The popularity of Hungary as an international student destination is growing because it’s affordable, it promises a multicultural student environment, and it has some iconic landscapes and buildings. Students from Romania, Slovakia, France, Spain, and Italy are particularly drawn to Hungary.
But you are also very likely to find yourself in the same class with students from Mongolia, Ecuador, or India once you apply to a university in Hungary. So, if you want to experience higher education ‘the Hungarian way’, we’re here to guide you through.
General requirements for applying to a university in Hungary
Depending on the degree level, there are some typical admission requirements that all prospective students have to meet:
For a Bachelor’s degree
- high school diploma
- high school transcript of records
- passing an entrance exam (only for some programmes)
For a Master’s degree
- Bachelor’s diploma (a four-year undergraduate degree is required if you apply for a one-year Master’s)
- university transcript of records
- proof that your Bachelor’s is related to the Master’s studies you apply to
For a PhD degree
- university degree which is equivalent to a Master’s degree — ideally a Master of Arts (M.A.) or a Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree
- proof of prior professional experience (only for some programmes)
For Bachelor’s degrees
- 5.0 – 6.0 for the IELTS Academic test
- 60 – 80 for the TOEFL iBT test
For Master’s degrees
- 5.5 – 6.5 for IELTS Academic
- 70 – 90 for TOEFL iBT
In Hungary, there are also some study programmes taught in German. If you opt for such a degree, you will have to provide a German language certificate.
The university application process step by step
1. Choose your university and programme
Hungary has 66 higher education institutions to choose from, out of which 9 rank in global education tops. Some of the most well-known universities to foreign students — and their typical destinations in Hungary — are:
- Central European University (CEU)
- University of Debrecen
- International Business School
- Budapest Metropolitan University
Naturally, the study programme you choose depends on your skills, your previous studies, and where you want to head your career. But if you are unsure or have different graduate programmes in mind, it might help you to know that the most popular study options in Hungary are:
- Masters in Business Administration
- Masters in Computer Science
- Masters in Environmental Sciences
- Masters in International Relations
2. Check entry requirements and deadlines
Once you have chosen the exact academic programme or programmes for which you want to apply, you should check the specific application documents and submit them before the application deadlines. Here are some typical documents you’ll need:
- An up-to-date CV
- Copy of your passport or ID card
- Proof of language proficiency (English, German or Hungarian depending on the language the programme is taught in)
- Certified English translations of transcripts of records
- Certified English translation of your diplomas
- Listing two academic referees or including two reference letters
- A letter of motivation
Other possible specific application requirements can be:
- An academic paper (especially for Social Sciences and Humanities degrees)
- A competitive GMAT or GRE score (for STEM degrees)
- An entrance exam (mostly for Bachelor’s studies)
- A face-to-face or Skype interview (mostly for Master’s studies)
The application deadlines vary according to university, but the most common are:
- For the autumn semester: 15th of February
- For the spring semester: 15th of November
To make sure, check with your chosen university because these dates can vary a lot especially for English-taught programmes.
3. Apply online and pay the application fee
Generally, you can upload all the required documents online, on the page of your chosen study programme. To make sure you have all you need, you can contact the university to ask them if there is anything else you have to do.
Note that Hungarian universities perceive an application fee between 100 and 150 EUR.
4. Wait to receive confirmation from the university
When you’re accepted you’ll be notified by e-mail or post (hurray!) and you will receive info about the next steps. If you are a fee-paying student, you will be asked to transfer at least part of the tuition fee before your enrolment.
Average tuition fees at Hungarian universities for non-EU/EEA students range between 2,000-5,000 EUR/year. Private universities can have higher tuition costs.
5. Get your student visa for Hungary
If you are not from an EU/EEA country, you will need a visa to study in Hungary, which you can apply for after you have been accepted to your chosen programme. The general visa application documents are:
- University tuition fee receipt
- University acceptance letter
- Your passport should be valid at least 6 months after the entry day
- Proof of health insurance
- Proof of accommodation in Hungary
- Proof you have enough funds to cover living expenses during your studies
- Visa application form
When you get to Hungary, you will need to apply for your residence permit within 15 days. This is necessary even if you are an EU/EEA resident.
Final thoughts: Consider applying for the Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship
This is a government funded scholarship offered by Hungary based on agreements with 50 partner countries (your country might be among them).
These scholarships are offered at all degree levels, including preparatory courses. The application deadline is typically mid-February each year. You can read more about it here.
You can also check out the Studyportals Scholarship to get some help on financing your studies abroad.
We‘re guessing that beyond the practical info about applying to a degree in Hungary, you’re also curious about the actual international student experience. And who better to tell you, if not other international students?
Our advice is to keep your ‘head up and heart open’ to the possibility of studying in Hungary and, once you decide to apply, don’t let anything stop you from pursuing your dreams!