Hungarian and Uralic literary studies, library and information science and folkloristics


Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

Head of the Program: Dr. Attila Simon 


Announcers of doctoral thesis topics in the program: Dr. Tibor Bónus, Dr. Ernő Kulcsár Szabó, Dr. Zoltán Kulcsár-Szabó, Dr. Tamás Lénárt, Dr. Gábor Tamás Molnár, Dr. Attila Simon, Dr. Ábel Tamás

The specific role of the Literary and Cultural Studies in the current - strongly moving and rearranging - disciplinary structure of humanities is to emphasize the fact that humans create (and to a large extent inherit) themselves and their environment in the network of cultural relations. In other words, we only ever come into contact with the world with the help of a mediatory agent, and one of its cultural techniques is literature. Consequently, literary studies needs a strong interdisciplinary orientation. The main components of this orientation are philosophical issues (above all the philosophy of language, philosophical anthropology, philosophy of culture, theories of perception and media, and biopolitics). These complex issues can only be conceived in an interdisciplinary way. These fields of science are the problems of memory, performativity, the body or the affect; the relations between man and politics (community), man and technology, man and media; translation (the mediation of linguistic and cultural strangeness in general) or even questions of visual culture. At the same time, this complex, interdisciplinary character and the strong theoretical orientation serve primarily to expand, articulate and methodologically ground the questions, methods and techniques of access to literature, starting from the conviction that scholars of literature must first and foremost enter into an interpretative relationship with literary texts understood as products of linguistic art. In other words, the above-mentioned orientations (which can be extended) can only play their role properly if they are embedded in the performative practice of rhetorical and poetic reading of literary texts. We welcome applications from students who wish to place their research within this framework.


Comparative Literature

Head of the Program: Dr. Zoltán Kulcsár-Szabó 


Announcers of doctoral thesis topics in the program: Dr. László Bengi, Dr. Tibor Bónus, Dr. Kornélia Deres, Dr. Zoltán Kulcsár-Szabó, Dr. Tamás Lénárt, Dr. Ferenc Vincze.

The comparative literature program of ELTE’s Doctoral School of Literary Studies was founded by Professor Mihály Szegedy-Maszák in 1993 at the Department of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies. Since 2016 the program has been led by Zoltán Kulcsár-Szabó, the current chair of the Department. From the beginnings, roughly 60 successful thesis defences took part within the program’s frames. Several researchers who earned their doctoral (PhD) degree in comparative literature at ELTE found their way to the literature departments of Hungarian universities, some of them teaching as faculty members of ELTE, while others have reached leading positions at national cultural institutions.  

Within the frames of the former, now expiring three years curriculum, the program’s focus was shaped by the classical subject areas of comparative research: examining significant oeuvres and historical developments of Hungarian literature from a comparative angle, foregrounding the contacts with great Western literary cultures (English, French, German) in the 19th and 20th centuries. Among the methodological and conceptual frames, especially the issue of literary canonization, the comparative history and theory of genres, and interart studies shaped the spectrum of individual thesis proposals. Over the years, these became more and more influenced by developments of the field usually subsumed under the category of “cultural studies“ – a category that left a significant impact on the self-understanding of comparative literature as a discipline, too. This can be shown by the increased number of proposals dedicated to research focusing on various phenomena of non-literary cultures understood in a broad sense. The profile of the program remained, on the other hand, enduringly defined by thesis topic proposals offered in fields such as the theory of literary translation or the history and theory of Hungarian and European theatre.   

In recent years – now within the frames of the current two plus two years curriculum that leaves more space for individual project work – the mentioned subject areas have been joined by thesis proposals with thematic focuses on comparative lyric history and theory (with special emphasis on modernism in poetry), approaches to literary phenomena from the angle of media history and theory as well as critical investigations into diverse fields of popular culture. The program supports thesis proposals which aim at the analysis of emerging issues and problems of contemporary societies from the viewpoints of philosophy or cultural theory.

Students of the program have the opportunity of participating in the work of research communities connected to the Department (e. g., projects conducted by the Research Group of Online Critical Edition and the Association for the Study of General Literature). The doctoral elective courses regularly offered by the program, also open for students of parallel programs of the Doctoral School, enable the presentation and critical discussion of the hypotheses and results of individual research projects within the frames of the doctoral curriculum. The program accepts applications of students who earned their graduate degrees in literary and cultural studies and modern philology disciplines, further in aesthetics, philosophy, and theatre studies. Depending on capacities, the program also offers thesis topics for research projects to be carried out in foreign (English and German) languages.


The Hungarian and European Renaissance

Head of the Program: Dr. Iván Horváth



The 'Hungarian and European Renaissance' programme of the Doctoral School of Literary Studies is part of the Department of Old Hungarian Literature of the Hungarian Institute of Literature and Cultural Studies, and most of our authors are current or former faculty members of the department. The doctoral programme 'Hungarian and European Renaissance' has a broader scope than the classical interpretation of the Renaissance: doctoral theses have been written on all periods from the beginning of the Middle Ages until around 1600. The disciplinary background of the programme is similarly broad: the programme is interdisciplinary and plurilingual, so we do not only deal with Old Hungarian literature. In the past decades, we have also collaborated with doctoral supervisors from other disciplines (e.g. historians and art historians), and we do not only support comparative approaches to Hungarian literature, but also to other literatures, including medieval Greek, medieval and Renaissance Latin, Old French, Provençal, and other medieval and early modern literatures, provided that a suitable supervisor is available within the doctoral programme. The tutors of the programme also welcome enquiries on topics related to the cultural history of literature in old Hungary, book history, the history of reading, the history of printing and publishing.

Among the areas researched by the programme's tutors are the manuscript sources of Hungarian literature in the 16th century, paleography, Renaissance textology and manuscript transmission, church history (Borbála Lovas), the history of medieval and Renaissance lyric forms, poetics, medieval literary databases, Hungarian verse texts before 1600, the image of Hungary in European literature (Levente Seláf), medieval and Renaissance Latin texts in the Hungary and in Central Europe, Hungarian and Latin literature until 1600, epic and lyric poetry in medieval and early modern Hungary (Gábor Kiss Farkas), the development of lyrical love phraseology in Europe and Hungary (Gyula Laczházi). Please consider the following examples of dissertation topics defended in our programme in recent decades: Apocalypticism in the sermons of Péter Bornemisza; The early history of bilingual text editions, The mecenature of János Vitéz, The textology of the sermons of György Enyedi, The exemplums of the Érdy Codex, The cult of Mary in preaching in Hungary before 1400; Ancient sources of the political ideology of John of Zredna (Vitéz), The library of Nicasius Ellebodius, Liturgy in the sermons of Pelbár Temesvári, The reception of the visions of George Chrysaphanius, Literary networks in 16th century Hungary.

Our doctoral programme is open to cooperation with other universities and research institutions, and several doctoral theses have been written and defended in co-tutelle form (e.g. with the Sorbonne or the University of Vienna). Each year, the programme's lecturers announce their topics through the website, but for the exact choice of topic, it is advisable to contact the programme leader and the superviser of your choice in the autumn of the year preceding your application.


The Hungarian Baroque

Head of the Program: Dr. Gábor Kiss Farkas 



The Hungarian and European Enlightenment

Head of the Program: Dr. Márton Szilágyi 




Head of the Program: Dr. György Eisemann


The period of the romanticism began in the late 18th century, ending around the middle of the 19th century – although its influence continues to this day. It is an ubiquitous part of daily discourse and culture. The romantic literature is marked by a cult of nature and national speech, heroism and freedom, spirituality and individuality, enthusiasm and imagination, mythology and history, originality and irony.  The mind as in the enlightenment a privileged instrument of the perception is replaced by an rising attention in issues of the emotions an fantasy. Inspiration and creativity become grounded in sentiments, natural experiences and artistic intuition. The research concentrates on the late romantic literary period – on the second half of the century. The prominent writers and poets of this period were Mihály Vörösmarty, Sándor Petőfi, János Arany, József Eötvös, Zsigmond Kemény, Mór Jókai, Imre Madách, etc.

            This project provides with a varied exploration of early modern literature at the poetic turn of the century too, by examining a number of its central themes and postromantic effects (modern mediality and reception, symbolisation and allegorisation, short story and epical points of view, identity and speech, aestheticism as the „aesthetic justification of existence” and anecdotism – from János Asbóth and Kálmán Mikszáth to Géza Gárdonyi, István Petelei and Sándor Bródy etc.).  


Hungarian Modernism

Head of the Program: Dr. Tibor Gintli



Hungarian Literature after 1945

Head of the Program: Dr. Gábor Schein 



The Folklore and Literature of the Uralic Peoples

Head of the Program: Dr. András Bereczki 



Folklore and Literature of Uralic Peoples is a programme of the Doctoral School of Literary Studies. It focuses primarily on literary and folklore topics, but history of culture, history, ethnography and cultural anthropology can also be found among the research areas, as the non-linguistic fields of Uralic Studies. The diversity of the program lies in the fact that the peoples who speak the Uralic languages ​​are culturally very different. The Finnish and Estonian literature has a long tradition, the national language is also a state language, while other Finno-Ugric language speaking peoples are bilinguals and live in minority in Russia. The primary way of life and culture of some Siberian language relatives is still oral: folklore and fiction is not completely separated. Due to the wide range of topics, we tailor the courses to the interests of the current students.

Admission requirements:

- university degree in Humanities with at least good (4) result – for foreign applicants: a Hungarian Studies degree,

- scientific achievement (presentation, lecture),

- presentation of motivations,

- the topic of the future dissertation,

- certified knowledge of at least two foreign languages (mainly Russian, German, English).


The list of courses of the doctoral program can be found here:


Library and Information Science

Head of the Program: Dr. Péter Kiszl

As the only doctoral program in Library and Information Science (LIS) in Hungary, we have the following broad aims: (1) to ensure the supply of research and academic librarians, information experts; (2) to raise the academic competencies and research skill of the staff managing libraries and knowledge repositories; (3) to identify new research directions offering professional development and international connections; (4) to provide scholarly infrastructure; (5) to disseminate research results; (6) to provide practical implications for libraries and other institutions.

The main research areas our program covers are: book, library and press history; information history and information theory; bibliographic control; current trends of reading and cultural learning; digital convergence as co-evolution of social and technical infrastructures; multi-functional library; library management; IT infrastructure, architecture and processes in libraries; information governance and ethics; equal opportunities; research and development information networks; business management and information systems; development of financial literacy; information management; etc.

Our work is linked to all subjects and latest innovations of library and information science, and to myriad strategic strands of the knowledge society. Our program is connected to the Humanities and helps to advance doctoral students within the broad field of Literary and Cultural Studies. It has been operating for more than two decades.

The Institute of Library and Information Science at Eötvös Loránd University (the first of its kind, founded in 1949) offers a full range of qualifications for the largest number of students enrolled in Hungary. Not only does it maintain interdisciplinary research traditions and apply recognised researchers as lecturers, but it also fosters an extensive domestic and international professional network to provide effective support for doctoral students to obtain a PhD degree.


Hungarian and Comparative Folklore

Head of the Program: Dr. Dániel Bárth


From 1996 to 2009, the doctoral program operated within the framework of the ELTE BTK Doctoral School of Ethnography, under the leadership of its founder and mentor, Vilmos Voigt. After the termination of the independent doctoral school of ethnography, it became part of the Doctoral School of Literature.

In the past decade, the program has excellently displayed the thematic openness and diversity that follows directly from the multifaceted nature of folklore as a discipline: it simultaneously characterizes a classic humanistic and modern social scientific character, which includes the empirical cultural studies interest in both historical and contemporary phenomena. This multifaced characteristic is reflected in the program's topic descriptions and the doctoral students' topic choices.

The typical research areas of the last decade within the framework of the program: historical folklore studies, science history of folklore studies (19th–20th centuries), archival sources in the service of folklore studies, historical customs research, the shapes of everyday life in the 18th–20th centuries, priests in local communities, popular and local religiosity, textual folkloristics, folklore of contemporary societies, historical and contemporary identity constructions of Judaism, contemporary religious phenomena, religious history and religious anthropology of peoples outside of Europe, etc.

Students of the program can get involved in research projects at the Department of Folklore, participate in conference organization and publications. They use their archival and fieldwork experience in education.

Supervisors of the program: Dr. Dániel Bárth, Dr. Mária Bernadett Smid, Dr. Kata Zsófia Vincze, Dr. Miklós Vassányi, Dr. Emese Ilyefalvi