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Programs : Brochure

Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: English Language Prerequisite: No previous study
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0 Credit Available For: College
Other Eligibility Requirements: 1 Area Studies Course in Language or Culture (Recommended) Type of Program: Semester/Year Study Abroad
Housing Options: Apartment/Off-Campus, Homestay Application Deadline: Fall/Year: February 15, Spring: October 1
Program Description:

Program Snapshot

Budapest Semesters in Mathematics
BBH Logo
Hungary has a long tradition of excellence in mathematics education. However, because of the language barrier, students have not been able to take advantage of the skill and dedication of the mathematics faculties of Hungarian universities.  The Budapest Semesters in Mathematics (BSM) program provides a unique opportunity for North American undergraduates. Through this program, mathematics majors may spend a fall or spring semester in Budapest and study under the tutelage of eminent Hungarian scholar-teachers. Most instructors have had teaching experience in North America and are familiar with the cultural differences.
For additional information, visit the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics program website
The City of Budapest

Home to 1.9 million people, Budapest is the vibrant center of Hungary as well as its capital city. It was originally two cities built on either sides of the Danube, Buda and Pest. The two districts are still distinct in their contrasting makeup, with the older and more charming Buda comprising atmospheric cobbled streets, little picturesque colored houses and a medieval, neo-Classical mixture of architecture set among the gentle hills of the west bank. Pest lies on a flat plain and is the commercial core of the city. It bustles with fashionable shopping areas and has characteristically wide, leafy boulevards.

Did you know…?

Budapest’s numerous thermal springs give rise to 70 million liters of thermal water rising to the surface – daily! This has caused Budapest to be a hot spot for medicinal baths and hot springs across the city.



The Budapest Semesters in Mathematics program is for Math majors only.

Minimum GPA Requirement
: 3.0

Language Prerequisite: No previous study required.
Additional Course Pre-requisite(s): Successful completion of at least one semester of Abstract Algebra or Advanced Calculus by the end of the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure. 
Other Requirements: 1 Area Studies or Language course recommended.


Language of Instruction



A full course load at the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics consists of 4-5 classes per semester.  Students normally take three or four mathematics courses and one or two intercultural courses each semester.  Penn students must maintain a full course load while abroad and may only enroll in courses at the undergraduate level.

All Penn students are required to enroll in a Hungarian language course at the appropriate level.

Course offerings combine standard upper-level courses in areas of strength of Hungarian mathematics such as combinatorics, number theory, and probability theory.

BSM Academic Calendar
BSM Course Catalog for Incoming Exchange Students

Grading Scale

As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average.  The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy of your home school. For more information on Penn Abroad’s academic policies, click here.

Grades are reported to Penn on an A-F scale. 

Special Features

BBH Special FeaturesOrientation Activities

All Penn students are required to attend the orientation activities organized by Budapest Semesters in Mathematics prior to the start of each semester.  More information on BSM’s orientation activities can be found here.

Language Courses

Prior to the academic program a 2-week long intensive Hungarian language course (not for credit) is also offered in downtown Budapest by BSM’s partner, Babilon Language School. The Survival Hungarian Course is an 80-hour intensive course in conversational Hungarian offered during the two weeks immediately preceding the start of the BSM semester.  This language course is not part of the BSM program and is not required, though students are encouraged to enroll.

More information on the language course can be found here.


Participants must be willing to live under local conditions for students.BBH Campus

Students have their choice of the two housing options: renting a furnished apartment and sharing it with other Budapest Semesters participants, or living with a Hungarian family as a member of the family.

Information regarding accommodation can be found here and here (scroll down to “Accommodations-Housing in Budapest”).

Cost and Finance

Penn Abroad Financial Policies

Students are charged Penn tuition and academic fees for all Penn Abroad programs.  Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, visas, and airfare.  Please see the program budget sheets below for more information.  For more on Penn Abroad’s financial policies, click here.

Financial Aid and Study Abroad

In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved programs.  Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package. For more information on how Financial Aid will work during your semester abroad, click here.

Budget Sheets

Academic Year

Scholarship Opportunities

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program: Competition for awards for study abroad, for US citizen students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a 2-year or 4-year college or university. 

Next Steps

For information on the Penn Abroad application process, click here.

To open an application or learn more about the program, please click here to schedule an appointment with a Penn Abroad Global Programs Manager.

For a student perspective on life and academics in Budapest, contact a Penn Abroad Past-Participant or Exchange Student.