Tuition Free Universities in Hungary for International Students; Find Out Cost of Living and How to Apply

Most of the Hungarian universities are public institutions and tuition free, that’s why students traditionally study without fee payment. The Hungarian public higher education system includes universities and other higher education institutes, that provide both education curricula and related degrees up to doctoral degree and also contribute to research activities.

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Health insurance for students is free until the end of their studies. English and German language is important in Hungarian higher education, there are a number of degree programs that are taught in these languages, which attracts thousands of exchange students every year. Hungary’s higher education and training has been ranked 44 out of 148 countries in the Global competitiveness Report 2014.

Today, there are 67 higher education institutions in Hungary, ranging from small colleges to top research universities. These universities and colleges are maintained either by the state, private organizations or a church. 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. The second cycle, leading to a master’s degree, lasts 2–4 semesters (1–2 years, 60–120 credit points). Two-year-long vocational higher education programmes are also available on an optional basis prior to first-cycle programmes and lead to advanced vocational qualifications. The 120 credit points gained in vocational higher education programmes are compatible for recognition in the first (Bachelor) cycle. Any Bachelor’s or master’s degree can be followed by specialised higher education courses.

These do not lead to another degree but offer the option of specialisation in a particular field of study. Courses can be studied full-time, part-time or through distance learning. A four-year doctoral programme is a post-graduate course to follow any Master’s or equivalent qualification.

Higher Education in Hungary

Higher education in Hungary dates back to 1367 when Louis the Great founded the first Hungarian university in the city of Pécs.

Higher education is divided between colleges and universities. College education generally lasts for 4 years, while university education lasts for 4 to 6 years depending on the course undertaken. Vocational curriculum usually last 2 years: they are opened to secondary vocational school’s graduates, and eventually vocational school students (after 5 years of work in the desired field or after a two-year program leading to a “secondary school leaving certificate”). University PhD courses usually take 3 years to complete.

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Before students get their degree, they must pass an intermediate level language exam in the foreign language of their choice. English and German are the most popular. The number of Spanish-learners has been growing in the last few years. Recently a high number of students chose Esperanto and Romani languages. Both are said to have a relatively small vocabulary and easy grammar.

Cost of living in Hungary

Costs of living in Hungary is very cheap and affordable. It’s estimated at 450 to 500 Euro per month which will cover the cost of food, books, accommodation, and internet subscription. But it depends on your lifestyle.

How to Apply and Admission Requirements in Hungary

If you can proof your proficiency in English Language, You do not need to take any special admission tests before getting admitted into the Hungarian universities. 

Students applying to study at the undergraduate level are expected to have completed a secondary education or high school and have a valid high school certificate qualifying them for a higher education studies in Hungary.

International Students in Hungary

Hungary attracts foreign students from both EU and non-EU countries. Three quarters of the students arriving in Hungary arrive from just ten countries, while one quarter of the students arrives from another 100 countries. Among the countries sending most students are Germany, Iran, Norway, Israel and Sweden, while the majority of guest students are citizens of the neighbouring countries. In the 2008/2009 academic year, the total number of foreign students studying in Hungary was 16 916, while this number was only 14 491 in 2005/2006. The figures are increasing owing to the following advantages;

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  • Hungary offers affordable tuition fees and living costs within the European Union and Schengen area;
  • A number of Nobel Prize Winners and scientific inventors were educated there;
  • There are easier admission procedures and fewer documents are needed for obtaining admission;
  • Hungary offers different types of scholarships for foreigners;
  • The cost of student accommodation in Hungary is lower than in most Western European Countries and Scandinavia.
  • Many education programmes are offered in English and/or German;
  • Hungarian embassies issue education visas more easily than other European Union and Schengen Member States;
  • Residence permits issued in Hungary for foreign students allow them to travel to other Schengen countries without any further visa;
  • A number of low cost flights connect Hungarian cities to other countries and popular travel destinations;
  • There are employment opportunities in the European Union during education years and after graduation, etc.

Preparatory Courses

Students interested in continuing their studies in Hungary will find preparatory courses in numerous universities from Debrecen to Budapest, from Budapest to Szeged, from Szeged to Pécs.

List of Public Universities in Hungary that are Tuition Free for Both International and National Students

  • Attila Jozsef University
  • Avicenna International College
  • Budapest University of Economic Sciences
  • Central European University
  • Debrecen University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Hungarian Academy of Craft and Design Kossuth
  • Lajos University
  • Mathematical Institute of Hungarian
  • Academy of Sciences University
  • Medical School of Debrecen
  • University of Pecs
  • University of West Hungary
  • Albert Szent-Gyorgyi Medical University
  • Attila Jozsef University
  • Bessenyei Gyorgy Teachers Training College
  • Eotvos Lorand University of Sciences
  • Gvdvllu University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Janus Pannonius University of Sciences
  • Juhasz Gyula Teacher Training College
  • Lajos Kossuth University of Arts and Sciences
  • Semmelweis University of Medical Sciences
  • Szeged University
  • Technical University of Budapest
  • Hungary University of Miskolc

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