Hungary is becoming an increasingly popular study abroad destination – mainly in the medicine studies. Hungarian higher education has much to commend itself, among other things, its very strong tradition in the sciences. Beyond high quality education, Hungary also provides a lively and welcoming culture, a fascinating history and beautiful cities.
For the past twenty years, thousands of international students have attended Hungarian higher education. Hungary is especially popular for studies in the sciences – in particular in such fields as medicine and dentistry in semmelweis university located in Budapest, Debecen and Szeged, as well as in veterinary in the szent istvan university to name a few. These are all programs with very competitive admission in lot of countries and where Hungary offers a great alternative.
The education offered is good quality with medical degrees considered by the WHO and directly transferrable to any EU country. Many universities in Hungary also progressively propose these degrees and more in English or other foreign languages such as German to appeal more international students. Some of the best home countries of foreign students in Hungary are Germany, Israel, Norway, Iran, Turkey, China and Canada.
Higher Education in Hungary
The Hungarian system of higher education is roughly split into the system of colleges and universities. Many colleges are directly affiliated with a university and operate as college faculties of the university. Universities generally award both college and university level courses. In the old system, college level training lasts three to four years, where as a university degree takes at least four years to complete and at most 5 years with the exception of the six year long medical program. Further, university studies were split in three stages roughly corresponding to the bachelor, master and PhD courses but with longer study periods.
Starting in 2005 and 2006, Hungarian institutions of higher education have started the transformation toward the regulations of the Bologna system. In the new system, both colleges and universities may launch bachelor, master and PhD programs provided that the necessary requirements are fulfilled. This also means that all awarded degrees are equivalent and transferrable throughout the EU and many other countries.
As in many other countries, some qualifications will not be available at bachelor level, but instead start with the award of a master degree. Examples of such qualifications are: medical studies, veterinary science, pharmaceutical studies and architecture to name a few.
The Hungarian Academic Year
The Hungarian academic year runs with teaching from September to June with long holidays in July and August.
Degree Structure in Hungarian HE
Degrees in Hungarian higher education reformed to conform to the international standard of the Bologna process. This means that apart from certain vocational degrees awarded by non-university and college institutions, degrees awarded will conform to the standard of bachelor, master and PhD degrees. This means that not only will degrees be more widely comparable on the international market, but it will also be more widely possible to pursue a master degree in a different field than your bachelor for example.
In certain more vocationally directed courses such as medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine to name a few, the first degree awarded is a master degree after five to six years of study depending on the field.
Hungary’s EU membership also means that its degrees awarded in medicine, veterinary studies and architecture are directly tranferrable and accepted for professional purposes to other EU countries.
Students from which nationalities will meet in the Hungarian universities?
The majority of foreign students in Budapest, Hungary arrive from the neighboring countries such as Romania, Slovakia and the Ukraine. Non neighboring countries which large numbers of international students in Hungary (mainly students of the medicine science at SOTE Budapest, and their various faculties) come from: Germany,Norway, Israel and Iran, which are represented in higher numbers at the full time programs in Hungary each year. In addition to the above mentioned full time programs, as Hungary is becoming a more and more popular study abroad destination, there are thousands of foreign students attending the various Erasmus programs In Hungary, which nationalities include Spanish, Italian, French, Turkish, Greek, Cypriot, Polish and starting 2010 an increase in students arriving from the UK.
Which studies are available in Hungary?
As of recent year, A vast majority of foreign students in Hungary attend in the full time programs in Hungary, as medicine studies in SOTE Hungary prove to be the most popular studies, as it also contains large numbers of international students taking part in the dentistry, pharmaceutics and veterinary programs. The second most attractive Bachelor programs focuses on the various engineering diplomas.
The most attended higher education and most attractive establishments are the major universities in the bigger cities, as most foreign student s in Hungary, attend the highly respectable universities of Semmelweis University of Medicine and Corvinus University. Apart from the capital city of Budapest, a large number of international students in Hungary is found in the main cities of Debrecen, Pécs and Szeged.
Colleges in Hungary
The following list details the leading universities in Budapest, and the ones most attended by foreign students in Hungary, Weather attending full time programs (medicine, veterinary, architecture, business, etc.) or attending one or two semesters in Hungary under the Erasmus in Hungary programs (BME, internships, etc.).
- McDaniel college
McDaniel College was established in 1994 and it is a branch of McDaniel College, a private liberal arts college located in Westminster, Maryland, U.S.A.. The Budapest campus is accredited by the Commission of Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and is registered in Hungary as a foreign institution of higher education.
McDaniel College Budapest provides a full four-year program for international students from over 20 countries, The courses at McDaniel College Budapest are taught by a highly qualified faculty of American, British, and Hungarian professors who are experienced in teachings both in the United States and in Europe. Upon completion of the entire four-year program graduates receive a Bachelor of Arts degree, a degree preparing students for positions as professionals in business, banking, government service, or the media.
In addition, McDaniel College offers a Pre-Medical program to prepare the new arriving medical students for their more advanced studies. Although the Pre Medical program at McDaniel College are taught to many foreign students in Hungary, the teaching method is done by dividing the students to small groups from different cultures in order to share part of the unique atmosphere of students in Budapest.
Corvinus University was established in 1948 and considered as one of the best institution of its kind in Hungary. It is an internationally recognized institution in the areas of both education and research with over 17,000 students. Operating seven faculties, the University offers Bachelor, Master and Doctoral programs in the fields of economics, business, public administration, horticultural science, food science, landscape architecture and social sciences.
The Business Administration Faculty is the centre for studies and research in the fields of economics, financial management, management and organization, business, management sciences and management practice.
The high quality of education offered in the Business Faculty is granted by the fact that each topic is taught by renowned lecturers considered specialists in the specific science or discipline, equipped with both the academic and practical knowledge.
The university offers well established facilities and advanced infrastructure. In addition, a new university building provides the University’s Central Library with a central location and ensures the necessary classrooms for expanding educational activities.
The Faculty of Business Administration at Corvinus University is the biggest of the University’s faculties with about 5000 students and 230 professors. it offers various courses to choose from in English and German, involving most of the departments and covering all the specializations of the Faculty.
The Budapest University of Technology and Economics is a renown Hungarian university, known for its differentiated, multilevel, high-standard teachings, founded on scientific qualification in technical and natural sciences and in certain fields of economic and social sciences as well.
BME dates back to 1782, filling the role of the first institute in Europe to train engineers at a university level. The University has a prestigious past and its alumni includes several Nobel Prize winners. The University has approx. 24,000 students located in 8 faculties and an academic staff of about 1300.
The Budapest University of Technology and Economics provides a unity of theory and practice, a high standard theoretical foundations and practical training based on industrial relationships. BME declared aim is to develop the contents of training permanently both in the field of multilevel and multilingual education.
An ever increasing number of exchange students attend at The Budapest University of Technology and Economics as regular full time programs in English are offered in B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. levels.
Central European University (CEU) is a graduated level, English spoken based university located in Budapest, Hungary. It offers Master’s and doctoral programs in the social sciences, humanities, public policy, law, business management, economics, environmental sciences & policy, and mathematics. The university is accredited in both the United States and Hungary.
Central European University was established in 1991 as a result of the democratic revolutions sweeping across Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The university’s founding vision was of a university dedicated to building open societies.
Today, the university includes 13 departments, a business school, and an additional 15 research centers. The university is attended by approx. 1,600 students and more than 300 professors from 100 countries across the globe.
The majority of CEU students receive merit-based financial aid, including full or partial tuition, housing, health insurance and living expenses assistance.
Many of CEU’s 8,500 graduates can be found holding successful careers in government and diplomatic services, public social interest and advocacy groups, nongovernmental and international organizations, business leading groups, academia and advanced research.
Founded in 1769, the Semmelweis University is the oldest medical institution in Hungary. The faculty became an independent, world renowned medical school after the Second World War and developed into a university teaching medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, health sciences, health management as well as physical education and sport sciences.
The university accommodates over 11,000 students from more than 60 nations coming from five continents. Its faculties offer courses from levels of undergraduate to doctorate in Hungarian, English and German. Foreign students account for almost 20% of the total students community.
Semmelweis University is the largest health care establishment in Hungary with over 9,000 employees covering much of the health care needs of the country’s population. The university has several clinics along Üllői Avenue near Klinikák (Clinics) and Nagyvárad tér which are all easily accessible by the blue underground metro.
- Szent Istvan
The Szent István University was established in 2000 with the merger of several former classical independent universities and colleges. The university provides education and training in several fields of life sciences, such as agricultural and environmental sciences, veterinary medicine, environmental sciences, mechanical engineering, economy and social sciences, architecture, water supply management, medical sciences as well as applied arts.
Although some of the schools within the university have up to two centuries of teaching experience, The university offers a unique mix of classical traditional studies and high end modern teaching, research and educational activities.
the Szent István university accommodates over 23,000 students in 10 different campuses, supported by a academic staff of 3000 and spread in the following faculties:
· Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences
· Faculty of Applied and Professional Arts
· Faculty of Economics
· Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences
· Faculty of Education
· Faculty of Mechanical Engineering
· Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
· Faculty of Water and Environmental Management
· Institute of Health Care and Environmental Sanitation Studies
· Ybl Miklós Faculty of Architecture and Civil Engineering
The wide variety of Departments is dynamically monitored by the academic staff in order to keep ahead of the rapid developments in technology methods and information processing of the modern age, and its alumni built from graduates with knowledge effectively used all over the world.
Szent István University is dedicated to ensure highest quality teaching methods and accommodation for its students, it had improved to the universities facilities, lecture halls and seminar rooms as part of its ongoing development.
- Franz Liszt Academy
The Franz Liszt Academy of Music, often abbreviated as the “music academy” was founded by Franz Liszt itself (though named after its founder only in 1925, approx. 50 years after it was relocated to its current location at the heart of Budapest). Franz Liszt, a musical genius: a piano virtuoso, composer, conductor, music teacher, author and philanthropist – has established the original music academy at his own home on 1875. Today, the university is considered the most prestigious music university operating in Hungary with about 900 students.
Between 1877-1879 the Academy moved into its present building, a masterpiece of art Neo-Renaissance architecture, Those who enter the Liszt Academy know that attendance implies a serious commitment to a perfectionist approach to music. Studying in the music academy embeds hard and disciplined work under the guidance of professors who are renowned performing artists, visiting professors at other leading universities, jury members of international competitions, and for whom teaching is a high passion.
After receiving an exceptionally rigid and demanding training, graduating students of the Academy will be awarded as masters of their profession, well equipped to start their musical career in the field of their interest.
For admission to a Hungarian university or college course you will need a high school diploma translated into Hungarian or English with the corresponding transcript of courses and grades. Some courses also require an entrance exam, which to the large international courses are offered all over the world. For an English speaking program, part of the entrance examination is often to test your English skills. Otherwise you may be asked to provide proof of these as well. For programs in other languages – German is quite common – there will be certain requirements for your German skills.
All foreign students wishing to remain in Hungary for a period of more than 90 days and who are not citizens of a European Union Member State, are required to apply for a long term Student Visa in order to study in Hungary. This varies, so enquire in advance about the entry regulations which apply for your country! You can only apply for your visa from the Hungarian Consulate or Embassy that has jurisdiction in your state or country of permanent residence, prior to your departure. Processing of visas will take around one month. In order to receive a student visa, you must first have an offer from a Hungarian university.
Documents are necessary for your visa application:
- Proof of having paid the tuition fee
- An acceptance letter from the university regarding your admission
- Passport valid at least 6 months beyond your date of entry
- Copy of the photgraph page of your passport
- Passport photo no older than 6 months
Proof of health insurance
- Proof of address or housing in Hungary
- Proof of sufficient funds to cover living expenses in the form of bank assurance/statement
- Visa application form
- 3 stamped envolopes addressed to the applicant
Once you arrive in Hungary, you will need to apply for your residence permit within 15 days of arrival. This
applies to both EU and non-EU citizens planning to stay in Hungary for longer than 90 days.
Tuition and Financing
Compared with the rest of Western Europe, Hungary presents a very affordable place to study with regards to both tuition and living costs. Tuition fees vary depending on school and program. Often medicine and dentistry will be among the more expensive options with fees of up to 20,000 Euro and in some cases as low as 4,500 Euro for other programs.
In addition to tuition fees you will also be required to pay an application fee, exam fee and registration fee, all between 100 and 150 Euro.
Living costs in Hungary are comparatively low. They are naturally slightly higher in the bigger cities such as Budapest with rents starting at round 300 Euro per month. You should be able to get by with approximately 750 Euro per month allowing enough for not just rent but also public transport, health insurance, study materials etc and even allowing for a few nights out.
The vivid Nightlife in Budapest are famous worldwide. From the Szimpla kert with its unique atmosphere, throughout the friendly morrisson’s dance bar to the huge high-end clubs like the white angel and Studio club, Budapest’s night life and student parties in Hungary are a constant rush! Just make sure you dont miss out on the special international students events, as these are famous for being the best parties in the city!
Accommodation in Hungary
While studying in Hungary you have several options when it comes to finding apartments in hungary’s central locations. Some of the students in Hungary prefer to live at the dormitories, which are usually the cheapest alternative. These are generally pretty great party venues as in most other places, but not always available for foreign students. You may find the standard here slightly below what you are used to, depending on where you are from.
Another alternative for finding an apartment in hungary is to either let an apartment alone, share a flat with friends, or opting for a sub-tenancy, meaning you rent a single room in somebody else’s apartment.
If you are renting an apartment, you should also keep in mind that you may need up to two month’s worth of rent ready in cash when signing the contract. This acts as a deposit and should be returned to you when you move out provided that the apartment is still in good order.
A recommended site for finding accommodation and apartments rentals in Hungary is: RoomMatesBudapest.com which offers all accommodation solutions for many of the expatriates in Budapest and the foreign students attending the many universities in Hungary. You can find apartments to let, meet new roommates online and chat with them, as well buy & sell 2nd hand on the BudaMarket classifieds board.