Protocol for the Comprehensive Examination


See: DE BDT Doctoral Regulations, 13.§ The comprehensive examination

Stage One: registering for the examination

1. Full-time doctoral students submit their academic performance report for semester three to the secretary of the doctoral school (SDS) not later than 15 February.

2. After perusing the academic performance reports for semesters 1-3, the SDS checks

a, whether the student has obtained the required 90 credits;

b, whether the student has completed all the required courses;

c, whether the student has a new academic publication (of a  study or book review) in the period since joining the doctoral programme (an official certificate of acceptance from the editors of the publication is also acceptable);

The SDS informs the members of the Council of the Doctoral School (CDS) about the names of those students who have met the preconditions of registering for the Comprehensive Examination not later than 22 February. The list is also sent by the SDS to the Secretary of the Faculty Doctoral Council (SFDC).

3. The doctoral student registers for the comprehensive examination not later than the last day of February, using the registration form of the Doctoral School. The form can be downloaded from the website of the Doctoral School and from that of the Faculty Doctoral Council, or obtained in the office of the Faculty Doctoral  Council. 


4. The supervisor evaluates the progress of their candidate, using the purpose-made form Supervisor’s assessment of the candidate’s academic progress” ( This assessment, which is a precondition for registering for the examination, has to be submitted simultaneously with the registration to the Secretary of the Faculty Doctoral Council (SFDC).

5. After consulting the students and supervisors about the registration procedure and the examination subjects, the subprogramme director (SPD) draws up their preliminary recommendations concerning the examination subjects and the examiners (i.e. a three-member examination committee). This document, which has to reach the SDS by the end of February, makes three recommendations for each examiner, indicating priorities. It also contains recommendations concerning the assigned reading material of the examination: three items per subject, in the region of 60-80 pages per subject – 120-160 pages on aggregate. These assignments should be standard secondary sources in the relevant field.

  1. „ The board of examination shall consist of at least three members, and at least one third of them shall be persons who are not in the employment of the institute where the doctoral school operates. The chairperson of the board of examination shall be a faculty member or researcher with the title of full university professor, habilitated university associate professor, habilitated college professor, Professor Emeritus or doctor of the Academy. All members of the board of examination shall have academic degrees. The supervisor of the doctoral student must not be a member of the board of examination.”


Stage Two: Deliberation

1. The SDS (secretary of the doctoral school) checks formal aspects of the recommended committees, unifies the list of committees (also finalises the list of recommended assigned readings, the avoidance of anomalies for candidates being a chief priority) as well as sending them to the mailing list of the Council of the Doctoral School. Approval of this list is carried out by electronic voting by the first week of March (or November, in case of a cross-semester).

2. The SDS makes a list of the proposed chairpersons as well as the two members of the examination committee (also naming two plus two standby members respectively), also approved by the head of the doctoral school.).

3. In its March meeting (the third week of March is the regular date / November for cross-semesters), the FDC approves or makes the final decision about the candidate’s registration, the examination subjects and the composition of the examination committee. Immediately after the CDS’s decision, the secretary of each subprogramme sends out invitations to the proposed members of the examination committee (the invitations, sent out from the electronic address of the Doctoral School, bear the signature of the SPD, the SD and the SDS), appealing for a reply as soon as possible. In the case of positive replies, the SDS draws up the final draft of the memo to be sent to the FDC (signed by the SD); if the answer is negative, the SDS proceeds to approach the next name on the list, following the order of priorities among the standby members until the examination committee is complete and the memo can be finalised. The invitations are to be done through the form used by the doctoral school and all correspondence must be forwarded to , in which the SDS registers the invitation procedure for the doctoral school.


Stage Three: Preliminary arrangements

1. After the FDC’s decision, but before the end of March, the secretary of the subprogramme asks the appointed examiners (members of the examination committee) to double the reading assignment by assigning three further items per subject (in the region of 60-80 pages per subject, 120-160 pages on aggregate) and send the list to the secretary of the subprogramme within a week of the receipt of this letter.

2. The list of assigned readings for the ‘theoretical’ part of the complex examination, comprising 12 items, is registered by the secretary of the subprogramme, who then sends it via email to the candidate, not later than 10 April (10 December for cross-semesters).

3. The deadline for submitting the dissertation proposal of 4000-4500 words (plus bibliography), which forms the basis of the other, ‘practical’, part of the complex examination, is 31 May. The proposal is sent by the student to the secretary of the subprogramme in a pdf format – accompanied by the written approval of the supervisor –, who in turn sends it on to the members of the committee and the secretary of the doctoral school. The supervisor evaluates the subject, “Hypothesis of Thesis” (BTP2IDI_KUT_9) on a five grade scale in the electronic record-keeping system. The dissertation proposal is sent to the members of the examination committee by the secretary of the subprogramme.

4.The final arrangements before the comprehensive examination (negotiations concerning date, time and venue) are the responsibility of the secretary of the subprogramme. Information about the final details (date and venue) must reach the secretary of the subprogramme by 31 May (December for cross-semesters). The secretary of the subprogramme then advertises the comprehensive examination on the website of the Doctoral School, and sends all the examination details on to the FDC.


Stage Four: The Examination

1. The arrangement of the technical details of comprehensive examinations, conducted between 15 and 30 June (January for cross-semesters), is the responsibility of the subprogramme. Travel costs incurred are also reimbursed by the subprogrammes; the technical arrangements of the financial transactions are the responsibility of the staff member of the host institute of the doctoral subprogramme who is in charge of finances.

2. The comprehensive examination consists of two parts. In the theoretical part, the candidate gives account of their knowledge of the two subjects (primary subject and secondary subject), while the practical part is virtually a defence of the dissertation proposal, during which the candidate presents the results of their research and of further evidence of the progress they have made. The supervisor may attend the comprehensive examination; at the end of the proposal defence, the supervisor may participate in the open discussion; the supervisor, however, can participate neither in the actual examination nor in the discussion of the examination committee deliberating about the candidate’s final grade.

3. The evaluation of the comprehensive examination follows the rules given in the Doctoral Regulations. The result of the examination is announced at the end of the examination; it is the responsibility of the chairperson of the examination committee that the minutes reach the SDS, who, in turn, makes a duplicate which is made public via the electronic correspondence function of the Council of the Doctoral School. The SDS sends the original copy of the minutes to the FDC.

4. In the event of failure, the comprehensive examination may be repeated once, not later than 31 August (January for cross-semesters). These regulations also apply to the approved postponement of comprehensive exams.

5. “The doctoral student may only register for the fifth semester of the doctoral programme after successfully completing the comprehensive examination.” (DR, 13.§ 9.) The FDC registers the completion of the comprehensive exam with the “technical credit” “Comprehensive exam” (BDTKV), which does not earn any actual credits.


UD DSLCS’s list of subjects for the theoretical part of the COMPREHENSIVE examination

British and North American Literature and Culture Study Programme

Primary subjects:

  1. The History of American Literature from the beginning to the 19th Century
  2. The History of 19th Century American Literature
  3. The History of Modern American Literature
  4. The History of Canadian Literature
  5. The History of 19th and 20th Century British and Irish Literature
  6. The History of Theatre and Drama in the English-speaking Countries
  7. The History and Theory of Media in the English-speaking Countries
  8. Postcolonial Literature in the English-speaking Countries
  9. The History of North American Politics, Society and Culture

Hungarian Literary, Modern Philological and Cultural Study Programme

Primary subjects:

  1. Old Hungarian Literature and Culture
  2. Classical Hungarian Literature and Culture
  3. Modern Hungarian Literature and Culture
  4. Media Theory and History
  5. French Literature and Culture
  6. Dutch Literature and Culture
  7. German Literature and Culture
  8. Italian Literature and Culture
  9. Russian Literature and Culture


Secondary subjects at DE IKDI (language and field-specific):

  1. Literary Theory
  2. Cultural Theory
  3. Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies
  4. Aesthetics
  5. Theatre Studies
  6. Religious Studies
  7. Folklore
  8. World History
  9. Cultural History
  10. Film History
  11. The History of Philosophy


Updated: 2021.05.04.

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