PhD Programme in Language Pedagogy

ELTE School of English and American Studies

1088 Budapest, Rákóczi út 5. phone:(36-1) 485 52 00 extension 4424 , email:




Programme Information

Course Structure

Neptun codes& credits

Course Outlines

Teaching Staff

Supervisors &

      Research Topics

Student Research

APA Guidelines


Practical tips



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Admission Requirements







Programme Information




Programme Information - for students starting their studies in 2016 or later

Programme information - for students who started their studies in 2015 or before



Programme Information

- for students starting their studies in 2016 or later


The content of the programme following the structural changes in 2016 is very similar to the programme before the changes. The programme information below is therefore mostly valid in the case of professional issues. Please note, however, that in the new programme 'Individual consultations' do not count as courses. Individual consultation takes place throughout the programme as the course participants' research unfolds and progresses. Another difference is the credit system, but this is still being refined. Also the pacing of courses and research work is different. Please refer to the course and research schedule here to have an overview of how to plan the different stages.


The Doctoral Regulations of ELTE (v.2016) in English is available from here.

Further regulations and forms are available in Hungarian from .


Information, regulations and forms in English for foreign students are available from .



More information will be published as the Doctoral School makes decisions regarding important procedures.


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Programme information

- for students who started their studies in 2015 or before


The Doctoral Regulations of ELTE (v.2013) in English is available from here.

Further regulations and forms are available in Hungarian from .




1  Doctoral Training (Doktori képzés)

     1.1  Requirements for Content Courses (obligatory and elective)

     1.2  Requirements for Research Seminars

     1.3  Requirements for the Research Proposal

     1.4  Guided Research – Individual Consultation

                    1.4.1 Finding a supervisor

     1.5  Obtaining the Certificate of Completion of Training (Absolutorium)

     1.6  The Credit System

  1.6.1  Obligatory and elective courses

  1.6.2  Research activities

   Obligatory research activities

   Elective research activities

  1.6.3  Teaching 

2  Doctoral Procedures (Doktori Fokozatszerzési Eljárás)

     2.1  Comprehensive Doctoral Examination (Doktori Szigorlat)

     2.2  Dissertation Completion Procedures

           2.2.1 The Pre-submission Screening     

           2.2.2 The Dissertation 

     2.3  Dissertation Defence

     2.4  Schedule

3  Other Requirements

4  Dismissal

5  Responsible Authorities of the Programme

    5.1  Programme Director

     5.2  Director of Studies

     5.3  Programme Council

     5.4  Entrance Examination Committee (Felvételi Bizottság)

     5.5  Dissertation Proposal Committee (Témavázlati Bizottság)

     5.6  Pre-submission Screening Committee (Előbírálati Bizottság)

     5.7  Comprehensive Doctoral Examination Committee (Doktori

           Szigorlati Bizottság)

     5.8  Dissertation Examination Committee (Védési Bíráló Bizottság)


In order to complete the PhD programme, a number of requirements need to be fulfilled. There are three parts to these requirements:


(1) Doctoral training, which consists of the completion of the coursework specified, completing an acceptable research proposal, undertaking guided research, and producing three published papers based on this research; the doctoral training ends in the attainment of the certificate of the completion of training (absolutorium).


(2) Doctoral procedures, which consist of passing a comprehensive doctoral examination (doktori szigorlat), and writing and defending a dissertation.


(3) Other requirements set by the University.


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1 Doctoral Training (Doktori képzés)


1.1 Requirements for content courses (obligatory and elective)


General requirements are as follows:

- active participation in seminars, with a maximum of three explained and justified absences;

- completion of all reading assignments;

- a pass mark for a piece of written coursework, submitted by an agreed deadline.


Different courses will demand specific tasks and therefore have somewhat different task-specific requirements. For example, literature reviews might be expected to be somewhat shorter and empirical studies somewhat longer than the guidelines below. However, the following framework is the norm:


Length: Assignments will normally be 3,000 to 5,000 words in length, i.e. 12-20 double-spaced pages.


Style: The paper should be of publishable quality in its contents, style, formatting, and bibliographic references (APA - see the page on APA guidelines for reference). It should use the language and layout appropriate for communicating with an academic readership. Papers must be double spaced.


General nature of task:


-  a critical review of relevant literature, with consideration of the pedagogical implications;


- an original empirical investigation or a replication of an empirical investigation, with appropriate content: syllabus, materials or test critique, report of a data-gathering exercise in relation to pedagogy broadly defined classroom work, test validation, report of a trial of materials, etc;


-  a test of critical understanding of important concepts in the field.


Criteria for evaluation:

- presentation: to display the language, organisation and layout appropriate for communicating with an academic readership

- content: to reflect analytical reading, interpretative understanding and personal reflection; where appropriate, a comprehensive and critical review of the literature; an adequate presentation of the theoretical support for the study reported; a clear and logical presentation of the study or proposed study; an adequate critical consideration of the weaknesses and/or implications of the study in question;

- approach: to show an understanding of one or more approaches to research design, instrumentation, analysis and interpretation.


Scale used and meaning of grades: Assignments are marked on the five point scale. Late submissions are only marked 1-4, and the fact that the assignment was submitted late is recorded.

- 5, i.e. ‘Pass with Distinction’ is awarded to papers that provide new insights into the issue under investigation, or that show signs of original and relevant reflection, and which are publishable in terms of the quality of the content (even if more limited in terms of the data, and in length).

- 4, i.e. ‘Good Pass’ is awarded for good academic work.

- 3, i.e. ‘Average Pass’ is awarded for work that meets the criteria, is thorough but lacks the depth of a superior quality.

2, i.e. ‘Pass’ is awarded to a paper that meets the criteria stipulated.

- 1, i.e. ‘Fail’ is given to work that is hard for the reader to understand and follow, contains serious inaccuracies, is unclear in argument, unsupported by academic sources, does not cover the topic adequately and is largely irrelevant to the central issues of the topic. Superficial papers without any proper focus are failed.


Deadlines and policy on late submission:


Deadlines for the submission of seminar papers are to be negotiated with the course tutor. The deadlines for seminar papers should be set between the last session of the semester and two weeks before of the end of the exam period. It is important to bear in mind that the deadline for submitting credit books (‘index’) to the Doctoral Office is the last day of the exam period (unless otherwise specified by the Doctoral Office). The tutors determine the submission deadlines so that they have enough time to read and mark papers before credit books are to be signed and submitted.


If the paper is not submitted by the agreed deadline, no credit (signature, mark, credit points) is granted for the course and the Doctoral Office will cancel the course in the credit book. The maximum number of elective courses for which a student may register but fail to obtain credit during his/her doctoral studies is TWO. Should a participant fail an elective course, they cannot retake the same course.




A short extension of maximum 2 weeks is allowed if negotiated and agreed at least one week before the original deadline. Late submissions that had not been given an extension will be marked 1 to 4. Note: Please remember that in order to have a valid mark, even the extended deadline must allow time for the course tutor to assess the paper.


A full extension of maximum one semester may be obtained in very exceptional cases (e.g., illness, study-trip abroad, or to rewrite a failed paper) on condition that it is negotiated and agreed with both the course tutor and the Director of Studies of the programme. For a full extension permission needs to be sought from the Dean through the Doctoral Office. In the case of a major impediment, it is advisable to postpone studies rather than apply for extensions.


Extended deadline:

- for autumn semester papers: no later than the start of the exam period of the spring semester of the following year

- for spring semester papers: no later than the start of the exam period of the following autumn semester.

Should the student fail to hand in the paper by these deadlines, s/he will not obtain credit for the course and the Doctoral Office will cancel it in the credit book.


Students may be granted the opportunity to rewrite their assignment for a higher grade, but in such cases the revised work must be submitted by an agreed deadline. A rewritten paper that is still not good enough cannot be rewritten again. Furthermore, rewriting will not be allowed in the case of an extended deadline. This rule applies to those papers as well that have been submitted with an extended deadline and have received mark 1.


Deadlines for staff to return coursework to students with grades and feedback:


Work submitted on time should normally be returned to students within one month after the deadline. However, if the deadline is set closer to the end of the exam period, it is the tutor’s responsibility to return the assessed work at least two days before the credit books are due to the Doctoral Office. Work submitted late need only be returned at the beginning of the semester following the date of submission.


Staff members are requested to keep in mind that the students’ deadline for submitting their credit books to the Doctoral Office is the end of the exam period. Therefore it is important to tailor the deadlines for submissions of course assignments accordingly.


Supervisors are requested to aid their students in meeting the requirements and deadlines of the courses they take up.


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1.2 Requirements for Research Seminars


A course description of the Research Seminars is provided in section 1 of the Course Outlines page. The paragraphs below are concerned with a few formalities of these seminars.


As in the case of other taught courses, attendance is compulsory, and is checked. A maximum of three justified absences is allowed.


Oral presentations are an important part of the research seminars. They provide an opportunity  to develop the skills necessary for presenting at professional or academic conferences or seminars. Thus, when required to make a presentation, course participants are expected to pay attention to the following features:


- Timing: normally 20 to 30 minutes are allowed for the presentation and 10-15 minutes for questioning, unless specified differently by the course tutor. These limits should be observed. Time limits may vary depending on the task and the number of class participants.

- Structure: the presentation should be clearly structured and, if appropriate, the audience should be informed of the organisation of the talk at the beginning.

- Clarity and illustration: the talk should be clearly presented, with appropriate illustration – handouts, power point slides, etc.

- Content: the talk should relate to the student's research, preferably in the area of their dissertation. It might present a pilot study, a proposed design for a larger-scale study, a description of methods, or of results. If substantive results are not yet available, speculation on their likely nature is allowed. The presenter should endeavour to reflect on what they have learned from the experience which they are presenting.

Presentations will not normally be graded, although feedback will be given by the tutor. However, an excellent presentation can be taken into account when the written assignment is being graded.


The written assignment may be a version of the oral presentation, in which case it is expected to meet the normal requirements for coursework (see 1.1 above) and the criteria for the evaluation will be the same. However, the content of the research seminar paper can develop beyond the content of the presentation, and it will also be evaluated on how well the author has taken account of any criticism or suggestions made during or after the oral presentation.


Two copies should be submitted to the Research Seminar tutor as each paper will be evaluated by two members of staff.


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1.3 Requirements for the Research Proposal


The research proposal is a summary of the content of the planned dissertation; it allows the dissertation proposal committee to examine the contents of the intended dissertation in order to give feedback and then to pass formal judgement on the research topic and the intended approach.


The research proposal should

- state the problem or area being researched and why it is of interest

- present the research question(s)

- present a brief overview of the relevant literature

- present the implications for the research from the literature review, and design either some

   procedure for preliminary data analysis based on the literature, or a design for a pilot study

- (where already conducted) report on the pilot study or a preliminary analysis

- draw conclusions for the main study or the full analysis on the basis of the experience of the

   pilot work

- present the detailed design of the research/ subsequent analysis

- present a detailed schedule of work to be done, with milestones and a timetable

- indicate what the likely content of the final dissertation will look like


It has to

- be related to language pedagogy

- be connected to and drawing upon current theory or issues of a theoretical nature

- be written in a suitable academic style

- be feasible in terms of scale, time-schedule, instrumentation, access to data sources, and     

   time for analysis and writing up

- show evidence of having been piloted and revised where appropriate

- show evidence of awareness of the need for valid results in whatever research   

   paradigm is used

- show evidence of having received supervision, and of having heeded advice.


The main criterion for the adequacy of the proposal is that it should be “reviewer-friendly”, that is, it should contain all the necessary information required for the evaluation of the intended dissertation. A good proposal is

- accurate, that is, correctly reflects the purpose and content of the planned work;

- self-contained, that is, defines all the key terms and concepts, abbreviations and acronyms;

- concise and specific.


The proposal should be between 4,500 and 5,500 words in length (i.e. approximately 18-22 double spaced pages), and should be prepared in consultation with the proposed supervisor.


The research proposal must be submitted electronically and in three hard copies to the tutor of Research Seminar 4 and must be endorsed by the supervisor.  Submission deadline: August 25 or January 25,  or by the date agreed upon in Research Seminar 4. (Usually the end of the summer following RS4) Research Proposals that are submitted late will only be dealt with at the beginning of the following semester.



The  research proposal is assessed by the Dissertation Proposal Committee, consisting of the supervisor or the tutor of Research Seminar 4, the Director of the Programme and the Director of Studies, except where one of the latter two is the supervisor, in which case they will be replaced by a suitably qualified member of the teaching staff of the Programme. The members of the committee give written  feedback on the proposal and accept the proposal or return it for  re-writing. The supervisor is also invited to give written feedback. Accepted proposals are discussed at an interview where at least two members of the committee are present and the supervisor is also invited. The purpose of the interview is to help the author to clarify issues that may influence carrying out their dissertation research and writing it up by giving an opportunity to discuss these. Formal acceptance of the proposal, granted at the interview, must be gained before beginning to write the dissertation.


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1.4 Guided research – Individual Consultation


Programme participants are required to be engaged in guided individual research throughout their studies. Typically from the fourth semester onwards they will be attending Individual Consultation with their supervisor. Fulfilment of this requirement is confirmed by the tutor/supervisor like any other taught course at the end of every semester when taking these sessions. To get credit for one semester of supervision (Individual Consultation) at least 4 sessions (face-to-face, or via email) of consultation have to be completed. In the case of supervision by a tutor who cannot sign the credit book (for example, tutors doing distance supervision) evidence of adequate supervision must be supplied by the tutor. Students receiving distance supervision, will have their credit book signed by the Director of Studies based on the evidence provided by the tutor.


1.4.1 Finding a supervisor


The supervisor is responsible for overseeing their student's research. It is essential that students find a supervisor in the first two years of the programme. Supervisors can be chosen from the list of accredited consultants of the Doctoral School. Click on the link to go to this official list of supervisors and suggested research areas. The Programme Director or the Director of Studies can give advice on choosing and contacting supervisors.


In working with the supervisor it is important to understand that while the supervisor provides help in designing the research both as far as research methods, content and the writing up go,  they must make sure that the dissertation is the student's own work, and it is not their responsibility to proofread the dissertation for language either. It is always the student's responsibility to seek assistance and supervision by making appointments for personal consultation or by initiating online contact.



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1.5 Obtaining the Certificate of Completion of Training (Absolutorium)


The absolutorium is a certificate issued by the clerk responsible for studies issues in the Doctoral Office at the request of the student on completion of all the doctoral training requirements at the end of the sixth semester. Apart from completing all the required courses, students must have three publications and a conference presentation in English before obtaining the absolutorium.  For more details regarding these compulsory research activities (see Section There is, however, a deadline on obtaining the absolutorium: it must be applied for within 30 days of completing the required coursework, but latest within 72 months of being admitted to the programme. This means that the programme participants must make sure not only to complete their coursework but also to submit their published papers and to obtain the necessary language certificates by that time.


The absolutorium is a prerequisite to commencing the examination parts of the doctoral procedures (see section 2 below).


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1.6 The credit system


The doctoral programme consists of three main parts, adding up to altogether 180 credits:


Type of activity


1. Doctoral training       (obligatory)


2. Publications


3. Further academic activities    (obligatory + elective)


4. Tertiary teaching       (elective)


Total number of credits to be obtained



For a more detailed overview of the credit system, go to the 'Credits to be awarded for different activities'  section on the Neptun codes & credits page.


1. Obligatory and elective courses (112 credits: 7 credits/unit, i.e., 16 courses altogether)

2. Publications: A minimum of three publications (24 credits)

3. Further academic activities: This comprises at least one conference presentation in English and further - elective - research activities. ( 16 credits)

4. Tertiary teaching: (max. 28 credits: 7 credits/unit - 1 unit equals one ninety-minute session per week) - If you are not in a position to teach such courses, you can earn these credits by publishing or doing other academic activities, but a request form has to be submitted to the Doctoral Office.


The following sections explain the elements of the credit system:


In order to have a ‘valid’ semester, at least 14 credits should be earned. This may originate either from two course units, or from other research activity as well (described in Sections 1.6.2).



1.6.1 Obligatory and elective courses


Altogether 16 units are to be taken up during the doctoral training and each unit is worth 7 credits. Credit points may only be granted if the course tutor acknowledges the completion of course requirements. Achievement is graded on a five-point scale (see Section 1.1). No credit may be given for a failed course.


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1.6.2 Research activities


Research activities fall into two categories: obligatory and elective. Obligatory research activities


All students are required to have three papers published in Hungarian or international journals, edited volumes or books before applying for the absolutorium. At least one of the papers is to be published in English, the rest may be written in any other language that falls within the competence of the Programme Council (Responsible Authorities). At least two of the three papers are to be single authored and at least  two are to be published in refereed journals or volumes. All papers are to be based on original theoretical or empirical research, i.e., book reviews or conference reports are not accepted. For possible forums of publication see the Journals page. Credit may only be granted for papers that have already been published or have been officially accepted for publication. These 24 (=3x8) credits cannot be accounted for by credits obtained for other academic activities.


It is also required to present at least one conference paper in English at a conference where papers are screened on the basis of an abstract and application does not ensure automatic acceptance. (6 credits) Elective research activities


To obtain further credits, students can choose from the activities listed below.

- paper presented at a conference either in English or in any other foreign language (4 credits)

- paper presented at a conference in Hungarian (students with a different native language can do

   it in their own mother tongue) (4 credits)

- papers (other than the 3 compulsory publications) published under the same conditions as

   specified in Section 1.6.1. (8 credits/paper) Co-authored papers may also be accepted (credits

   to be negotiated with the Director of Studies)

- editorial work (proof of the work must be provided)

- compiling (published or unpublished) course material or lecture notes (proof of the work must

   be provided)

- other academic activity (working as a research assistant, performing research tasks,

   conference organization, administrative duties within the programme, etc.).


The procedure for claiming credits is described in detail in the Registering credits for research and tertiary teaching section on the Neptun codes and credits page.



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1.6.3 Tertiary teaching


Participants cany obtain credits for teaching subjects related to language pedagogy at higher education institutions. One unit (i.e., one double period per week) is worth 7 credits and the maximum number of credits that can be earned by teaching is 28. - If you are not in a position to  teach such courses, you can earn these credits by publishing or doing other academic activities, but a request form has to be submitted to the Doctoral Office.


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The procedure for claiming credits is described in detail on the Neptun codes and credits page.


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2 Doctoral Procedures (Doktori fokozatszerzési eljárás)


In order to commence the doctoral procedures, an Application must be submitted to the Faculty Doctoral Committee.


The application form and further information on what to submit are available from the  Doctoral Office. ( )


The major steps in the doctoral procedures are the taking of the Comprehensive Doctoral Examination (Doktori Szigorlat), handing in and defending the dissertation. It is at the starting of the procedures that the topics of the comprehensive examination are determined.


The doctoral procedures must be started no later than 3 years after obtaining the absolutorium. Applications are accepted up to 5 years after obtaining the absolutorium but certain sanctions apply, such as having to take a mock defence or submitting extra papers in the area of the dissertation. The Doctoral Office has to be notified about both the sanction(s) given to the student and the fulfilment. N.B. These timeframes are subject to change, they must be checked with the Doctoral Office. The schedule is presented in an 'at-a-glance' table in section 2.4.


The doctoral procedures officially start when the Faculty Doctoral Committee has issued approval of the application. Since this may take some time, candidates are advised to let the Programme Director know about their intention to start the procedures as soon as possible so that there is enough time to put together the recommendation for the comprehensive examination committee and the defence committe, and submit the application to the Doctoral Office before the Committee meets.


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2.1 Comprehensive Doctoral Examination (Doktori Szigorlat)


Candidates have to pass the Comprehensive Doctoral Examination between the official start of the doctoral procedures and the defence of the dissertation. This exam is a prerequisite of the defence.


The Comprehensive Doctoral Examination is intended to be broad in coverage of the topics of the PhD Programme in Language Pedagogy, and examines the candidate's fitness to discuss and treat issues in different related areas.


The examination is an oral examination in front of a board of examiners, the Comprehensive Doctoral Examination Committee (section 5. 7 below), and it consists of an exploration of the candidate's familiarity with and expertise in three areas, suggested by the candidate from a list prepared by the Programme Director of the PhD programme. One of these is the so-called main topic, and should normally be closely related to the topic of the candidate's research. The two subsidiary topics, which the student chooses, are typically related to courses they took during the PhD programme. They must, however, be taken from two separate areas, and it is not allowed to choose the same area as the main topic. In this way, a broad coverage of the field of Language Pedagogy is ensured.


The Comprehensive Doctoral Examination will normally take about 60 minutes. For the main topic, the candidate is expected to make a 20-minute presentation, in which they review the most important theoretical and empirical findings of the field and place their own PhD research within this broader context. It has to be described how the expected and/or already existing results of their own study and the significance of their findings relate to previous research in the area. This presentation can be accompanied by handouts, or power point slides if desired. Whilst notes can be referred to, these must not be read aloud during the presentation. The presentation is followed by questions on the issues discussed and related matters by the panel.


In the second phase of the exam the candidate is examined on each subsidiary topic, which  involves a discussion and questions on each topic from the panel.


The Programme Director must be consulted to finalise the topics chosen six weeks in advance of the proposed date of the examination, and at the latest four weeks before the exam a reading list must be submitted for each of the three topics to the Programme Director.


At the exam an account of the state of the dissertation research must be given.


Achievement is evaluated on a 4-point scale: summa cum laude (pass with distinction), cum laude (good pass), rite (pass), insufficienter (fail). The examination results, together with the examination topics, are entered in the official written record of the examination.


As a rule, one session of Comprehensive Doctoral Examination is organised every year, so the Programme Director must be notified about the candidates' intentions of taking the examination by February 1 of the given year at the latest.


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Topics of previous examinations were as follows:

(The recommended reading list for some of the topics is accessible with the help of the hyperlinks provided. For the readings of the other topics please contact the Programme Director latest six weeks before the exam when the exam topics are also finalised.)



1. Focus on the foreign language learner

1. Give an overview of the development of the term 'communicative competence'.

2. In what ways do sociological factors interact in language acquisition?

3. How do psycholinguistic factors influence language acquisition?

4. What is the role of language instruction in language acquisition?

5. The Acquisition/Learning Hypothesis: Weak and Strong Versions

6. The concepts of grammaticality and acceptability in SLA research from theoretical perspectives and relying on empirical studies

7. How can the Lexical Approach facilitate fluency in a foreign language?


2. Focus on the foreign language teacher

1. Researching teachers and teaching effectiveness

2. Teacher knowledge and the reflective teacher

3. Planning and decision-making processes

4. Programme design, curriculum components, and programme evaluation

5. Methods, approaches, and the post-method condition

6. Communicative language teaching, humanism, and learner-centredness

7. Classroom contexts and teacher roles

8. Teacher development

9. Teaching as a political act

10. The ownership of English: native and non-native speaker teachers


3. Research design and statistics in foreign language pedagogy research         

Click here for the reading list of this topic.

1. Characteristics of qualitative research

2. Basic parametric statistical procedures

3. Case studies

4. Interviews

5. Designing questionnaires

6. Ensuring reliability and validity in quantitative research


4. Processes in researching foreign language teaching and learning (known in the curriculum as 'Research Seminar')    

Click here for the reading list of this topic.

1. Issues in the process of research design and the theoretical underpinning

2. The ethics of research in applied linguistics

3. Action research and language pedagogy

4. Issues of validity, reliability and credibility in second language research

5. Choosing and justifying methods of data collection and analysis


5. Syllabus and course design in foreign language teaching

1. What makes a communicative syllabus?

2. The nature and feasibility of the recent trend of focus on form in the EFL classroom

3. How does one go about designing a structural syllabus?

4. Areas of application for a notional/functional syllabus

5. Needs analysis: what is it? How do you do it?

6. Justifications (psycholinguistic and otherwise) for a task-based component to teaching


6. Foreign language test construction and evaluation

1. Recent views of construct validity

2. Validating a test of English for teaching purposes

3. The Modern Language Aptitude Test and the construct of language aptitude

4. Washback and the notion of consequential validity

5. Theories of specific purpose testing

6. Qualitative approaches to understanding language tests

7. Problems in the measurement of test reliability

8. What may impact on candidates' performance in the paired speaking test format?


7. The role of culture in foreign language teaching           

Click here for the reading list of this topic.

1. Facets of culture to be incorporated in language education

2. Theories of culture learning and acculturation

3. Verbal and non-verbal culture

4. Applications: curriculum and syllabus design, materials development, technicalities of integrating teaching language and culture

5. Teacher roles and education in teaching language and culture

6. Culture and literature through language

7. Testing cultural learning

8. The processes and difficulties of intercultural awareness raising in foreign language education

9. Factors influencing intercultural perception (cues, schema theory, attributions)

10. Intercultural competence and intercultural speaker construct

11. Critical appraisal of approaches to cultural instruction


8. Individual Differences in Second Language Learning

Click here for the reading list of this topic. 

1. Age and language learning

2. Language anxiety

3. Self-efficacy beliefs

4. Language learning startegies

5. Self-regulation and autonomy

6. Motivation

7. Learning styles and personality

8. Willingness to communicate

9. Language aptitude


9. Foreign language vocabulary acquisition

1. The organisation of the mental lexicon

2. Formulaic language

3. The influence of L1 vocabulary on L2 vocabulary acquisition

4. Memorising words: context vs. lists, the keyword method, incidental learning, vocabulary size

5. Word difficulty and lexical errors

6. L1 vocabulary acquisition

7. Vocabulary and communicative strategies

8. Vocabulary and reading

9. Vocabulary and LSP: terminology and subtechnical vocabulary

10. Testing vocabulary knowledge


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10. Researching foreign language classrooms

1. Researchable questions to ask about classroom processes

2. Matching research questions with (a) data and (b) analysis

3. Classroom research ethics

4. Researching perceptions: whose, how and why?

5. What features of teacher talk and of student talk can be investigated?

6. Transcription issues: role of, use of, importance of, and problems with


11. Discourse analysis and foreign language pedagogy                           

Click here for the reading list of this topic.

1. Approaches to cohesion and coherence, and the relationship of the two concepts

2. The analysis of speech and writing

3. Conversation analysis

4. Variables in the analysis of genres

5. Discourse analysis and phonology

6. Discourse analysis in language teaching

7. Institutional discourse and critical discourse analysis


12. Qualitative research design in foreign language pedagogy

1. The philosophic underpinnings of qualitative inquiries

2. Contrasting paradigms: the positivist and the naturalistic approach

3. Five traditions of qualitative inquiry

4. Focusing and bounding the collection of data

5. Data collection in the natural setting

6. Qualitative analysis and interpretation

7. The constant comparative method of analysis

8. The trustworthiness of naturalistic inquiries


13. Research models in the analysis of foreign language written discourse and translation           

Click here for the reading list of this topic.

1. Research on writing: an overview

2. Analysis of academic discourse

3. Analysis of discourse structure

4. Analysis of propositions and relational propositions

5. Assessment of writing

6. Contrastive rhetoric

7. Translation research

8. Translation into the second language


14. Researching discourse in English for specific purposes                                   

Click here for the reading list of this topic.

1. Definition and classification of ESP; research directions for ESP pedagogy

2. Approaches to analyzing ESP: context, needs and discourse analysis

3. English for Academic Purposes

4. English for Medical Purposes

5. English for Legal Purposes

6. English for Business Purposes

7. English for Management, Finance and Economics

8. English in politics and in the EU


15. Language education for intercultural competence

Click here for the reading list of this topic.

1. Compositional models of intercultural competence and definitions of related concepts

2. Managing stereotypes and prejudices through intercultural language education

3. Changing teacher roles in intercultural competence-oriented language courses

4. Foreign language textbooks from the intercultural perspective

5. Intercultural competence development through online collaboration

6. Challenges of assessment in intercultural competence-oriented language education


16. Psycholinguistics and foreign language pedagogy                              

Click here for the reading list of this topic.

1. First language acquisition

2. Psychological theories of second language acquisition

3. The role of memory in language learning

4. The role of attention in language learning

5. Speech production in L1 and L2

6. Speech comprehension in L1 and L2

7. Forgetting a second language

8. Automaticity, fluency and formulaic language

9. Anxiety in language learning

10. Personality in language learning


17. Sociolinguistics and foreign language pedagogy                                

Click here for the reading list of this topic.

1. Language politics, language policy; motivation; language ideologies

    a., Language politics, language policy, motivation

    b., Language ideologies

2. Bilingualism

3. Ethnography, identity

4. Constructivism, interaction

5. Gender, Critical Discourse Analysis

6. Variationist sociolinguistics


18. Recent Initiatives in Hungarian Foreign Language Education

Click here for the reading list of this topic.

1. Provide a critical review of Kontra’s article on the ups and downs in English language teacher education in Hungary.

2. On the basis of Öveges’s dissertation and Medgyes’s book, supply a summary of the ’Golden Age’ of foreign language education in Hungary.

3. Based on Medgyes and Nikolov’s review, give an overview of the main areas of applied linguistic research in Hungary up to 2012.

4. By surveying research papers written in the past five years describe the main foci of interest in applied linguistic and language pedagogy research.

5. Considering Medgyes’s arguments, offer your views on the relevance of research for language teachers.


19. The age factor in foreign language acquisition

1. Theoretical explanations for the existence of child-adult differences in SLA

2. Discuss limitations of research design in studies on the age factor. Illustrate the claims of 3-4 studies.

3. Discuss the educational implications of research on the age factor.


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2.2 Dissertation completion procedures


The non-examination parts of the dissertation completion procedures may, and in some cases must, commence during the doctoral training part of the PhD programme. However, the actual dissertation may only be submitted after obtaining the absolutorium.


After attending research seminars 1-4 and consultation with their supervisor, students must submit a detailed Research Proposal by the beginning of the fifth semester (See section 1.3 above). Formal acceptance of the proposal, must be gained before beginning to write the dissertation.


2.2.1 The pre-submission screening


The meticulous evaluation process and the defense of the research proposal ensures that the research itself  is sound and viable. Another procedure, namely the pre-submission screening aims to ensure that the write-up of the thesis is also in-line with the expectations of the programme. Three months before the planned date of submission of the dissertation, students have to submit the dissertation in its intended final form to the director of studies who will appoint two readers: The supervisor and one other staff member, who will then give feedback to the student. The reviewers can take a maximum of one month to write their report. They do not serve as proofreaders and thus do not correct language use in the text but provide advice on how to improve the write-up. The feedback can then be used to revise and edit the dissertation before the final submission.


In order to help the reviewers plan their schedule and thus cut down on the time of the reviewing process, students are very strongly advised to announce their intention for handing in their dissertation for pre-submission screening to the director of studies 6-8 weeks before actually doing so.  The submission for the screening is done electronically or on paper following the reviewers' request.


The Programme Director issues a report jointly of the research proposal discussion and the pre-submission screening to serve as a certificate ('műhelyvita jegyzőkönyv') necessary for the submission of the dissertation.


2.2.2 The dissertation


The dissertation should contain the results of original research and should make a significant contribution to the academic knowledge of the relevant field. The length of the dissertation should not exceed 14 printed sheets (1 sheet = 40,000 characters), i.e., approximately 300 double spaced pages. However, if the topic necessitates it, the appendices may be counted on top of the body length (but not the references). The usual length of a PhD dissertation should be between 200-300 double spaced pages. The layout of the text should follow the APA guidelines. The submission of the dissertation is to be accompanied by an application for the public defence. The application, which must be endorsed by the Programme Director, has to be handed in at the Faculty Doctoral Office.


Eight bound copies of the dissertation must be submitted to the Faculty Doctoral Office. (Five of these may be soft bound.) These have to be accompanied by an electronic version of the dissertation and the summary booklet on CD, fifteen copies of the dissertation summary booklet (‘Tézisek’) with the summary presented in English and in Hungarian, including the author's list of publications, ten copies of a one-page overview in English and in Hungarian, and ten copies of their CV written as running text in third person singular. In the case of foreign students the Doctoral Office is to be consulted regarding the language of the documents.


The dissertation has to be submitted within 2 years of the official commencement of the Doctoral Procedures. We urge all our students to complete and hand in their dissertation as soon as possible, as experience has shown that the sooner course participants start to carry out and write up their research the bigger the impetus that takes them forward towards completing their degrees.


Information on the requirements concerning some formalities of the dissertation can be found (in Hungarian) at:


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2.3 Dissertation defence


In order to graduate, the candidate must successfully defend their dissertation in a formal examination presided over by the Dissertation Examination Committee (see section 5.8 below). The public defence takes place on condition of the acceptance of the dissertation by two opponents. The opponents will prepare a written appraisal of the dissertation, and will decide whether they judge the dissertation fit for public defence. Should one opponent decide the dissertation is unfit, a third opponent will be asked to assess the dissertation. The dissertation is failed if two opponents find it unacceptable. Prior to the defence, the candidate receives the opponents’ written evaluations, and must answer them in writing and submit this written response to the Faculty Doctoral Office. Unless the dissertation is failed, the defence ceremony takes place within 3 months of the opponents’ decision. During the defence, the author must be prepared to summarise the main points of the dissertation, listen to the opponents’ evaluation and deliver their response to them, as well as answer questions and comments concerning the dissertation put forward by the Dissertation Examination Committee and the general audience. After the discussion, the committee determines the outcome of the defence by secret ballot using the five point scale. Altogether 60% is necessary for a pass mark. The breakdown of the results is as follows: 87%-100%: summa cum laude (pass with distinction), 73%-86.9%: cum laude (good pass), 60%-72.9%: rite (pass), 0-59%: insufficienter (fail). Following the defence the result is finalised by the Faculty and the University Doctoral Committees. The PhD degree certificate is handed over at a ceremony usually a few months after the defence.


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2.4 Schedule


All in all, the following schedule must be observed in completing the doctoral procedures after obtaining the absolutorium. This is a summary of the deadlines to be observed during your studies:


obtaining the absolutorium

(within 30 days of completing the course requirements)

earliest: six terms after starting your studies

latest: 72 months after being admitted to the programme

starting the doctoral procedures

(jelentkezés a doktori eljárásra)

no later than 3 years after obtaining the absolutorium

(Applications are accepted up to 5 years after obtaining the absolutorium but sanctions apply.)

pre-submission screening 3 months before handing in the dissertation

handing in the dissertation

earliest: on commencing the doctoral procedures

latest: 2 years after the Faculty Doctoral Committee has issued approval of the application to start the doctoral procedures

taking the Comprehensive Doctoral Examination (szigorlat)

any time between starting the doctoral procedures and defending the dissertation

defending the dissertation


within about 3 months of the opponents’ decision

N.B. These timeframes are subject to change, they must be checked with the Doctoral Office.


The doctoral procedures officially start when the Faculty Doctoral Committee has issued approval of the application. Since this may take some time, candidates are advised to let the Programme Director know about their intention to start the procedures as soon as possible so that there is enough time to submit the application to the Doctoral Office before the Committee meets.




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3 Other Requirements


The University has established certain additional requirements and rules for the completion of the PhD degree. These relate to tuition fees, stipends, language certificates, time schedules, deadlines, the teaching requirements of students completing the course on a stipend, suspension, postponing studies, the issuing of the PhD degree and other administrative requirements and regulations. Please consult the  Doctoral Office and the information they issue on these regulations.


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4 Dismissal


The Programme Council will initiate a student's dismissal if they:

- do not obtain an absolutorium within 72 months of commencing their PhD studies;

- suspend their studies more than three times;

- do not obtain the required 16 course units within 6 registered semesters;

- fail the completion requirements for any particular obligatory course twice.

- fail to produce an accepted research proposal

Not meeting the deadlines of the doctoral procedures also incurs dismissal.


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5  Responsible Authorities of the Programme


5.1 Programme Director


The Programme Director is appointed by the Hungarian Accreditation Committee and is solely responsible for the quality of the instruction within the PhD programme. In taking decisions of a personal and academic nature, he/she is aided by the Programme Council. The Programme Director is also responsible, in particular, for organizing the exams within the programme (e.g., entrance exams, comprehensive doctoral exams, dissertation defence).



5.2 Director of Studies


The Director of Studies is responsible for the organisation and running of the courses (timetables), the procedures related to getting research proposals accepted, keeping track of participants’ achievement records, and other issues related to the doctoral training (see section 1 above) of the programme.



5.3 Programme Council


The Programme Council consists of staff involved in the instruction within the programme. The Council is set up and chaired by the Programme Director. The Council meets to take decisions on the logistics of running the courses as well as on the academic policies that are to form the future of the programme.


5.4 Entrance Examination Committee (Felvételi Bizottság)


This committee is set up by the Programme Council to evaluate written applications to the programme and to administer the oral entrance examination.



5.5 Dissertation Proposal Committee (Kutatási Terv Bizottság)


This committee is appointed by the Programme Director to provide feedback on and to take a formal decision about your dissertation proposal. It consists of the Director of the Programme,  the Director of Studies and another member of staff, whose expertise is related to the field of the proposal. If the  Director of the Programme or  the Director of Studies is the supervisor, they will be replaced by another member of the teaching staff of the Programme. The supervisor of the participant is also invited in the Dissertation Proposal Committee.


5.6 Pre-submission Screening Committee (Előbírálati Bizottság)

This committee is appointed by the Programme Director to provide feedback on the dissertation in its intended final form before submission. It consists of the supervisor and one other staff member.


5.7 Comprehensive Doctoral Examination Committee (Doktori Szigorlati Bizottság)


This committee is set up by the Faculty Doctoral Committee on the recommendation of the Programme Director. It consists of a minimum of three members and a supplementary member, one of whom must be external to the ELTE, and one must be a full-time ELTE employee. All the members must hold at least a PhD. The committee is chaired by a full professor, professor emeritus,  or a ‘habilitated’ associate professor (docens). The candidate's supervisor may not be a member of the committee.



5.8 Dissertation Examination Committee (Védési Bíráló Bizottság)


This committee is set up by the Faculty Doctoral Committee based on the recommendation of the Programme Director. It consists of:

-    a chair, who is a full professor or a ‘habilitated’ associate professor (docens) of ELTE;

-    two opponents (one internal and another external to the programme and the University);

-   4  further members who must have an academic degree.

At least two members must be external to the University, and at least two must be full-time ELTE employees. The candidate's supervisor may not be a member of the committee. Only one member of the department under whose supervision the dissertation was written can be a member of the Committee.


N.B. The members of the Comprehensive Doctoral Examination Committee and the Dissertation Examination Committee may not overlap.


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                                  ©  ELTE  Language Pedagogy Doctoral Programme,  Budapest