Choose another institution in PhD Programme
Faculty/course name/academic level:

Faculty of Science, PhD in Biology, PhD

Course status

HAC accredited

Starting date(s) (following optional prep. course)


Max number of students


Min number of students


Duration of the course

3 years (30 months) + approximately 1 year (10 months) doctoral procedure (comprehensive exam and defence)

Language requirements

English (CEFR B2, Cambridge ESOL FCE or TOEFL iBT 66)

The aim of the doctoral training is to prepare students for academic research and lecturing activities and to provide them with opportunities for further academic training. There are 6 PhD schools and 26 programmes to choose from. The PhD programmes run parallel to those taught at the undergraduate level. The duration of studies is 3 years. During this period the chosen topic is researched with the guidance of a supervisor, organised courses are given and in order to obtain a PhD degree the student has to take a final examination and submit a thesis, written on their special topic.

Since 1993 the Faculty of Science runs PhD programmes in all branches of natural sciences. PhD programmes are organised into PhD schools (Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences (since 2006), Mathematics and Physics) approved by the National Accreditation Board. The high scientific standard of the PhD training is guaranteed by members of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Doctors of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences as well as many other PhD holders taking part in the programme as lecturers, supervisors or school/programme leaders. Many internationally acknowledged scientists and experts participate in the work of the PhD schools as lecturers of short courses and seminars.

Objectives: Except for the purely theoretical topics the programs are practice oriented: 90% of time is laboratory/field research. The special, one-semester courses and seminar series are organized on current scientific problems to deepen students’ knowledge on the theoretical background of their research project and the methods that they are using. Emphasis is also put on developing skills in publication (writing papers), in preparing grant application and in project management. Thus Ph.D. graduates will be able to pursue their own research project independently and to organize and supervise their own research group.

In the theoretical part of their program, Ph.D. students have their own curriculum assembled from the permanent and temporary courses and seminar series, which are organized and announced yearly. After these, students prepare written and/or oral reports about selected topics of a course or a seminar series thorough reviewing literature. They can get help in this by (regular) consultations with the lecturer. Credit of the course or seminar series is earned if the lecturer finds the report acceptable and rates it at least as passing.

As their practical program, Ph.D. students have a research project. They work under the supervision of principal investigators (who have Ph.D., and are mostly professors or associate professors). An important criterion of obtaining a Ph.D. degree is authorship in two scientific papers, written from candidate’s work and published in international journals. The candidate must be first author on at least one of the papers.

As the culmination of the Ph.D. program, the candidate must go through a “Ph.D. procedure”. This involves: 1) an examination by a committee about topics in two selected fields of science; 2) writing and orally presenting a “Ph.D. Thesis”, which summarizes the results of candidate’s research work. Two independent referees (experts of the field) will review the “Ph.D. Thesis” and a committee from both teachers of the program and independent experts will evaluate the oral presentation, which is followed by an open discussion of thesis work. The performance of the candidate during the “Ph.D. procedure” will determine the quality of her/his Ph.D. degree.

List of the Ph.D. programs Ten Ph.D. programs are presently available in biology. More than 100 research projects are associated to these programs in both the departments of Eötvös Loránd University and in other research institutions outside the University. These are funded financially by a number of various sources, for example by the National Research Foundation, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and, in the case of international research collaborations, by various European and American grants. The programs are the following: Theoretical Biology and Ecology, Ethology–Behavioral Biology, Immunology, Experimental Plant Biology, Classical and Molecular Genetics, Molecular Cell and Neurobiology, Neuroscience and Human Biology, Structural Biochemistry, Zootaxonomy, Animal Ecology and Hydrobiology, Evolutionary Genetics, Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation Biology.

Eötvös Loránd University