Doctoral Program in Political Science 2017-18, CEU Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

Publish Date: Nov 10, 2016

Deadline: Feb 01, 2017

Apply now! CEU-funded scholarships with generous stipends .

CEU-funded scholarships with generous stipends are offered by the Doctoral School of Political Science, Public Policy and International Relations each year. Up to 18 PhD applicants are eligible for the Full CEU Doctoral Scholarship.

Admission to the Doctoral Program in Political Science for Academic Year 2017-2018 is now open. The application deadline for AY 2017-2018:


Application Deadlines 2017/18

FEBRUARY 1, 2017 (23:59 CET*)

Application deadline for PhD and SJD applications; deadline for Master’s applicants applying for CEU Financial Aid. All applications must be complete with relevant standard test scores (TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, etc.).

FEBRUARY 2 – JUNE 1, 2017

Application period for self-financing applicants to CEU Master’s programs. All applications must be complete with relevant standard test scores (TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, etc.). Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

JUNE 1, 2017 (23:59 CET*)

Final application deadline for self-financing applicants to CEU Master’s programs. All applications must be complete with relevant standard test scores (TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, etc.).

*Central European Time


Application deadlines for the CEU Business School (for details see the relevant program websites) and the Mundus MAPP program follow a different scheme.

Application Checklist

Below is the list of the documents you need to prepare or arrange for submission:

  1. Completed CEU Application Form 2017/18
  2. Letters of Recommendation
  3. Academic Records
  4. Curriculum Vitae or Resume
  5. Program-Specific Requirements
  6. Proof of English Proficiency
  7. Application Fee

1. Completed CEU Application Form 2017/2018


  • All application materials must be submitted with the online application form(s) for 2017/18. Materials sent by postal mail, email or fax will not be considered.
  • CEU charges an application fee of EUR 30. For more information, please see item 7 below.
  • Please submit your application only when it is 100% final and complete. Applications cannot be edited after submission.
  • Candidates may submit applications to up to 5 programs (master's and/or doctoral) offered by any academic unit at CEU. Some programs have more stringent internal limits, please always refer to the program websites for detailed guidelines.
  • CEU is introducing a new online application system. The applicant portal is not in place at this point, therefore you cannot currently track the progress and outcome of your application online. We will provide updates once the portal becomes active.
  • With technical problems, bugs or errors related to the online application forms please contact the CEU IT Help Desk.
  • CEU does not return application documents, or provide copies thereof.
  • Non-degree candidates should complete and submit the Non-degree and Visiting Student application form.

2. Letters of Recommendation

Candidates must provide two (or, for some doctoral programs, three) confidential letters of recommendation assessing their ability to conduct graduate-level work, and potential for a successful academic or professional career. The letters of recommendation must be written in English by faculty members or job supervisors (i.e. people most familiar with the candidate's academic and/or professional abilities and character).
Candidates need to register the referees in the relevant section of the online application form. Referees will receive an automated message containing a link to the referee section AFTER the candidate successfully submits the application form, and will have 7 days to complete the recommendation form/upload the recommendation (the link to the referee section expires after 7 days following receipt of the automated email).

3. Academic Records

Your online application must include a scanned image of

  1. an official English version OR translation of your full bachelor's (and, for doctoral programs, master's) transcript (transcript = an official report supplied by a school on the record of an individual student, listing subjects studied and grades received), including an explanation of the grading system, and
  2. an official English version OR translation of your bachelor's (and, for doctoral programs, master's) diploma.


  • An official English translation bears the stamp and signature of a sworn translator or an authorized official of the institution that has issued the original. It should contain the stamp and signature on each page or over a folded and fastened corner of the document, and include a statement of authenticity in English.
  • Candidates in the process of completing a degree program must upload an interim transcript and, in place of the diploma, a certificate of enrollment confirming their student status and, if possible, stating their expected date of graduation.
  • Candidates who can download a full (though unofficial) transcript from the relevant university website may upload it to the online application in lieu of requesting a hard copy version.
  • Candidates having completed their degree program and having yet to receive their diploma must upload a certificate of graduation.
  • Candidates who have taken courses at more than one institution as part of their degree program need to submit an official transcript from each school, unless the transfer credits are listed in detail (course names, credits, grades) on their final transcript.
  • Candidates applying for a one-year Master's program at CEU that have earned a three-year undergraduate degree and have completed or are, at the time of application, completing a Master's program at another university must submit their Master's transcript (and diploma, if already available) in addition to their Bachelor's transcript and diploma.
  • The official "Diploma Supplement" issued by European institutions is not valid without an official copy (and translation if applicable) of the diploma.

4. Curriculum Vitae or Resume

Candidates need to upload an updated CV or resume, including a publication list if available. CEU accepts all commonly used CV/resume formats.

5. Program-Specific Requirements

Most programs at CEU require one or several additional supporting documents for the application, such as a statement of purpose, research proposal or writing samples, standard test scores (e.g. GRE), etc. Each academic program has different requirements, which are listed in the relevant section on their respective websites.

You may want to also check the Useful Tips section for guidelines.

6. Proof of English Proficiency

Candidates must demonstrate proficiency in English by submitting standardized English language test scores, e.g., the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or other tests listed below.

Candidates whose first language is English are normally exempt from this requirement. Candidates meeting the following requirements may also be exempted:

  1. current or former CEU students applying to CEU's doctoral programs;
  2. candidates who have earned a bachelor's or a master's degree taught exclusively in English.

To request exemption from the English language proficiency requirement, applicants need to answer the questions on English Language Qualifications accordingly in the Qualifications section of the online application form. Decisions regarding exemptions are at the discretion of the admissions committee for the given program and will be communicated to candidates after the first stage of the selection process.

Candidates submitting a test score of one of the English language exams listed below should upload a scan of their score report to the relevant section of their online application. The score report can also be sent to CEU directly by the issuing institution (CEU institutional code with ETS: 0069). In that case the candidate is requested to upload proof of having taken the test in lieu of the actual test score.

7. Application Fee

CEU charges a one-time application fee of EUR 30 for each candidate irrespective of the number of programs applied to in the given admissions cycle. The application fee is non-refundable: all applicants are subject to submit this fee regardless of nationality or financial status. The fee must be paid when the first application is submitted in the given admission cycle.


The fee should be paid by bank card via the CEU payment gateway (secure payment).
No other ways of payment are available.

How to choose your track?

When applying to the Doctoral Program in Political Science, you need to select the “track” where you wish to pursue your studies. The program offers five tracks (or areas of specialization), all of which represent academic sub-field within Political Science. Your track choice will define what you will study at CEU, and who will assist you in it, so you should carefully consider which track to apply to.

What is a track?

Tracks are areas of specialization, or ‘majors’, within the Doctoral Program in Political Science. Each PhD student in the program belongs to a track, and faculty members are also affiliated with one (or sometimes more) tracks.

Tracks have their own curriculum within the program, with track-specific core courses and advanced topics courses. During their first year, students of a given track need to complete their track’s core courses: thus, your track choice during the application process defines what courses you will have in the first year.

Tracks within the PhD program are distinguished in many further ways:

  • Each track is represented by a so-called “track representative”, a faculty member associated with the given track, responsible for the coherence of their respective tracks. They are the ones overseeing syllabi development and teaching in accordance with the stipulations of the Doctoral School
  • Each track has its own admission committee which organizes the track’s admission process, the evaluation of the applicants to the given track
  • Each track has its own student packages, admitting a given number of PhD students each year
  • Each track has its own comprehensive examination committee, examining their probationary doctoral candidates at the end of the first year
  • Most of the tracks run specific research groups where students and faculty share and discuss their ongoing research

Which tracks can you choose from?

There are five tracks within the PhD program:

  • Comparative Politics (CP)
  • Political Economy (PE)
  • Political Theory (PT)
  • International Relations (IR)
  • Public Policy (PP)

You can read more about each of these tracks on their own webpages, where track-affiliated faculty members and courses are also listed. To find out more about each track, click on the links above.

How is your track selected?

During the admission process you have to select your preferred track. Each track has separate application forms: you need to use the application form of the track of your preference, which best fits your planned research project. To be able to judge this, you need to check what research topics are covered in each track, what track-specific courses are offered, and which faculty members are affiliated with the tracks. It is your responsibility to find the track that suits you best: if you apply to a track that is not connected to your research, your application can easily be rejected.

During the evaluation of your admission documents, your files will be checked by the track-specific admission committee. After evaluating your application form, you will be ranked among the applicants applying to the given track. If you receive an admission offer to the chosen track, this will remain your track throughout your studies in the program.

Can you get accepted to a track other than where you applied?

If your research proposal does not fit the track where you applied, you will be rejected. However, if the application is otherwise of very high quality, and the track admission committee finds that your proposed topic fits another track, your application might be transferred to that other track’s admission committee for second evaluation. If this other track finds your application convincing, they might offer you an interview, and later, admission. However, as a rule, admission committees are not responsible for finding the best track for your application: it is your responsibility to apply to the track where you fit, because such track transfers happen only occasionally during the admission process.

Can you apply to more than one track?

Yes. Applicants have the possibility to submit their application to up to 5 programs within CEU, and this means that you can also apply to more than one tracks. However, the Doctoral School strongly encourages you to apply to not more than two tracks in one admission year.

Can tracks be changed after admission?

Applicants win admission to a specific track and student financial packages are associated with tracks. Changing “home” tracks after admission happens only in exceptional circumstances, exclusively in the first semester of the first year, and pending the approval by the School Director after consultation with the relevant track representatives.

Why CEU?

Central European University (CEU) is an English-language, graduate university located in Budapest, Hungary. The university is accredited in the United States and Hungary. Our students come from over 100 countries and our faculty from more than 40. CEU offers small, seminar-style courses and a student/faculty ratio of 7:1. To learn more about CEU, follow this link!

Why the Doctoral School?

The Doctoral Program in Political Science — operated by the Doctoral School of Political Science, Public Policy and International Relations, together with the departments of Political Science, International Relations, and the School of Public Policy — is one of the largest, most international and most competitive programs in Europe, comprising more than 30 permanent faculty members and more than 100 doctoral students from close to 40 countries. Learn more about the program and the Doctoral School by exploring our website!

Admission to the Doctoral Program

In order to get accepted to the Doctoral Program, all applicants must meet the General CEU Admissions Requirements.

School-specific admission requirements

In addition to the General CEU Admissions Requirements, the Doctoral School of Political Science, Public Policy and International Relations requires some further documents from you in your application package. Follow this link to learn more about the specific requirements!

Financial Aid

Doctoral students are eligible to receive a full CEU Doctoral Scholarship for up to three years that covers all tuition fees and a generous living allowance for up to three years. Numerous additional funding opportunities exist, such as the Doctoral Research Support Grant Program, the Erasmus Mobility Scheme, and various research and travel funds. Further information on financial aid is available here.

Career Paths

This highly competitive doctoral program prepares students primarily for careers in research and/or teaching at top universities worldwide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you can find frequently asked questions concerning admission to the doctoral program in political science.


You can also contact the Doctoral School with any admission-related question on the following email address:

Research areas

Who can supervise my topic?

In order to learn about the expertise of the faculty, please visit the faculty profiles on the website of the Doctoral School. You do not need to choose a supervisor now. The School matches supervisees and supervisors only at the end of their first academic year. But familiarity with the work of professors will help you both during the admission process and thereafter.

Which track does my topic fit into?

You can read more about tracks and how to choose the best for your research topic on this page.

Scholarship/Financial Aid

How many people can be accepted to the program / track / year?

The Political Science PhD program offers approximately 18 Full CEU Doctoral Scholarships per year. The scholarships are scattered across tracks: usually Comparative Politics admits four students, Political Economy and Political Theory admits two-two students per year, while International Relations offers six, Public Policy four full packages. Additional packages for students interested in Human Rights and Higher Education can also be available in some years. You can learn more about these thematiic scholarships on this page.

How many applications do you receive per year?

Last year, we received close to 300 applications.

What does the Full Doctoral Scholarship cover?

It covers tuition and medical insurance. In addition, full scholarship recipients are awarded a monthly stipend of 220,000 HUF (cca 700 EUR) calculated to cover educational and accommodation costs. Students need to budget additionally for travel, recreation, and incidentals, which can vary with the individual.

Doctoral students are not automatically provided with accommodation in the CEU Residence Center. They are eligible to request a room on a space-availability basis, for which they will be expected to cover their costs directly.

Can I keep my job during my studies?

Students employed full time cannot receive full CEU scholarship. Students who wish to work part-time (maximum 20 hours per week) can ask permission for this from the Doctoral Program Committee. While receiving the doctoral stipend, Doctoral Students should seek the permission of the School Director in case of taking up other paid employment. CEU may request full or partial tuition payment and will expect the student to cover his/her living costs.

I want to apply for a doctoral program at CEU and I would like to apply for financial aid as well; however, I cannot fill out the financial aid section during the online application process. Can I just leave this out of the online application process or do I perhaps need to fill out this part somewhere else?

As almost every student admitted into a CEU doctoral program receives a Full CEU Doctoral Scholarship (or else they do not get admitted), you do not need to apply for it. In case you might consider an offer of admission with less or no financial aid, let us know by email.

Is it just the enrollment fee that would need to be paid?

All enrolled students must pay the enrollment fee which in the case of a first year student is 75,240 HUF (cca 250 EUR) per academic year and a deposit of 200 EUR which you get back before leaving the school.


When is the application deadline?

You can find the application deadlines for the current application period on CEU's central admissions website. In 2017, the application deadline for PhD programs is 1 February 2016, 23:59 Pacific Standard Time (PST).

What does the deadline mean?

All application materials must be submitted on-line with the online application form (with the exception of letters of recommendation, which may be mailed). Materials sent by postal mail, electronic mail or fax are not considered.
Send your application only once you have made sure it is 100% final and complete. You cannot edit an application after it has been submitted, and we do not accept materials sent in alternative ways.
CEU does not return application documents, or copies thereof under any circumstances.

Research proposal

Is there a template for the research proposal? Should the 1500 word limit include the references?

There is no template, since the various topics require different treatment. The admission committees appreciate if the proposals show a good knowledge of the state-of-the-art, address academically and socially relevant questions and target areas covered by the School faculty. Methodological awareness and reflection on the feasibility of the project are also appreciated.

We recommend that you respect the word limit, but minor deviation will not count against you.

Educational background

What sort of academic background is required?

Applicants are expected to hold an internationally recognized Master’s or comparable degree in Political Science, International Relations, Public Policy, or a similar politics- and/or policy related program that provides a relevant academic background for the track to which the candidate applies. A comparable degree in other Social Sciences, Humanities, or other disciplines will also be considered in case of an excellent academic record.

To whom could I personally write in the coming days to see whether my proposal could work for the CEU before I apply?

All submitted applications are thoroughly reviewed by panels composed of various faculty members. It is thus not possible to give a preliminary assessment. But you are welcome to contact professors whose profile is close to your research project in order to find out whether CEU is the best place for you.

Academic Records

I am in the final year of a Master’s program, so I do not have a diploma to upload yet. What shall I do?

In place of the diploma, upload a certificate of enrollment stating your expected date of graduation. Please note that in order to be able to enroll at CEU, you must graduate before mid-August of the year you are to begin your studies.

I am in the final year of a Master’s program, so I do not have a final transcript to upload yet. What shall I do?

Upload an interim transcript. If and when you enroll, we'll need an official one on paper anyway.

I have earned a Master’s at CEU and am now applying for a doctoral program. Am I required to upload official copies of academic records?

If you are applying to the same department's doctoral program you have graduated from, upload a plain printout of your CEU grades only (write to to get one). If it is some other department you are applying to, also submit your Bachelor's records the same way you did when applying to CEU for the first time.

I would like to earn a PhD at CEU while completing one at my home university at the same time. Is this possible?

No. Students enrolled in doctoral programs at CEU may not be enrolled at other universities.

To APPLY click "Further official information" below and fill the application form.

This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here:

Similar Opportunities


International Relations

Political Sciences

Public Policy

Study Levels


Opportunity Types


Eligible Countries


Host Countries