November 24, 2020
(the change of our name was added later)
Recent news: the call for application for Stipendium Hungaricum is now available!
Some information for Applicants to the
Mathematics Doctoral (Graduate) of the
University of Szeged, Hungary
Dear Applicant from a foreign country,
First, please, go to Section
(A), if you are a citizen of the European Union (EU in short);
(B), if you are of Hungarian nationality in a neighboring country;
(D), if you (your country) is eligible for Scholarship for Young Christian People
Second, please read Section (FAQ).
Important: if you write to us or you give your email address to us, then please make sure that your email system should not block our reply. Messages asking us to click on a link to provide that your e-mail system delivers our answer to you will be neglected!
(A) EU citizens
The conditions for EU citizens are the same as those for Hungarian citizens. In particular, EU citizens can apply for a free training together with a stipend from the Hungarian government. The stipend is the same as that for Hungarian citizens, and it covers the living expenses in Hungary. Currently, the stipend is 140,000.- HUF/month for the first two years, and 180,000.- HUF/month in the third and the fourth year. The deadline for application is usually around May 10, and the decision is expected in July.
(B) Citizens of Hungarian nationality from a neighboring country
The same applies as in (A) for EU citizens (and Hungarian citizens).The language of training is Hungarian; however, you should be able to read and (later) write and publish mathematics in English. Note that an applicant can belong to both (A) and (B).
(C) Citizens of countries eligible for Stipendium Hungaricum
The list of these countries is long but it varies from time to time (and even the link to this list can vary). At the time of this writing, the eligible countries are listed under the link given above in the Content. At the time of this writing, the final deadline for application is January 16, 2021. Studying the details, even the fine details, of the application procedure is important, because about half of the applicants were automatically rejected last year because of some missing or non-signed documents. (Their applications did not even reach us in Szeged.) Some related other links: from the University of Szeged, our Doctoral School, its scientific details (enter 120), thesis topics currently announced, and https://doktori.hu/ , where you can reach many information (including some of the previous links) on the PhD training system in Hungary (click on the UK flag at top right to change from Hungarian to English). Note that our Doctoral School is easy to find by its identification number 120 at https://doktori.hu/ . The application should be submitted exactly in the same way as it is explained by the call for application (see at the very beginning of this document). The present document should also be read.
If you miss the deadline for a given year, you have to wait a whole year. Stipendium Hungaricum is handled by Tempus Public Foundation, not by us, the Doctoral School of Mathematics. If Tempus Public Foundation rejects an application because of missing documents, then we will not be able to help later! Please check the language requirements or https://u-szeged.hu/english/study-programmes/mathematics-phd; (or at this link but this second link need not be up-to-date) note that living in a country with English being among the official languages is not automatically sufficient instead of a certificate of fluency in English like IELTS or TOEFL in general. In the previous years, many applicants did not upload all the necessary documents; typically, the statement for application (=signed acceptance of the rules of Stipendium Hungaricum) and/or the language certificate were missing. (Be very careful in studying the instructions of the call for application!) We, mathematicians, will receive and read the documents only of those who will be approved by all of the following: their home countries, the Tempus Public Foundation, and the administration of the Faculty of Science and Informatics at the University of Szeged. Shortly, we the Doctoral School deal only with the mathematical aspects of the applications.
(D) Citizens of countries eligible for Scholarship for Young Christian People
The basic principles are the same as in case of Stipendium Hungaricum, so please read section (C) above. Visit the homepage of Scholarship for Young Christian People mentioned in the Content above and all other links from section (C) except the call for application mentioned there. Note that every topic offered for Stipendium Hungaricum is also offered for you even if this is not separately mentioned here. Note also that it is only mathematical talent and knowledge what the Doctoral School takes into account when ranking the applicants. Instead of (or prior to) the Scholarship for Young Christian People, it is a good idea to apply for Stipendium Hungaricum (check Section (C) above for eligibility), because Stipendium Hungaricum has a larger budget and can accept much more PhD students!
(E) Applicants from the rest of countries
We cannot offer any scholarship, and the tuition fee is 11,000.- Euro/year (five-thousand and five-hundred Euros per semester), to be paid in advance. (The tuition fee can be reduced only exceptionally and only based on (1) significant earlier mathematical achievements, or (2) earlier scientific contact with us, or (3) outstanding progress in research.) The deadline for application is usually around May 10. Recently, there are quite many applicants for (A), (B), and (C). In particular, there are much more applicants for Stipendium Hungaricum than our capacity. Thus, the training in category (D), regardless if the tuition fee is reduced or not, is possible only in exceptional cases. In particular, it is unlikely that we offer category (D) for those who are from countries eligible for Stipendium Hungaricum.
(FAQ) Frequently asked questions about Stipendium Hungaricum
(Q1) (Question 1) What are the most important links where I find relevant information?
(A1) (Answer 1) There are several links for several purposes.
(a) Main page of Stipendium Hungaricum programme and the call for application mentioned in the Content at the beginning of this document.
(b) Available supervisors and thesis topics
(c) https://doktori.hu/ : click on the UK flag, set [Doctoral program by number] to 120; then, among other information, you can scroll down to reach the currently announced thesis topics mentioned above.
(d) What the central administration of our university tells about us https://u-szeged.hu/english/study-programmes/mathematics-phd (updated: October, 2019)
(e) http://www.u-szeged.hu/international-programmes/scholarships/stipendium-hungaricum (on the Stipendium Hungaricum training in Szeged, not only in Mathematics)
(f) http://www.u-szeged.hu/dokint/ (on PhD training in Szeged, not only in Mathematics): click on EN (after the date at the top right corner) to change to English
(g) Let me mention http://www.math.u-szeged.hu/phd/ again, where you can easily see that there are some non-Hungarian PhD students here supported by Stipendum-Hungaricum: those that are marked by (SH).
(h) The Doctoral School is a part of Bolyai (Mathematical) Institute, see http://www.math.u-szeged.hu/mathweb/index.php/en/
(Q2) I am interested in software engineering, computer programing, real computers, image processing, etc. Should I choose this Doctoral School?
(A2) (Answer 1) No! Then you should choose the Doctoral School of Informatics in Szeged, which is another doctoral school! See https://www.inf.u-szeged.hu/phd/en for more information.
(Q3) What will I obtain from Stipendium Hungaricum if my application is successful?
(A3) First of all, it pays a stipend, sufficient for living in Szeged. The stipend is 140,000.- HUF/month in the first two years and (if you pass the so-called complex exam and can continue) 180,000.- HUF/month in the third and fourth years). Second, according to your choice, Stipendium Hungaricum either offers a dormitory place free of charge, or it contributes 40,000.- HUF per month (data from 2017) to your accommodation costs. Also, Stipendium Hungaricum pays some medical insurance in Hungary. You may want to compare these data to those reported at https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/in/Szeged (opens in full window, Ft means HUF = Hungarian Forint).
(Q4) Does a Hungarian PhD degree in mathematics have a good international reputation?
(A4) Yes, surely. First, because Hungarian mathematics and also the mathematics in Szeged have good international reputation. Second, according to the Hungarian law, all PhD theses have to be (more or less) based on mathematical articles accepted in recognized mathematical journals. More details: under the tiny url math-phd-szeged , after switching to English, you can click on ?PhD dissertations? to see all dissertations written so far; half of them have been written and are fully available in English and all of them have English abstracts. The authors of these dissertations, our former PhD students, can be found on MathSciNet, Zentralblatt für Mathematik, and GoogleScholar; with possible exceptions for those few indicated by (inf) or (mat.did) but these topics are NOT offered for foreign PhD students.
(Q5) What is Szeged like?
(A5) Szeged is a pleasant ?university city? with 163 thousand inhabitants. By train, it is two hours from the airport and two and a half hours from the capital. (In day time, trains run in every hour.) In Szeged, there are reasonable public conveyances. See also https://wikitravel.org/en/Szeged .
(Q10) How can I increase the chance that my application is accepted?
(A10) Besides that giving satisfactory information on your earlier studies and scores, if you happen to have earlier mathematical achievements (MSc thesis or, perhaps, mathematical articles, etc.), then you are encouraged to make them available for us. Preferably, by including appropriate links to them, say, in your CV that you have to upload when applying. Important: you can apply only for a concrete research topic of a concrete supervisor; see (A1)(b) above how to find such. You can also apply for two concrete topics (and you can indicate your preference), but it is not allowed to apply for more than two research topics. Those listing more than two research topics we offer orn listing none of them have no real chance. You are advised to contact the targeted supervisor prior to your application; he or she may give you a letter of recommendation; search for ''letter of recommendation'' below. The research plan you upload at the application process should be compatible with the short ''description of the research topic'' you find as described at (A1)(b).
(Q11) In case of earlier research activity, can I continue the research in my favorite topic?
(A11) No! In general, you cannot. More precisely: it is you who should follow the instructions of your scientific supervisor (a professor in Szeged) and you should learn from this professor, not conversely. A professor in Szeged is not obliged to change (and is unlikely to change) his/her research interest for your sake. Furthermore, if your application is approved, then this means an approval to a fixed topic with a fixed professor. However, if your earlier research topic happens to be close enough to that of your supervisor and if you have significant earlier results, then the supervisor might decide so that it is worth continuing; this does not happen often.
(Q12) Do we store your documents (CV?s, transcripts, etc.) if you apply for Stipendium Hungaricum?
(A12) No. Only those will be considered that you upload while filling the electronic registration form. (If you have too many files, then you can include a link to them in your CV.) If you contact a supervisor prior to application for a letter of recommendation, then of course you can send (and you are even advised to send) documents but these documents (or appropriate links) should also be uploaded at the formal application. We do not store the documents you send prior to the formal application according to the call for application (see Content at the beginning of this document).
(Q13) How much does my research plan influence my chances?
(A13) The application procedure requires a research plan. Your research plan is interesting for us only if it matches our offer. The research plan you upload at the application process should be compatible with the short ''description of the research topic'' that you find as described at (A1)(b). We do NOT expect that you write a research plan longer than the minimum number of pages required by the rules of the application procedure. Research plans are not very important for us, mathematicians, because you are expected to choose one of the thesis topics we offer; however, the (non-mathematical) administration of Stipendium Hungaricum insist on research plans.
(Q14) Can I obtain a letter of acceptance from us?
(A14) No, not from us and surely not before the application deadline. First, because before seeing the full list of applicants, we cannot select you for the few places we have. Second, because we can only make a suggestion but the final decision will be made at a higher level.
(Q20) Can I obtain/need I upload a letter of recommendation?
(A20) Yes, the rules has just changed and, among others, you have to upload a letter of recommendation from one of our professors who offer thesis topics! Thus, after contacting the targeted scientific supervisor, see (A1)(b) and (A10) above, you should ask a letter of recommendation directly from him/her, but note that he/she is not obliged to write such a letter. Such a letter expresses only his/her willingness provided you turn out to be the best applicant to his/her thesis topic. He or she may add some adjective to express low or high probability (like 'our experience shows that your documents are better than the average and so your chances are reasonable'). However, no professor can give a firm promise, because (1) we do not know in advance how many and how good other applicants will be, (2) we do not know what your performance at the Skype interview (compared to that other applicants) will be, and (3) what the final decision made by
Tempus Public Foundation (so not by us) will be.
(Q21) What is the language requirement for the training?
(A21) See the next answer below. Once you are here, fluency with English on mathematics is sufficient.
(Q22) Should I present a certificate of my English (like TOEFL, ILTS, ...) when applying for PhD training?
(A22) Yes. Please study the minimum score required by searching “language requirements” in Section (C) in this document and reading the document hyperplinked there. Note that the requirement applies even for citizens of those multilingual countries where English is one of the official languages; see the next question below. (The satisfaction of this requirement will be checked before your applications are forwarded to us, mathematicians. If you do not satisfy the language requirement, we cannot help.)
(Q23) If I obtained my MSc at a university where the language of teaching was English, then is this an appropriate certificate of my English?
(A23) This is NOT always sufficient !!! Read the same document as specified in the previous answer about the policy of our Faculty in this matter.
(Q24) Are there any other foreign language requirements?
(A24) Not for the training, but yes for submitting a PhD dissertation and getting the PhD degree. To submit a PhD dissertation, the knowledge of two foreign languages is required. So in addition to English, you should know another foreign language at basic level. This can be your native language but not always; not every language is accepted. See at menu item “Math-regulations” of http://www.math.u-szeged.hu/phd/ (click on the Union Flag) to see that these requirements are not so difficult.
(Q30) Can I apply if I am an MSc student of the last semester and my MSc degree is expected only after the deadline of application?
(A30) Yes, there is a second deadline for uploading your MSc certificate; read the call for application mentioned in section (C) for details.
(Q31) To whom is this PhD training recommended?
(A31) To creative-minded persons with MSc in mathematics who are ready for some autonomous work and take the usual challenge that research always requires. (The emphasis during the training is put on research.) In particular, the applicants are expected to be familiar with the concept of a mathematical proof and should have seen numerous proofs in their earlier studies.
(Q32) Can I change the chosen field of mathematics to study and the research topic after that my application is accepted?
(A32) No, generally you cannot. You can do this only in the very exceptional cases when this is appropriate also for us. The reason is that we accept applications to given topics and to concrete professors with free capacities.
(Q33) What is the difference between the standard Hungarian PhD stipend mentioned in Sections (A) and (B) and Stipendium Hungaricum mentioned in Section (C)?
(A33) Stipendium Hungaricum provides free accommodation in a students' dormitory or covers (a part of) accommodation costs, upon your choice.
(Q34) I have Hungarian citizenship (including the case of more citizenships such that Hungarian is one of them), can I apply for Stipendium Hungaricum?
(A34) No, then you are not eligible for Stipendium Hungaricum. In this case, you apply only for the standard Hungarian PhD stipend, see Sections (A) and (B).
(Q40) What is the duration of the Stipendium Hungaricum?
(A40) The 2 + 2 year system means that PhD students have to pass their final exam called Complex Exam at the end of the second year, and their scientific achievements are also surveyed then. If their progress is promising, then they can apply for 2 additional years. Also, the progress will be surveyed semiannually during the scholarship. PhD students have to collect ECT points (European Credit Transfer points). If their ECT points are below some critical value at the end of a semester, then they cannot go to the next semester. The Complex Exam will consist of two parts; its theoretical part evaluates how much a student knows from the topics covered by courses; its research part measures the progress in research and evaluates the chance that the student will be able to write a dissertation in time.
(Q41) ECT points and the possibility that Stipendium Hungaricum stops in the meantime, see the previous question, sound frightening. Is there a real danger?
(A41) If you are reasonably talented in mathematics, as expected, you work as expected, and so you collect the ECT points, then there is no significant danger in the first two years. The 2+2 year system is relatively new (started in September, 2016), but so far the majority of our PhD students have passed the Complex Exam and have continued with the 3rd and 4th years.
(Q42) If I keep concentrating on ECT points (see the previous two questions), how can I progress with research?
(A42) There is no danger; the ECT points should not prevent you from research. The training focuses on research. Only 25 of the 120 ECT points (for the first two years) should come from courses (five courses), and the majority of the ECT points should come from your (guided) research activities including writing research plans, giving seminar talks, writing reading diaries on the mathematical literature studied, etc. (See the ''12-page brochure (2010)'' at http://www.math.u-szeged.hu/phd/ after clicking on the Union Flag for some sample courses.)
(Q43) If I have further questions?
(A43) See http://www.math.u-szeged.hu/phd/ (click on the Union Flag) for contact information.
Sincerely yours (and note that I am not a contact person any more; go after (A43) instead of writing to me …)
Prof. Dr. Gábor Czédli