Higher education

Hungarian higher education has represented academic excellence for more than 600 years. The first university in Hungary was founded in 1367 in Pécs, located in the southern region of Hungary. Today there are 67 higher education institutions in Hungary ranging from top research universities to minor colleges. These universities and colleges are financed either by the state, private organizations or a church.

Hungarian institutions of higher education

Hungary joined the Bologna Process in 1999 by signing the Bologna Declaration with 28 other countries with a view to establishing the European Higher Education Area by 2010. The key objectives of the process are:

  • to increase mobility by improving the comparability of higher education structures, qualifications and degrees through developing proper tools for the recognition of periods of studies and degrees,
  • to improve employability through the modernization of curricula and to strengthen links with the labour market,
  • to enhance the quality of training by developing a scheme of quality assurance.

The three-cycle system

In accordance with the objectives of the Bologna process the degree structure of tertiary education is based on three cycles. Nearly all study fields lead first to a Bachelor’s degree (usually 3 years), and after a further study period to a Master’s degree (2 years). However, there are some exceptions: medicine, pharmacy, dental and veterinary studies, architecture, law, teacher training, and certain arts-, crafts- and design-related study programmes, which retain a long single-cycle structure of 5 or 6 years of study.

The first-cycle programmes last 6–8 semesters (3–4 years, 180–240 credit points) and lead to a Bachelor’s degree (in Hungarian: alapfokozat). The second cycle, leading to a Master’s degree (in Hungarian: mesterfokozat), lasts 2–4 semesters (1–2 years, 60–120 credit points).

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 2015 the student population in higher education tripled, from 90,000 to around 300,000.

Most of the students chose economic sciences, followed by engineering, teacher training, IT, medical and health sciences. The trend among international students is rather similar; the most popular field was economics, prior to engineering, medicine and IT.

A four-year doctoral programme (doktori képzés) is a post-graduate course to follow any Master’s or equivalent qualification.

Credit system 

The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) is the only existing credit system in Hungary, initially implemented in the academic year 2003-2004. It ensures transparency of the learning, teaching and assessment processes by facilitating recognition of learning achievements and qualifications in many countries throughout the European Higher Education Area.

Diploma Supplement 

The Diploma Supplement (DS, in Hungarian: oklevélmelléklet) has been issued by higher education institutions since July 2003. Since 2006, all higher education institutions have provided the document automatically and free of charge both in Hungarian and English and/or in the language of an ethnic minority. The DS contains all information about the qualification and the degree programme and provides a short description of the subjects taught.


According to the Higher Education Act, admission for Bachelor’s degree programmes and some long-term Master’s degree programmes is selective. The minimum requirement for admission to these degree programmes is a secondary school leaving certificate or its non-Hungarian equivalent. There are a few programmes where practical examinations or tests are also required. Higher education studies are financed either by the state or by the students themselves. International students wishing to attend a full degree course in Hungary should contact the National Higher Education Admissions Office for more information.

Hungarian Institutions of Higher Education

Internationalisation is becoming an essential part of the development strategies of most Hungarian higher education institutions. As a result, they are becoming more and more active in international cooperation, offering a number of double and joint degree programmes, R&D projects, and academic partnerships within Europe and throughout the world. Currently, more than 30 Hungarian higher education institutions offer academic programmes in foreign languages, making a combined total of 315 courses.

More information: http://www.studyinhungary.hu/study-in-hungary/menu/universities.html

Hungarian Universities on THE ranking

The new ranking of the British Times Higher Education newspaper was published on 4 December 2014. It includes only institutions in countries classified as „emerging economies” by FTSE, including the “BRICS” nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

On the 55th place is Semmelweis University with 29.1 points, while on the 67th place is the University of Debrecen reached 26.7 points out of 100.

The methodology of the ranking is the following: five main missions of the universities are evaluated The three most important are the teaching conditions, research and the quotations of the publications. Innovation and international outlook of teaches and students are also examined.

An average student’s annual timetable: 

Autumn semester 

  • First half of September: registration and signing up for courses 
  • Second half of September to middle of December: term time 
  • Middle of December to beginning of February: exam period

Spring semester

  • First half of February: registration and signing up for courses 
  • Second half of February to the first half of May: term time
  • Middle of May to the beginning of July: exam period


  • Autumn break: end of October 
  • Winter break: end of December 
  • Spring break: Easter week

Useful Links

For more information about Hungarian higher education please visit the following websites:

Latest news

June 22, 2017 09:20
Call for scholarship applications
The scholarship is intended for individuals studying in the Stipendium Hungaricum Hungarian
Language University Preparatory Programme and wish to improve their command of Hungarian
language and broaden their knowledge of the culture of Hungary.
June 19, 2017 15:20
In Astana 11 Hungarian higher education institution will participate in order to give more information about the Hungarian higher education system and training possibilities. The goal of the event is expansion of international cooperation, promotion of foreign education, exchange of experience in the implementation of international education projects.
June 19, 2017 14:50

Tempus Public Foundation together with the representatives of Hungarian higher education institutions attended the NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo that took place in Los Angeles between 28th May and 2nd June 2017. NAFSA, the world’s largest association dedicated to international education and exchange, brought together a vibrant community of nearly 10,000 learners, leaders and changemakers at the Annual Conference & Expo.