Central European University

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Central European University
Közép-európai Egyetem
Logo of Central European University
Latin: Universitas Europae Centralis
Established 1991
Type Private
Endowment $880 million[1]
Rector John Shattuck
Academic staff
Students 1,600
Postgraduates 900
Location Budapest, Hungary
Campus Urban
Affiliations University of the State of New York
Website ceu.hu

Central European University (CEU) is a graduate-level, English-language university accredited in the U.S. and Hungary and located in Budapest. The university offers degrees in the social sciences, humanities, law, public policy, business management, environmental science, and mathematics.

CEU has more than 1500 students from 100 countries and 300 faculty members from more than 30 countries. CEU was founded by philanthropist George Soros, who has provided an endowment of US$880 million, making the university one of the wealthiest in Europe.[1]

CEU has two schools, including the School of Public Policy and CEU Business School, 14 academic departments, and 17 research centers.


CEU Building

CEU evolved from a series of lectures held at the IUC in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, (now Croatia). In the Spring of 1989, as historical change was gathering momentum in the region the need for a new, independent, international university was being considered. The minutes of the gathering held in April 1989 records a discussion among scholars such as Rudolf Andorka, Péter Hanák, Márton Tardos, István Teplán, Tibor Vámos and Miklós Vásárhelyi from Budapest, William Newton-Smith and Kathleen Wilkes from Oxford, Jan Havranek, Michal Illner and Jiří Kořalka from Prague, Krzysztof Michalski and Włodzimierz Siwiński from Warsaw.[2]

The University was founded in 1991 in response to the fall of the Socialist Bloc. The founding vision was to create a university dedicated to examining the contemporary challenges of "open societies" and democratization. The initial aim was to create a Western-modeled yet distinctly Central European institution that would foster inter-regional cooperation and educate a new corps of regional leaders to help usher in democratic transitions across the region. It was originally located in Prague, but because of "political and financial conflict between its founder and Czech government"[3] represented by Vaclav Klaus it moved to campus in Budapest.

In its second decade, CEU broadened its focus from regional to global, with a special emphasis on democracy promotion and human rights around the world. It has since developed a distinct academic approach, combining regional studies with an international perspective, emphasizing comparative and interdisciplinary research in order to generate new scholarship and policy initiatives, and to promote good governance and the rule of law.[4] CEU has extended its outreach and financial aid programs to certain areas of the developing world.[5]

CEU began the region's first master's degree programs in gender studies and environmental sciences. The CEU Center for Media, Data and Society is the leading center of research on media, communication, and information policy in the region.

On 14 October 2007 George Soros stepped down as Chairman of CEU Board. Leon Botstein (President of Bard College, New York), who had previously served as the Vice-Chair of the Board, was elected as new Chairman for a two-year term. George Soros is a Life-CEU Trustee and serves as Honorary Chairman of the Board.[6]

On 1 August 2009 Rector Yehuda Elkana was succeeded by human rights leader and legal scholar John Shattuck.[7]

Legal basis[edit]

CEU is organized as an American-style institution, governed by a Board of Trustees, with a charter from the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York, for and on behalf of the New York State Education Department.[8] In the United States, CEU is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. In Hungary, CEU is officially recognized as a privately maintained and operated university. The university was accredited by the Hungarian Accreditation Committee in 2004.[5]

Departments and programs[edit]


  • Business School
  • Cognitive Science
  • Economics
  • Environmental Sciences and Policy
  • Gender Studies
  • History
  • International Relations and European Studies
  • Legal Studies
  • Mathematics and its Applications
  • Medieval Studies
  • Nationalism Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Public Policy
  • Sociology and Social Anthropology[9]

Degree programs[edit]

CEU Entrance

One-year Master’s degree programs[edit]

  • MA programs: Central European History; Economic and Legal Studies; Gender Studies; Human Rights; International Relations and European Studies; Medieval Studies; Nationalism Studies; Philosophy; Political Science; Public Policy; Sociology and Social Anthropology
  • MS program: Environmental Sciences and Policy
  • LLM programs: Comparative Constitutional Law; Economic and Legal Studies; Human Rights; International Business Law
  • Business programs: Full-Time Master's of Business Administration (MBA); Part-Time Executive MBA (22-month weekend program); IMM Global Executive MBA (20-month modular program)

• MSc Program: IT Management (business school )

Two-year Master’s degree programs[edit]

  • MA programs: critical gender studies; economic policy in global markets; environmental sciences, policy and management (MESPOM, Erasmus Mundus); economics; historical studies; philosophy; political science; public policy (Erasmus Mundus program), sociology and social anthropology; women's and gender studies (GEMMA, Erasmus Mundus); women's and gender history (MATILDA, Erasmus program)
  • MSc program: applied mathematics
  • MPA program: public policy
  • Business programs: Executive MBA (International Master's in Management)

Doctoral programs[edit]

  • PhD in: cognitive science; comparative gender studies; comparative history of central, southeastern and eastern Europe; economics; environmental sciences and policy; mathematics and its applications; medieval studies; philosophy; political science; sociology and social anthropology; network science
  • Doctor of Juridical Sciences (SJD)[10]

Student support[edit]

CEU offers a wide range of financial aid packages to the majority of its students. CEU rewards financial aid primarily on the basis of academic merit. Decisions on aid may take into account priorities connected to the university mission as well as documented financial need.[11]

In the 2011–12 academic year, 153 Hungarian students are attending CEU tuition-free and five others are receiving partial tuition waivers. Also, 123 of these students receive a full or partial scholarship.[12]

CEU library and OSA[edit]

The CEU Library has a comprehensive on-site and digital collections in the social sciences and humanities. The library contains more than 255,000 documents in various formats and includes access to a range of academic databases.[13]

The Open Society Archives at CEU (OSA) is a Cold War research facility, holding over 7,500 linear meters of material, 11,000 hours of audiovisual recordings and 12 terabytes of data[14] related to communist-era political, social, economic and cultural life. OSA’s collection includes an extensive archive of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty transcripts and reports, along with a large collection of underground samizdat literature and materials from Central and Eastern Europe under communism. The archive also houses a growing collection of documents and audiovisual materials on international human rights and war crimes.


The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014-2015 has named CEU among the world's top 100 universities in the social sciences category. [15]

All of Central European University's programs are highly competitive. The university is placed 42nd worldwide in the field of politics and international studies,[16] and among the top 51-100 worldwide in philosophy[17] by the 2013 QS World University Rankings. Additionally, despite its small size and young programs (less than 100 students) the Economics department of the university has recently ranked #8 in Europe by ERC (European Research Council) based on research excellence. [18]

CEU Business School offers the 13th best MBA program in Europe according to the QS TOPMBA survey 2012.[19] CEU Business School is consistently placed among the top 20 best business schools in Europe in this survey.

According to a study published by German newspaper Die Zeit, the CEU Department of Political Science is among the top five political science departments in Europe.[20][21]

CEU's Department of Legal Studies was ranked first in Central Europe by the Czech newspaper, Lidové noviny. The survey included Austrian, Czech, German, Hungarian, Polish and Slovakian universities.[22]

A recent report prepared by the Magyar Rektori Konferencia stated that CEU faculty has the highest number of international publications per capita (recorded in the Web of Science) among Hungarian universities. The same applies to the amount research support grants received in the framework of EU’s Sixth and Seventh Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development. In the recent round of the European Research Council Starting Investigator Grant – the most prestigious grant for young researchers in Europe – Central-East European countries received a total of eight grants. Of the three that came to Hungary (the highest number of among C/EE countries), two were awarded to CEU faculty.[12]

Summer University[edit]

CEU’s Summer University is ant academic programs for young scholars in the humanities and social sciences. Since 1996, CEU’s Summer University has involved 269 Hungarian faculty members and 516 Hungarian participants. Tuition was waived for all but 3% of the Hungarian participants, most of whom were junior academics (graduate students, faculty, and researchers) who received guidance on their research, ideas for developing their own courses, exposure to a variety of teaching methodologies, and access to international and academic and professional networks.[12]

CEU Press[edit]

CEU Press is the largest English-language publisher in Central and Eastern Europe. Since its founding in 1993, it has played an important role in publishing books on the economic, social, and political transformation of the region, including titles by Hungarians or on Hungarian themes. Four of its top-10 best-selling books worldwide are related to Hungary.[12]

Notable faculty[edit]

(Sufficiently notable to have articles in Wikipedia)

Notable alumni[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°30′2″N 19°2′59″E / 47.50056°N 19.04972°E / 47.50056; 19.04972