Stages of the Program

Applicants who get admitted to the Doctoral Program become Probationary Doctoral Candidates. The period between the date of their enrollment and the successful passing of the Comprehensive Examination is referred to as "probationary period". Probationary Doctoral Candidates become Doctoral Candidates after passing both parts of the Comprehensive Examination. Currently, PhD students have a maximum of six years to finish their dissertations, and can receive a stipend from CEU for a period of 36 months in total. Incoming students can see the funding opportunities here.

The Doctoral Program in Political Science is structured around the following stages:

  • Year 1: completion of the taught coursework, Comprehensive Examination
  • Year 2-3: completion of Doctoral Research and Activities, funded research 
  • Year 4-6: research with individual funding, defense of the dissertation

Year 1

During their first year, probationary candidates are expected to complete the majority of the coursework required to finish the program (60 ECTS / 30 US credits). This entails that in the first academic year students need to attend courses and take part in research activities. During this probationary period, students are supervised by temporary supervisors, who advise them about their study plans and about their work on their prospectus.

At the end of Year 1, after completing the taught courses, Probationary Candidates need to pass the Comprehensive Examination. This examination comprises the oral exam and the evaluation of a submitted prospectus (the research proposal that will form the basis of the students' research, and later, their doctoral dissertation).

You can find more information about the types of courses here, and can read more about the required number of credits and the details of the Comprehensive Examination  on this page.

Year 2-3

Students will complete most of the taught courses in the first year. During year 2 and 3 students will continue completing doctoral research and activities. After successfully passing the Comprehensive Examination, PhD students need to dedicate the majority of their time to their individual research with the support of their supervisors. Doctoral Candidates present their research to their Supervisory Panel twice in every academic year, by submitting at least one new or substantially revised chapter of the dissertation to the panel.

CEU encourages Doctoral Candidates to spend at least three months at another university during the research period for their candidacy. Doctoral Candidates are eligible for financial support to conduct off-campus research related to the topic of their dissertation in conformity with the general rules of research support as regulated by the university. 

Note: Students enrolled before 2023 receive a stipend until the end of their third year, and are required to reside at CEU main campus for the entire duration of the doctoral stipend (during term time). Students enrolled in 2023 and later wil receive stipend until the end of their fourth year.

Year 4-6

The current stipend provided by CEU for its Doctoral Candidates runs out after three years (36 months), which means that from year 4 students need to find alternative funding sources (research grants, part-time jobs) to finish their dissertation. The stipend received from CEU during year 1-3 can also be postponed to these later years if the student can secure alternative funding during their initial years, thus extending their financial security already at the beginning of the program. Six months before the planned submission of the dissertation, PhD students can also apply for a CEU write-up grant.

The doctoral dissertation must be submitted for evaluation and public defense no later than six years after the doctoral student’s enrollment to the Doctoral Program. Extension to this six-year deadline can be requested only in exceptional circumstances.