Sociology PhD programme (English training)

Sociology PhD programme (English training)
Our aim is to ensure the existence of new generation of scientists dedicated to sociology and social sciences, their thorough preparation for acquiring the PhD qualification and for carrying out independent academic research and lecturing activities at post-graduate academic level.

The program aims to provide this in conformity with the international educational standards in social sciences, meeting formal and content requirements; as well as providing highly qualified research experts and university teachers in the future, and training specialists (of both theoretical and practical approach) for the different fields of social policy practice at a high level, recognized at an international scale.

The Doctoral Regulations of Eötvös Loránd University (2013)
The Doctoral Regulations of Eötvös Loránd University (2016)

Structure of the programme

Length of the program: 4+4 semesters (+2 semesters) – Downoald programme structure here


  • educational and research phase, 4 semesters
  • research and thesis writing phase, 4 semesters

At the end of the first two years there is a complex exam

The four-year educational period ends with the preliminary discussion of the full draft version of the dissertation, the absolutorium, and defense of the dissertation

Options: Full-time education, correspondence education 

Finances: limited number of state scholarship available, tuition fee

Requirements: university MA degree in social sciences, or MSC degree, enrolment interview, study plan

Language requirements: one complex intermediate level state exam in a foreign language (non Hungarian)

Full credit requirements: 240 credits

Ways of obtaining credits (modules):

A) Course work: 70

B) Research work and academic activities: 155

C) Teaching experience: 15

A) Educational and research phase: course work and scientific research

I. Introductory seminars

Introductory seminars are around the topics of social theory, history of social thinking, research design and method. Minimum requirement: to complete the introductory module in the 1st  semester, obligatory for 30 credits altogether. In the 2nd semesters from the three fields two courses have to be selected; obligatory for 10 credits altogether.

Students must prepare a study plan during the first semester until the end of the academic period with the direction of their tutors. This contains the types of subjects the student will be attending from the following semester. (The study plans have to be handed in for the officer in he Registrar’s office. They will be also handed over to the program leader.)

II. Elective research seminars

Elective seminars dedicated to topics relevant to the doctoral programme, and the research field of the students. These seminars provide an opportunity for students to meet professors and researchers from different areas to discuss their research works and results. Whereas during these seminars all doctoral students are expected to present their ongoing work and have the opportunity to present and debate the theoretical and methodological problems of their own researches. Completing them is recommended during the 3rd and 4th semesters, number of credits per subject: 5, obligatory together 20. 

III. Research Colloquium  

One of the central courses at the PhD programme is the research colloquium where all candidates are given the opportunity to present and discuss their projects in their initial stages. This course is coordinated by the program director. The courses are obligatory, number of credits all together 10. 

The third semester there is a mandatory tutoring seminar. number of credits 5.

IV. Elective complementary subjects

Complementary subjects can be special seminars to develop special skills in academic English writing, presentation technics, research project building, and curriculum developing. Certain subjects can be also taken announced for MA students, in order to enhance knowledge in variety of areas. The program leader will announce these subjects and he invites the lecturers. 

The structure of the first training and research phase (4 semesters)

Credit requirements of the first training and research phase (4 semesters)


1. semester

2. semester

3. semester

4. semester

Social theory I

10 credits, lecture, obligatory


Social theory II.


5 credits seminar, obligatory optional


History of sociology I.

10 credits, lecture, obligatory


History of sociology II.


5 credits, seminar, obligatory optional


Research design and method I.

10 credits, lecture, obligatory


Research design and method II.


5 credits, seminar, obligatory optional,


Research Colloquium I, II


5 credits, seminar, obligatory


5 credits, seminar, obligatory

Tutorial seminar


5 credits, seminar, obligatory,


Supporting course: academic English and essay writing


5 credits, seminar, optional

5 credits, seminar, optional

Elective seminars I.


5 credits, lecture, optional

5 credits, lecture, optional

Elective seminars II.


5 credits, lecture, optional

5 credits, lecture, optional

Elective seminars III.


5 credits, lecture, optional

5 credits, lecture, optional

Elective seminars IV.


5 credits, lecture, optional

5 credits, lecture, optional

Conference participation with lecturing and publication, workshops, submission of papers and articles (in Hungarian language)


5 credits, optional,

5 credits, optional,

Conference participation with lecturing and publication, workshops, submission of papers and articles (in foreign language)


10 credits, optional

10 credits, optional

Complex final exam: course work and scientific work


20 credits (10 course work and 10 scientific), obligatory, the scientific no reproducible

Total credits

min.: 30 credits

min.: 15 credits

min.: 20- credits

20 (+20) credits

Minimum credits to be completed by the end of 4th semesters (including complex final exam) 120 credits

Educational Module:

I. semester:

Social theory I., History of social thinking I. and Research design and method I. classes are obligatory, total credit 30 

II. semester:

Social theory II., History of social thinking II., and Research design and method II., 2 courses are obligatory, Total credits 10 

III. semester:

Supporting course: academic English and essay writing, presentation techniques, proposal writing, elective, 5 credits

Elective seminar   I., 5 credits

Elective seminar  II., 5 credits

IV. semester:

Supporting course: academic English and essay writing, presentation techniques, proposal writing, elective, 5 credits

Elective seminar   III., 5 credits

Elective seminar   IV., 5 credits

Science Module:

II. semester: Research Colloquium I., obligatory, 5 credits

III. semester: Tutorial consultation, obligatory, 5 credits

IV. semester: Research Colloquium II , obligatory, 5 credits

During II., III. and IV. semesters: research activities and scientific works

Conference participation with lecturing and publication, workshops,

submission of academic research papers and articles, total credits 20 

Complex final exam, obligatory, 20 credits (10 credits for study work, 10 credits for scientific)

Subject of comlex final exam: social theory, research designe and method, and scientific work of thesis

Valuation of final exam: passes, no passes

B) Research and thesis writing phase

The structure of the second research and thesis writing phase (4 semesters)

Credit requirements: The accomplishments of credits granted on the basis of the decision of the tutor.

Credit requirements of the second research and thesis writing phase (4 semesters)

Tutoring Seminar I, II., III., IV. In every semester, seminar, which includes ongoing research work, and reports, mandatory, 4 * 10 credits

total credit 40

Teaching a full independent academic course, in Hungarian or foreign language, in any field, obligatory

In Hungarian 15 credits, in foreign language 20 credits

Supplementing and publishing an independent scientific publication, in Hungarian language

15 credits

Supplementing and publishing an independent scientific publication, in foreign language

20 credits

To write an independent scientific review, in Hungarian language

5 credits

To write an independent scientific review, in foreign language

10 credits

Participation in a conference with lecture, in Hungarian language

8 credits

Participation in a conference with lecture, in Hungarian language

5 credits

Participation in a conference with lecture, in foreign language

15 credits

Participation in a conference with poster, in foreign language

10 credits

Public discussion of the first full draft version of the dissertation

15 credits

Minimum credits to be completed during the research an thesis writing period is 120 credits.


PHDElmE1 – Social theory I

10 credit, lecture, obligatory, no reproducible

PHDElmE2 – Social theory II

5 credit, practice, obligatory optional, no reproducible

PHDSocTE1 – History of sociology I

10 credit, lecture, obligatory, no reproducible

PHDSocTE2 – History of sociology II

5 credit, practice, obligatory optional, no reproducible

PHDSocMOE1 – Research design and method I.

10 credit, lecture, obligatory, no reproducible

PHDSocMOE2 – Research design and method I.

5 credit, practice, obligatory optional, no reproducible

PHDSocKutE1 – Research Colloquium I

5 credit, practice, obligatory, no reproducible

PHDSocKutE2 – Research Colloquium II

5 credit, practice, obligatory, no reproducible

PHDSocTUE1 – Tutorial I

5 credit, practice, obligatory, no reproducible

PHDSocTANE1 – Supporting course: academic English and essay writing

5 credit, practice, obligatory, no reproducible

PHDSocTANE2 – Supporting course: academic English and essay writing

5 credit, practice, obligatory, no reproducible

PHDSocVE1 – Elective seminar I

5 credit, lecture, optional, no reproducible

PHDSocVE2 – Elective seminar II

5 credit, lecture, optional, no reproducible

PHDSocVE3 – Elective seminar III

5 credit, lecture, optional, no reproducible

PHDSocVE4 – Elective seminar IV

5 credit, lecture, optional, no reproducible

PHDSocTanKonfE1 – Conference participation with lecturing and publication, workshops, submission of papers and articles (in Hungarian language)

5 credit, optional,

PHDSocTanKonfE2  – Conference participation with lecturing and publication, workshops, submission of papers and articles (in Hungarian language)

5 credit, optional,

PHDSocTanKonfE3 – Conference participation with lecturing and publication, workshops, submission of papers and articles (in foreign language)

10 credit, optional

PHDSocTanKonfE4 – Conference participation with lecturing and publication, workshops, submission of papers and articles (in foreign language)

10 credit, optional

PHDSocKomplexE – Complex final exam: course work and scientific work

20credit, obligatory, no reproducible


PHDSocTUTE1 – Tutoring seminar

10 credit, practice, obligatory, no reproducible

PHDSocTUTE2 – Tutoring seminar

10 credit, practice, obligatory, no reproducible

PHDSocTUTE3 – Tutoring seminar

10 credit, practice, obligatory, no reproducible

PHDSocTUTE4 – Tutoring seminar

10 credit, practice, obligatory, no reproducible

PHDOktE1 – Teaching a full independent academic course

15 credit in Hungarian, 20 credit in foreign language, practice, obligatory, no reproducible

PHDTANE1 – Supplementing and publishing an independent scientific publication, in Hungarian language

15 credit, optional

PHDTANE2 – Supplementing and publishing an independent scientific publication, in foreign language

20 credit, optional

PHDTANRE1 – To write an independent scientific review, in Hungarian language

5 credit, optional

PHDTANRE2 – To write an independent scientific review, in foreign language

10 credit, optional

PHDKonfE1 – Participation in a conference with lecture, in Hungarian language

8 credit, optional

The evaluation system and requirements

The graduate program has three types of courses: compulsory, compulsorily chosen, and elective. In the classes instructors evaluate the student's performance on five-point scale: excellent (5), good (4), medium (3), sufficient (2) and insufficiency ( 1). The exams can be performed either orally or in writing essays which is specified in advance of the academic year by the instructor.

The scientific module incorporates scientific research work, publications (in progress), academic conference presentations, book reviews, tutoring consultations, participation in the doctoral seminars. The evaluation of research activities occurs in three-point scale (excellent pass, pass, fail).

The participating doctoral students are required to undertake teaching duties. Regular educational activities can be credited by the Faculty of Social Sciences at ELTE and other universities. The amount of credits granted at the end of each semester by the tutor and the supervisor of the course.

Other provisions

The classes take place on a weekly basis. Due to the nature of courses exceptions are possible. Based on the request of the teachers, claims must be approved by the Board of the Doctoral School.

To start an elective course the minimum number  is 3 students  who signed up.

In the credit calculation of the publications accountable the followings:

  • monographs
  • articles in collected essays
  • articles published in journals

In the case of the articles published in journals the following journals may be taken into account: (see attached in a separate EXCEL file)

List of journals by Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Precondition of the complex exam is two language exams: two medium-level language exam certificate, or one advance level and one basic level language exam certificate.

Precondition of the thesis defense is minimum two academic publications, which closely connected to the topic of the dissertation. 

In the research and thesis writing phase (in the third and the fourth year) the tuition fee is half of the regular tuition fee.


Course descriptions

Social Theory I–II.

In the two semesters of course it in class we are discussing such topics as a matter of social order; modernity and modernization theories; natural scientific explanation of social phenomena; social relationships and communities; system of networks; social dynamics; functional analysis of the self-organizing subsystems, such as mass media, economy, and the self-organizing subsystems and their features, such as science, time periods, social and economic trends.


  • Luhmann, Niklas: Kettős kontingencia,  In Bevezetés a rendszerelméletbe p299-306, Gondolat, 2006
  • Giddens, Anthony: The Consequences of Modernity, Stanford University Press, 1990. p1-
  • Coleman, James: Microfoundations and Macrosocial Behavior In. Alexander, Giesen, Münch, Smelser (szerk): The Micro-marko Link, University of California Press, 1987. p153-173.
  • Granovetter, Mark (1973): The Strength Of Weak Ties American Journal of Sociology
  • Popper, Karl (1997): Megismerés, történelem, politika. 122. old. Budapest: AduPrint. 
  • Fokasz Nikosz: Evergreens, sensations and the rest. A quantitative analysis of dynamics of news articles on domestic politics Review of Sociology Vol. 14. (2008) I.
  • Rostow, W. W.: A gazdasági növekedés szakaszai In: Szakolczai György (szerk): A gazdasági fejlődés feltételei, Közgazdasági és Jogi Könyvkiadó, Budapest, 1963

History of Social Thinking I.

The course is intended to provide a comprehensive overview of the most important classical and contemporary trends in sociological thinking, ensuring an overview of the diverse answers and reflections of different schools on the same problems. The structure of the course follows the classical structure of sociological trends, such as positivist and functionalist approaches, phenomenology or critical theories. The course dedicates special attention to the political, social and historical context of social theory, especially in the case of major sociological problems such as integration or inequality. 


  • Scott Appelrouth - Laura Desfor Edles (eds.) 2016. Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory. Text and Readings. Sage, LA, London.
  • Judith R. Blau 2004. The Blackwell Companion to Sociology. Blackwell Publishing, Malden, Oxford. 
  • Craig J. Calhoun 2002. Classical sociological theory. Wiley-Blackwell. 

History of Social Thinking II.

Comparative and Historical Sociology 

The course primarily aims (1) to provide doctoral students with guidance in history of social theory for their doctoral research filed and (2) to help students prepare for their complex final exam 'Social Theory'. Toward these ends, the course will focus on a series of landmark works in the field, past and present, linked to the students' research and scientific work. 


  • Craig Calhoun (ed.) 2007. Sociology in America, A History. The University of Chicago Press. Chicago and London. 
  • Anthony Giddens 1996. The Constitution of Society. California: University of California Press.
  • Judith R. Blau 2004. The Blackwell Companion to Sociology. Blackwell Publishing, Malden, Oxford. 

Methodology I.

The mandatory first semester is dealing with the following questions: data collection methods, conclusions drawn from the statistical tests and hypotheses, causal studies, effects and interactions, as well as general issues such as how we do science, paradigmatic science, institutionalized science, operationalization, data and theories in science, measuring prejudices, the role of meta-analysis, science policy and scientific 'evidence'.


  • Douglas G. Altman, Martin Bland (1995): "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence". British Medical Journal 311 (7003): pp. 485.
  • Peter J. Bickel, Eugene A. Hammel, J. W. O'Connell (1975): „Sex Bias in Graduate Admissions: Data from Berkeley”. Science 187 (4175): pp. 398-404.
  • Alan Bryman: „Social Research Methods”. Oxford University Press 2004
  • Gerd Gigerenzer: „Mindless statistics”. The Journal of Socio-Economics 33 (2004): pp. 587–606.
  • Leslie Kish (1987): „Statistical Design for Research”. John Wiley & Sons, többször pl: Wiley Classics Library
  • Judea Pearl: „Causality”. 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press 2009
  • Michael L. Radelet (1981): „Racial characteristics and the imposition of the death penalty”. American Sociological Review 46: pp. 918–927.

Methodology II.

The second semester is optional: students must choose between qualitative and quantitative questions to be examined.

a. quantitative questions: sources of data, regression analysis, not regression-type problems, the basic methods of investigating social structure, international comparative studies (operationalization, questionnaires, sampling and weighting, spatial and cultural effects, multi-level analysis)

b. qualitative questions: qualitative data collection and research methods, major mixed qualitative-quantitative methods, analysis of multimedia data, individual and socio-cultural narratives, value, and value-free science


  • Paul R. Rosenbaum, Donald B. Rubin (1983): "The Central Role of the Propensity Score in Observational Studies for Causal Effects". Biometrika 70: pp. 41–55.
  • Tamás Rudas (2010): „Informative Allocation and Consistent Treatment Selection”. Statistical Methodology, Special Issue on Statistics in the Social Sciences 7: pp. 323-337. 
  • Richard L. Scheaffer, William Mendenhall, R. Lyman Ott: „Elementary Survey Sampling”. Wadsvorth 1990
  • Tom A. B. Snijders, Roel J. Bosker: „Multilevel Analysis: An introduction to basic and advanced multilevel modeling”. Sage Publications 2004
  • Jacques Tacq: „Multivariate analysis techniques in social science research: from problem to analysis.” Sage Publicatoins 1998
  • Heltai Erzsébet – Tarjányi József (1999): A szociológiai interjú készítése (kézirat) 
  • Gabriele Rosenthal: A történetmesélés gyógyító hatása, in: Bodor Péter (szerk.):Kvalitatív kutatási olvasókönyv - Szavak, képek, jelentés, L'Harmattan, Budapest, megjelenés előtt
  • Kopperschmidt, Josef: Az argumentáció elemzése. In Síklaki I. (szerk.): A szóbeli befolyásolás alapjai I. Nemzeti Tankönyvkiadó, Budapest, 1995. pp. 219-227.
  • Michael Bloor, Jane Frankland, Michaelle Thomas és Kate Robson: Fókuszcsoport a társadalomtudományban: trendek és felhasználási módok, in: Bodor Péter (szerk.): Kvalitatív kutatási olvasókönyv - Szavak, képek, jelentés, L'Harmattan, Budapest, megjelenés előtt
  • Erving Goffman: A terepmunkáról. in: Bodor Péter (szerk.): Kvalitatív kutatási olvasókönyv - Szavak, képek, jelentés, L'Harmattan, Budapest, megjelenés előtt
  • Géring Zsuzsanna : 'Diszkurzív fordulat' a társadalomtudományokban és Ruth Wodak és a diskurzustörténeti iskola. In: Némedi, D. (szerk.): Modern szociológiai paradigmák. Budapest : Napvilág, 2008. pp. 387-406 és 428-457.
  • Kathy Charmaz: Lehorgonyzott elmélet, in: Bodor Péter (szerk.): Kvalitatív kutatási olvasókönyv - Szavak, képek, jelentés, L'Harmattan, Budapest, megjelenés előtt
  • Glaser & Strauss, The Discovery of Grounded Theory, 1967.

Research Colloquium  

One of the central courses at the beginning of the PhD programme is the research colloquium where all candidates are given the opportunity to present and discuss their projects in their initial stages. This course, coordinated by two or more members of the Sess.EuroPhD teaching staff aims at improving the design of a project and exercising presentation skills in an academic setting. Moreover, the weekly colloquium is an excellent opportunity for the exchange of ideas with fellow candidates. In the research colloquium participation is compulsory for both the first and second year students.


  • Justus J. Randolph (2009) „A Guide to Writing the Dissertation Literature Review
  • Walden UniversityPractical Assessment”, Research & Evaluation, Vol 14, No 13 Page 2
  • Howard S. Becker (2008) Writing for Social Scientists: How to Start and Finish Your Thesis, Book, or Article, University of Chicago Press

Tutorial  seminar

Tutorial seminar is based on individual periodic consultations between the student and the tutor. The seminar supports students to get prepared to carry out their independent research and to develop and write the first chapters of their doctoral theses. The seminar outlines key methodological approaches to research in the field of the thesis plan, and help students to put together the literature review (in particular) of their thesis. In conclusion, each thesis starts to be developed in a systemic way. The tutorial seminar is a source of intellectual stimulation of the work of the doctoral students, and helps students to carry out their own research.

Supporting course: academic English and essay writing

This course aims to refine and polish participants' academic and disciplinary written proficiency with a focus on the research article genre as well as to increase their ability to make discipline-specific and strategic choices within this genre in order to adapt articles for specific journal and community contexts. The emphasis is placed on to develop general written language practice, vocabulary, grammar, and textual organization, formal, disciplinary and rhetorical aspects, and different recurring rhetorical patterns in research related publications. 


  • Swales, John & Feak Christine (2012) Academic Writing for Graduate Students, University of Michigan Press  

Elective seminars (announced according to students’ need)

Some Recent Developments in Organization Theory: Industry Impacts, Strategy Implications

The course addresses some recent developments in Organization Science. It sets the focus on the industry level, investigating how firms and other organizations compete, ally, imitate each other or cluster into networks. The empirical justification takes place via a variety of formal methodologies like multivariate analysis, network analysis, computer simulation and the logical reconstruction of decision-maker behavior. The results point out large-scale impacts upon industry development, market structuration and network formation. Constraints and opportunities emerge, shaping the ways how successful firm and firm-cluster strategies are formulated.


  • Péli, Gábor & Schenk, Hans (2015) “Organizational decision-maker bias supports market wave formation: Evidence with logical formalization.” Quality & Quantity (in press) DOI: 10.1007/s11135-014-0122-8.
  • Péli, G. 2009. “Fit by founding, fit by adjustment: Reconciling conflicting organization theories with logical formalization.” Academy of Management Review 34(2): 343-360.
  • García-Díaz, César & Witteloostuijn, Arjen van & Péli, Gábor (2008) “Market dimensionality and the proliferation of small-scale firms.” Advances in Complex Systems, 11: 231-247. 

Qualitative Quantity: the harmonization of qualitative and quantitative research methods

The dream of all social researcher is meeting the criteria of reliability, validity, and generalization. However, like dreams, these also cannot be fully realized. Quantitative and qualitative approaches differentiate exactly when a researcher makes the choice about which of these measurement criteria is the most important for him/her.

Although quantitative and qualitative approaches can be organically connected to each other, if researchers do not look at the human subject of research as a causally controllable being, which is nothing else than the passive container of answers to certain questions, but they try to take into consideration the personal interpretations of the actors. 

The course aims at emphasizing the importance of the (self-)reflection of research activity using examples about all phases of social research, namely data acquisition, analysis and publication. 


  • Kaplan, D.: Methodology for the social sciences, Sage Publ. 2004
  • Bodor, Péter: .Szavak, képek, jelentés - Kvalitatív kutatási olvasókönyv, L'Harmattan Kiadó, 2013

Figurative sociology: Elias Norbert’s followers

Course objectives is to make students familiar with the major trends of research connected to the civilization theory of Norbert Elias and its offshoot, figurational sociology, and to facilitate the assessment, both on a conceptual and a methodological level, of the available options in studying long-term socio-cultural change systematically as a result of interdependent explanatory factors.


  • Elias, Norbert: A civilizáció folyamata. Szociogenetikus és pszichogenetikus vizsgálódások. Ford. Berényi Gábor. Gondolat, Bp., 1987. Összefoglalás, 677-806. old. [Coospace]
  • Elias, Norbert: A szociológia lényege. Ford. Berényi Gábor. Napvilág, Bp., 1999.
  • Duindam, Jeroen: Myths of Power. Norbert Elias and the Early Modern European Court. Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam, 1995. 3. fej., 35-80. old.; 6. fej., 137-158. old.; 7. fej., 159-180. old. [Coospace]
  • Gillingham, John: From Civilitas to Civility. Codes of Manners in Medieval and Early Modern England. Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 6. sor., 12. évf., 2002, 267-289. old. [Coospace]

Approximations to the sociology of migration

A research oriented introductory course to the sociology of migration. Core topics of the sociology of migration are selected on the basis of being covered by a recently finished or ongoing empirical (preferably comparative and interdisciplinary) research by the course leader and his teams. The aim of the course is to introduce the theoretical basis of the selected topics as well as to give an in-depth experience of the research (including hypothesis development, operationalisation, sampling, analysis, etc.).


  • Massey et al  (1993) Theories of International Migration Population and Development Review 19(1993)431-466.
  • Csepeli, Gy. – Orkeny A. and E. Sik (2001) Determinants of Denial and Acceptance of Refugees in Hungary In: Ethnic minorities and Inter-Ethnic Relations in Context, eds.: Karen Phalet and Antal Örkény, Ashgate, Aldershot pp. 85-96.
  • Measuring discrimination (2010)(with Bori Simonovits) in: The Hungarian Labour Market – 2010. eds.: Fazekas Károly, Anna Lovász, Álmos Telegdy, Institute of Economics, HAS, Budapest, pp.120-134. 
  • Case study – Hungary (2010) in:Migrants to Work: Innovative approaches towards successful integration of third country migrants into the labour market, DG Employment, Social Affairs, and Equal Opportunity, Bruxelles, pp. 241-351.

Network synthesis of critical theories

The seminar focuses on connecting various critical theories of classical and late modernity with the help of network theories. In first thematic part of the semester some of the most important critical theories are introduced (Bourdieu, Giddens, Habermas, Honneth, Lash). In the second part network theories are reintroduced as potential meta-theoretical frameworks. Finally an attempt is made to elaborate a comprehensive approach. The semester is finished by a short paper related to the participant’s individual research.


  • Giddens, Anthony (1990) The Consequences of Modernity. Cambridge: Polity. 
  • Giddens, Anthony (1991) Modernity and Self-Identity. Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. Cambridge: Polity. 
  • Giddens, Anthony (1992) The Transformation of Intimacy: Sexuality, Love and Eroticism in Modern Societies. Cambridge: Polity -
  • Giddens, Anthony (1995) Beyond Left and Right — the Future of Radical Politics. Cambridge: Poilty. 
  • Lash, Scott (1999)  Another Modernity, A Different Rationality, Oxford: Blackwell  
  • Lash, Scott (2002)  Critique of Information, London: Sage, 2002.
  • Latour, Bruno (2005) Reassembling the social: an introduction to actor-network-theory. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
  • White, Harrison C. (2008) Identity and control: how social formations emerge. Princeton, N. J., Princeton University Press.

The Roma Minority in Hungary: Scientific approaches

The interdisciplinary course will give an overall assessment of the situation of the Roma in Hungary. The issue is investigated from a comparative, interdisciplinary perspective in a historical context. During the semester the history of the Gypsy/Roma issue is examined in the context of Hungarian national history based on state policy documents. The course challenges the discourse that constructed Roma according to the viewpoints of Hungarian state power and promotes a discourse of equality and human rights. 


  • Gellner, Ernest. “The Coming of Nationalism and its Interpretation: the Myths of Nation and Class,” in Mapping the Nation, ed. Gopal Balakrishnan (London: Verso, 1996), 98–132. 
  • Smith, Anthony D. Ethno-Symbolism and Nationalism: A Cultural Approach. (New York: Routledge, 2009).
  • Kóczé, Angéla and Trehan, Nidhi. “Postcolonial Racism and Social Justice: The Struggle for the Soul of the Romani Civil Rights Movement in the ‘New Europe’,” in: Racism, Post-colonialism, Europe, edited by G. Huggan. (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2009), 50-77.
  • Ladányi, János and Szelényi, Iván. Patterns of Exclusion: Constructing Gypsy Ethnicity and the Making of an Underclass in Transitional Societies of Europe. (Columbia University Press: New York, 2006). 
  • Vidra, Zsuzsanna and Fox, Jon. Mainstreaming of Racist Anti-Roma Discourses in the Media in Hungary, Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies 4 (2014) 12, 437-455.
  • Szikra, Dorottya. Democracy and welfare in hard times: The social policy of the Orbán Government in Hungary between 2010 and 2014, Journal of European Social Policy 24. December (2014): 486-500.
  • Majtényi, Balázs and Majtényi, György. A Contemporary History of Exclusion. The Roma issue in Hungary from 1945 to 2015, (CEU Press: Budapest – New York, 2016).

How to research human rights and international relations?

The course aims to help PhD students learn to apply international relations research methods, to provide them a brief introduction to the art of writing and assessing arguments, and to enable them to present their research results both in written and oral form. The course prepares students for taking conference presentation, and writing abstracts and papers.


  • Martin Hollis and  Steve Smith (1991) Explaining and Understanding International Relations, Clarendon.
  • Christopher Lamont (2015) Research Methods in International Relations, SAGE.
  • Anthony Weston (2000) A Rulebook for Arguments, Hackett. 
  • Alexander L. George and Andrew Bennett (2005) Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences, Belfer Center.
  • Jonathon Moses and Torbjørn Knutsen (2012) Ways of Knowing: Competing Methodologies in Social and Political Research, Palgrave.

Nationalism: new forms and new approaches

The course examines the far-right extremist and ethnonationalist political discourses, which focus on community identities, but strongly affected by the broader social, economic and public processes and by of normative and empirical social science approaches. The courses are focused on issues such as neo-nationalism and nationalization of culture, high and popular culture in the context of neo-nationalism, radical extreme identity-building processes, the interoperability of national and ethnic neo-nationalist attitudes and the extreme right-wing political movements, as well as racism and nationalism in new interaction.


  • Stewart, Michael: „Populism, Roma and the European Politics of Cultural Difference”. In Stewart, Michael (ed.): The Gypsy ’Menace’: Populism and the New Anti-Gypsy Politics. London: Hurst, 2012. 3-23.
  • Feischmidt et al: Nemzet a mindennapokban. Az újnacionalizmus populáris kultúrája. Budapest: L’Harmattan – MTA Társadalomtudományi Kutatóközpont, 2014.
  • Holmes, Douglas R.: Integral Europe: Fast-Capitalism, Multiculturalism, Neofascism. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000.
  • Edensor, Tim: National Identity, Popular Culture and Everyday Life. Oxford: Berg, 2002.
  • Gellner, Ernest: A nemzetek és a nacionalizmus. Budapest: Napvilág Kiadó, 2009.
  • Gingrich, Andre és Banks, Marcus: Neo-nationalism in Europe and beyond. Perspectives from Social Anthropology. New York - Oxford: Berghahn, 2006.


Complex exams

Complex exam topics and literature





Social theory


Outline of the thesis proposal


Guide to the complex exam DOC



  • Curriculum Vitae (1–2 pages) in English with original (not copied) signature 
  • Motivation letter
  • Research plan signed by applicant and supervisor 
  • List of publications
  • A letter of recommendation in English from a qualified supervisor is welcome, though it is not prerequisite for the application. 
  • List of university courses taken 
  • Evidence of sufficient proficiency in English to be able to read English academic literature, to write academic papers in English and to participate in English-language courses: a copy of the certificate of English language proficiency and the results/scores (TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, etc.) equivalent to the Council of Europe's Common European Framework of Reference Level B2 or above.
  • Reference work (length no more than 6000 words), which is an earlier work done by the applicant (e.g.: workshop work, shortened version of a thesis or published scientific paper)
  • Copy of the application fee transfer

The required structure of the research plan to be submitted for the appliaction procedure

  • A brief overview of the items of literature the applicant finds most important for the proposed research;
  • The topic of the proposed research (a detailed description including the aims of the research, the questions to be examined, the topic’s connection to the current state of knowledge in the field and to previous research results)
  • The research methods (theoretic and empirical approaches, systematic and historical aspects, dimensions and techniques of analysis, etc.)
  • The progress of the research to date, steps taken, publications (whether the applicant has started the research in question and if so, in what stage the research is now, has he/she published any of the research results)
  • Expected results (what are the new data or findings, theoretical and perhaps practical benefits the applicant expects from the research)
  • Consultations, consultant/supervisor (whom the applicant has consulted and who the applicant wants to collaborate with in future, ideas concerning a prospective supervisor)
  • Research schedule (the planned stages of research with approximate deadlines)

Procedure for EU citizens

Application period: 15 March – 1 May 2019

Applicants from the EU are required to fill in this application form and send it along with their application documentation to the doctoral school at: until 1 May.

Applicants will be informed about the exact date of their entrance exam/Skype-interview. The Skype interviews will take place between 23 May and 20 June.

Once we receive your application successfully we will send you a confirmation e-mail about it. Applicants will receive a notification about acceptance or refusal until early July. Official acceptance letters will be issued afterwards.

Procedure for non-EU citizens

Application period: 15 March – 1 May 2019

Applicants are expexted to apply and upload all necessary documents on this site til 15 April. 

Applicants will be informed about the exact date of their entrance exam/Skype-interview. The Skype interviews will take place between 23 May and 20 June.

Once we receive your application successfully we will send you a confirmation e-mail about it. Applicants will receive a notification about acceptance or refusal until early July. Official acceptance letters will be issued afterwards.


Tuition fee: For EU citizens 800 EUR per semester. For citizens outside the EU the tuition fee is 1250 EUR per semester.

Application fee: € 50 (non-refundable)

How to pay?

In case of a successful entrance exam non-EU citizens will be requested to transfer the first year's tuition fee in advance in order to get an acceptance letter in order to get the student visa to Hungary.

Bank: Magyar Allamkincstar Rt. // Hungarian State Treasury

Address: 1139 Budapest, Vaci ut 71

Account holder: Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem

IBAN: HU03 1003 2000 0142 6201 0000 0000


While transferring the fees under "comments" please add:

your name this code: AF1T06/09 (e.g.: John Doe AF1T06/09)


Program director

Antal Örkény


Head of Doctoral School, Professor

Program coordinator

International Office, Faculty of Social Sciences


TEL: +36-1-372-2500/6779


Supervisors and proposed topics

The Doctoral School also welcomes applications in research topics other than the proposed ones below. Those who would like to join a research listed below shall contact the teachers who proposed the research topic and prepare the research plan required for the application together with them. Such applicants shall attach the recommendation of the potential supervisor(s) to their application

György Csepeli – Antal Örkény

Labor market and migration in Europe

Demographic and technological change, changes in the division of labor and in the patterns of labor force participation and the current economic and financial crisis have reshaped the way economies and their labor markets, welfare states and societies operate. Together with trade liberalization, labor market reforms and reductions in barriers to labor mobility, these socio-economic developments have not only raised international labor flows in recent decades, but have substantially changed the patterns of labor migration. While labor migration to and within Europe has already been a significant social phenomenon in the past, it arguably can be regarded as one of the central societal challenges of our time. It is widely conceived that the permanent or at least temporary movement of people between countries has lasting effects on labor markets, welfare systems, and societies as a whole in both sending and receiving countries. However, many commentators perceive the socio-economic effects of labor migration as ambivalent. On the one hand, high rates of labor mobility are assumed to create economic, social and political tensions, in particular if mobility is triggered by an enormous gap between sending and receiving countries in terms of income, demographic and welfare state differences. On the other hand, given that industrialized countries in general and some European countries in particular, suffer from the political, social and economic consequences of aging societies, attracting and successfully integrating migrants into the host labor market and society is widely perceived as a prompt solution to these challenges. Thus, in face of severe current and future socio-economic problems, triggered by various economic, political and social changes, labor migration is supposed to bear substantial chances to improve the economic and social situation of people in Europe, but at the same time we can assume that labor migration involves considerable socio-economic risks by creating new inequalities and amplifying those that already exist. 

György Csepeli – Antal Örkény

European and Russian National Identity, Cultural Diversity and Political Change

The main aim of the proposal is to identify commonality and diversity in perception of Europe from the side of the EU and the nearest neighbor countries – Russia and Moldova, to propose the expert recommendations for development of the EU Partnerships Strategies with neighboring counties.  Project will contribute to mutual understanding between nations, development of intercultural communications, identification of similarities and differences of views from European and Russian, Moldavian sides and search for overcoming of contradictions on the issue of perception of what Europe is, its geographical and cultural borders, what people in project partner countries put into the words “being a European”.  The main objectives are to identify the borders of Europe by perception of European, Moldavian and Russian sides, to observe the phenomena of European identity in EU and non EU-countries (Russia, Moldova), to investigate the issue of cultural security in multiethnic European region, spreading the output of the research on the both European and international level. These tasks can be fulfilled with support of strong, competitive and well organized research entity.

Ottó Gecser 

Figurational Sociology

The research topic refers to the conceptual framework or approach developed and used by Norbert Elias in his historical works (such as The Court Society or The Civilizing Process) – and formulated in more abstract terms in his What is Sociology? – with its interpretations, applications, theoretical elaborations, and criticisms. Students interested in the topic may focus on broader debates that pertain to the figurational approach as such; may chose a phenomenon central to the research interests of Elias and his followers and compare it to results of other scholars who have worked within different conceptual frameworks (e.g. the historical changes of interpersonal violence, the emergence of sports, or the processes of informalization); or may design and conduct a new empirical research informed by the questions and concepts of figurational sociology.

Ottó Gecser 

The social production of culture

The production of culture approach (PC) born in the 1970s has, in the last decades, become dominant in American sociology of culture thanks to researchers like Diana Crane, Paul DiMaggio, Wendy Griswold or Richard Peterson. The basic question of PC is how the character of of cultural goods is shaped or determined by the processes of their (industrial scale) production and distribution. The attractiveness of the approach lies in making relevant sociological (i.e. structural/institutional) explanations of culture possible without the danger of reductionism. Students interested in the topic may concentrate on theoretical questions relevant for PC as such, or on its relation to other approaches in cultural sociology; or they may study a phenomenon falling in the purview of the approach on their own. 

Ákos Kopper 

The transformation of borders

What borders mean? What do they do? The nature of borders has radically changed during the past decades. This change is partly caused by new technologies – surveillance, data management – but partly by reconfigurations of political communities. These changes call for critical reflections in order to scrutinize how borders are created by; and how they create political spaces.

Ákos Kopper 

Citizenship and political acts

In his work: „Acts of Citizenship” Engin Isin emphasizes citizenship not as a status, but as a practice, i.e. citizenship meaning active participation in politics regardless of status. How can citizens act politically and thereby create fractures and make differences in politics and thereby undermine prevailing power structures and authority?

Ákos Kopper 

Technologies/practices of governance

How does governance operate? What kind of ’technologies’ are used in post-modern societies to manage and perhaps manipulate populations? What is the role of state, civil and private actors; and, how accepted beliefs/knowledge is produced and reproduced?

Ákos Kopper 

Visuality and politics (films, mangas, images)

Modernity brought visuality to the fore. By today we increasingly communicate with images, with textual messages being cut short, with some doing diplomacy via tweets. How is politics/diplomacy done via visuals? How does it link the local and the global, trespassing cultural/linguistic boundaries? 

Renáta Németh 

Wording of survey questions and beyond

It is proved that survey questions are sensitive to variations in question form, wording, and context. The problem is known in survey methods literature as an argument for standardizing questionnaires. However, the phenomenon has more general, non-technical consequences as well. If black yields other answers than African American, if gay behaves differently than homosexual, if welfare is less popular than assistance to the poor, then the phenomenon gives an insight into the social meaning construction as well. Repeated studies could examine the dynamics of this construction process, we could identify the effect of public discourse/media on it, and these studies could help in understanding reactions to public policies or in introducing such policies.              

Thus researches in wording may have exciting results, however, their methodology is exciting as well. They are implemented using randomized controlled experiments, which are rare in sociology, but are considered as gold standard in the causal literature. Such experiments are mostly conducted online. Online samples generally violate many rules of classic random sampling for practical (but inevitable) reasons.  The question is how to evaluate randomized controlled experiments conducted on online samples from the perspective of validity and reliability.

The dissertation will use current Hungarian surveys, conducted within a study led by Béla Janky at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The topic will follow the two paths sketched above: sociologically relevant pair of notions will be examined through differently worded survey questions, in parallel with the methodological evaluation of the applied online survey experiments.  

Number of positions: 1 

Language requirements: English

Further requirements: advanced research methodologies & statistics

Eszter Pál

Evolutionary Theories in Social Science

The research focuses on the 19th- and 20th-century versions of evolutionary theories in European and American social science. It includes a theoretical/conceptual analysis of these theories as well as their historical/contextual interpretation. The research encompasses both classical and newer versions of evolutionary models within social sciences and those developed in related fields (e.g. psychology, ethology).

Eszter Pál 

History of American Sociology

The topic encompasses the earliest phase of American sociology, the process of institutionalization, as well as later chapters of professional sociology. It includes a wide range of theorists from the founding fathers of American social science at the turn of the century, to the Chicago School researchers, and emblematic figures of post-war sociology such as Parsons, Merton or Lazarsfeld. The research may aim at a monographic study of a certain theorist, group of theorists or a period, but may concentrate on a particular concept in American sociology. Applying an analytical, a historical or a sociology of science perspective would be feasible.  

Eszter Pál 

Social Integration and Exclusion in Early American Sociology

Late 19th-century American social thinking was shaped by reform movements. Questions of social integration and exclusion were addressed by the Social Gospel and settlement movements, as well as sociology and social work (theoretical and practical sociology). Social problems remained in the focus of professional sociology after the turn of the century, with the emphasis on the processes of assimilation and integration of Afro-Americans and immigrants arriving from Europe. The research explores the theoretical and institutional background of developing these concepts.

Eszter Pál 

„Practical sociology” and gender in early American sociology

The practical focus, the close relationship with social reform movements largely contributed to the successful institutionalization of American sociology. Settlement researchers and academic sociologists worked together for decades. For academic sociology however, successful scientific legitimization required strategic boundary work, that is, a separation from more practical fields. The research focuses on the question of how gender issues influenced this process. Leading figures of practical sociology, settlement research, were women excluded from the official academic sphere who eventually had to find their own ways to institutionalize their field. The research explores the institutionalization of American sociology and social policy with a special attention to the role of gender in the process.

Eszter Pál 

The Pioneer of Minority Studies: W.E.B. DuBois

Questions related to ethnic minority groups played a central role in early American sociology, especially the Chicago School. Theories of assimilation of Chicago researchers are well known. Less known are the works of a marginalized, Afro-American researcher, W. E. B. DuBois, the first theorist to emphasize integration rather than assimilation of the Afro-American community as a desired process. History of sociology of recent decades has attempted to rediscover his oeuvre. The research aims at contributing to this revision.  

Eszter Pál 

Medicine and Society

The topic proposes an analysis of chapters of medicine from a STS (Social Studies of Science) perspective. It includes any episode of 19th- and 20-century Hungarian, British or American history of medicine. The research addresses the professionalization of the medical field, as well as the demarcation strategies that created changing boundaries of „official” and „alternative” medicine.

Domonkos Sik 

The phenomenological and institutional characteristics of late modernity 

The aim of these doctoral researches is the theoretical or empirical analysis of questions elaborated in theories of late modernity. Risk society (Beck), network society (Castells), liquid modernity (Bauman), reflexive modernity (Giddens), another modernity (Lash), acceleration society (Rosa) are just few examples of the descriptions of the new, emerging forms of social integration replacing the classical ones such as systems (Parsons). In the doctoral researches these theoretically elaborated transformations are analyzed from an empirical point of view. A special emphasis is given to the question, how the integration mechanisms of classical and late modernity interact with each other, and what are the emancipatory potentials or distortions emerging as their consequence. The methodology and the field of the empirical analyses are open to discussion.

Domonkos Sik

Civic culture and socialization

The aim of these doctoral researches is to study the processes and outcome of political formation. In late modernity not only the civic roles and institutions, but also the frames and content of public sphere are dynamically changing leading to several questions concerning the possibilities of democracy. These can be analysed on Hungarian or comparative data, with quantitative or qualitative methods.

Domonkos Sik

Social suffering and mental disorders

Social suffering became a distinguished topic of critical theories recently. These analyses attempt to highlight those structural effects which result in long term experiences of suffering. The sociology of mental disorders complement this research by revealing the social causes of pathologies such as depression, anxiety or dependences. The doctoral research could analyse the relationship between these two approaches: in what extent does the exposure to social suffering contributes to the development of certain mental disorders? Qualitative and quantitative methods are applicable.

Veronika Szabari

History of Sociology in Central and Eastern Europe

There is a general assumption about the history of Hungarian and Eastern European sociology, according to this history is the history of discontinuities. This narrative appeared, for example in several Hungarian sociologists (for example Tibor Huszár’s and Dénes Némedi’s) works. In 1994, at a university lecture, Professor Dénes Némedi summarized the history of Hungarian sociology in the following words: “The most striking characteristic of the history of social sciences in Hungary is its extreme discontinuity.” It’s true in general that the history of sociology was discontinuous in all European countries, because of a disaster by which the whole continent (among other parts of the world) was touched, namely the Nazi takeover and the Second World War which blocked the development of the social sciences. However, in the case of Eastern European sociology we can speak about several, in fact, a series of upheavals.

Júlia Vajda

The Shoah from a „bottom up” perspective

There is just a tiny proportion in the huge literature of the Shoah that deals with the experiences of the everyday man ‒ irrespectively of which “side” he was part of at the time of the persecution of the Jewish population or from which “side” his/her ancestry is from. Alongside the however low voice of the survivors and their descendants, the voice of the  perpetrators and bystanders and their descendants is missing. According to it, I would happily supervise the doctoral thesis of students, who are curious of these voices, the remembrance of the Shoah, and would like to find them either in Hungary or abroad, either related to the Hungarian Shoah or the genocide abroad, concerning any timeslot of the elapsed more than 70 years and also of the period making the society ready for accepting it. Research of these, of course, integrates working through both, the literature on memory in a broader sense  and also that concentrates just on this period and empirical research, too. However, by now, this latter includes interviewing the few last living members of the generation that witnessed the Shoah and their descendants and written material, as diaries, letters and memoirs. 

Required language: English

Useful additional language: German

Júlia Vajda

Life-story, narrativity, identity ‒ a hermeneutic perspective

I would welcome tutoring the phd thesis of students who are interested in the connections and coherences of the above keywords and are interested in the notions of epistemology and memory studies related to them. Who would be ready to elaborate on the literature of the theme in a broader sense starting from philosophy, through psychology to sociology. According to my interpretation, the above topic comprehends or incorporates also the methodological questions and the methods themselves which enable the researcher to answer empirical questions, and also the empirical research itself. Accordingly, I would appreciate the application of those, who would like to dive into these theoretical questions through a certain empirical research and who plan to quest an empirical problem, that could well be answered by using the method of narrative interview and its hermeneutic analysis.

Required language: English

Useful additional language: German