Master of Arts Degree Programs

The History Department offers three Master’s programs. The first, a one-year Master of Arts degree in Central European History, is registered by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York (US) for and on behalf of the New York State Education Department, and is also accredited as "further professional training" ("szakirányú továbbképzés") by the Hungarian Accreditation Committee. The second, available since September 2008, is a two-year MA program created specifically for those students who will graduate with a 3-year Bachelor of Arts degree from European institutions, but also possible to pursue by others whose previous training makes this more appropriate. In November 2007, this new program became registered by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York (US) for and on behalf of the New York State Education Department, and in July 2008 by the Hungarian Accreditation Committee.

Third, beginning from Fall 2008 interested students may also pursue the MATILDA European Master in Women's and Gender History, offered by CEU's Departments of History and Gender Studies in collaboration with several other leading European universities (Vienna, Lyon, Nottingham, Sofia) within the EU Erasmus program.


Character of the programs

The Master’s programs explore comparative themes in the history of Central, Southeastern and Eastern Europe within a wider European context. A special emphasis is placed on topics highlighting the interplay of indigenous experience and external influence, which supply the historical individuality of the regions of the European landmass east of the Rhine. Such themes include patterns of social development, cultural history and everyday life from the Reformation through the Enlightenment to modernity; problems of modernization, backwardness and unequal development; modern ideologies; empires and imperial structures, nationhood and the nation state; varieties of authoritarianism such as fascism and communism and their historical reflection. In order to foster a critical spirit of inquiry and high standards of verification, the empirical themes are supplemented by a solid training in methodology, especially the epistemological issues related to the study of history and historiography. The syllabi for our courses provide concrete examples of the readings and issues taught in the MA program.

Our MA programs are graduate programs. The department does not inculcate knowledge that was supposedly acquired in undergraduate education. Students are expected to develop familiarity with, and experience in, the basic skills of independent research. Faculty members offer guidance, assistance, and supervision in students’ own creative work and, naturally, information on fields which students may not have studied earlier.

Our MA programs are programs in comparative history. This does not imply that students are expected to work on topics that are per se comparative. It means, however, that they should strive to develop an ability to place their topics in a comparative perspective. In order to achieve this, they should be prepared to obtain training and participate in research discussions of several fields of scholarship besides their own specialization, primarily by selecting courses that point beyond the thematic, spatial and temporal boundaries of the subject of their theses. They should also take advantage of the interdisciplinary background of our faculty, and to a certain extent also of their peers, many of whom have been previously trained in a discipline other than history.

Continuing Studies

 The department encourages its best graduates to continue their scholarly work at CEU or other universities. The MA in History counts as the first step in the PhD program, in which, with the exception of a few students on external grants or supporting themselves, students are fully funded by CEU for three years (and usually another fourth year is supported). Those wishing to proceed to the doctoral program may apply for acceptance at the end of the winter term. The final decision on applications is made after the thesis defense.


Master’s students may also pursue a number of specializations within the department. The specializations mark academic fields currently of particular relevance in which there is a coalescence of faculty strength between the History Department and other CEU units, and thus it is possible to acquire special expertise in them. The specializations do not imply separate degrees: students who have successfully completed the requirements receive, together with the regular CEU MA degree, a certificate of attendance.

CEU's Jewish Studies Project has helped revitalize the study of Jewish history, culture and society in Central and Eastern Europe. It offers a Specialization available for students in History and Nationalism Studies, as well as a limited number of fellowships each year.

As of Fall 2007 the Departments of History and Medieval Studies have  jointly introduced a specialization in Religious Studies (under the auspices of the Center for Religious Studies).

Entry requirements

In addition to meeting the general CEU admissions requirements, applicants must provide a 500-word outline of their proposed research topic for the MA thesis (see sample proposal), which will be weighted heavily in the admissions decision. The topic is expected to fall within the broad thematic focus of the department as described above, and should be delimited and set out with the greatest possible clarity. Previous work on the subject should also be indicated. Applicants should indicate which courses or professors they see as especially relevant to their interests. Having an undergraduate degree in history is an advantage, but the department also welcomes applications from students in other social science and humanities disciplines. For more information, please visit CEU Admissions page.