applied in case of part time courses. It is part of the autonomy of teachers to choose the teaching methods and learning management methods they use and thus usually there are no standardised, across-the-board approaches. Teachers are also free to choose the teaching aids, textbooks and reference books used for teaching. However, during the preliminary programme accreditation and the institutional accreditation, the list of teaching aids and bibliography is also reviewed. In recent years, several ESF funded projects have been launched for developing and using cutting-edge (usually digital) content with several institutions participating in the development and sharing the end product through a joint, gratis public database.

Due to the massification of higher education, the skills assessment of first-year students as well as offering remedial courses and/or courses of different levels of the same subject are gaining ground. In line with the modification of the Act on Higher Education, tertiary institutions are obliged to carry out competence assessments on students prior to and at the end of their studies. Since the framework and the methodology of this assessment is still unclear, no assessment have actually taken place yet; just some of the institutions attempt to assess students’ competence.    

Talent support is also receiving more and more focus. In the network of students’ scholarly circles talented students are involved in research activities and their achievements are presented within their university/college and nationwide. Students’ specialist colleges are self-governing associations based on self-education. Knowledge gained in these forms of learning may be recognised in the ECTS credit system.

Progression of Students

Students previously had great flexibility in accomplishing studies, which has been restricted by the new Higher Education Act introduced in 2011.The legislators introduced certain measures to ensure faster progression and to reduce dropout rates and overextended studies. 

Such measures include

  • defining the length of studies for full or partial state scholarships and
  • the expulsion of students who do not complete their studies within the prescribed time frame,
  • in which case they are also obliged to repay the state scholarships received.

The impact of these efforts are not yet measurable. Because of lack of interest, institutions only do what is required by the law to encourage students to make progress, and to support students with learning difficulties. However, there is an increasing number of bottom up initiatives focusing on this issue, for example the Hungarian Rectors’ Conference has recently established a task force to elaborate measures aimed at decreasing the number of drop-outs. On the other hand, student unions strive for including all opportunities provided by the law in institutional regulations.

As regards to students’ rights and obligations, the act enables students to obtain the number of credits necessary for their degree in a shorter or longer time than the length of the programme they are enrolled in. Provisions concerning grants/scholarships for students do not have an adverse impact on students progressing slower than the average, but aim at reducing unjustified overextended studies. The state-financed period for obtaining a given degree may be extended by a maximum of 2 terms. The higher education institution may extend the state-financed period of students with disabilities by a maximum of 4 terms.

After that, students can still continue their studies but at a fee-paying place.

Furthermore, the law stipulates that institutions ensure

  • that students are granted the opportunity to enrol for optional course units up to five percent of the credits required for the award of the diploma,
  • and are offered a range of credit-earning course-units to select from at least twenty percent in excess of the total number of credits required. 
  • students have the opportunity of taking 10% more credits than the total number of prescribed credits of their study regime without having to pay extra tuition fee,
  • and of taking at least 10% of the required credits in a foreign language.

The Act on Higher Education declares that a student’s study duration should not be infinitely long. The higher education institution shall terminate, by unilateral declaration, the student status of the student, who fails to fulfill his/her obligations to progress in studies as set in the study and examination rules and curriculum, fails to apply for the next semester 3 times in a row, or not continue his/her studies after an interruption, as long as the student has been notified in writing in advance to comply his/her obligations within the given deadline, and he/she is also informed about the consequences of the omission. The higher education institution shall also terminate, by unilateral declaration, the student status of a student whose total number of failing remedial and repetitive exams from the same unit is five. (If a student pursues muliply programmes at the same institution, the studies in which he/she has failed his/her obligations should be terminated.)

Underperforming students at state funded places are transferred to fee-paying places. In line with the Act on Higher Education, the student is reclassified to a fee-paying status, if he/she exceeded the number of terms financed by the state (that is defined as the officially determined programme period plus two terms), he/she has failed to obtain at least 18 credits in two subsequent terms, or he/she did not achieve the minimum level of performance (grade average) defined by the institution. Furthermore, if the students withdraws his/her statement that within twenty years after acquisition of the degree, to enter into and maintain employment or other work related status resulting in social insurance with an employer under Hungarian jurisdiction or undertake entrepreneurship under Hungarian jurisdiction (hereinafter: Hungarian employment) for a duration of the period during which he/she received (partial) state grant. The state funded status of underperforming students is filled by fee-paying students with good academic performance.

After accomplishing the first term, it is also possible to suspend one’s studies for a maximum of two terms at one go – and the maximum total length of suspension is regulated by the institutions. Consequently, the institution may give permission to suspend studies for longer than two subsequent terms, or before performing the first term.

The proportion of students progressing slowly or dropping out is significant. Some postpone obtaining their final credits in order to prolong their student status and receiving the benefits attached. Many are unable to get their degree because of failing to pass an intermediate language examination necessary for obtaining a degree. There are only estimates about the extent of dropping out and overextended studies, putting it about 40%. The Educational Authority has started the detailed analysis of dropping out data through the Higher Education Information System (FIR) and is sharing the results with higher education institutions for further action. As a result, it is expected that the opportunities for career tracking and the follow up on subsequent studies will be greatly expanded in the near future, thanks tot he development of an anonymous linking technique for administrative data stored on students.

Pursuant to the law, higher education institutions have to provide information and counselling for their students, therefore learning management services as well as study and career planning counselling is offered. The systematic introduction thereof has started, but the degree of implementation varies from institution to institution.

Employability

The introduction of the multi-cycle (BA/MA) system constitutes a significant step towards improving employability. Bachelor programmes are expected to be practice oriented and to improve employability. Most of them include obligatory traineeship. In several fields, the usually 6-term (180 ECTS credit) Bachelor programmes were extended with one or two terms (30-60 credits) to include a period of continuous traineeship of at least one term (30 credits). The traineeship is generally undertaken at external workplaces.

Since September 2015, dual programmes have been offered in the field of engineering, IT, agriculture, natural sciences and business. The main features of these programmes were defined centrally and are based on the cooperation between higher education institutions and the business sector. After term-time, students gain work experience at the companies engaged in the cooperation under the guidance of a mentor. The chances are high to be able to be offered a permanent position upon graduation. The government supports these cooperation programmes by providing targeted grants and tax benefits to the institutions and the involved companies. The Dual Training Council ensures quality assurance and assessment of the work-based learning component of dual training. As a result of the extensive support, both tertiary education institutions and the business sector showed great interest in dual training programmes; however there are still some challenges to overcome: enterprises complain about the inflexible set of rules and require even more support.

Presently there are 24 institutions and 417 enterprises engaged in 37 Bachelor programmes, 1653 students are enrolled (58% in technical fields). The government’s objective is to significantly increase these figures in the coming years and to have 5% of students in STEM fields to be enrolled in dual training.

Presently there are 22 Master programmees as dual trainings, in which 148 students are enrolled.

Career offices have been set up with EU co-funding within regional development programmes. At present there is career consulting service in nearly all universities and colleges. After closing the projects developing the career offices, institutions have to maintain the offices. Career consulting service providers have been quick to develop networks and in-service training and thus have been providing increasingly professional services. Job fairs and other events where students can meet employers are held regularly at universities and colleges.

Hungary has started the introduction of the post-graduation career tracking system. The Higher Education Act stipulates that higher education institutions participate in the national career tracking system and provide data for the system. The methodology and central elements of the system were developed in an ESF funded central project. In addition, several higher education institutions were awarded a grant for developing their own career tracking system, which uses standardised methodology for data collection. This ensures a large sample size for analysis. Multiply elements (questionnaire for new graduates, enrolled students as well as Registered Research Unification of Administrative Data and the Higher Education Career Tracking Moduls) are under development as part of the EFOP-3.4.5. Priority Project in the Educational Authority. Data is regularly collected and analysed in the post-graduation career tracking system concerning the labour market acceptance of graduates as well as the training and employment strategies. The Unification of Administrative Data provides the annual detailed analysis and monitoring of the labour market and income characteristics of students – anonymously. First findings show that a significant part of graduates with a Bachelor degree find employment, a smaller proportion continue their studies in addition to working and only a third of them go on to study for a Master degree.

Student Assessment

There is no policy on student assessment at either national or institutional level. Although some institutions have started developing such a policy, it is generally the competence of teachers. Institutions only regulate conditions related to degree thesis and final exam.

Traditionally, oral examinations are held at the end of the terms in the exam periods but where the number of students is high, written examinations and in-process evaluations arealso common. In case of small-group classes (seminars, laboratory practice) there is usually continuous assessment of students.

In the 2007 amendment of the Act on Higher Education (introduced in 2005) explicitly refers to the acknowledgement of non-formal and informal learning for the first time, which is now also included in the present Act. The previous Act had a maximum of 30 credits as the limit for recognising knowledge acquired earlier and work experience, which proved to be too strict. The recently introduced new Act discontinued this provision, and sets out that at least 30% of the credits required for the student to obtain their degree (diploma) – even in the case of the recognition of credits taken in the given institution or in programmes taken earlier, as well as knowledge acquired earlier- shall be obtained in their home institution. Although the main objective of this provision was to prevent students moving from one institution to another for the sake of escaping the performance requirements, but it also facilitated validation and the recognition of formal, non-formal and informal forms of learning.

Research shows that institutions do not have policies for assessing and recognising prior learning; assessment and recognition are within the competence of teachers. In 2010 a central project was launched for developing a formalised recognition procedure and introducing it in institutions. The second phase of the project took place in the period 2012-2014. However the interest of the various stakeholders are still unclear; there is no definitive governmental support policy and no pressure from the students, which would enable a wider usage of validation.

The 5-point scale is the most common form of evaluation (5 – excellent, 4 – good, 3 – satisfactory, 2 – pass, 1 – fail). This scale system is not applied on a relative scale (ensuring that each year about the same proportion of students achieve each score). In fact, the requirements are nearly the same each year, therefore the evaluation is of absolute nature.

Certification

It is the state that defines and recognises degrees through the government and the Ministry responsible for Higher Education. Degrees (and the diploma) can only be awarded by state recognised (accredited) higher education institutions.

Degree programmes are defined by qualification and outcome requirements issued in a ministerial decree. The Higher Education Act regulates the granting of degrees, the conditions to be fulfilled before a final examination and the main elements of final examinations. (May contain several elements, defined by the institution: defence of the thesis, oral exam, written exam, work-based exam). Higher education institutions regulate the way of registration for the final examination, the rules of organising and holding the final examination and the method of calculation the results. They administer the final examination and, based on the results, issue a diploma certifying the degree as well as a diploma supplement. The diploma is a public document, and has to be registered accordingly.

Second Cycle Programmes

Branches of study

Hungary introduced the Bologna three-cycle degree structure in pilot projects in 2005, followed by the phased-in introduction of the Bachelor and later Masters Programmes (primarily replacing the earlier 4-, 5- or 6-year programmes). Any higher education institution compatible with accreditation requirements is entitled to launch a Master programme. The length and structure of Master programmes are regulated by the Higher Education Act and related legal regulations.  There are 12 branches of study (with the following ECTS credits): agriculture [120], humanities [120], social sciences [120], IT [120], law [120], economics [120], engineering [90-120], medicine and health [90-120], teachers’ training [90]; sports [120], science [120] and arts [120].  Religious Master programmes are provided by private government-dependent (church funded) higher education institutions. The National University of Public Service (NUPS) was established by merging several institutions and faculties. It provides education in the field of Public Administration, National Protection and Military services [120] However, there is a separate law and a set of government decrees on the NUPS, its programmes and its operation.

A typical Master programme lasts for 2 years and is of 120 ECTS credits but in some fields of study there are programmes lasting for 3 terms (one and a half years) with 90 ECTS or for 2 terms (1 year) with 60 ECTS. These require obtaining fewer credits because they are built on Bachelor programmes with a higher amount of credits. The programmes are included in the official list of degree programmes issued in the framework of a government decree. In terms of output, Master programmes belong to the second cycle of the qualifications system developed for the European Higher Education Area and represents level 7 of the National Qualification Register (which is compliant with level 7 of the European Qualifications Framework, based on the Referencing Report approved by the Advisory body of the EQF). These general outcomes (standards) as well as programme specific outcomes based in learning outcomes are regulated in a ministerial decree taking the descriptor categories of the Hungarian National Qualification Register into account. Both the specific outcomes of the programmes and the programmes to be launched are accredited. The accreditation procedure is mainly for checking whether the necessary resources are available for launching a programme.

There are no centrally defined regulations on the internal phases of the programmes. However, the framework regulation of the programmes defines some key elements of the qualifications (such as broad subject fields, traineeship, thesis) and allocates credit ranges to them in order to give guidance for programme planning. Furthermore, a legal act sets out that if, within a programme, there is an option for specialisation or a module which may lead to a separate vocational qualification, these modules or specialisations must also be subject of an accreditation procedure.

Admission requirements

The procedure, central organisation, publicising and registration of admission to Master programmes are the same as to Bachelor programmes. However, admission requirements are entirely different.

Pursuant to the Higher Education Act, only Bachelor degree holders can be admitted to Master programmes. However, additional admission requirements are set by the institutions themselves, provided that they apply the same requirements to all applicants (irrespective of where applicants have obtained their Bachelor degrees).

Applicants are given scores based on their performance and extra scores may be granted for outstanding performance, disadvantaged or multiply disadvantaged status, disability and applicants with young children. All this and the admission requirements are specified in the internal regulations of institutions. Institutions have varying procedures ranging from considering the results of Bachelor studies to conducting written or oral examinations or aptitude tests.

Programme completion and exit requirements specify the skills and competences to be acquired in the first cycle, which also have a number of credits allocated to them. During the admission procedure, institutions have to check whether applicants to a Master programme graduating from dissimilar Bachelor programmes have acquired these competences. If they did not, it may be compulsory for them to acquire these prior to or during their Master studies. The admission procedure offers scope for the recognition of prior learning.

The minister responsible for higher education determines the number of state-funded places for each branches of study on the basis of the needs and capacity of institutions and also takes into account labour market trends.

Applicants can apply to several institutions and programmes ranking them in the order of their preferences on the application form. They will be admitted to the highest ranking programme of their list whose requirements they meet.

There are no alternative access routes at present. Information on admission (including programmes to be launched by institutions and the expected number of entrants) is provided by the Educational Authoritywhich also handles applications and operates the abovementioned computerised system (calculates the scores of applicants and ranks them). The Educational Authority also records and manages official data.

Curriculum

The regulatory framework of the training programmes is not institution-specific but rather focuses on the programmes. The minister responsible for higher education determines the exit requirements (expected outcomes) of the second cycle (in accordance with the generic descriptors of the EHEA qualifications framework). A regulation framework (description of learning requirements and learning outcomes) is developed for each Master programme by higher education institutions indicating the relevant standards. Based on the above, the learning requirements and learning outcomes of a programme must be elaborated by the institution in cooperation with the stakeholders. These learning requirements and learning outcomes contain the name and credit value of the programme, the exit requirements (in terms of learning outcomes), the main fields of knowledge to be taught, the specific requirements of the final thesis, foreign language requirements and traineeship requirements. The Hungarian Accreditation Committee gives its opinion on the draft learning requirements and learning outcomes. Afterwards, the minister responsible for higher education publishes them in a decree and includes them in the Qualifications Register. This process is referred to as the Programme Creation Procedure. The learning requirements and learning outcomes of a programme are applicable to all higher education institutions that  wish to launch such a programme – they can develop the curriculum and programme documentation accordingly, with some room for manoeuvre provided by the legal framework. Institutions usually prefer to draft the framework of their programmes (adjusted to their own profile). This practice results in several programme variations in the Qualifications Register. However, well-defined, clear aspects are not available to filter these during the accreditation procedure. Therefore, the negotiations within the Hungarian Accreditation Committee shape the decisions on the content of the programmes.

Institutions elaborate their curriculum based on the training and outcome requirements of the programme and the relevant legal framework. The law regulates the minimum number of contact hours per term (200) and the general rules of credit allocation (in accordance with the ECTS). The accreditation guidelines of the Hungarian Accreditation Committee specify the minimum requirements for resources (e.g. minimum number of full-time staff, staff with PhD title, capacity and infrastructure). These regulations have a significant impact on the curriculum and the actual implementation of degree programmes. The programme package (curriculum and programme documentation) is assessed by the Hungarian Accreditation Committee in a preliminary programme accreditation procedure. Afterwards, the Educational Authority registers the programme and the programme can be launched.

It is possible to offer degree programmes in a foreign language or develop degree programmes to be launched in a foreign language. Their number is growing thanks to an extensive governmental campaign and financial support for internationalising the higher education provision better. 14 joint master degrees have been established in cooperation with foreign higher education institutions

  1. Sustainable Animal Nutrition and Feeding,
  2. Environmental Sciences Policy and Management,
  3. Public Policy,
  4. Comparative Local Development Studies,
  5. Social Work and Social Economics,
  6. European Social Spaces, Development and Heritage,
  7. Choreomundus – International Master In Dance Knowledge, Practice and Heritage,
  8. European Master in Lexicography,
  9. DocNomads Documentary Film Directing,
  10. PuppeTry Master’s Degree Program in Puppetry,
  11. Viewfinder Cinematography Program,
  12. Joint International Master in Smart Systems Integration,
  13. European Women’s and Gender History (MATILDA),
  14. GEMMA: Master’s Degree in Women’s and Gender Studies.

In addition tot he above, there is also available a further vocational HE training offered by the University of Szeged in cooperation with the German partner University, the Universitat Potsdam: Gemeinsamer Weiterbildungsstudiengang “Deutsches Recht mit Ausbildung zum Fachübersetzer” (LL.M.).

Fort he German minority of Hungary a master programme with an academic profile (german language and literature) was established.

Teaching methods

There are no central (governmental/ministerial) guidelines for teaching methods and learning environment – and they are often not regulated at institutional level either.  With regard to the learning environment, accreditation requirements contain some infrastructural-technical criteria (concerning the availability of a library, computers, etc.). The most popular and traditional way of teaching is giving lectures for large audiences, organising seminars or lab practices for small groups of students. New teaching and learning management methods as well as innovative technology are used at the initiation of individual academic staff or teams of colleguaes., However, according to research studies, they seem to be fragmented and isolated even within an institution.

The characteristics of organising degree courses are closely related to the forms of learning, e.g. sandwich courses and blended learning techniques are more often applied in case of part-time courses. It is part of the autonomy of academic staff to choose the teaching methods and learning management methods they use. Thus, usually there are no standardised, across-the-board approaches. Academic staff is also free to choose the teaching aids, textbooks and reference books used for teaching. However, during the preliminary programme accreditation procedure and the institutional accreditation, the list of teaching aids and bibliography are also reviewed. In recent years, several ESF-funded projects have been launched for developing and using cutting-edge (usually digital) content with several institutions participating in the development and sharing the end product through a joint, public database. A centrally organised, ESF-funded project is currently preparing a central competence assessment test for all higher education students.

Talent support is receiving more and more focus in Master programmes. In the network of students’ scholarly circles, talented students are involved in research activities and their achievements are presented within their university/college and nationwide. Students’ specialist colleges are self-governing associations based on self-education. Knowledge gained in these forms of learning may be recognised in the ECTS credit system.

Progression of students

The central and institutional regulations do not make a difference between bachelor’s and master’s degrees in terms of tracking students’ progression.

Students previously had great flexibility in accomplishing studies, which has been restricted by the new Higher Education Act introduced in 2011. The legislators introduced certain measures to ensure faster progression and to reduce dropout rates and overextended studies. Such measures include defining the length of studies for full or partial state scholarships and the expulsion of students who do not complete their studies within the prescribed time frame, in which case they are also obliged to repay the state scholarships received. There is an increasing number of bottom-up initiatives focusing on this issue aiming at decreasing the number of drop-outs.

With regard to students’ rights and obligations, the act enables students to obtain the number of credits necessary for their degree in a shorter or longer time than the length of the programme they are enrolled in. Provisions concerning grants/scholarships for students do not have an adverse impact on students progressing slower than the average but aim at reducing unjustified overextended studies. The state-financed period for obtaining a given degree may be extended by a maximum of 2 terms. The higher education institution may extend the state-financed period of students with disabilities by a maximum of 4 terms. Furthermore, the law stipulates that institutions ensure that students are granted the opportunity to enrol for optional course units for up to five percent of the credits required for the award of the diploma and are offered a range of credit-earning course-units to select from at least twenty percent in excess of the total number of credits required. Furthermore, students have the opportunity of taking 10% more credits than the total number of prescribed credits of their study regime without having to pay extra tuition fee and of taking at least 10% of the required credits in a foreign language. After that, students can still continue their studies but at a fee-paying place.

The Act on Higher Education declares that a student’s study duration should not be infinitely long. The higher education institution shall terminate, by unilateral declaration, the student status of the student, who fails to fulfill his/her obligations to progress in studies as set in the study and examination rules and curriculum, fails to apply for the next semester 3 times in a row, or not continue his/her studies after an interruption, as long as the student has been notified in writing in advance to comply his/her obligations within the given deadline, and he/she is also informed about the consequences of the omission. The higher education institution shall also terminate, by unilateral declaration, the student status of a student whose total number of failing remedial and repetitive exams from the same unit is five. (If a student pursues muliply programmes at the same institution, the studies in which he/she has failed his/her obligations should be terminated.)

Underperforming students at state-funded places are transferred to fee-paying places. In line with the Act on Higher Education, the student is reclassified to a fee-paying status, if he/she exceeded the number of terms financed by the state (that is defined as the officially determined programme period plus two terms), he/she has failed to obtain at least 18 credits in two subsequent terms or he/she did not achieve the minimum level of performance (grade average) defined by the institution. Furthermore, if the student withdraws his/her statement that, within twenty years after acquisition of the degree, he/she will enter into and maintain employment or other work-related status resulting in social insurance with an employer under Hungarian jurisdiction or undertake entrepreneurship under Hungarian jurisdiction for a duration of the period during which he/she received (partial) state grant. The state-funded status of underperforming students is filled by fee-paying students with good academic performance.

Students can progress faster than the average and thus accomplish their studies in a shorter time than the usual length of the programme. After accomplishing the first term, it is also possible to suspend one’s studies for a maximum of two terms at one go; the maximum total length of suspension is regulated by the institutions. The proportion of students progressing slowly or dropping out is significant. Some postpone obtaining their final credits in order to prolong their student status and receiving the benefits attached. Several institutions do not have any information on whether students enter the labour market or continue their studies elsewhere (e.g. abroad).  Due to the unclear methodological approach, the institutions do not collect data about these various study strategies. Therefore, there are only estimates about the extent of dropping out and overextended studies estimating it about 20%. The Educational Authority has started analysing data on student drop-out in the central higher education database (FIR) and feedbacks them to institutions for further considerations.

Pursuant to the law, higher education institutions have to provide information and counselling for their students. Therefore, learning management services as well as study and career planning counselling are offered. The systematic introduction thereof has started but the degree of implementation varies from institution to institution.

Employability

Hungary has started the introduction of the post-graduation career tracking system (DPR). The Higher Education Act stipulates that higher education institutions participate in the national career tracking system and provide data for the system. The methodology and the central elements of the system were developed in a central major project. In addition, several higher education institutions were awarded a grant for developing their own career tracking system. DPR is carried out based on central and institutional data collection as well as on data gathered by linking various national databases (taxation, employment and social security) with higher education databases.

The introduction of the multi-cycle system constitutes a significant step towards improving employability. The education and output standards of a high proportion of Master programmes include obligatory traineeships. In addition, several institutions experienced that Master students are interested in practical knowledge and skills, which in many cases have led to the modification of programmes. Career offices have been set up with EU co-funding through regional development programmes. At present, there are career-consulting servics at nearly all universities and colleges. Career-consulting service providers develop networks and in-service trainings, offer personal advices, and organise job fairs and other events where students can meet employers. These events are held regularly at universities and colleges.

Since September 2015, dual programmes have been offered in the fields of engineering, IT, agriculture, social sciences and business in Masters Programmes also. The main features of these programmes were defined centrally and are based on the cooperation between higher education institutions and the business sector. After term-time, students gain work experience at the companies engaged in the cooperation under the guidance of a mentor. Chances are high to be offered a permanent position upon graduation. The government supports these cooperation programmes by providing targeted grants and tax benefits to the institutions and the involved companies. The Dual Training Council ensures the quality assurance and the assessment of the work-based learning component of dual trainings. Presently, institutions and enterprises offer 24 dual Master programmes that 100 students attend.

Student assessment

There is no policy on student assessment at either national or institutional level. Although some institutions have started developing such a policy, it is generally the competence of academic staff. Institutions only regulate conditions related to the degree thesis and the final exam.

Traditionally, oral examinations are held at the end of the terms in the exam periods but where the number of students is high, written examinations and in-process evaluations are also common. In case of small-group classes (seminars, laboratory practices), there is usually continuous assessment of students. The Act on Higher Education explicitly refers to the acknowledgement of non-formal and informal learning. Only at least 30% of the credits required for the student to obtain his/her degree (diploma) – even in the case of the recognition of credits taken in the given institution or in programmes taken earlier, as well as knowledge acquired earlier- must be obtained in the home institution (credit transfer and recognition as well as the validation of non-formal and informal learning). Research shows that institutions do not have policies for assessing and recognising prior learning; recognition and evaluation of credits is subject to informal negotiations between professors and students. Two years ago, an EU-funded central project was launched for developing a formalised recognition procedure and introducing it in institutions. The second phase of the project took place in the period 2012-2014.

The 5-point scale evaluation (5 – excellent, 4 – good, 3 – satisfactory, 2 – pass, 1 – fail) is the most common. This scale system is not applied on a relative scale (ensuring that each year about the same proportion of students achieve each score). In fact, the requirements are nearly the same each year; therefore, the evaluation is of absolute nature.

Certification

It is the state that defines and recognises degrees (including Masters Degrees) through the government and the Ministry responsible for higher education. Degrees can only be awarded by state recognised (accredited) higher education institutions.

Degree programmes are defined by qualification and outcomes based on   requirements/standards issued in a ministerial decree. The Higher Education Act regulates the granting of degrees, the conditions to be fulfilled before a final examination and the main elements of final examinations. (may contain several elements defined by the institution: defence of the thesis, oral exam, written exam, work-based exam) and the members of the final examination committee (it has to have at least three members, at least two of them with a doctoral degree and at least one of them has to be external, i.e. not employed by the higher education institution). Higher education institutions regulate the way of registration for the final examination, the rules of organising and holding the final examination and the method of calculating the results. They administer the final examination and, based on the results, issue the official certificate (referred to as diploma) certifying the degree as well as a diploma supplement. The diploma is a public document and has to be registered accordingly.

Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Organisation of doctoral studies

Doctoral programmes are mainly offered at universities since only higher education institutions are able (and entitled) to provide doctoral programmes and awarding a doctoral degree may fall into the category of “university”. Doctoral programmes are provided in doctoral schools operating within higher education institutions in disciplinary fields defined by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. (In most fields, doctoral programmes ending in a “Doctor of Philosophy” degree [PhD], while in the field of art, there are doctoral programmes ending in a “Doctor of Liberal Arts” [DLA] degree.) The operation of doctoral schools and the awarding of doctoral degrees are supervised by the doctoral councils of institutions.

Doctoral schools can operate and doctoral programmes can be offered only if accredited during an accreditation procedure. In line with a government decree, doctoral studies basically include two phases: the first phase is a doctoral course of at least 120 ECTS credits (usually 2 years in full-time; however, it may take longer in part-time forms), ending with a comprehensive examination. Successful students may move on to the second phase, a doctoral degree award procedure consisting of an individual research work and the elaboration and public defence of a doctoral thesis. There are three years available in this second phase, which, in justified cases, can be extended by one year.

The same regulations apply to doctoral schools/programmes in all branches of study. Doctoral schools operate in all disciplinary fields of study, although at each university, there are usually a few doctoral schools, e.g. one at every faculty.

Regulations have different provisions for the two phases. In the first phase, during the doctoral course, the same rules apply as in other programmes, while in the second phase (in the degree award procedure), special rules apply (primarily concerning submission deadlines and procedures). According to the law, the first phase “encompasses education, research and assessment (and in many cases:  internship) related activities conducted either individually or in groups, tailored to the particularities of the field of science concerned and meeting the needs of PhD students”, during which several programmes require teaching practice in a higher education institution or work experience outside the university. Furthermore, emphasis is put on individual research and on direct professional consultation. For the time being, no distinction is made according to profiles (research and professional doctorate) – even though both profiles are clearly present in practice and some institutions have already raised the issue of formalising the distinction in the standards of programmes as well as in doctoral titles.

Participants of the second phase, the doctoral degree award procedure, are called PhD/DLA candidates. PhD/DLA candidates have not necessarily undertaken the first phase in a formal learning way, it is also possible to prepare for a doctoral degree individually and informally. The prerequisites are a Master degree and fulfilling the admission requirements to the doctoral degree programme. Higher education institutions cannot reject the application of candidates who have successfully accomplished the first phase at their institution. Doctoral students have the legal status of students and are entitled to state-funded grants. However, state-funded places are limited; the majority of doctoral students pays a fee and undertakes work in addition to pursuing studies in order to cover the cost of studies. This is one of the reasons why there is a low number of PhD students actually receiving a doctoral degree.

Admission requirements

Selection of doctoral students is within the competence of the doctoral schools of higher education institutions. The institutions are entitled to define their own rules on procedures and the criteria for applications. There is only one legal prerequisite for admission: holding a Master degree. Typically, there are oral entrance examinations for doctoral courses.

The number of doctoral students is not limited, the government only limits the number of state-funded places. The National Doctoral Council, consisting of the chairs of the doctoral councils of higher education institutions, defines the principles of distributing the state-funded places among higher education institutions. Due to the limited number of state-funded full-time places, there is a  much higher percentage  of doctoral students who attend part-time and pay a tuition fee.

Status of doctoral students/candidates

Doctoral students have the legal status of students with the same rights and responsibilities as Bachelor and Master students, e.g. entitlement to health and social insurance, performance-based and need-based grants and other welfare benefits.

However, a large number of doctoral students are admitted as fee-paying students. Similarly to students at state-funded places, they have a student card entitling them to discounted rates when travelling or discounted admission tickets to cultural and other facilities. However, they are not entitled to state-funded grants. Therefore, most students work while studying. The schedule of doctoral courses is scheduled in such a way that it enables them to attend classes.

Supervision arrangements

The law does not regulate supervision and thus there are different internal regulations and different practices in doctoral schools. Typically, if there is no professor/researcher available for supporting a doctoral student in the doctoral programme, the doctoral school will hire one from another programme or another school for this specific task. However, no formal agreements are concluded between students and the supervisor and the doctoral programme.  Multiple supervision arrangements are rare: independent experts are usually involved in the final comprehensive examination thesis (at least one external expert) and in the defence of the doctoral thesis (at least two external experts).

The academic advancement of university staff members (lecturers, researchers) does not take place in the framework of doctoral programmes but within the requirement framework defined by the human resource regulations of universities. These regulate the criteria for each academic position as well as the regular evaluation of lecturers and researchers. This evaluation procedure is also considered during the accreditation review process (every 5 years); however, it is less typical for university professors, docents and senior research fellows with a Ph.D. Also, international tutoring/co-tutoring by supervisors is uncommon; it is mainly dependent on the financial capacity of doctoral schools.

Employability

There are no systematically collected statistics on the ability of doctoral schools to improve employability. Some reports show that, in several fields of science, there are significant links to the local economy. Industrial staff may act as lecturers, tutors and external examiners at the defence of doctoral  theses. In some fields (e.g. engineering, science, agriculture), it is typical that doctoral students and PhD candidates take a job at companies operating in that field during their doctoral studies or people working in these fields often enrol in a doctoral programme which can promote the improvement of employability.

96% of doctorates are employed, esceeding the OECD ratio of 92%.

Assessment

There is no policy on student assessment at either national or institutional level. Although some institutions have started developing such a policy, it is generally the competence of academic staff, especially at smaller institutions.

In the first phase, the doctoral course, typically oral examinations are held at the end of the terms in the exam periods but there may also be written examinations/tasks. In case of small-group classes (seminars, laboratory practices), there is usually continuous assessment of students. The performance assessment of students is identical to the assessment in other programmes: either on a 3-point scale (excellent, satisfactory, fail) or on a 5-point scale (5 – excellent, 4 – good, 3 – satisfactory, 2 – pass, 1 – fail). There are no monitoring or research activities focusing on these practices at national or institutional level.

Doctoral schools regulate the way of assessment of the research activity and the doctoral thesis of doctoral students but these primarily focus on the evaluation method and criteria of the individual research work of the student and the PhD thesis. Scientometric methods are often used for evaluating the research activities of doctoral students since they are required to publish the findings of their research. Very often, one of the requirements for enrolling to the degree award procedure is to achieve a certain publication index and impact factor. In disciplines where there are not enough accessible publication opportunities for doctoral students or there are no internationally standardised scientometric methods, doctoral schools themselves develop assessment tools to evaluate the performance of doctoral students. These are also similar to a publication index but they include presentations at conferences, articles in journals and technical translation etc.

Doctoral councils also set criteria for the evaluation of doctoral theses (according to the traditions of the discipline) and especially for the procedure of evaluation in order to ensure the presence of external evaluators and examination board members. However, there is no information on a comprehensive review of the relevant provisions of the Doctoral Council.

Certification

Higher education institutions are entitled to granting degrees if they are recognised by the parliament and are entitled to awarding doctoral degrees (PhD, DLA) after a university status accreditation procedure. The doctoral degree is defined in the Higher Education Act and is awarded by the doctoral councils of universities. The doctoral council of a university decides on granting the degree upon recommendation by the committee of the doctoral schools. It is also the doctoral council that determines the requirements to be met for the different grades of doctoral degrees (rite, cum laude, summa cum laude). Following the decision, the higher education institution concerned hands over the degree (and the certificate certifying it) to the candidate at a ceremony.

Pursuant to the Higher Education Act, PhD degree holders may use the titles “PhD” or “Dr.” before their names and DLA degree holders may use the titles “DLA” or “Dr.”. The doctoral degree is officially recognised by the state.

According to the Act on Higher Education, holders of the Candidate of Sciences degree, who received their degree before 1993, are entitled to use the designation ”doctoral degree”.Besides, where a law stipulates a scientific degree as a precondition of employment or qualification, this can be construed as a doctoral degree.

Organisational variation

In Hungary, there are no unusual or less common organisational variations of doctoral programmes or any programmes in the third cycle that do not lead to a doctoral degree. Special legislation regulates the unified training and output requirements of the political science programme at the National University of Public Service, which authorizes the use of the Doctor title for its graduates.

Mobility in Higher Education

In Erasmus+ higher education institutions which were awarded the Erasmus Charter of Higher Education (ECHE) are eligible to submit applications. This provides a general quality assurance framework for European and international cooperation implemented by higher education institutions in Erasmus+. The Charter is valid for the complete period of the Programme. In Hungary 54 higher education institutions have been awarded the Erasmus Charter of Higher Education, which is 84.4% of the institutions and covers the whole range of state institutions, and of the non-state institutions only smaller church institutions have no Erasmus Charter for Higher Education.

Similar to previous years, in 2018 altogether 49 higher education institutions with the Erasmus Charter of Higher Education implemented Erasmus+ higher education mobility projects.  More than 7,000 people participated in these programmes, including the highest student mobility (64%), teacher mobility (21%) and staff mobility (15%).

The aim of the Central European Exchange Programme for University Studies (CEEPUS) is to enable student and teacher mobility between partner institutions in the field of higher education, to organize special courses and student trips, and to support long-term professional cooperation in the region. The national coordination of the programme is provided by the Tempus Public Foundation.

Student mobility

In the recent years, the number of students who took part in Erasmus + mobility has been slightly above 4,000 (4309 students approved for projects awarded in 2017 and 4,692 students for the 2018 application year). Higher proportion (73% of the mobility in 2018) is mobility for study purposes and a smaller proportion of the travels is for apprenticeship training.In the case of mobility for study purposes, the most popular target countries were Germany, Italy and Spain, but many also traveled to Romania. The programme provides extra funding for socially disadvantaged students – students received this extra funding in more than 20% of the mobility implemented so far. Furthermore, the financial support of disabled or chronically ill students also receives special attention, which is an incentive for their participation in the programme.

Participants of the mobility assessed their mobility in the form of a questionnaire after their travel.  For the last three years, the general satisfaction of the participants with the achieved mobility was over 90% (96% in 2018).

Related to inward mobility it can be stated that higher than the outward mobility of the Hungarian students (more students choose Hungary as a destination country than Hungarian students do other foreign countries). In the application year 2018 altogether 4675 students arrived in Hungary, out of them 4,083 students participated in mobility for study purposes, and 592 students participated in apprenticeship training.

The Erasmus + International Credit Mobility Programme also provides opportunities for mobilities outside Europe. The programme is open for higher education institutions for student mobility, apprenticeship training (from 2018) and staff mobility for education and training purposes. In the application year 2017around 22 institutions, in 2018 25 institutions have recieved support, and about a thousand students and educators attend each year. The proportion of students in these types of mobility is approximately 31%, within which the number of inward mobility (301 persons) is much higher than the number of students participating in outgoing mobility (75 persons).

One of the important goals of the Campus Mundi programme is to promote student mobility, increase students’ competences and employability in the labor market. The programme offers three types of scholarships from European Union and domestic sources to almost any country in the world: part-time training, internships or short study visits. The application process is coordinated by the Tempus Public Foundation. In 2018, there were 2078 successful applicants, which is one thousand more than the previous year. In part-time internships, students may submit applications on a continuous basis, in a short study tour application type, there are two application rounds per year.

One type of scholarship programme is the Campus Mundi, which is available for part-time training under inter-state agreements, and is available to Hungarian students participating in part-time training in a Stipendium Hungaricum Programme partner country related to their studies in Hungary. During part-time training, students must have received at least 10 ECTS credits in the institution, or have completed at least 20 hours per week of courses or research activities. 111 applications have been submitted for the 2018-2019 academic year. Students selected a total of 15 target countries out of a possible 26, of which China and Russia were the most popular. In the 2018-2019 school year, 74 students traveled with this type of Campus Mundi programme for one or two semesters.

The CEEPUS programme is open to student scholarships of 3 to 5 months and 1 to 2 months. The participating domestic higher education institutions hosted 254 students in Hungary during the 2017-2018 academic year, while 183 students had the opportunity to spend a scholarship period in another CEEPUS country, which could include: Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Northern Macedonia, Croatia, Kosovo, Poland, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.

The Visegrád Foundation’s mobility grants are also used to gain international experience. The Fund supports studies at master and post-doctoral level (doctoral or post-doctoral level) in Central and Eastern Europe or the Balkans, for a duration of 1-4 semesters and a period of 1-2 semesters for EUR 2,300 per semester. In 2018, eight Hungarian students applied and four won scholarships in this programme.

The Makovecz Student Scholarship Programme offers Hungarian students from Hungary and neighboring countries the opportunity to gain experience abroad. This includes inter-institutional co-training opportunities are provided at national and transnational higher education institutions for a maximum period of 5 months. The programme involved Hungarian language-based universities in the Carpathian Basin. There are basically two possible forms of student scholarship:

– Full semester (5 months) mobility, whereby the students undertake part-time studies at the host institution as part of their student status (credit counting);

– short-term mobility (1-4 months) to participate in shorter study tours and to support students’ scientific activities.

In the 2017-18 academic year, nine programme owners from foreign institutions and nineteen Hungarian universities and colleges developed cooperation, which involved nearly four hundred students in part-time courses.

Academic staff mobility

The higher education sub-programme of Erasmus+ also promotes the mobility of teachers and non-teaching staff.. The purpose of the tender is to support educational and training activities of 2-60 days duration. Subsidies are available for travel and subsistence costs (eg. accommodation, meals), depending on the distance and the cost of living in the host country. In the academic year of 2017 2,326 teachers and higher education staff members participated in mobility programmes, in 2018, 2651 were awarded. In total, staff numbers have increased slightly over the last three years.

Each year, nearly 600 teachers and 200 other higher education workers are mobilized in partnership with non-European countries through the Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility Programme. The number of outgoing and ingoing trainers and staff was nearly the same in 2018 (393 outgoing, 429 ingoing).

The CEEPUS programme also provides mobility opportunities for teachers in Central and Eastern Europe. As a result, 263 trainers came to Hungary in 2018, while outward mobility affected 238.

Mobility of university professors is also possible with the Makovecz Programme announced by the Hungarian state. The Makovecz Teaching Scholarship Programme supports to delegate qualified (university professor or docent) teachers to teach in foreign higher education institutions in hungarian. In the 2017-18 academic year, the programme included about forty hungarian teachers working in institutions abroad.

European Higher Education Organization is a public organization carrying out academic, educational and information activities on higher education in Europe.

The EHEO general plan stresses that:

  • Higher education systems require adequate funding and, as an investment in economic growth, public spending in higher education should be protected.
  • The challenges faced by higher education require more flexible governance and funding systems, which balance greater autonomy for education institutions with accountability to stakeholders.

Thus, EHEO plans:

  • improve academic and scientific interaction of universities;
  • protect the interests of universities;
  • interact more closely with public authorities of European countries;
  • popularize European higher education in the world;
  • develop academic mobility;
  • seek funding for European universities.