CEU – A Hungarian Institution

March 29, 2017

In the 25 years since its establishment in Budapest, CEU has become one of the best graduate universities in the world in the social sciences and humanities. Attracting students from around the world to study alongside Hungarians, bringing academics and practitioners to Budapest for research, teaching, and debate, CEU contributes to Hungary's long-standing reputation as an international hub of intellectual and cultural life.

CEU is an independent, self-governing academic institution, in full compliance with Hungarian law, governed by a Board of Trustees and an Academic Senate. The Rector is appointed by the Board of Trustees and receives his appointment from the President of Hungary. The mission of the university is exclusively academic: to undertake research that helps to solve society's problems and to teach students the virtues of knowledge and open inquiry. It operates no programs outside of Hungary and its home is exclusively in Budapest.

Academic Excellence

CEU ranks among the world's top 200 universities in eight disciplines – in political science and international studies, it is among the top 50.

Hungarian and International

While CEU is an international private university, proud of its double accreditation as an American and Hungarian institution, it has always played a full part in Hungarian academic life. Today it is strengthening its embeddedness in Hungary and broadening the services it offers to Hungarian society. In September 2016, at the inauguration of its new rector, CEU's Hungarian identity was recognized with a welcome to the public in Hungarian language, a Hungarian student recited Attila József's "By the Danube," and the choir of Corvinus University concluded the event with Kodály's Evening Song.

CEU's Hungarian character goes beyond gestures and symbols. Its two most senior academic leaders, the Pro-Rector for Social Sciences and the Humanities as well as the Pro-Rector for Hungarian Affairs are both Hungarian. A substantial proportion of its senior faculty are Hungarian and the university teaches around 400 Hungarian students every year, many of them on scholarship. It employs 600 Hungarian staff. The university's rector has full membership in the Hungarian Rectors' Conference (MRK). CEU is active in the various subcommittees of MRK and it is a founding member of the recently created Private Universities Section of MRK.

Academic Cooperation

CEU maintains strong connections with other Hungarian universities. In the framework of inter-university agreements CEU's PhD students teach English language courses at a number of Hungarian universities. CEU has contracts with the University of Debrecen, University of Pecs, Budapest Business University and the Faculty of Social Sciences of Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE). CEU has created a separate fund to support events with significant Hungarian participation. Corvinus University, University of Debrecen and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences have received support from this fund. Agreements with Hungarian universities (e.g. ELTE and Corvinus) encourage common research projects and offer internships for students.

In partnership with the Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary, CEU has established a foundation that works towards improving the efficiency of anti-genocide measures. CEU also has an agreement with Andrássy University Budapest to support the mobility of students between the universities.

CEU has already succeeded in attracting back to Budapest dozens of Hungarian scholars who graduated from some of the world's best universities and worked for many years abroad. About 40 percent of the current CEU faculty is Hungarian, and many of them work in Hungary only because they can be part of the American higher education system via CEU.

Department-level relations with Hungarian institutions are also significant. The Department of Mathematics and Its Applications provides master and doctoral level education together with the Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The Medieval Studies Department maintains a library specialized in medieval studies together with and located at the Humanities School of ELTE.

Professors of CEU teach at the colleges of excellence in Budapest, and the university finances the college expenses of a number of its students who belong to the Rajk and Széchenyi colleges of excellence. The university makes possible for the senior students of these colleges of excellence to attend short courses at CEU free of charge.

The instructors of CEU provide tuition-free consultation through the Doctoral Support Program to PhD students of other universities in order to help them to write their dissertations.

CEU in the Heart of Budapest

CEU hosts a large number of Hungarian cultural events, concerts, and exhibitions. Parts of the new campus and the 700 public events the university holds annually are open to all interested citizens. CEU provides translation for an increasing proportion of its public lectures.

CEU's unique library is used by many local citizens and - based on special agreements – is used by students and professors of other universities. The CEU Library donated thousands of books from its collection to more than 20 Hungarian institutions before it moved into its new premises in October 2016.


The university's annual contribution in taxes and other payments to the Hungarian economy amounts to 10 billion forint. The real benefit of the economy is much larger, since more than 10,000 foreigners have spent years in Hungary as CEU students, while each year, hundreds of researchers arrive for shorter or longer periods at the university.

Research Funding and Collaboration

CEU is the most successful Hungarian university in gaining European Research Council grants. Nine billion forint flows into the country through these channels. The researchers of CEU collaborate with professors of Szent István University, Corvinus University, and many other Hungarian universities in research projects.

The research conducted at CEU also serves local companies and government institutions. CEU's InnovationsLab and the Public Policy Lab were explicitly created to help governmental and business partners in solving problems. In March 2017, the Hungarian government officially recognized the role played by the InnovationsLab in helping local tech start-ups.

The National Research, Development and Innovation Office and the International Relations Section of HAS regularly relies on the research management team of the university. The research support division of CEU provides training for those who work in the Erasmus offices and in the research and international relations offices of Hungarian universities.

Civic Engagement

In order to strengthen the services provided to the Hungarian community, the university established a Civic Engagement Office in 2016. A recent project was a survey conducted at the request of a large Hungarian company about the factors that help and hinder the employment of young Hungarians. Through its Science Shop, CEU shares its research capacity with Hungarian non-profit organizations and community groups, allowing the organizations to approach CEU with their research demands. Science Shop is operated in close cooperation with Corvinus Business School.

Through its Roma Access Program, CEU provides special support for the education of Roma youth, their integration into academic life, and opportunities to pursue higher education.
CEU professors and students are involved in tutoring, mentoring and other learning-supporting activities in primary- and middle schools in Budapest and elsewhere in the country, for example in mathematics, English language skills, and environmental awareness. The students of CEU are increasingly integrated into Hungarian student life. The university participates in one of the most important sports events of Hungarian universities, the Danube Regatta, organized by the Antall József Knowledge Center.

The university community organizes a number of charity activities every year, primarily for the homeless. During wintertime CEU provides 80 hot meals each week for a homeless shelter in Budapest. Every year, the university donates used furniture, computers, books, and other items to charitable organizations, schools and other institutions in Budapest.