Comprehensive examination

Comprehensive Examination


  1. The Ph.D. student is required to pass the comprehensive examination after the end of the fourth semester as a prerequisite for starting the second phase of the programme. The student has to have earned 32 academic credits and 86-90 research credits in order to be eligible to attempt the exam. As preparation for the exam, the Ph.D. student must prepare a written report at a length of 9,000-12,000 characters (with spaces but without the list of references) summarising their research results over the first two years of the programme and outlining their research plans for the following two years. The document must be sent to the chair of the examination committee and the programme leader two weeks ahead of the comprehensive examination upon approval by the advisor.
  2. The comprehensive exam is public and evaluated by an examination committee. The committee consists of three members all of whom have at least a PhD degree, with one being from outside the institute where the Ph.D. programme is undertaken (ELTE). The Chair of the comprehensive examination committee shall be a professor, professor emeritus, research professor, or habilitated associate professor of the institution and its members must hold academic degrees. The preferred language of the exam is English.
  3. The comprehensive examination consists of two parts. In the theoretical part of the comprehensive examination, the students shall be tested in a main and a secondary subject. The list of main and secondary subjects can be found in the DSB’s Plan of Study (Annex 1). In the second part, the student gives a 15-minute presentation on the research work they performed during the first four semesters and their plans for the second half of the programme along with the planned scheduling of their publications. The report is followed by a 15-minute-long discussion.
  4. In the theoretical part, the performance of the student is evaluated in each subject individually by the committee on a two-grade scale (sufficient – insufficient). The committee evaluates the second part of the comprehensive examination on a two-grade scale (sufficient – insufficient). The Ph.D. students can repeat a failed complex exam within the same exam period. For students who enrolled in 2016 or later, in the theoretical subjects the student shall receive a written assessment for both subjects, with a summa cum laude, cum laude, rite, or insufficient grade. These assessments shall be part of the qualification of the doctoral degree using the following rule. The main and secondary subjects are counted at a ratio of 2:1, using a four-level grade (summa cum laude, cum laude, rite, insufficient).
  5. A minute shall be prepared of the comprehensive exam.



Can be selected as main and secondary subject: Can be selected only as secondary subject
● Anatomy  ● Behavioural ecology 
● Animal systematics  ● Behavioural physiology 
● Biochemistry  ● Biogeography 
● Bioinformatics  ● Biological plant protection 
● Cytology  ● Biophysics 
● Ecology  ● Biostatistics 
● Ethology  ● Cognitive ethology 
● Evolutionary biology  ● Conservation biology 
● Genetics  ● Evolutionary genetics 
● Human biology  ● Gene technology 
● Hydrobiology  ● Human ethology 
● Immunology  ● Human genetics 
● Microbiology   • Immune pathology 
● Mycology ● Immunological methods 
● Molecular biology  ● Immunology of infections 
● Neurobiology  ● Major transitions in evolution 
● Ontogeny  ● Methodology of teaching biology 
● Physiology  ● Methods of multivariate data processing 
● Plant anatomy  ● Microbial biotechnology 
● Plant physiology  ● Modelling in biology 
● Plant systematics  ● Molecular developmental genetics 
  ● Molecular tumor cell biology 
  ● Neurochemistry 
  ● Neuronal cell- and developmental biology 
  ● Paleopathology 
  ● Plant biotechnology 
  ● Plant molecular biology 
  ● Plant stress 
  ● Protein science 
  ● Psychopharmacology 
  ● Virology 
  ● Behavioural neuroscience
  ● Neuroendocrinology
  ● Cognitive neuroscience