Three main generalist courses, closely linked to each other with common foundation subjects in the first year of programmes, would form the backbone of the portfolio. The concept has been developed by the heads of the departments and institutes concerned, as well as the dean and the programme coordinators. There are plans to introduce exciting new specialisations too. We spoke to Richárd Szántó, Dean of Undergraduate Studies, about the emerging concept, which will soon be discussed with the wider university community.
“I was confident in the success of the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) Bachelor’s programme when it was announced, but I must admit that I was surprised by the huge interest and the high number of outstanding applicants in the first year of its launch”, says Richárd Szántó, illustrating the increasing demand for integrated courses by the example of one of the new BSc programmes at the University.
Since the beginning of Corvinus’ transformation process, the renewal of the degree programmes has been a strategic priority, starting with the restructuring of the BSc in Economics and Business Studies portfolio. At the same time, discussions on the possible directions for the renewal of the social sciences undergraduate programme portfolio started years ago: “With a working group of 8-10 people including heads of institutes and departments and programme coordinators, we have been reviewing international good practices and working on possible directions for the transformation of the social sciences training portfolio for a long time. As each member of the working group also represents an undergraduate programme, I believe that, overall, the professional insights of various teachers have been successfully channelled into the process,” adds the Dean.
In the field of economics, one of the most successful projects in recent years has been the integrated renewal of the BSc in Business and Management programme. According to Richárd Szántó, this course is particularly attractive due to the fact that applicants do not have to choose a specific career at the age of 18. In the first two years, students can get a taste of various fields through foundation courses, and by the third year they can choose a specialisation with more confidence, and less likely to go amiss.
THREE DEGREE COURSES, NUMEROUS SPECIALISATION OPTIONS
There is therefore a strong case for the social sciences portfolio to follow the example of the University’s well-established economics portfolio. According to the dean, the current educational policy environment has also pushed them in this direction: the establishment of a completely new degree programme is a process that takes several years, and the recent trends in Hungarian and international higher education point towards a more streamlined and less specialised undergraduate programme offer.
“After much analysis and planning with colleagues, the direction is now clear to transform the two most popular social science majors, Communication and Media Studies and International Studies, into general degree courses, in addition to Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE), with a wide range of specialisation opportunities at a later stage,” says Szántó, adding that the three courses would have a number of common foundation subjects in the first year, which could facilitate possible transfers between courses and increase the number of specialisation opportunities later on.
In addition to the existing specialisations in International Studies and Communication and Media Studies, several new options are being considered to reflect market needs. These could include the specialisations currently called Global Communication and Connections, or Regional and Area Specialist, which could be taken by a number of undergraduate students. The new courses may start in autumn 2025. The Dean and the working group revising the portfolio aim to present the detailed concept of the transformation to the Senate in the first quarter of 2024. If all goes as planned, the new curricula for the revised Communication and Media Studies, International Studies and the enhanced Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) courses could be developed by the end of the academic year, along with the shared subjects and specialisations. The renewed courses could be announced for the first time under the 2024/2025 admissions procedure, and the three revised integrated BSc degree programmes in social sciences could start in autumn 2025.
Another important change would be that, from 2025, the University would offer Bachelor’s degrees in social sciences only in English. At the same time, incorporating the proposals of colleagues into the new concept, certain specialisations would continue to be in Hungarian, because, as Szántó says, “under the new scheme we will have specialisations where learning the Hungarian terminology will be particularly important”.
SOCIOLOGY AND POLITICAL SCIENCE REDESIGNED
The number of students enrolling in Sociology and Political Science courses has been decreasing nationally. This was one of the reasons why Corvinus did not announce these two as individual bachelor’s degree programmes in this year’s admission procedure. According to the Dean, however, this does not mean a lack of demand for the knowledge and the teachers of the Political Science and Sociology courses: “The material of these courses will be transferred into the planned integrated courses partly as foundation subjects and partly as specialisations, and will continue to be an important element of the curriculum”.
Richárd Szántó added that with the renewal of the social sciences courses, the structural transformation of Corvinus’ undergraduate programmes that started several years ago will be finally completed. And at the end of the process, a transparent, streamlined portfolio of undergraduate courses with fewer specialisations will be created, which he hopes will benefit both teachers and students.