Central European University

Central European University
Közép-európai Egyetem
Latin: Universitas Europae Centralis
Type Private
Established 1991
Endowment $880 million[1]
Rector Michael Ignatieff
Academic staff
Students 1,380[3]
Postgraduates 940
Location Budapest, Hungary
Campus Urban
Website ceu.edu

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] It is considered as one of the most prestigious universities in Central Europe for social sciences and humanities.

CEU has two schools, including the School of Public Policy and CEU Business School, 13 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.[4]

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"[5] 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.[6] CEU has extended its outreach and financial aid programs to certain areas of the developing world.[7]

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.[8]

On 1 August 2009 Rector Yehuda Elkana was succeeded by human rights leader and legal scholar John Shattuck.[9] On May 5, 2016, it was announced that Michael Ignatieff would succeed Shattuck, becoming the fifth president and rector of the university.[10]

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.[11] 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.[7]

Departments and programs


  • 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
  • School of Public Policy
  • Sociology and Social Anthropology[12]

Degree programs

CEU Entrance

One-year master’s degree programs

• MSc Program: IT Management (business school )

Two-year master’s degree programs

Doctoral programs

Student support

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.[14]

In addition to its financial aid, CEU rewards academic excellence of its current students through various research grants and achievement awards. Additionally, different schools or departments within the University offer scholarship schemes suitable for their candidates.[15]

CEU Library and OSA

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.[16]

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[17] 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 placed CEU among the world's top 100 universities in the social sciences category.[18]

All programs of Central European University are highly competitive. The university is placed 29th worldwide in the field of politics and international studies,[19] and among the top 51-100 worldwide in philosophy[20] by the 2015 QS World University Rankings. The University also ranks among the top 51-100 worldwide on the 2015 QS Subject Rankings for sociology. It also places for history (101-150), economics (151-200) and legal studies (151-200). Additionally, despite its small size and young programs (fewer than a hundred students), the Economics department of the university has recently ranked eighth in Europe by the ERC (European Research Council), based on research excellence.[21]

The CEU Business School offers the thirteenth best MBA program in Europe, according to the QS TOPMBA survey 2012.[22] In this survey, CEU Business School is consistently placed among the twenty best business schools in Europe.

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.[23][24]

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 Slovak universities.[25]

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.[15]

Central European University is not present in general world university rankings, for it is only a postgraduate institution and lacks undergraduate programs of study.

Summer University

CEU’s Summer University is an academic program 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.[15]

CEU Press

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.[15]

Notable faculty

Notable alumni

Residence Center

Modern accommodation facilities available at CEU Residence Center are one of the many advantages of studying at CEU. The Residence Center features comfortable, furnished, air-conditioned, non-smoking single rooms for approximately 400 graduate students. Each room has a private bathroom. Rooms are furnished with bed, desk and chair, wardrobe, bookshelves. Free internet connections are available in the rooms through LAN cable. The residence center housing is automatically offered to CEU top students.[26]


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Central European University.
  1. 1 2 Labi, Aisha (2 May 2010). "For President of Central European U., All Roads Have Led to Budapest". Retrieved 15 June 2016 via The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  2. "Faculty and Staff - Central European University". Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  3. "Students - Central European University". Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  4. Central European University 1989-1999 - Ten Years in Images and Documents, ISBN 963 85230 4 2
  5. http://www.praguepost.cz/archivescontent/13126-central-european-university-to-leave-prague.html
  6. ceu.hu - Welcome from the President and Rector Archived 17 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. 1 2 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-03. Bard College: About CEU and Budapest
  8. George Soros Steps down as Chairman of CEU Board Archived 23 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ceu.hu - John Shattuck Commences Term as New CEU President and Rector Archived 6 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. "Michael Ignatieff Elected 5th President and Rector of CEU". Central European University Newsroom. May 5, 2016. Retrieved May 14, 2016.
  11. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-14.
  12. "Schools and Departments - Central European University". Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  13. "Degree Programs - Central European University". Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  14. ceu.hu - Financial aid Archived 2 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. 1 2 3 4 Central European University - Contributions to Hungary
  16. CEU Library Webpage: Mission Statement Archived 2 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  17. "About Us - OSA Archivum". Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  18. "CEU in Top 100 Universities for Social Sciences in Latest Times Higher Education Rankings - Central European University". Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  19. "QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015 - Politics & International Studies". 22 April 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  20. "QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015 - Philosophy". 22 April 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  21. European Research Council - Economics Archived 1 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  22. "Europe - Global 200 Business Schools Report 2013/2014". 24 October 2013. Archived from the original on 4 February 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  23. Excellence Group: Political Science
  24. "Felvi.hu". Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  25. http://www.lidovky.cz/nejlepsi-fakulta-ve-stredni-evrope-duj-/ln_noviny.asp?c=A110221_000115_ln_noviny_sko&klic=241450&mes=110221_0[]
  26. "Student Accommodation - Ceu Residence Center". Retrieved 15 June 2016.

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

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