Higher education

Hungarian Higher Education has been representing academic excellence for more than 600 years. The first university was founded in 1367 in Pécs, which is located in the Southern region of Hungary. Today, there are 65 higher education institutions (29 public and 37 private) in Hungary, ranging from minor universities of applied sciences to top research universities. Internationalisation is becoming an essential part of their development strategies: they offer 550 courses in English, German, French and other languages. 

The Hungarian Government approved the Higher Education Strategy in December 2016 as part of its Change of Pace in Higher Education initiative and amended legislation accordingly to create a competitive and high quality higher education system. There are three key aspects of this strategy:

I. the knowledge passed onto the students should be relevant on the labor market;

II. research should be beneficial for society and the national economy;

III. institutions should act as regional catalysts. 

In order to develop a competitive, effective and high quality higher education system, and to offer quality services in the field of education, research, as well as third mission for both the society and the economy, the government recently introduced the following reforms:

  • New practice oriented bachelor programmes: in the dual training system, students do 22-24 weeks of practical training at a company over the whole study programme. This is a fixed-term employment contract, during which students receive a salary. Their net salary is equal to the minimum wage for the whole duration of their
    studies. In 2015, 19 higher education institutions launched 79 BSc programmes in dual form.
  • Community-based higher education study centres in disadvantaged regions: These centres are to be established in disadvantaged regions that offer no higher education. They provide the necessary infrastructure to accommodate programmes of established higher educational institutions.
  • Chancellery system: previously, rectors had final responsibility for all decisions made by universities. Since 2014, there is a chancellor appointed by the Prime Minister in each public higher education institution. Chancellors are executive heads with final responsibility for financial and economic decisions, while rectors retain final responsibility for teaching and research decisions.
  • Institutional governance: a five-member body (three members delegated by the minister responsible for higher education plus the rector and chancellor of the institution) sets long-term strategic goals for the institution, including adopting the medium-term institutional development plan and the annual budget programme.

Hungarian tertiary education has a three cycle degree structure (BA/BSc, MA/MSc, PhD/DLA), according to the objectives of the Bologna Process. Hungary was among the 29 states signing the Bologna Declaration in 1999, proposing a European Higher Education Area (EHEA), in which students and graduates could use prior qualifications in one country as acceptable entry requirements for further study in another.

Hungarian institutions achieved a high position in many university rankings, and Hungarian degrees are of internationally recognised quality. The membership of the Hungarian Accreditation Committee in charge of providing quality assurance and evaluating education and research programmes at higher education institutions was renewed by the European Association of Quality Assurance and in the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education in 2015. Hungary followed the recommendation of the European Parliament to establish its National Qualifications Framework in 2008.

Internationalisation is also becoming an essential part of the development strategies of Hungarian higher education institutions. The activities contribute to the increase of international mobility, with a focus on improving services, building capacities and academic networks. Hungarian higher education institutions become 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.

The aim of the government is to raise the number of incoming international students from 25,000 to 40,000 by 2021.

The foreign language programmes are of high standard and tuition fees are very favorable when compared to its competition. The range of study fields students can choose from is wide:

• Agricultural Science
• Computer Science and Information Technology
• Legal Science
• Economic Science
• Medical and Health Science
• Arts, Arts and Humanities, Arts Education
• Engineering Science
• Social Science
• Teacher Training
• Sport Science
• Natural Science

Combined with reasonably low living costs, these provide optimal conditions for students wishing to come to Hungary. Choosing Hungary is a great decision – the land where traditionally high requirements meet new ideas!

Source: Ministry of Human Capacities

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.

Entry and admission requirements

In order to be admitted to a Hungarian higher education institution, prospective students must demonstrate that they meet certain requirements.

Bachelor’s degree
Generally prospective students need to possess a high school diploma (or secondary school leaving certificate), which has to be translated into Hungarian or English with the corresponding transcript of courses and grades. Some courses may also require an entrance exam.

Master’s degree
In the case of Master’s degrees, applicants have to submit the photocopy of their Bachelor’s diploma.

PhD degree
If someone wishes to obtain a PhD degree in Hungary, the minimum requirement is to hold a university degree which is equivalent to a master’s degree. The prerequisite for entering doctoral courses is an MA/MSc degree.

In order to be admitted to an English-speaking program in Hungary, part of the entrance exam is to test and evaluate students’ English skills. Otherwise, students may be asked to provide proof of their English skills. Generally, an intermediate language certificate (B2 level) is sufficient. In case of native speakers it is typically required that they submit a copy of their passport as proof.
The entry requirements can differ at certain higher education institutions. Always check the entry requirements before applying.

Application process (for fee-paying students)

Although the application procedure for enrolment may vary at different higher education institutions, in general the process should be the following.

1. Find your university and programme. 
Visit the website of the chosen higher education institution. Read the description of the selected programme(s).

2. Check entry requirements and deadlines
Before you make a decision, always read the entry requirements for the degree programme to which you are applying. Collect all the required documents. Keep to the deadline.

3. Apply online
Fill in the online application form of the programme. Then upload or submit the required documents. Contact the university or the college and ask them if there is anything else you need to do.

4. Wait to receive confirmation from the university
If you are accepted, the contact person will inform you about further steps. Fee-paying students are usually required to transfer (part of ) the tuition fee prior to the enrolment in the academic period.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees vary depending on institution, programme and level of study. It may also differ based on the citizenship of the prospective students (EU citizen or non-EU citizen). Bachelor programmes are generally less expensive.

Generally, Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy are the most expensive options with fees up to 8,500 EUR/semester.

Engineering programmes (such as Mechanical, Electrical and Transportation) are also amongst the most expensive programmes offered in Hungary. Depending on the level of study tuition fees are between 2,250- 4,500 EUR/semester.

In case of Computer Science and Computer Science Engineering the prices are similar, up to 3,300 EUR/semester.

Business Administration programmes usually have lower tuition fees in Hungary with an average of 2,500 EUR/semester.

Regarding International Relations programmes the prices are lower, typically between 1,500 EUR and 2,000 EUR/semester.

In addition to tuition fees students are usually required to pay an application fee, exam fee and registration fee, which are typically between 100 and 150 Euro. In case of most institutions, the tuition fees must be paid prior to

These costs are based on information available at the higher education institutions websites. It is highly recommended that you check the websites of the universities for more precise information. A list of the universities can be found here.

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: