What Our Alumni Say

PhD fellow, Copenhagen Business School 

"My CEU education is absolutely the foundation of my professional development and career. The critical thinking and skillset I have gained have helped me a lot in working in Government and policymaking. I will always consider the CEU as my alma mater."

Policy Analyst

"It was intense but invaluable. The time I spent at CEU equipped with crucial analytical and methodological skills."

Director of Development, Chess in the Schools, a non-profit in New York City, USA

"The year at CEU has changed my life opening my horizons and teaching me to strive for the best. I have found life-long friends and outlined my professional career while spending unforgettable time in Budapest."

Market Research Analyst at Ipsos

"The quantitative aspects of the program for sure! If I didn't take those statistics classes I probably wouldn't be able to find a job so quick, since the job market is quite problematic here. I thank CEU for teaching me all those things :)"

PhD student at Dublin City University, research fellow at ICSID HSE

"CEU is a unique place where you can get an international experience and knowledge of how to be either academic or professional in any sphere you want. My MA studies provided me a solid background to be successfully accepted to a PhD program in Politics and International Relations at Dublin City University. Enjoy your every minute at CEU!"

Film director, producer and founder of ANIMADOCS

"The MA program was unique as it was specifically designed for the change that was happening in Central and Eastern Europe at that point in time and it gave me an incredible insight into critical thinking and contemporary political thought."


Policy Officer at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation

"The years that I spent at CEU have been extremely rewarding for me, both at a professional, as well as a personal level. This is an institution that values and promotes academic excellence through its incredibly dedicated staff, stimulating intellectual environment, excellent opportunities for student mobility and societal engagement, as well as state-of-the-art academic resources and facilities. In an increasingly complex world, CEU encourages interdisciplinary research and offers its students a strong set of skills which, as has been my case, can be easily transferred to non-academic jobs."

Mayor of Podgorica, Montenegro 

"In July 2018, age 33, I became the youngest mayor of a capital city in Europe. Serving the local community and ‘my own’ people has been  a privilege of which I could only hope that I’m worthy. Still, formative and by far the most beautiful time of my life is related to my CEU years. In Budapest, at Nador 9, I experienced academic excellence, met some of the most intelligent and morally superior people that I know, tested my work ethics against the physical and mental limits, got fully prepared for the upcoming professional challenges including teaching at George Washington University and governing the biggest city in my country... and met the love of my life. In a word, Central European University has been a life-changing experience. For me and my fellow peers, it was Budapest experience. For future generations, it will be Viennese. Yet, no matter where, CEU will always be a place where people are made better, in every possible way. Just what the world needs." 

P.c.: Anadolija

Manager to a Member of Parliament in India

"I am Chirayu Thakkar, a recent graduate from the CEU Political Science Department. Before coming to CEU, I read a master’s degree in Modern South Asian Studies at the University of Oxford. Currently, I am working as a manager to a Member of Parliament in India, looking after his administrative, political, and legislative affairs. I am also working as a consultant for various regional governments and NGOs that design projects aimed at bringing youth closer to governance.

My time at CEU was a transformative one that exposed me to the world of politics in a much more historical, comparative, and analytical manner. In the debates within the classroom and afterward, during my specialization in Electoral studies, we debated the nexus between elections and political activities in regions around the world lending invaluable insights that I carried along. Given the highly international orientation of CEU as a university, those experiences were far enriching. My initial decision to apply at the department was, however, based on the publications and expertise of the faculty, and I must say the overall teaching far exceeded my expectations."

CEU would remain a critical juncture in my journey, and I strongly suggest potential applicants considering this venue as a potential graduate destination.

Executive Assistant to Founder & CEO at Teach For Armenia Foundation

"Today I visited Central European University, where a Master's degree was received some years ago. Referring to the years of my study here, I always remember these years with satisfaction and the feeling of pride, as I didn't betrayed my views, remained loyal to the idea of academic impartiality, defended my thesis and, eventually, met not a few number of professionals, who valued academic and analytical work of a student, rather than a student's political affiliation. This was a difficult but at the same time interesting period, which allowed me to comprehend the Western (in a larger sense) culture of political thought, the way of its construction and the logic of development."

Hani is Planning, Learning and Accountability Coordinator at Rikolto Indonesia & Marko is Post-doctoral researcher at Helmut Schmidt Universität, Hamburg

"When we first met as colleagues at the Department of Political Science, we could not have imagined how profoundly the year spent at the CEU will shape our professional and private lives. On the basis of our experience at CEU, we easily competed for research positions both within and outside academia. While strongly research oriented, the Department of Political Science places particular emphasis on critical thinking and offers a truly interdisciplinary approach. The interaction with excellent colleagues within small classes and individual approach of teachers and department staff were very helpful in completing a rather demanding curriculum of the MA program. CEU also brings together an immensely diverse student population, breaks barriers and opens up new perspectives, and eventually brought two of us together as well. What started as doing statistics homework together and occasionally having dinners at Kerepesi, continued as a lasting journey together, as we got married five years later. Outside of CEU, our early relationship benefited from affordable restaurants, romantic streets and the distinct charm of wonderful Budapest."

Post-doctoral researcher, Cologne Center for Comparative Politics, University of Cologne

"Pursuing a PhD in political science at CEU was one of the best decisions I took in my academic career. The department is incredibly diverse in both methodological and substantive interests, with world class scholars on areas ranging from experimental political science to network analysis and qualitative research. More than that, because of its small size and number of students, the close mentorship and supervision one can get at CEU are unparalleled to any other department I have seen. Students are encouraged to be part of research projects from the start and to develop a broad set of skills. These factors make a huge difference when going out on the contemporary academic job market."

Junior Research Fellow, Central Bank of Hungary

"My time at CEU was remarkable in so many aspects: I was a CEU student when I did my first empirical research, when I first received a research grant, when I first published in a journal, when I was first asked to write a book chapter and when I went to my first international academic conference. The technical training, the teaching experience, the possibilities to participate in various research projects, the academic thinking I gained through my courses have all contributed to my later career and to the fact that I do not feel lost no matter what kind of research I have to work on. Since my times at CEU I have left academia and the field of political science, but the knowledge I received there, remains, and for that reason CEU will always have a special place in my heart."

Post-doctoral fellow at University College Dublin

"The single best decision in my professional life was when I applied to CEU’s Political Science MA program in 2009. I had an experience at CEU that shaped who I am in fundamental ways. I have learnt how to process complex information about the functioning of political systems and societies. I have learnt how to present my thoughts clearly and interestingly and how to engage in scientific debates. I got a lot of help and mentorship on the way, and I had the privilege to be part of a uniquely international student community. Later on I used the skills acquired at CEU to pursue a career in academia, but I am confident that these skills can just as well be used in other walks of life."

Principal Assistant - Parliamentary Assembly, Council of Europe
"CEU, and in particular, it’s political science department, has been an enriching and truly formative period for me. Firstly, it has been a year of intensely demanding yet intellectually stimulating studies. I suddenly delved into topics that I previously had only a passing notion of and that have since opened interesting avenues for research and further study. Secondly, on a personal level, it has been a year of coming of age (of sorts), allowing me to experience new cultures and interact with people I might not have interacted with otherwise, giving me the opportunity to form lasting friendships, shaping my way of thinking and, ultimately, aiding me in deciding my future career path.

I am immensely grateful that I have had this time in Budapest and that I chose the political science department as it was the perfect blend of academics and extracurriculars, of work and leisure, of guidance and self-empowerment."

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, “Institutions and Political Inequality”, Political Economy of Development research area, WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Germany.

"I have pursued both my MA and my PhD degrees at CEU, and I consider it to have been an excellent choice. The programs have allowed me to gain the skills that are indispensable on an increasingly competitive European academic job market. I continue to be impressed by the range of interests faculty in the program have, and of topics students have access to – from network science, and immigration policy, to EU institutions, populism, authoritarian political systems, or media regulation regimes. I truly believe that this level of interdisciplinarity benefits students immensely, as they face a growing need to adapt to rapid changes in intellectual trends or social problems. The range of topics is all the more remarkable when considering that CEU is a comparatively small university. This allows it to sustain a level of interaction among students, or a degree of mentoring between students and faculty that is hard to encounter elsewhere. I consider that my academic work has benefitted immensely from my choosing CEU. I am sure many others will find this to be the case as well."

Data Analyst at International Organization for Migration

"Few years in my life so far were as intense, challenging, and rewarding as the year I spent at CEU. The academic excellence combined with a great variety of classes was truly impressive. The knowledge I got proved to be useful years later and helped me substantially in my work.

As important as the knowledge I got were the intellectually stimulating atmosphere coupled with highly demanding environment. Years later, after graduating CEU, I strive to place high standards on what I am doing in every aspect of my life, as once the professors demanded from us in classes.

But apart from that, CEU offers much more. It places you in a parallel world, a world of intellectual curiosities where professors are genuinely interested in your opinion, a world of debates on human rights and political philosophy in and outside the classroom, a world where you are encouraged to think critically, ask questions and not accept anything at face-value. After leaving CEU you feel something resembling a cultural shock since the surrounding world may not be the same. But the only way to counteract the injustices in this world is to experience another one."  

PhD Researcher, Political Science Dpt., University of Antwerp, Belgium

"CEU made me fully understand my potential. Each student is treated individually and professors make sure that everyone develops a critical mind along with valuable skills. I would never have gone on with the research if it were not for the mentors, professors and colleagues who challenged me. During my experience as a PhD researcher I am trying to provide the same guidance and support to young students interested in political science. The Political Science Dpt. made me understand the importance of the Academia as a forge for critical confrontation and exchange of ideas, and I sincerely hope to be able to pass on the same passion to the younger generations."

Junior researcher at the Institute for Democracy ‘Societas Civilis’ – Skopje and President of JEF Macedonia – Macedonian national section of the Young European Federalists movement

"The primary reason for choosing the 2-year master program in Political Science at CEU was to upgrade my knowledge of the state-of-the-art and gain the necessary research skills. But CEU offered me more than that. The challenging environment based on academic excellence became my second home. I had the privilege and honor to learn from the most brilliant minds in the field of Political Science. At CEU, I also had the opportunity to meet inspiring people from all around the globe, which I proudly call my friends for life. My stay at Nador utca 9, 11, 13, and 15 and Kerepesi út 87 made me more socially aware and active as well. CEU has indeed opened many new horizons for my personal, professional, and academic development and therefore it is the experience I am most proud of and will never forget."

ResearcherJohan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu

"I will always look back at CEU with fondness and gratitude. By now I have been working and studying at different universities for around 15 years. From all that, my time at the Department of Political Science at CEU clearly stands out. The department and the university as a whole gave me an excellent opportunity to flourish, both in terms of formal teaching and a more informal intellectual environment. And I did. In no other place have I developed as much as I did at CEU and this experience will surely shape the rest of my professional life.

To stay at CEU was an experience of my life, but I was happy to return home thereafter. I am currently working as a researcher at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu, Estonia."

Trust Funds management - Fragility, Conflict and Violence (FCV) Group, The World Bank

"For me, experience at CEU and Budapest has been transformative in every way. CEU offered enabling learning environment, backed by a strong group of professors, who were friendly yet demanding. Surrounded by a well motivated and competitive group of fellow students and living in pleasant city of Budapest made the experience more enjoyable."

Foreign Policy Department of the Federal Chancellery, Berlin

“For me CEU was a very intense and enriching experience, both academically and personally. Academically in terms of a demanding but intellectually very rewarding environment, personally through the great variety of students’ nationalities, academic and professional backgrounds. Living in this diverse international community and experiencing Budapest as the vibrant hub to Central and Eastern Europe also furthered my interest in the region and greatly shaped my professional development.”

Head of Corporate Development
Frankfurt Business Media - Part of the F.A.Z. Publishing Group, Frankfurt, Germany

"CEU was a great experience for me. While the academic level was really demanding, the atmosphere was always friendly and the support and interaction with the professors and university staff a real pleasure. I wouldn’t have thought that a Master’s Degree can be so intense and intellectually stimulating and so much fun at the same time. The CEU experience also helped me with finding interesting jobs back in Germany. The rigorous teaching in English, the regional experience and the lasting networks with professors and alumni stand out as personal assets in my CV which I am very grateful for."

Researcher, Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Science

"One of my major motivations for choosing CEU's Department of Political Science was the attractive combination of excellence in teaching and research on the one hand, and the good range of scholarships on the other. The diversity in terms of both methods and topics investigated, which is reflected in both the wide-ranging curriculum and the diverse  faculty, appealed to me. The personal contact with the faculty helps bring out the best in each of us and my classmates, too, have been particularly helpful in forming my academic thesis. They never tire of raising critical questions and giving valuable advice."

Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, East Carolina University

"My life can be divided into before and after CEU. This was a truly transformative year for me as a student of Political Science. Coming from one of the far most regions of Russia, I have experienced new cultures, met new life-long friends, and changed my thinking about social sciences and future career. For some experiences, it took me years to truly appreciate the depth and breadth of knowledge that our amazing professors have provided us. The access to great facilities, comfortable dorms, and incredibly beautiful city of Budapest have all contributed to making this year very special."

Doctoral Candidate, Social Psychology, Harvard University

"The curriculum of the Political Science MA program at CEU offers a reasonably broad and, at the same time, in-depth introduction to the social sciences. The Department of Political Science is very special in the sense that whereas each professor has their own preferred methods (from behavior genetics and agent-based modeling to fuzzy sets and discourse analysis), everyone is remarkably open to other approaches and taken as a collective, the faculty are relying on a very wide range of theories and practical tools. However, what I benefited from even more than coursework was the incredible mentorship that I received at CEU, including many opportunities to participate in all stages of the empirical research process."

PhD candidate, University of Queensland

"Every day spent at CEU was full of learning, challenges, opportunities, motivation and a sense of achievement. I came to the Political Science Department with a particular aim to study research methodology but my whole conception about knowledge has changed. The highly trained and dedicated faculty, efficient administrative staff, and supportive students with diverse backgrounds facilitated me to realize my short-term and long-term academic goals. I would always like to re-visit the University whenever given a chance."

Lecturer in Political Science, University of Botswana

"Studying at CEU, in the Political Science department, is indeed a rare privilege that will potentially open up opportunities for me in the future, particularly for my career in research. It is a life-changing experience, an investment in my future."

Director for Europe at PILnet: The Global Network for Public Interest Law

"To succeed in the current world, you need transferable skills, which will enable you to succeed in many walks of life. CEU provided me with intellectually stimulating environment to acquire them and head start my career. In addition to the number of great friends I met at CEU, I also became part of the network of CEU alumni, virtually stretching across the world. The academic rigor, combined with intellectually stimulating environment, in one of the most exciting and pleasant cities to live in, are reasons why I would not hesitate come to CEU again."

Consortium Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist at Habitat for Humanity EMEA

"CEU contributed greatly to my professional growth due to its committed faculty, access to a great variety of resources, and high quality of teaching. But most of all I have benefited of the enriching multi-cultural environment of the university with its unique body of students coming from virtually all the countries of Central, Eastern, and South-Eastern Europe and from the post-Soviet region. Growing academically and professionally in such an environment has been a fascinating experience that greatly shaped my way of seeing the world around me."

Senior Fellow, Institute of Economics, Center for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

"CEU is a true academic and intellectual community. Meeting people from all around the world and contrasting approaches from all around the scientific spectrum helped me to develop personally as well as academically. I think I am fair to say that there are but only a few places in Central and Eastern Europe that would provide the joint pleasure of such high academic excellence with this wide variety of approaches, spiced with a large spoon full of friendliness."

Professor of Political Science, Project Director, Center for Democracy and Human Rights Helix, St. Petersburg

"I spent the 1993-1994 academic year at CEU Pol Sci Department, then newly formed. Academically, the time spent was more than worth it. The variety of different subjects within political science that the relatively small academic staff was able to offer was simply astounding. The variety was coupled with great quality, as some of the teachers I was able to study under at CEU certainly ranked among the best I had encountered. I learned a great deal of new information and research tools, which had a fundamental effect upon my academic career."

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Communication, Budapest University of Technology and Economics

"The CEU PhD program helped a mother of two kids near 40 to speed up her academic carrier… After ten years, I am the Vice-Dean for International and Scientific Affairs at the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences, Budapest University of Technology and Economics."

First Secretary at Permanent Representation of Bulgaria to the European Union

“CEU is a meeting place for people of different cultures, knowledge and experience. The time I spent in Budapest, studying and living together with peers from all over the world, taught me what it means to be truly European, while preserving your own culture and identity. The Political Science Department was an invaluable source of knowledge with its impeccable administration, highly-demanding curricula and top-notch lecturers. The experience at CEU helped me also navigate the intricacies of European policies, economics and politics. I believe CEU has made a tangible impact on my subsequent academic and professional development and I would warmly recommend this academic journey.”

PhD, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge

"My time at CEU was very rewarding. Engaging in thought-provoking debates expanded my vision and allowed me to go beyond the rather top-down learning experience of my undergraduate years. CEU is also a great community with leading academics and the administrative staff is really efficient and helpful."

Supervisor, Survivors of Trafficking Empowerment Program (STEP), Refugee Services of Texas

"CEU has allowed me develop my capacity in many ways. The activities organized on and off campus made me more socially active and the courses more academically-driven. The Political Science department professors and department coordinators were always lending an attentive ear to challenges I was facing as I tried to adjust to the new environment and courses. With such support from the CEU family, I became more enthusiastic in undertaking social projects and eager to channel my experience on the field to my studies. Moreover, CEU supported the initiatives my friends and I launched with great fervor. I am very grateful to CEU for pushing me to achieve my dream - reaching out to those in need."

Lecturer, Eotvos Lorand University

"My experience at CEU led me to develop a whole different idea of what learning actually is - it isn't simply obtaining and retaining truth and justifying this truth, but understanding what truth means to all different groups of people around the world. I was able to break through the world that my mind crafted as a reality and see the broader picture of what is happening to others. What better way could I have been taught about the world around me?"

Project and Policy Officer at International Diabetes Federation Europe

"CEU is truly global and the 10 month experience not only filled up my intellectual capacity, but also changed my way of thinking about the wider world, especially the out-of-classroom hour, spending time with people from Norway to Beijing! The department is also very helpful in supporting us from academic to psychological health."

Head of the Jean Monnet Department, Senior Lecturer, Department of Public Policy and Management, Institute of Public Administration, Black Sea Petro Mohyla State University in consortium with “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”

"CEU was a wonderful experience as it helped me to grow both professionally and personally. International environment of the University in general and in the Political Science department in particular, rich library funds, innovative courses, communication with highly-qualified tutors and fellow students, encouraged me to pursue academic career and to be dedicated to the reform of higher education in Ukrain."

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Sociology, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main

"The Central European University is all about transformation and movement. It is about the fascination with the ways in which societies, places and practices transform – sometimes slowly, sometimes overnight. And it is about the constant movement of ideas and persons, which often lead to unexpected encounters and conversations that happen in the right place, at the right time. That year when I was a Masters student at the Department of Political Science certainly transformed my thinking and greatly influenced my personal movements. It broadened my horizons and, equally importantly, helped me acquire the skills that are essential to navigate well in an academic world that is increasingly transnational, but only considers English its official language. All this took place in Budapest – a city I thought I knew like the back of my hand, but appeared beautifully unfamiliar when I walked its streets with my CEU friends from Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Slovakia and the United States."

Business Development Expert at New - I JSC, Bulgaria

"CEU and my Budapest experience are very precious to me, I will always keep them in my heart. You helped me to be what I am now - I feel young and successful and it is sure that you contributed a lot to this feeling of mine. Thank you all for being exactly what you were, for helping me and my colleagues to grow up, because when we came back in our countries, we were different people, enriched with all kinds of scientific, cultural and personal experience. In CEU I also met many new friends that are a part of my life now. CEU and the POLSCI faculty developed in me many qualities that I use in my professional life now. You gave me more patience, concentration and tenacity. CEU helped me on one hand to listen and to understand the positions of my interlocutors but, on the other hand to have a strong personal opinion and to present it clearly."

PhD Candidate, Atatürk Institute on Modern Turkish Studies, Bogazici University

"I regard my one year MA experience at the CEU as the best experience of my life. CEU is indeed a unique home which blends academic excellence with her truly dedicated, friendly and professional academic staff with equally exceptional students from all over the world. During a one-year period at the CEU, I have acquired the academic skills which I couldn not have acquired in any other instiution in such a short period of time. This has helped me a great deal as I got acceptance by all the three prominent PhD programs I applied in Istanbul. Now I am continuing my academic studies at Bogazici University, the Atatürk Institute on Modern Turkish Studies. This helps me further understand what a valuable experience the CEU has been. Furthermore, the great friends I made at the CEU, which I still correspond, have taught me even more about the world we live in. Therefore, I am grateful to the CEU for giving us the opportunity to know each other, for offering us the unique academic excellence and also for her invaluable contributions to the world peace."

PhD candidate in Political Science, Linköping University, Sweden

 "Looking back I can describe CEU as a great meeting place for people, for different cultures, knowledge and experience. CEU was an invaluable source of knowledge and development for me. As a result I could open my mind, widen my views and get more in depth knowledge especially on the turmoil of transition and the context around it. CEU meant a lot for developing my interest in research and provided an excellent springboard for my further career."

Vice-Rector of Fujian Normal University

"Central European University opened  up a new world of research in political science to me. I benefited enormously from the knowledgeable faculty, the rigorous and systematic training on empirical research,  and the rich literature available in the library. I was impressed by the great diversity and open-mindedness of both the facultys and the students. My study at the PhD program in Political Science has been the most rewarding academic journey for me."

Associate Professor of Social Research and Public Policy and Distinguished Researcher and Santander Endowed Chair at the Carlos III-Juan March Institute for the Social Sciences (Madrid)

"I remember the year I spent at CEU as an exciting time of exposure to ideas and people new to me. Some of the courses I took formed the questions and interests I have pursued in my research ever since. The M.A. thesis I wrote became my first peer-reviewed publication in an international social science journal. I remember also long discussions on various issues (as well as fabulous parties) with people from Europe and the United States I met at CEU. Some of them are still my dear friends even today."

Senior Adviser, Policy Making, Strategy and Reform at OECD - OCDE / SIGMA, Paris, France

"Studying at Central European University was one of the greatest journeys of my life. Being a Hungarian myself, it was also a great experience to explore my home city, Budapest together with foreigners from all over the World. As I have started studying at CEU after already having a couple of years of work experience, I had the opportunity to reflect to what I have done previously in my professional life while substantially expanding my capabilities, too. The experience gained at CEU, the network I have developed there and the professional, academic knowledge I was privileged to obtain, all added a lot to opening completely new doors to me in my professional career later. All these have resulted in opportunities I would never have the chance to receive without having my CEU diploma."

"What Our Alumni Say" is a forum for alumni to share their stories about the impact CEU Department of Political Science has had and continues to have on all of our lives.
See above to meet some of your fellow alums. Want to share yours? Write us!