Study Abroad in Budapest, Hungary

Program Information

Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is the setting for the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics (BSM) and the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education (BSME) programs. BSM and BSME, which are administered and transcripted by St. Olaf College in Minnesota, are taught in English and targeted specifically to students in mathematics, mathematics education and computer science (and closely related fields.).

With a population of just under two million, and stretching along a hilly section of the Danube, Budapest provides a spectacularly beautiful and vibrant setting for the programs. It is a city with a rich history spanning a thousand years, with spectacular buildings that reflect that history, as well as ruins dating back to Roman times. It is also compact and easy to navigate on the superb public transit system. Budapest is also relatively close to some of Europe’s other great cities, such as Berlin, Prague, and Vienna, making it an especially attractive destination.

Budapest Semesters in Mathematics

The Budapest Semesters in Mathematics (BSM) program began in Spring Semester 1985, an idea that had its roots in the rich mathematical tradition of Hungary epitomized by the brilliant world-renowned mathematician Paul Erdos, one of the founders of the BSM program. BSM provides a unique opportunity for US undergraduate students, typically mathematics and computer science majors, to spend a semester in Budapest and study under some of Hungary’s most eminent mathematicians.

The semester program includes 14 weeks of instruction and one week of final exams.  Classes meet two to three times per week, and emphasize those elements for which the Hungarian method of teaching mathematics is best known, stressing problem solving, student creativity and group projects. A wide range of classes is offered, and combine standard upper-level classes in areas for which Hungarian mathematics is especially known, such as combinatorics, number theory, and probability theory. The program also allows students to sign-up for a two-week introductory Hungarian language prior to the start of math classes, as well as a Hungarian culture class during the semester.

Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education

Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education (BSME) is an outgrowth of the BSM program. It is a semester-long program designed for undergraduates and recent graduates interested in the learning and teaching of secondary mathematics. In BSME, participants will experience the Hungarian approach to teaching Mathematics, and examine ways in which they can integrate this pedagogy into their own future classrooms. They observe Hungarian mathematics classrooms and are given the opportunity to plan and teach their own lessons to Hungarian students (in English).

BSME participants typically take four courses, although this may vary according to the individual. The program recommends that students take at least three of the five BSME mathematics education courses offered. These should include Practicum: Experiencing the Hungarian Approach through Observation and Teaching, and at least one of Discovery Learning: The Pósa Method (DLP) or Problem Solving in Secondary Mathematics Education (PSM), although students may elect to take both. The class schedule is then filled out typically with one class from the BSM program or a Hungarian culture class.

The practicum represents a unique opportunity to observe the Hungarian approach in action. Classrooms visited range from ages 6-18, and expose students to a variety of different institutional types and programs, such as mathematics immersion programs and alternative schools. Participants take part in pre- or post-lesson discussions with teachers and students. At the end of each day there is a reflection session where participants share observations and connect their experiences to the theories learned in other BSME courses.

Housing and Meals

Students will be housed in apartments, typically shared with 1-2 other students, within a few minutes of the McDaniel College campus, where the classes are held, either on foot or on Budapest’s very efficient and easily navigated public transit system. BSM/BSME have built a network of relationships with landlords, and manage the payments and assignments for the students.

Students will be responsible for their own meals.


Minimum GPA : 2.75

Must have attended Pacific University full-time for at least one semester.

Important Dates

  • Advising Appointment : During Fall 2017
  • ITSA Form  Deadline : November 17, 2017
  • Application Deadline : February 9, 2018

Program Dates

  • Fall: Late August until Mid December
  • Spring: Late January until Late March


More Information

Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education