*National Overview – Hungary, 2008

Article adapted from “Hungary National Tour,” prepared by Istvan Czigler, 2008 and printed in Wedding, D., & Stevens, M. J. (Eds.). (2009). Psychology: IUPsyS Global Resource (Edition 2009) [CD-ROM]. International Journal of Psychology, 44 (Suppl. 1).


The Hungarian Psychological Association was founded in 1928. Due to the World War II and the subsequent social changes its activities were disrupted for several years. It was reorganized as the Hungarian Scientific Psychological Association in 1962, and regained its original name in 1972. The first psychological laboratory in Hungary was founded by Paul Ranschburg, connected to the system of special education. For many decades, psychology in Hungary has developed along the experimental lines and educational relevance established by him and along psychoanalytic lines initiated by Sandor Ferenczi. These two traditions are still alive, and in the 1960s they became the motors of the enormous qualitative development of psychology observed from then on. During the last two decades the number of psychologists has increased at least twenty times. Although academic psychology also has developed strongly, most of the quantitative development has meant an increasing number of psychologists in professional activities, principally clinical psychology, followed by educational and industrial applications. Besides conventional employers – e.g., hospitals, factories – several national service chains were developed with an emphasis on practical applications of psychology, most notably Educational Guidance Centers and Vocational Guidance Institutes.


Academic research in psychology is conducted at four universities and in the Institute for Psychology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Applied research (educational, organizational, clinical etc.) – is conducted in many other universities, colleges, and other institutions. Psychology is involved in several nationwide research programs of social importance, such as psychology in the educational system; social adaptation disorders; ergonomics etc.


University training in psychology is offered at four universities for approximately eight hundred undergraduate students. A five-year study plan gives a sound scientific basis and provides courses in the major applied fields, too. A Diploma of Psychologist (Dip.Psy.) is given after the completion of a master’s thesis at the end of the program. Postgraduate programs of three years provide degrees in clinical psychology, work and organizational psychology, educational psychology and guidance. These degrees are required for permanent positions in a hospital and so on. Ph.D. programs are provided at three universities. In these programs academic research is emphasized. The Hungarian Academy of Sciences provides a higher degree, D.Sc., on the basis of scientific activity and thesis.

The Law of Higher Education regulates education. An independent board (Hungarian Committee of Accreditation) controls the level of education. The Department of Health and Welfare regulates the activity of psychologists in the health service.

Professional ethics is regulated by the ethical code of the Hungarian Psychological Association.


Magyar Pszichologiai Szemle, 1928- , 6/year
Pszicholoia, 1981- , 4/year

Prepared by: Istvan Czigler, Ph.D., D.Sc., Magyar Pszichológiai Társaság, Victor Hugo u. 18-22, Budapest 1132 Hungary
Tel: 36 1 3500555; E-mail: czigler@CogPsyPhy.hu; mpt@mtapi.hu

Updated December 2008


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