Higher Education in Hungary: Education System, Universities, Degrees, Scholarships

Do you know when the first university was founded in Hungary? Higher education in Hungary has been representing academic excellence for more than 650 years.

The First University of Hungary

It was 1367 when the first university was established in Hungary. Pécs, the Southern region of Hungary, the place where the first university was founded.

The University of Pécs, the first university of Hungary, was established in Pécs by King Louis I of Hungary in 1367. The university existed for a few decades but when the Ottoman Empire took Hungary, they stopped the university in their time. The university was reopened in 1912.

How Many Universities Are There in Hungary?

Today, there are 65 higher education institutions or universities in Hungary, ranging from minor universities of applied sciences to top research universities. 28 universities of total universities are government funded. 11 privately-funded and 26 church-funded higher education institutions are the rest of the universities.

Study Fields in Hungary

The Hungarian internationalisation of education processes all students to find what fits their interests the best: institutions offer more than 500 courses in English, German, French and other languages.

It is found that the foreign language programmes are of high standard. And you will find tuition fees and costs of these programmes are very low if you compare to its competitor programmes in the country.

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

Double Degrees at Many Universities in Hungary

The largest institutions offer courses in all study fields while smaller institutions have programmes in a few specific areas. It is a great thing that students can earn double degrees at many universities through joint degree programmes in which the Hungarian university works together with another European higher education institution. In case of applying for these programmes students have to enroll in both universities and obtain a double degree from both institutions.

Education in Hungary

Types of Higher Education Institutions and Programmes in Hungary

Types of Institutions

There are two types of higher education institutions: university and college. University is called in their native language is egyetem; and college is called főiskola.

Types of Programmes

Both types of institutions may offer three types of programmes: Bachelor programme, Master programme and Doctoral programme.

One-tier Programmes: Integrated Bachelor’s and Master’s

You may have been surprised that the degree structure in Hungarian institutes is divided in most courses but there are some integrated programmes where the Bachelor level and the Master level are unified. Some of the integrated Bachelor and Master programmes are Veterinary Medicine, Architecture, Dentistry, Pharmaceutics, Law, and Medicine. The integrated courses are often called one-tier programmes. These one-tier programmes consist of 10-12 semesters (5-6 years) and by the end of the last year a student must have 300 to 360 credits completed.

Doctoral Programmes

Doctoroals are 4-year programmes. For completing a Doctoral programme in Hungary, a student must complete 240 credits within 4 years of study. At the end of the fourth semester, a final examination must be taken (every semester takes 6 months). After a successful examination, the last 2 years of the doctoral programme are about conducting the research and writing your dissertation, which can be extended with one more year.

Credit System

According to ‘Study in Hungary’ website- the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) in Hungary ensures the transparency of the learning, teaching and assessment processes by facilitating recognition of students’ learning achievements and qualifications in many countries throughout the European Higher Education Area. The ECTS ensures that the grades students have achieved can be accepted by other European institutions in other countries.

At the end of each semester, students’ achievements are assessed with a grade in the Hungarian five-grade scale (Here, 5 means excellent, 4 means good, 3 means medium or satisfactory, 2 means sufficient or pass, 1 means fail). For incoming international students, a Transcript of Records must be issued that contains a table of completed courses, credits, the Hungarian grade and the ECTS grade.

The number of credits a student has to achieve might differ from one institution and course to another in an academic year or semester, so you may need to approach your local international coordinator to obtain the relevant information about this.

The Hungarian academic credit system is an ECTS-compatible system. The calculation of the credits is based on the number of working hours of the students.

You must know that 1 credit means 30 student working hours, on average.

An important thing is the ECTS conversion table ensures transfer procedures between the Hungarian academic credit system and the ECTS. The recognition of courses completed abroad is based on the credit transfer regulation.

Scholarships in Hungary


The Erasmus stands for “EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students”. The Erasmus is a European Union student exchange programme that was established in 1987.

Students from the European Union countries are entitled to apply for Erasmus+ that provides opportunities for education, training, youth and sport.

Erasmus+ offers internships opportunities so that students can also combine their study period in Hungary with a traineeship to gain work experience.

Erasmus logo

Students with the Erasmus programme can enroll in all of the Bachelor’s  Master’s  and Doctoral programmes. Students with physical, mental or health-related conditions may apply for additional funding after they have been selected to study. Students have chances to gain some volunteer experiences in Hungary through this programme for periods of 2 to 12 months or 2 to 8 weeks.

Programme countries:

  • All of the countries of the European Union
  • Iceland, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Norway, Turkey

Erasmus+ Internship

Study in Hungary website publishes that a student can combine their studies with professional practice by taking an Erasmus internship in Hungary. Students’ internships will be supported with a monthly stipend ranging from €500–€600 depending on the chosen country’s living standards; also it is possible to apply for an extra stipend of € 100 in specific cases.

Programme countries:

  • Countries of the European Union
  • North Macedonia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia and Turkey

Stipendium Hungaricum programme

In 2013, the Hungarian Government launched the ‘Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship Programme’ with the mission to increase the number of foreign students in Hungary and to encourage our education institutions to attract foreign students.

Study fields supported by the Stipendium Hungaricum Programmes

  • Agriculture, Natural Resources
  • Arts (visual and performing)
  • Business, Management and Public Administration
  • Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Humanities, Education, Behavioural Sciences
  • IT, Computer Sciences, Mathematics
  • Law, Social Sciences
  • Natural Sciences
  • Technology, Engineering, Architecture
  • Tourism, Recreation

Full time studies:

  • BA/BSc (undergraduate, 3-3.5 years)
  • MA/MSc (graduate, 1-2 years)
  • PhD studies (doctoral, 2+2 years)
  • One-tier programme (5 years)

Part-time studies:

Non degree programmes (professional and language preparatory courses, specialisation courses)

How does the SH programme contribute to your professional development?

  • No tuition fee
  • Monthly stipend: for Bachelor or Master: cca. EUR 130,  for Doctoral programmes: cca. EUR 325
  • Free dormitory places or contribution to private accommodation: EUR 100
  • Medical insurance

The expanding network of sending partners:

Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, China, China – Hudec scholarships in Shanghai, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Kosovo, Kurdistan Regional Government / Iraq, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nigeria, Pacific Alliance (member states: Chile, Colombia, Mexico & Peru), Pakistan, Palestine, Paraguay, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, The Philippines, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen


If you are from Central Europe or the South-Eastern part of Europe, you are eligible to apply for the CEEPUS  Programme (Central European Exchange Programme for University Studies) that aims to promote teacher and student mobility in Central and South-East Europe. Students can spend a study period abroad and teachers can undertake a teaching period at a partner university. These opportunities are designed to strengthen professional and personal relationships among Central European scholars. In Hungary the programme is managed by the Tempus Public Foundation.

Period of mobility:

  • 1 semester (3-5 months)
  • 1-2 months
  • 3-6 days (short term excursion)

CEEPUS Member countries:

Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia and Kosovo


The funding of the programme is provided by the CEEPUS partner countries. Students receive their CEEPUS grant from the host country; therefore, the amount is tailored to local living standards.

Bilateral State Scholarships

Hungary has bilateral agreements with around 68 countries. Bilateral state scholarships are based on scientific and educational cooperation agreements signed by the governments of two countries. If your sending country has such an agreement with Hungary you may pursue a scholarship activity in Hungary as a nominee of your sending home country. It is also possible to apply individually, independently from your country, without being nominated.

Scholarship Programme for Christian Young People

The core mission of the Scholarship Programme for Christian Young People is to provide the possibility of studying in Hungary to young Christian students who live in the crisis regions of the world and/or are threatened in their country because of their faith. After completing their studies, the scholarship holders will return to help their home community with their gained knowledge, and they will participate in the reconstruction of war-damaged countries and contribute to the improvement of the social situation and the preservation of the culture of Christian communities.

Scholarships are available for bachelor, master, one-tier master and doctoral programmes.

(Most of the information in this article is taken from http://studyinhungary.hu/. For more, you can visit this website.) 

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