1. Types of Institutions and Institutional Control
The establishment and operation of higher education institutions are regulated by Act No. 204 of 2011 (National Higher Education Act). Operating within the legal framework of the National Higher Education Act, Hungarian higher education institutions are recognized state (public) or non-state (church or private) institutions. The list of recognized institutions is indicated in Annex 1 of the National Higher Education Act. Higher education studies are offered at two types of higher education institutions, egyetem (university) and főiskola (college of education). Universities and colleges of education may offer courses in all three training cycles. The programmes are identical at both types of institutions.
2. Types of Programmes and Degrees Awarded
The consecutive training cycles of higher education leading to a higher education degree are alapképzés (Bachelor course), mesterképzés (Master course) and doktori képzés (Doctoral course). In cases set by law, Master degrees can also be awarded after the completion of integrated, one-tier training.
In addition to the aforementioned, higher education institutions may conduct non-degree vocational higher education programmes and postgraduate specialist training and may offer adult education within the framework of lifelong learning as well.
Higher education institutions apply a credit system based on the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System. Accordingly, one credit stands for an average of 30 hours of student workload.
3. Approval/Accreditation of Programmes and Degrees
In the case of each vocational higher education programme, Bachelor and Master course, the law determines the programme and outcome requirements, i.e. the level of the training, the professional qualification that can be obtained and all the competencies whose acquisition is the precondition for the diploma to be awarded in respect to the given programme.
Upon request by the higher education institution, the Educational Authority – after having obtained the expert opinion of the Hungarian Accreditation Committee – is the competent authority in the procedure of launching a vocational higher education programme, a Bachelor or Master course or a Doctoral course. Also, the operating licenses of higher education institutions are supervised by the Educational Authority every 5 years taking into account the expert opinion of the Hungarian Accreditation Committee. The above mentioned procedures apply for all recognized, state or non-state higher education institutions, except for religious studies, since the Hungarian Accreditation Committee or the Educational Authority have no competence over the quality assurance in this field. In the case of religious studies only the requirements in respect of infrastructure and lecturers can be examined.
4. Organisation of Studies
Students studying in vocational higher education programmes, Bachelor and Master courses, as well as postgraduate specialist training complete their studies by passing a final examination. The final examination may consist of the defense of the degree thesis or diploma project, and additional oral, written or practical examinations.
4.1. Vocational Higher Education Programmes
From 1 September 2013 higher-level vocational training has been replaced by vocational higher education programmes. This type of training no longer forms part of the National Register of Vocational Qualifications.
The diploma obtained after the completion of a vocational higher education programme testifies a vocational higher education qualification, but it is not per se an academic degree. A vocational higher education programme requires the completion of 120 to 150 credits; generally the length of the programme is 4-5 semesters.
4.2. First/Second Cycle Degree Programmes
The first higher education degree is the alapfokozat (Bachelor degree) along with a professional qualification. A Bachelor course requires the completion of 180 to 240 credits. The length of the programme is 6-8 semesters.
The second higher education degree is the mesterfokozat (Master degree) along with a professional qualification. Based on a Bachelor course, Master courses require the completion of 60 to 120 credits. The length of the programme is 2-4 semesters.
4.3. Integrated Programmes
The integrated, one-tier programmes, which are based on the secondary school leaving examination (érettségi vizsga), lead to mesterfokozat (Master degree), have the length of 10-12 semesters and require the completion of 300 to 360 credits. Besides teacher training, religious studies and some programmes of arts, e. g. the following programmes are offered as integrated programmes: veterinary medicine, architecture, dentistry, pharmaceutics, law and medicine.
4.4. Specialised Graduate Studies
Higher education institutions may also offer szakirányú továbbképzés (postgraduate specialist training) for Bachelor and Master degree holders. Through the completion of 60 to 120 credits a specialised qualification can be obtained. The length of the programme is 2-4 semesters.
4.5. Doctoral Programmes
Based on a Master degree the doktori képzés (Doctoral course) requires the completion of at least 180 credits. The length of the programme is 36 months. Following the Doctoral course, or within the framework of the Doctoral course through a separate degree obtaining procedure, the scientific degree “Doctor of Philosophy” (abbreviation: PhD), or in the field of art “Doctor of Liberal Arts” (abbreviation: DLA) may be obtained. The maximum length of the degree obtaining procedure is 2 years.
5. Grading Scheme
The performance of students is generally assessed following a five-grade scale: excellent (5), good (4), satisfactory (3), pass (2), and fail (1) or a three-grade scale: pass with merit (5), pass (3), and unsatisfactory (1). Nevertheless, higher education institutions may also use other systems for assessment if they are comparable to those mentioned above.
6. Access to Higher Education Programmes
The ranking of students applying for higher education programmes is based on their secondary school grades and their érettségi vizsga (secondary school leaving examination) results or based solely on the latter. The requirement for admission to vocational higher education programmes, Bachelor and integrated Master courses is the secondary school leaving examination taken – as a rule – after the completion of the 12th grade of a secondary school, certified by the Érettségi bizonyítvány (secondary school leaving certificate). The admission to certain programmes may also be based on health or professional requirements or aptitude tests. To Master courses students holding a Bachelor degree can be admitted. To postgraduate specialist trainings students holding a Bachelor or a Master degree may be admitted. To Doctoral courses only applicants holding a Master degree can be admitted. Higher education institutions may set additional requirements for admission to Master, postgraduate specialist and Doctoral courses.