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Deadlines are changed so often by the Faculty that the present document cannot be kept up-to-date. Please refer to more reliable sources for deadlines.

Thesis (szakdolgozat) only for students starting before 2006!

By writing and defending their Thesis, students must demonstrate that they are capable of producing a longer piece of academic writing and arguing for their own views against an expert of the field.

Choice of topic

In the American degree courses, generally, DAS and its head are responsible for the professional aspects of the graduation process and the acceptance of the thesis title.

In the English degree courses, generally, DES, DELG and DEAL (i.e., their respective heads) are responsible. The chart below also contains the topic numbers belonging to each thesis field. The Head responsible for the Thesis will assign one of these topics at the submission of the Thesis title and the Candidate will draw a question from this topic at the Final Examination. (topics)

According to the decision of the Institute Council (IC Act, 14 Oct 2003), the person responsible for your graduation procedure at SEAS is the Head of the department your Supervisor belongs to.

11--16English literatureDES
21--24broader English studies (history, art etc.)DES
31--32American literatureDES
41--43linguistics: contemporaryDELG
51--52linguistics: history and varietiesDELG
61applied linguisticsDEAL
91methodology, language pedagogyDEAL
71Canadian and Québec studiesDES
72Australian studiesDES
73Irish studiesDES
21--24British studiesDES
11Medieval studiesDES

MA students may select the topic of their degree thesis from any of the subject areas taught. This holds for supplementary students, too: the previous regulation, prohibiting them from writing their Thesis in methodology, has been repealed (IC Act, 4 Mar 2003).

Supplementary students (AN/AKN), however, are discouraged from writing a Thesis on the same topic as that of their previous degree thesis. What qualifies as the same topic is at the discretion of the Head. If you have previously received a (BA/BEd) degree as an English major, you must hand over a copy of that thesis to the Head when announcing the Thesis title. The copy will be returned to you after the submission of your Thesis.

Students are not obliged to take any specialization course in the subject area of their prospective Thesis (IC Act, 18 Feb 2003). Accordingly, no Specializatin Course Report Form (Szakkurzus jelentô lap) has to be filled in. Note, however, that departments and supervisors have the right to require thesis writers to do certain tasks, like taking a given (set of) course(s).

To facilitate topic selection, departments may publish their suggestions for thesis topics on their notice boards, or students may consult individually with their tutors. (Hint: the SEAS Academic Database contains the expertise of SEAS tutors, which is also detectable from the specialization courses they offer.)


The Supervisor is the tutor responsible for providing professional help for the students in writing their degree Thesis. Supervisors are selected individually by the students from among the tutors (with any rank or position) of the University. (Tutors with part-time positions do, but teaching assistants (gyakornok) do not qualify for supervisor.) Students are allowed to propose an external supervisor -- an expert not employed by ELTE -- but in such cases they must request the consent of the Head, in advance. (The decision of the Head will depend on whether it is possible to find a referee for the proposed Thesis within the Institute.) SEAS has made it obligatory for thesis writers to select a Supervisor. Departments may require that the thesis writer meet her Supervisor on a certain number of occasions.

The Supervisor aids the work of the thesis writer: she recommends relevant literature and courses, comments on the various drafts of the Thesis, suggests changes if necessary, etc. At the same time, she has the right to define the rules of cooperation, e.g., ask for regular consultation, participation at particular courses, the completion of various parts of the Thesis by given deadlines, the reading of specific studies, books, etc. Should students fail to observe these conditions, the Supervisor has the right to deny giving a mark for the Tutorial Seminar of credit-system students. For non-credit-system students, the Supervisor has the right to withdraw. The exact tasks of the Supervisor may be determined more specifically by the departments.

If the Supervisor -- because of some impediment -- cannot continue her advisory work, students may choose a deputy supervisor (with the consent of the Head), whose rights and responsibilities are the same as those of the original Supervisor.

The Supervisor has the right to influence the marking of the Thesis and to be present and rise to speak at the Final Examination of her student, but not to set questions to the candidate or participate in the assessment of the Final Examination.

Tutorial seminar

In the credit system work with the Supervisor is formalized: (non-supplementary) English majors obligatorily, American majors optionally take a Tutorial Seminar (ANN-492, AKN-496, AMN-390. The code of the seminar consists of three parts as described on on this page. They enter this code/these codes in their credit book and the Supervisor signs it and gives them a mark at the end of the term(s).

Submission of Thesis title

The Thesis title submission form (Szakdolgozati címbejelentô lap) can be obtained from the TO and has to be first signed by the Supervisor. Then -- on the same form -- the title and the Supervisor (if not a member of ELTE) are to be approved by the Head, who also sets the topic for the oral Final Examination by indicating the topic number on the form. The submission of the Thesis title must be preceded by substantial preliminary studies of the chosen field. The prerequisites for the submission of the title are as follows:

  1. for English majors, the AN/ANN--299 language proficiency exam: Heads do not sign the form unless students officially certify (e.g., by presenting their credit books) that they have passed this exam; supplementary students are exempt of this prerequisite (withdrawn 24 Feb 2005)
  2. submission of an approximately 1½--2-page (roughly 300--350-word) thesis proposal in English; this should contain the aim and rationale of the research, the methods to be applied, the expected outcome and a list of relevant preliminary readings consisting of at least 4 books or 8 journal articles

In the absence of any of the above the Supervisor and the Head cannot sign the form.

There must be a period of at least 12 months between the submission of the title and the Final Examination in programmes of eight or more terms, and 6 months in programmes shorter than eight terms (ETVSz §62 (4)). Therefore the deadlines for submission of titles are (cf. KTVSz §114 (2)):

For ANN, AMN, AFN students

For AKN students

(Note that to meet these deadlines certain departments may require that you submit the proposal and the form a week earlier to allow time for the Head to consider your title, and to allow yourself the time to rewrite it if it gets rejected. Please inquire at the relevant department.)

Students are to make three copies of the completed and signed Thesis title submission form and have to submit two of them at the Student Advisory Bureau (Diáktanácsadó, MUK A16), the third is for the Head to keep.

Changing or modifying titles

``Students have the right to change the topic of their thesis, but a period of at least

must elapse.'' (ETVSz §62 (6)). After the second modification of the thesis title the University has no obligation of providing a Supervisor (ETVSz §62 (7)).

General requirements of SEAS

In her Thesis the author must demonstrate her maturity for a university degree, that is, a degree equivalent to an MA. SEAS requires and strictly guards this international standard. Thesis writers should therefore be prepared to receive thorough criticism and realistic assessment of their MA theses, or even to get their work back for rewriting if it does not pass (i.e., gets a grade 1). They are requested to accept the fact that at this level strict criticism or even refusal are concomitants of serious academic work.

Degree Theses are expected to demonstrate that their authors are capable of synthesizing acquired knowledge, making the first steps necessary for scholarly work, and applying the methodological, technical and stylistic tools required in English language academic argumentation.

Citation and plagiarism

Theses are expected to review the recent (and, if necessary, the not so recent) literature on the topic, cite abundantly from it (including other successful theses written on the topic) either agreeing or disagreeing with the sources. It is important, however, to put all citations from others between quotation marks, and indicate immediately afterwards the page(s) where they originate from.

By writing their name on the Thesis, students officially state that it is their own work. Should the Thesis -- at any place -- contain someone else's ideas without acknowledgement or words without quotation marks and precise references, the student will be charged for plagiarism, and the Thesis will automatically be failed (i.e., receive grade 1).

Certificate of research

Each submitted Thesis must contain the following declaration inserted before the inner title page (note that DAS requires another formula, given in their specific requirements):


By my signature below, I certify that my ELTE M.A. thesis, entitled
is entirely the result of my own work, and that no degree has previously been conferred upon me for this work. In my thesis I have cited all the sources (printed, electronic or oral) I have used faithfully and have always indicated their origin.
Date: .......................... Signed: .........................

Length, language

The Thesis must be typed or printed. The required length is minimally 80000 n, i.e., 40 standardly typewritten pages. (Departments may require longer Theses, but no Thesis written for an M.A. degree at SEAS may be shorter than this.) The title page, abstract, table of contents, notes and references are not included in this length. The language of the Thesis is English. The technical apparatus should be consistent and should conform to the English or American norms, and to the conventions of the particular subject. The latter are to be discussed with the Supervisor. (For further details also consult the specific requirements of the departments.)


The study should start with a short abstract, summarizing the most important ideas and results of the work. This should be followed by a detailed table of contents. The body of the text is, ideally, divided into chapters and subchapters. Thus the typical structure is as follows: Certificate of Research, Title Page, Abstract, Contents, Text (with chapters and subchapters), Conclusions, Notes (if applicable), References (a list of works referred to), Appendices/Illustrations (if applicable).

Title page, front cover

What the front cover and the title page should look like is illustrated below.

[thesis cover page] [thesis title page]
Cover page Title page

If possible, print the following on the spine:

   SZAKD. -- {author's name} -- {major's code}--{year}   

The material within {braces} is to be supplied as appropriate. The majors' official Hungarian names are: ``Angol nyelv és irodalom szak'' for AN/ANN/AKN, ``Amerikanisztika szak'' for AM/AMN.

Submission of Thesis

Theses must be submitted in two copies (one bound in hard cover and one stitched or ring-bound) to the Faculty's Student Advisory Bureau (MUK A16). Submission deadlines are as follows (cf. KTVSz §115 (1)): are specified by the Registrar every term (typically the last Thursday of March/October.

Should someone miss the Thesis submission deadline, their Final Exam will be postponed by one term. Requests for the extension of the Thesis submission deadline are to be submitted only in very exceptional cases, and should be addressed to the Faculty's Studies Committee (Kari Tanulmányi Bizottság).

The Thesis may be submitted in the term the Candidate obtains the Final Certificate or during the following three years. The Faculty's Studies Committee may extend this period by three further years (ETVSz §63 (3)).

The copies of the Thesis are forwarded to the Institute by the TO. The roles of the two copies are as follows:

  1. refereed copy (hard-bound): the secretary of the Institute puts an Institute seal on it, registering it for the SEAS Library; after refereeing, the Department gives it back for inspection to the author, she can read the comments included in it on the spot, but is not allowed to take the copy out of the Department office
  2. the Supervisor's copy (stitched, or ring-bound): the secretary forwards it for inspection to the Supervisor, who is supposed to return it to the Department before the start of the exams period to make sure that there are enough copies available at the Final Exam; after the exams the Supervisor can either keep it or give it back to the Student.

Students are advised to have a third copy made of the Thesis to keep for themselves and bring it to their Final Examination.


The Referee is appointed by the Head after the submission of the Thesis. Her name is not disclosed to either the Candidate or the Supervisor before her report is ready. The Head herself may also act as a Referee. If, however, she is the Supervisor, she has to nominate a deputy to take over the task of assigning the Thesis to a Refereee. At SEAS the Referee cannot be the same person as the Supervisor (IC Act, Apr 1995). The Referee may be a professor, associate professor or senior lecturer, including colleagues in part-time positions. She may also be an expert outside of ELTE, but only must be an expert with a PhD or ``dr.univ.'' degree (changed 28 Feb 2005). (An external referee may only be appointed if the Supervisor is a member of the Institute.)

After the Candidate has received her report, the Referee may (but is not obliged to) discuss the evaluation with her and give her advice for preparation for the defence.

Evaluation, grading

The Referee gives the grade for the Thesis. The report may be written either in English or in Hungarian, but the grade must be written in Hungarian, placed in a separate line. The report should contain the specific questions the Referee wishes to raise at the Final Examination. The Referee's report should be completed in four copies by 30 April or 30 November, respectively, unless the Faculty requires otherwise. The Referee is to send one copy immediately to the Supervisor and the remaining three copies, together with the Thesis, are to be submitted to the Department secretary (one copy for the Candidate, one for the Department, and one for the TO). At this point the Candidate has the right to read the report, irrespective of the fact that the final grade might still be changed as a result of the Supervisor's opinion.

In deciding the final grade, the Supervisor has a say: the practice of this is determined by the Department (e.g., meeting for the Referee and Supervisor, simultaneous evaluation and grading, etc.). In case of disagreement, the Supervisor may communicate her opinion by writing up an evaluation of the Thesis and sending it to the Referee and the Head (and the Candidate). If the Supervisor has expressed her opinion, and her grade differs from that proposed by the Referee, then they try to reach a compromise in formulating the final grade. In case of doubt, the Head assigns the Thesis to a third person, whose decision all the parties must accept.

If the Supervisor does not object within a week, the Referee's grade is considered as final.

Further procedures

The Department files the evaluations of the Thesis and indicates unambiguously what the final grade is (if necessary, the Head is entitled to sign a written statement) and sends one copy back to the TO. Candidates can pick up all the evaluations of the Thesis at the Department a week before the exam-period at the latest (KTVSz §117 (4)).

The Institute's copy of the evaluation(s) is to be attached to the first page of the Referee's copy of the Thesis and handed over to the Library after the Final Examinations, where it is stored thereafter.

Repeated submission

If the Thesis is failed (i.e., receives grade 1), the Candidate has to submit a new Thesis. This may be a corrected, redrafted version of the first one, or a completely new study, on a different topic. In such cases the title submission deadlines do not apply, the student my attempt the Final Examination in the next examination period (ETVSz §67 (1)). Since from a legal perspective the Thesis forms part of the Final Examination the submission of the Thesis for a given degree course may be attempted three times, i.e., reattempted twice (KTVSz §124). An accepted Thesis may not be rewritten for a better grade.

Acceptance of an OTDK paper

Heads may accept -- without refereeing -- OTDK (National Conference of Students' Scholarly Circles) papers that have won the first prize and automatically grant them a grade 5 if they satisfy the criteria set for theses (ETVSz §64 (6)). The defence of the paper at the Final Examination, however, may not be waived for any Candidate (KTVSz §118 (1)).

Departmental requirements

Some departments (DAS, DEAL, DELG, DES) have prepared a detailed account of their requirements, the suggested thesis writing procedure and the criteria of assessment. Further information about these may be obtained from the respective Departments and the Supervisor.

last edited on Sat Feb 21 22:37:51 CET 2009, by