Central European University (CEU)

Comparative History, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
  • Tuition
    Tuition (Year)
    Tuition (Year)
  • English


The PhD program in Comparative History is offered by Central European University (CEU).

The particular - indeed unique - feature of the history doctoral program at CEU is that it focuses on the comparison of four distinct geo-cultural regions: Central, Southeastern, and Eastern Europe, and the Eastern Mediterranean area, in close relation to the history of other historical regions, most notably with Western Europe and the Middle East.

Comparative history is often preached and seldom practiced in advanced historical studies. When it finds its way onto the agenda of Ph.D. programs, the emphasis falls mainly on distinctive regional-national fields with no connecting tissue. The doctoral program at CEU seeks to root the comparative dimension in the historical experience of the four distinct geo-cultural regions of Central, Southeastern and Eastern Europe, and the Eastern Mediterranean area. We acknowledge that these regions are themselves constructions representing symbolic as well as physical and human geographies. But we endeavor to find the loci of these representations in both intra-regional and extra-regional perceptions. We seek to avoid the dual methodological trap of seeing the region only from the outside as something "other" than the higher cultural level and material development of the West or alternatively only from the inside as a unique and therefore incomparable expression of indigenous factors. In this way, the comparative program will come to grips with one of the abiding intellectual and methodological problems of writing the history of these regions: namely, the tension between "Westerners" or externals and nativists or internals, between the conflicting metaphors of orientalism and nationalism.

A comparative study of the four regions poses several methodological problems for historians working in the early modern period or even up to the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. The political domination of the region by multi-cultural empires employing hegemonic languages (German, Russian and Ottoman Turkish) facilitates cross-cultural comparisons, particularly of institutional structures and treatments of subaltern ethnic groups. The rise of nation states, first in southeastern Europe in the nineteenth century, then in Central Europe in the twentieth century and finally in Eastern Europe after 1991 increases the complexity of the comparisons. Currently, comparative perspectives for the modern period offered in the department focus on theories of fascism and communism, methodological approaches adapted from modernization and development theories, and cross-disciplinary approaches from anthropology and sociology that allow for innovative approaches to the problems and legacies of the communist era in the region.

In sum, the goals of the program are to build upon a unique approach to comparative history, multidisciplinary methods, an ideal geographical location, a highly diverse student body, an international faculty, and up-to-date facilities and resources in order to provide new ways of investigating the historical problems of these key regions in world history. The research being undertaken by our current PhD students and the successful dissertations already defended give the best idea of what is possible in the CEU History doctoral program.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity

    You can choose to do this programme part-time or full-time.

    • Duration 36 months
    • Average duration 72 months
    • Intensity Flexible
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus
  • More information Go To The Course Website

Programme Structure

Courses Included:

  • Building Narratives: Self-expression Through Literature, Art And Performance
  • Comparative Approaches To Historical Research
  • East European History In Context: Problems And Debates
  • Foundations I: Religion And State (Lecture)
  • Phd Academic Writing Tutorial
  • Historical Credibility Of Self-accusatory Practices
  • Phd Tutorial I
  • Phd Tutorial Iii
  • University-wide Doctoral Seminar: Reason, Unreason And Nature In Religion
  • Revolutions And Civil Wars In The Twentieth Century: A Comparative Analysis 2017
  • The Caliphates
  • Topics In Religion
For more information, please visit programme website.

                      English Language Requirements

                      You only need to take one of these language tests:

                      • Minimum required score:


                        The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

                        Take IELTS test
                      • Minimum required score (Grade A):


                        The CAE test – or the Cambridge Advanced English – is an exam for applicants who wish to get a Certificate in Advanced English. To receive the Advanced certificate, test-takers must score between 142 and 210 on the Cambridge English: Advanced test. Read more about CAE.

                        Note: degree programmes and applications may require a more specific minimum score for admission.

                      • Minimum required score:


                        The TOEFL – or Test OF English as a Foreign Language – offers a paper-based test (PBT). The final, overall PBT score ranges between 310 and 677, and is based on an average taken from the three test components (listening, structure, and reading). The writing part of this test is scored separately on a scale of 0-6. Read more about TOEFL (PBT).

                      • Minimum required score:


                        The TOEFL – or Test Of English as a Foreign Language – offers an internet-based test (iBT). The final, overall iBT score ranges between 0 and 120, and includes a scaled average from the four components (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Read more about TOEFL (iBT).

                      Academic Requirements

                      Admission Requirements:

                      • Completed CEU Application Form
                      • Letters of Recommendation
                      • Academic Records
                      • Curriculum Vitae or Resume
                      • Program-Specific Requirements
                      • Proof of English Proficiency
                      • Application Fee

                      In addition to meeting the generalCEU admissions requirements, applicants should submit letters of recommendation from three professors familiar with their post-graduate work and a three-page research proposal.

                      For more information, please visit program website.

                                Tuition Fee Per Year

                                • EUR 15000 International
                                • EUR 15000 EU/EEA


                                CEU is committed to attracting talented students and scholars from around the world and provides a variety of merit-based scholarships and tuition awards available to students from any country.

                                StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.