Call for proposals 2020

The Summer University Program (SUN) of the Central European University (CEU) announces a Call for Course Proposals for its summer school to be held in Budapest, June 29 - July 31, 2020.

Download the Call for Proposal 2020 in PDF format.


The Summer University (SUN) of CEU is the extension of the university’s mission of promoting research, teaching and social engagement by hosting high-level, research-oriented, interdisciplinary and innovative academic courses as well as workshops on policy issues for professional development in the social sciences and the humanities. The short, intensive courses, taught by a team of distinguished international faculty (including CEU professors), are advertised worldwide to attract graduate students, junior or post-doctoral researchers, teachers, and professionals. The teaching teams' joint expertise is shared with participants in a comparative framework during the summer courses.
The program utilizes CEU's recognized regional expertise and its wider network, providing space for academic networking between junior and senior scholars from a wide range of institutions and discipline areas, often with long-term outcomes such as collaborative research projects, joint publications, etc.
While previously SUN was aimed almost exclusively at junior faculty from Central and Eastern Europe and countries of the former Soviet Union, we now encourage MA and Ph.D. students, postdoctoral fellows, young faculty, and researchers as well as professionals worldwide to participate in our summer school. Tuition waivers and/or scholarships are made available for those in need of financial assistance on an academic merit basis with a continued preference for applicants from post-communist countries and emerging democracies. 


To multiply the impact of CEU's mission, the SUN program was launched in 1996. Since the inception of the program, the twenty-three summer schools held so far hosted 433 courses taught by close to 3,000 faculty members. SUN received more than 30,000 applications, out of which close to 11,000 were accepted. In any given year, the average number of countries represented in a course is around 16, ensuring the truly and uniquely international nature of the program.

Participants have been enrolled in the program so far from 148 different countries ranging from East and Central Europe and the former Soviet Union to countries of Asia, Africa, North America and South America.  In recent years, 19% of the participants have come from new EU member states, 21% from regional emerging democracies, 30% from developed countries and 30% from non-regional emerging democracies. The majority of participants are junior faculty, researchers, and MA or Ph.D. students; the rest of the participant body are professionals such as government officials, NGO workers, etc. The gender distribution is 57% female and 43% male.
Faculty members have come to teach courses from 89 different countries so far. In recent year, 37% of the faculty came from the region, 59% from Western Europe, America, Canada, Australia, Israel and Japan, and 4% from non-regional emerging democracies.


Course offerings

SUN courses cater for the various needs of academic and professional development in the social sciences and humanities across a wide spectrum of disciplines. These include anthropology, cognitive science, comparative religion, environmental sciences, gender studies, history, history and philosophy of science, international relations, cultural, legal, media and medieval studies, philosophy, political science, public policy, sociology, etc. The program encourages topics in newly emerging fields. Courses often tend to address currently relevant issues, such as ethnic relations, migration, nationalism and transnationalism, globalization, human rights, urban development, poverty reduction, integrity, religion and identity, and gender inequalities, among others. These issues are discussed in a general theoretical framework as well as embedded in the context of the actual countries/regions the participants come from.

Prior to your own submission you may wish to review the list of previously held courses on our website.


There are two major tracks in the program:

a) Track I offers high-level, research-oriented courses for academics.
b) Track II courses mostly address the professional development needs of practitioners, policy-makers, etc. These courses tend to provide training and/or deal with policy issues at a practical, applied level. To be accepted, Track II courses are expected to offer 2/3 of the total expenses of running a course from non-CEU funds.

Please indicate your preferred choice of Track and the amount and planned break-down of external funding, if available, in the relevant section of Datasheet I-II.

Course format

Courses typically last between one to two weeks. Based on the CEU credit hour system, each course has a teaching load of 24 hours per week (one teaching hour is 50 minutes long).

Courses can be designed in various formats depending on what the organizers would like to focus on:

1) Developing participants' research agendas during the course
Applicants submit a statement of purpose, a research proposal and/or a sample of their work in progress as part of their application. During the course, while faculty members present their topics through lectures, seminars, panel and group discussions, etc., they should also facilitate work on the development of participants' research agendas through individual tutorials and/or office hours. As an outcome of the course, participants can be expected to give an individual or group presentation. With some follow-up help and additional research after the course, they should be encouraged to submit an article for publication.
2) Developing research into policy proposals
Policy-oriented courses may decide to focus on some theoretical issues which could be turned into policy proposals. The course can guide participants from identifying key questions through the discussion of the research aspects of the selected issues to some conclusions, which could lead to formulating policy recommendations. In addition to providing relevant literature on the subject, such courses are advised to rely on faculty and participants' contribution with case studies, country reports, etc.
3) Curriculum development
Courses interested in promoting newly emerging, often interdisciplinary subject areas may decide to work on how the research issues, the literature, etc. discussed during the SUN course could be turned into the syllabus of a course to be offered at participants' home institution in the future. Along with the syllabus, the most appropriate teaching methodology for the proposed course could also be demonstrated and discussed.

Teaching mode

1) e-Learning prior to the course

Each course has an interactive e-learning site designated to it, where each participant and faculty member can create their profile and post distance learning materials, readings, pre-course assignments, hold electronic seminar discussion, and circulate messages before and during the course. After the courses end, the course web sites can continue to function as alumni pages through which participants and faculty can stay in touch. This way the summer course has a potential of being not a stand-alone, discrete event, but rather a stage of a process, multiplying its impact by a pre-course phase of reading, preliminary interaction, etc. followed up by networking after the course.

2) During the summer course

In addition to the academic quality of the course, one of the major contributors to its success is the variety of teaching modes it employs. Course proposal authors are encouraged to include a broad range of teaching methods, such as lectures, intensive reading seminars, discussions, individual and group projects, presentations, field trips, etc., thus avoiding lectures being the dominant medium for teaching. SUN courses aim to provide a model in terms of course design and methodology as well by exposing participants to a diversity of teaching methods they could adopt and experiment with in their own teaching.

Target audience

SUN courses are primarily designed for MA and Ph.D. students, postdoctoral fellows, junior faculty, researchers, and professionals. The minimum enrollment for a course to be launched is 15 participants; however, we prefer an enrollment of 20-25 participants.

Application requirements for course participants

Participants are selected based upon their application materials including information on their education background, publication list (if any), a research proposal or a relevant writing sample (project proposal or summary, country report, or case study for professionals), a statement of purpose describing how they would benefit from the course, and a letter of recommendation.

Fees and Costs

The standard participation costs for a two-week course at a subsidized CEU rate, excluding travel, are the following:

Tuition fee: 550 EUR
Accommodation: 221 EUR
Living expenses: 250 EUR

Financial aid for course participants

The program offers financial aid mostly in the form of tuition waivers to outstanding applicants. In addition to waivers, we can only grant participants support for accommodation and/or travel and/or stipend in case the course organizers can mobilize external, non-CEU funding for scholarships.

Funding for course costs

SUN provides a core budget for a limited number of courses, therefore proposal authors are encouraged to try and supplement this core wherever possible. Seeking external funding is encouraged in the following expenditure categories:

  • Contribution to course costs (honoraria and/or travel and/or accommodation of faculty)
  • Scholarships for participants
  • Contribution to course material development

Possible funding sources can be:

  • Applicants' home institutions (e.g. travel grants for Ph.D. students and faculty from departments)
  • Establishment of institutional partnership between CEU and another university, research institute, international organizations (e.g. our current and previous partners include Open Society Foundations, the World Bank, USAID, UN, Council of Europe, UNDP, International IDEA, etc.)
  • European Union (e.g. SUN can be part of a consortium for performing the task of dissemination of research results of an EU research project)
  • European or American foundations supporting research, and /or summer schools.

The SUN office is ready to provide assistance with the preparation of joint applications where needed.

Course directors and faculty

1) Course director's role

Each course is convened and led by a course director, who is responsible for the academic content and the organization of the course. As each course is allotted its own budget, s/he is the budget administrator as well. Detailed tentative budgets will be prepared by the SUN office staff in co-operation with course directors during the course application preparation period to see whether the proposed course can be covered from the available funding, or whether some adjustments should be made before finalizing the application.

2) Faculty

- composition
The course director recruits an international team of co-teachers, who design the course content, the syllabus, the reading lists, etc. in close co-operation. Holding a Ph.D. is a minimum requirement for faculty with research format courses. The SUN course teams are expected to aim for diversity in terms of their geographical, institutional and disciplinary background. Preferably, they are composed of an even mix of
a) outstanding eastern and western scholars and/or practitioners wherever the geographical diversity of expertise is relevant to the course topics.
b) CEU and non-CEU based faculty
Applicants outside CEU are strongly encouraged to contact CEU faculty whose work is relevant to the proposed course about their possible participation. When the CEU Summer University Board decides about course proposals, the way in which the summer course contributes to the academic interests and developments of CEU faculty members and their departments is an important selection criterion.
Resident CEU Academic Staff with employment contract are expected to offer their teaching contribution on a pro bono basis unless they act as course directors whose year-long organizational work can be remunerated.
- number of teachers
Ideally, a course is envisaged to be taught by 4-5 core faculty members. (One or two, preferably local guest speakers can also be added if necessary and the budget can cover it.) Deviation from this proposed format is also possible in well-justified cases and when the budget allows for a larger team.
- expected length of stay/level of involvement
Non-Hungarian faculty members are encouraged to come for the entire period and be available for the participants during their stay outside classes as well. If their schedule does not allow for this, they can come for only part of the course.
- course administration
Course directors can hire a coordinator to help with administrative tasks. The SUN Office is responsible for the overall organization of the courses in terms of recruitment, processing applications, taking care of travel and housing arrangements, etc.


Option I.

Two-stage submission process with a simplified first stage and the provision of more materials in the second stage once the proposal has passed the first one.

1. Submission of a draft proposal, deadline: April 8, 2019

Proposal authors are requested to submit a preliminary draft to Eva Gedeon by email ( with:

  • a brief description of the course concept (1-2 pages, including the length of the course)
  • a short explanation of how the course contributes to SUN's mission and the academic development of CEU faculty/departments
  • an indication of whether funding is expected from outside sources or CEU sources; if CEU is expected to (co-)fund the course, approximately how much the course requests
  • a faculty list with CV’s and publication lists

2. Feedback on draft proposals, deadline: April 30, 2019

The CEU Summer University Board will review draft proposals and make a decision:

a) invite a full submission (which does not guarantee final approval)
b) reject the draft proposal  in case it is not in line with SUN’s mission or CEU’s institutional goals with SUN described in the Call for Proposals.

3. Submission of the complete course proposal, deadline: June 6, 2019

Option II.

One-stage submission of new full proposals, deadline: May 7, 2019

If a proposal author does not wish to take advantage of the two-stage process and receive feedback from the CEU Summer University Board before submitting the complete proposal, the first stage of sending a draft proposal can be skipped. Full (single-staged) proposals should be submitted by May 7, 2019.

Option III.

One-stage submission of repeat full proposals, deadline: August 12, 2019

Repeat courses are requested to submit a one-stage full proposal by August 12, 2019.



Each complete course proposal should contain the following:

1. Two datasheets filled out (Datasheet I-II)

2. Please enclose the following for each faculty member proposed:

- C.V. and publication list
CV's should not be longer than 2-4 pages, publication lists should contain selected publications, e.g. from the past 10 years, or 10 most important ones, etc.
- letter of intent (See the enclosed sample Letter of Intent in Attachment I.)

3. Tentative syllabus

a) A statement of the purpose of the course with reference to how the course can help fulfill the stated mission of SUN and contribute to the academic and /or professional development of CEU faculty members and their departments
b) Pre-requisites for the course, if any (prior knowledge required for participation)
c) Brief overview of the course (a 1-page description of the course content)
d) Bibliography: a list of recommended articles and books that will be used by faculty in
 - designing the course (background reading), and
- preparing a class reader for participants (a preliminary reading list for the course)
e) Tentative course schedule: a first draft of a detailed schedule of lectures, seminars or workshops listing the themes covered in the course.
Please try to give an as much detailed breakdown of the course content as possible. You can use the following format, for instance:
Topic 1 The Contemporary Coordinates of Artwriting
Faculty member(s) Mark A. Cheetham
Number of hours 3
Teaching mode Lecture (50 min.) & Seminar (100 min.)
Discussion points Territories of Image/Text 1: Historical and Theoretical Coordinates

1. We will review the long and contested history of word/image relations. Reference will be made to Plato, the Ut Pictura Poesis tradition, Lessing, Kant, and others.

Question: To what extent - and how, specifically - are these philosophical legacies still relevant to our work today when we engage in "artwriting"?

2. What connections are there between controversies about Word and Image and the notion of "artwriting"? This discussion will serve as an introduction to the second class.

3. Throughout the course segment, we will be asking if, and in what ways, the visual and textual are different, comparable, or incommensurate.

Topic 2  
Faculty member(s)  
Number of hours  
Teaching mode  
Discussion points  

Topic 3  
Faculty member(s)  
Number of hours  
Teaching mode  
Discussion points  

4. Indication of potential interest of target audience in the proposed course
Please indicate how the course director and the faculty members will have access to potential applicant groups (e.g. reference to already existing networks, names of listserves and electronic newsletters, social media platforms, conference participation lists, etc.)

5. A statement about the proposed way/s of assessment of the participants` performance in the course and expected outcomes (e.g. revised research proposals, reports, articles, etc.).
All participants receive a certificate of attendance upon successful completion of the course. In order to gain this certificate, participants will be expected to attend and actively participate in all classes and complete assignments required by the course. In addition, all SUN courses will issue ECTS credits (typically 1 credit per week) to participants who request these.

6. A statement about gender equity (in line with CEU’s “Policy on gender equity at academic events and summer schools”)

Course organizers should be attentive to the need to address gender equity when the invited speakers for an event are selected and should include a section addressing this issue by stating either that 
a) the invited speakers have a good balance of male and female speakers, or 
b) explain how efforts were made and why such a balance could not be achieved
Course organizers are encouraged to consult appropriate sources for advice on how to achieve gender
balance at academic events. (For example, or

7. Repeat proposals without any major change in faculty or content should contain an additional statement presenting a strong academic argument why the same course should be held again. Please highlight revisions that have been made in the course content (topics, bibliography, resources, etc.), faculty composition, methodology, etc.

8. Tentative budget
We will assist proposal authors in the preparation of a tentative budget during the course application period to see whether the proposed course can be covered from the standard budget allocation, or whether some adjustments should be made before finalizing the application. Please contact Eva Gedeon at to discuss the budget details.

CLICK HERE to see a sample course budget.

CLICK HERE for the Application Checklist to make sure you submit all the necessary documents.


1. Submission of proposals

Two-stage submissions:

- Draft proposals:  April 8, 2019
- Final proposals: June 6, 2019

One-stage submissions:

- Full proposals - new courses: May 7, 2019
- Full proposals - repeat courses: August 12, 2019

Applications should be sent by email to Éva Gedeon, SUN Director, SUN Office at .

2. Review and selection

- Draft proposals will be reviewed by the CEU Summer University Board by April 30, 2019.

- Final proposals will be reviewed by external evaluators and the SUN Board in terms of quality and relevance to the mission of the summer program and CEU’s institutional goals with it (see the selection criteria below). The SUN Office may contact authors of proposals for further information or to make recommendations.

3. Notification

All proposal authors will receive notification about the results of review and selection via e-mail. Notification of selection will take place by the end of October 2019.


In selecting proposals, the SUN Board will take into consideration:

  • Experience and expertise of the proposed faculty
    Holding a Ph.D. is a minimum requirement for faculty with research format courses. Preference will be given to proposals that include internationally recognized, outstanding scholars in their fields.
  • The proposal’s added value to CEU and its adherence to the program mission outlined in the Call
    Preference will be given to proposals demonstrating how the course contributes to the academic and /or professional development of CEU faculty members and their departments.
  • Interdisciplinary and innovative approaches
    Proposals with interdisciplinary approaches offering fresh insight into research issues presented in an innovative course design are preferred.
  • Quality of the course plan (relevance, coherence, etc.) 
    Proposal authors are kindly advised to submit a fairly detailed and concrete syllabus (even if tentative at this stage) so that the proposal evaluators can form a better and more realistic opinion of the course in their review.
  • Balanced composition of the teaching team
    Wherever relevant for the course topics, preference is given to applications that propose a teaching team composed of an even, dynamic mixture of regional and Western scholars/experts, who are sensitive to and knowledgeable about the specific needs and problems of the regions from where the participants come. A balanced gender composition is also an important requirement.
  • Evidence of a sound methodological approach
    Proposals that employ a variety of teaching methods will be given preference.
  • Matching funding
    Preference is given to proposals that conform to the academic requirements of SUN and, in addition, can bring matching funding to the CEU base budget.