18. § The Complex Examination

(1) Prerequisites for applying for the complex examination:

a)         Fulfilling the requirements with regard to foreign language proficiency.

The prerequisite for a successful complex examination is a level ‘B2’ or above complex state-recognised language exam certificate or equivalent, for which the documents must be presented at least 5 days prior to the date of the complex examination.

b)         Collecting at least 120 credits in the training and research phase of the doctoral programme, as specified in the training plan (except in the case of doctoral candidates preparing individually for the doctoral degree, whose student status is established by passing the complex examination). The certificate of completion of 120 credits is issued by the Directorate of Academic Affairs (DAA). The credits required for the issuance of the credit certificate must be collected, registered and certified in NEPTUN no later than 5 working days before the examination date.

c)         Only doctoral candidates who have fulfilled the minimum publication criteria at least 5 working days before the date of the examination may be admitted to the complex examination. If the publication required for admission to the complex examination is not recorded in the Hungarian Science Bibliography, the acceptance declaration must be submitted to the Office of the Doctoral School.

(2) The complex examination consists of two main parts: an assessment of the doctoral student’s theoretical-methodological preparation (‘theoretical part’) and a report on the doctoral student’s scientific progress (‘dissertation part’).

(3) The complex examination must be taken in public, in front of a board. The examination board consists of 3 members, at least one third of whom shall not be employees of the University of Pannonia. The complex examination board is approved by the DDHC on the proposal of the head of the doctoral school. The Office of the Doctoral School will coordinate in advance with the members of the examination board and will officially notify them of the date of the examination.

(4) The chairperson of the examination board shall be a full professor, habilitated associate professor or professor emeritus/emerita or a researcher with the title of Doctor of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and not be employed by the University of Pannonia.

(5) All members of the examination board shall hold an academic degree. The doctoral advisor of the doctoral student may not be a member of the examination board.

(6) The professional composition of the examination board at the DSBM:

  • chairperson of the examination committee,
  • the examiner of the research methodology,
  • the sub-programme leader or the sub-programme representative,
  • the secretary (minute-taker).

In order to ensure that one third of the members of the board are external participants as required by the government decree regulating the complex examination, the chairperson shall be external, the examiner of the research methodology shall be internal, the examiner of the sub-programme specific knowledge shall be internal, and the secretary shall be a non-voting minute-taker with at least a pre-degree certificate in a doctoral programme at the University of Pannonia.

(7) Although the doctoral advisor is not a member of the examination board, he/she is obliged to evaluate the doctoral student’s work in writing beforehand, and is required to attend the complex examination of his/her doctoral student. The doctoral advisor shall prepare the preliminary written assessment no later than 15 working days before the complex examination and shall contribute to its submission to the Office of the Doctoral School. On the one hand, the doctoral advisor’s evaluation shall present the doctoral student’s work done so far, his/her most important scientific achievements, the quality of the cooperation between the student and the doctoral advisor, and on the other hand, it shall briefly describe the advantages and disadvantages of the research design submitted for the examination. The doctoral advisor shall declare whether he or she recommends that the doctoral student continues his or her doctoral studies. The doctoral advisor’s evaluation shall be a minimum of half a page and a maximum of one A/4 page.

(8) In the ‘theoretical part’ of the complex examination, the candidate has to convincingly demonstrate his/her knowledge of the methodological background of the doctoral thesis and his/her knowledge of the scientific context of the research topic. In the fourth semester of the programme, the candidate shall prepare a research plan (research design) for the dissertation in the form of a submitted paper, in which he/she formulates the personal reasons for the choice of the topic, its topicality, social, economic and environmental context, the research objectives and the research questions. Furthermore, he/she shall present the basic principles of the research methodology, justify the choice of the methodology by referencing supporting literature, aim to present a complete description of the methodological tools that he/she intends to use in the future (methods adapted to the research topic, data collection and data analysis tools, etc.), and prepare a critical review of the research topic based on literature. The doctoral student shall submit 1 printed and 1 electronic copy of the 20-30 page paper to the Office of the Doctoral School by 31 May at the latest (completion of the written module). In the oral module of the ‘theoretical part’ of the examination, the examination board will put exam questions in two subject areas on the basis of the written paper submitted, and will inspire the candidate to a debate and professional consultation, during which it will ascertain the candidate’s broad methodological and scientific knowledge. For the oral module of the ‘theoretical part’ of the complex examination, the DSBM will pre-define topics to support the successful preparation of the doctoral student on the basis of the submitted paper. 

The paper to be submitted shall serve a so-called dissertation support document. The content of this should be at least 20 pages (+ title page, table of contents, bibliography, annexes), on A/4 paper size, with 2.5 cm margins, line spacing at 1.5, written using Times New Roman size: 12, the paragraphs separated by tabs, and on one side of the paper, the pages shall be numbered in the bottom right-hand corner. The research methodology section of the submitted paper must be at least 10 pages long. The submitted paper must be explicitly suitable for a substantive discussion on the methodological adequacy of the dissertation in two subjects in the complex examination. In the discussion, the candidate should have a convincing knowledge of the methodologies studied in the methodological courses to be applied in the dissertation (research methodology) and be able to adapt it to the sub-programme area (sub-programme specific subject matter). 

When applying for the complex examination, candidates must declare on the application form whether they intend to use a qualitative or quantitative or a mixed method in the paper to be submitted. The aim of the statement is to provide the DSBM with a reference point to support the mastery of the research methodology and sub-programme specific topics in preparation for the complex examination.

(9) In the ‘dissertation’ part of the complex examination, the candidate will give a 15-minute presentation on his/her research activities and possible results, the research timetable for the second stage of doctoral training, and the timetable for the preparation and publication of the doctoral dissertation.

The examination board asks questions with regard to the content of the presentation. At this stage, the doctoral advisor has the opportunity to evaluate the candidate’s work up to this point in a maximum of 5 minutes and to state whether he/she considers the candidate to be suited to successfully complete the doctoral programme, and whether the timetable and publication plan are realistic.

(10) The DSBM organises complex examinations no more than twice a year, at the end of the autumn and spring semesters, except in exceptional circumstances, which are to be determined by the head of the DSBM. The complex examination should be organised in such a way that both the ‘theoretical’ and the ‘dissertation’ parts are conducted in front of the widest possible professional public, but without the public interfering with the candidate’s successful performance. Depending on the number of candidates for the complex examination, the ‘theoretical’ and ‘dissertation’ parts of the examination can be held on the same or on different days, immediately after each other or with a longer break but on the same day. All members of the examination board must be present at all times during both parts of the examination, regardless of pursuant to which schedule the examination being conducted.

The first part of the complex examination consists of the dissertation part, where the candidate gives a free presentation of his/her paper followed by a discussion in the form of a scientific meeting, while the second part of the examination consists of the theoretical part, which is formally conducted in front of the examination board (answering the questions posed in the form of an examination).

(11) The candidate’s performance will be assessed after the two parts of the examination without the public being present. The examination board evaluates the theoretical and dissertation parts of the examination separately, and prepares detailed written report with evaluation of the complex examination, including a text evaluation of the doctoral student’s work from an academic point of view, signed by the members. The result of the exam must be announced on the day of the oral exam.

The examination board will retire after the second part of the examination, grade the candidate’s performance in each part of the examination and announce the result after the examination has been completed and the last candidate has been graded.

(12) A complex examination is successful if a majority of the members of the board deem that the candidate has passed both parts of the examination.

(13) Both parts of the complex examination will be graded by means of a text grade (pass, fail):

– successful if both parts are assessed to have been passed;

– unsuccessful if any part is assessed to have been failed.

(14) In the case of an unsuccessful complex examination, the doctoral student may retake the examination one more time in the given examination period (repeated complex examination).

Given that the theoretical part of the examination is based on a paper the preparation of which takes longer time, the complex examination may be repeated before registration for the 5th semester of the model curriculum, at the latest by 31 January or 31 August. In the case of a repeated theoretical examination, the candidate must submit the amended paper to the Office of the Doctoral School by 15 January or 15 August at the latest, failing which the candidate will be excluded from the doctoral programme. If the theoretical part of the examination is accepted by the board, it is not necessary to resubmit the paper, but both parts of the complex examination must be retaken.

(15) The complex examination can be taken in either Hungarian or English. If the Hungarian native-speaking doctoral candidate prepares the ‘theoretical’ part of the examination in English, the examination will be conducted in Hungarian (however at the candidate’s express request, the examination board may decide that either part of the examination will be conducted in English). If the doctoral candidate is a non-native speaker of Hungarian, all elements of the complex examination must be conducted in English. (16) The doctoral student is obliged to attend the complex examination on the date set by the doctoral school, if he/she is unable to do so due to childbirth, illness or on any other reasonable grounds, he/she may request a written postponement in advance, addressed to the head of the doctoral school, or submit a request accompanied by a credible proof for the reasonable ground within 72 hours after the examination to attend the resit complex examination. It is only possible to organise the resit complex examination until the last day of the examination period; in case of non-attendance or unsuccessful examination, the doctoral student will be excluded from the programme.