Course descriptions

Course descriptions for courses at Regional Sciences Doctoral School

The Doctoral School offers the following courses for its full- time and correspondence students who participate in its organized courses. Students must choose courses based on their research topic and the required number of credits during the three years of their education. Students can also include courses running in the frame of another study programs. They can complete individual courses which are integral part of their research but run at another Doctoral School as well.

1. Research Methodology (Dr. Khademi-Vidra Anikó)
The aim of the course is to present the formal and methodological requirements of the preparation of the doctoral dissertation mainly through the formation of theories based on structured interests (definitions of issues of research and hypotheses), operationalization, sampling related to several practical examples and the experience of the researches of the relevant students. The study unit as a base and introductory subject is to provide students help with the limitations of the topics of their research, the recognition of the structured tendencies of research, the methodology of the relevant specialized literature, respectively the methods of empirical data collections such as interview-making and analysis.

2. Introduction to Regional Science (Dr. Khademi-Vidra Anikó)

In the framework of the subject students can get acquainted with the international and national development of regional science respectively the issues of content and criticism of the genesis of the independent science. We are presenting a transdisciplinary set of knowledge in the frame of which regional science attemps to organically describe the common concepts, theories, methods of social space sciences (regional economics, urban sociology, social geography). In addition to the duality of social theory and space theory we are trying to highlight the interdisciplinarity of regional science analysing the different interpretations of space concept by different branches of sciences as well as to study the structure of the basic unit of the relevant science called region. Besides the diacron characteristic of the study unit we are emphasising the description of the syncron state as well: due to the strong organizational characteristic of regional science we are examining the most important organizations, magazines, centres of research and universities of that.

3. Regional Economics (Dr. Ritter Krisztián)

Completing the course in regional economics and regional processes prepares students for being able to understand and use higher level economic context of spatial processes,their theories and models. The main topics include: the basic elements, research area and basic theoretical schools of higher level regional economics. Land and space use: the generalization and adaptation of Thünen’s models to the modern days. New theoretical approaches of location selection of economic units: the models of Scott and Storper. Spatial market structures: spatial monopoly, duopoly, spatial price-discrimination. The theories of Lösch and Christaller, and the system of central spaces. The local external effects, the definition of spatial transaction costs: agglomeration economies, the Marshall industrial districts, regional clusters. The basic elements of urban economics, monocentric city-model, neighborhood effects, the modelling of proximity and knowledge run overs. The systems of settlement-network, city agglomerations, analysis of urbanization and localization advantages. The growth factors of regional economics, neoclassical regional growth theories. The post-Keynes growth models, theories of cumulative causality, economic base model, regional multiplication effects and their models. New economic geography: the basics of space theories of Krugman and his followers (Fujita, Thisse, agglomeration schools.)

The lectures also deal with the investigation of the mechanism which creates socio-spatial inequalities again and again.

4. Settlement Network in Europe (Dr. Nagyné Dr. Molnár Melinda)

The settlement is the framework of local societies, the basic unit of public administration, one of the most important spaces for civil organizations and business establishments as well. Settlements, mainly cities, are key actors of regional development. Urbanization, which is one of the most fundamental processes of the globalizing world, is playing a determining role. Significant differences can be experienced with regard to the complexity of the issues depending on the location (Asia, Africa, America, or Europe). The regions are widely different in respect of their physical and social characters, their economic development and structure, and also in their interrelation of the aforementioned. The focus point of this subject is the European settlement-network. Firstly, the students analyze the settlement types; secondly, the lecture gives insight into settlement morphology, rural and urban settlements, urbanization, elements in a nodal region; networks as regional lifelines.

5. Theory and Practice of Regional Planning (Dr. Tiner Tibor)

The objective of this course is to provide an introduction into regional planning, to give basic knowledge and general survey about the discipline, its theory and practice. Further aims are to demonstrate the history and the current state of regional planning and their conceptual and theoretical approaches. Additionally, its basic principles and values will be shown, as well as its different economic, financial and institutional conditions in Europe and in Hungary. The course is based on lectures. Lectures are supported with power point slide shows and joint discussions; and are supplemented with handouts to take notes. After each topic, a discussion will be open and some case studies will be shown. Related to some topics students will be required to work in teams, to solve some problems, and to do tasks together. Discussion and interactivity is essential. Case studies are also used to incent students to put their theoretical knowledge in practice.

6. Economic and Settlement History Processes in Europe (Dr. Rácz Lajos)

The concept of “Central Europe” has changed according to historical ages, and the researchers of different areas of science interpret it in different ways. In the course we examine the changes and transformations of “Central Europe” in literature. Following the definition of the historical and geographical frameworks we analyze the macro-regional location and the depth of the inner spatial structure of this area from the viewpoint of historical geography. In the first step in the historical geographical analysis we examine the relation between Central Europe and the whole European continent in the centuries of the Modern Age, then smaller scale structures – which form the basis of Central Europe – will be the objects to our examination.

During the course we examine the demographic, ethnographic, economic, administrative and political reasons and mechanisms of the formation of the region in Central Europe. Besides the acquisition of empirical knowledge, the objective of the course is the acquisition of certain methodological knowledge, too. Based on the above mentioned the course requirement is to write a short (10-15 pages) research paper on a topic we decide on together.

7. Regional Development and Public Administration: European Models  (Dr. Hajdú Zoltán)

Public administration is one of the most important functions of modern states. Different territorial solutions and hierarchical types are formed in Europe. We can analyze the structure of public administration with the help of the concepts of “spatial organization telescope” and “statoids”. Public administration is not included in the common EU policy, but the common European Administrative Space is being formed.

Territorial (regional) development is also a crucial element of modern states. It does not have only economic, but also political and social components. Territorial (regional) development is an integrated part of th common EU policy, and partly financed from the common budget.

The two systems – and their interactions – are influencing territorial processes.

8. Population Flow (Dr. Rédei Mária, DSc)

The demographic flow and stock situation is a footprint of economic and sociological development. The different structure of population plays an essential role in regional opportunities. The course deals with natural demographic events and regularities on territorial level; local irregularities will be explained by spatial situations. Spatial mobility inland and outland is an important element in our study. The course focuses on employment as the basic activity of the inhabitants.

Most of the statistical variables are based on the population number or on a given age structure. It is crucial to know the statistical sources, the reliability and comparability of the data. We make demo analysis to have a better basis for population projection, which is the main element of future planning. Regional disparities are, in most cases, related to demo disparities.

9. Multivariate Analysis in Regional Research  SPSS I-II.  (Dr. Kovács András)

The course gives an introduction to the methods of multivariate statistical analysis and their application in regional research to investigate the systems of mutually correlated factors.

Topics of the course:

Principal Component Analysis (PCA): models and applications, geometric interpretations, characteristic roots (eigenvalues), matrix of loadings, proportion and cumulative proportion of the total variance, principal component scores.

Factor Analysis (FA): models, initial factor extractions, loadings (factor pattern), communalities, factor scores, residual matrix, rotations.

Discriminant Analysis (DA): models, linear discriminant function, priors, squared (Mahalanobis) distances, probabilities, classification matrix, cross validation.

Cluster Analysis (CA): classification models, distance measures, linkage methods, similarity, dendrogram, clustering of observations, clustering of variables.

Computer programs (MINITAB, SPSS), case studies.

10. Environmental Policy, and Sustainable Development (Dr. G. Tóth László, DSc)

The course introduces the context of the balance among the different natural elements of the Earth environment. It also reveals the ways how balances are effected by the increasing human population, economic and industrial development as well as global market economy. It highlights the obvious and hidden causes of the balance becoming disrupted; the externalities and the tragedy of public goods. The possibilities and perspectives of sustainable development will also be examined by the approaches of ecological economics; the potential toolbar of the environmental policy, and the system of existing international environmental conventions will be reviewed. Finally, we review the implementation of the environmental policy in Hungary as a case study.

Compulsory elective courses

1. Social Aspects of Rural Development Policy in the EU (Dr. Tibor Farkas)

This course provides an introduction to rural development studies and help students understand how rural development policy and programs are developed in the EU. The subject is closely related to regional disparities in rural regions, to the role of agriculture in rural development and to regional and other policies. Rural development is typically an interdisciplinary field of science, education and research tasks are mainly related to sociology, demography, regional science, geography, and economics. Rural development methodologies involve the territorial demarcations, community development, local economic development and the development of the components of the quality of life in rural areas and in certain groups of the rural society.

2. Marketing Geography (Dr. Sikos T. Tamás, DSc)

The course starts with introducing the Hungarian settlement system based on its historical, geographical and morphological analysis. Based on the characteristics and size of Hungarian settlements, general theories and methods of marketing geography will be discussed. Special emphasis is placed on spatial processes (e.g. gravity zone, regional competition) induced by demand and supply for goods and services, and the impact they have on the life of the settlements. During the course students are required to be able to apply their theoretical knowledge in practice in their assignments. They will deal with the problem of choosing an optimal location for businesses in retail trade and in other sectors of the economy. To complete the course students will be required to submit an analysis of spatial processes in a selected settlement or region, by using mathematical-statistical methods combined with GIS (Geographic Information System) methods.

3. Consumer Behavior (Dr. Khademi-Vidra Anikó)

The study of the consumer habits has proven a quite diverse, exciting and varying research topic. The commercial attitude of the recent years has largely been determined by the global economic crisis resulting in several changes of the consumer behavior and it has had the majority of consumers find new reference points that make the consumer decisions more economical, conscious as well as more demanding. Simultaneously, owing to the large scale development of online commercial space new consumer habits and new ways of conduct have developed radically modifying the basic theses of former consumer paradigms. The research topic attempts to focus on the description of the above mentioned consumer trends trying to analyze the complex, inter- and multi-disciplinary progresses of consumption in their diversity

4. City Marketing (Dr. Nagyné Dr. Molnár Melinda)

Settlements and their social and economic surroundings are constantly changing. In this situation those settlements can be fully competitive which are able to adapt to their environment. Adapting to the environment can be interpreted in an economic, social, technological, geographical etc. sense. The starting points of the course are the analyses of social, economic and environmental values of the settlements in a marketing strategy context. The course explains the concept of “place products”, which are special complex regional services. In this practice-oriented course students will learn about the tools and rules of construction of a marketing strategy. It also aims to give insight into regional competition and to find a way to influence regional competitiveness.

5. Agricultural Economics (Dr. Vasa László)

The course explores the economic foundations for public policy analysis related to agricultural issues in rural areas. The emphasis is on concepts and introduction of various tools required for policy analysis and empirical research in agricultural economics. In particular, the course aims to deepen students' understanding of how economic theory can theoretically and empirically be applied to policy problems of agricultural sectors. This course is suitable for individuals who have strong interest in economic development and agricultural economics, and want to analyze these issues by quantitative and econometric methods as a policy analyist. Students attending this course will be qualified to: (1) use the theory in analyzing the economic effects of agricultural sectors and individual agricultural-firms functioning; (2) comprehend the strategic connection on the macro-micro relations in the aim of achieving the national nutrition security.

6. Short Food Supply Chains (Dr. Juhász Anikó)

The last decades have brought a rapid and dramatic change in food supply chains. Sales possibilities for food producers and consumer demands have changed due to logistic and information technology development and globalization. Supply chains became long and complicated. Due to the growing information asymmetry, the role of state and private institutions controlling and regulating the processes have also grown. This new centralized sales system is not a natural partner for SMEs in food production. After a period of decrease, short food supply chains now flourish in developed countries and have sometimes surprising strategies to survive in developing countries. What opportunities do the emerging famers’ markets, dairy and bakery products, as well as butcher food trucks; the resurging Community Supported Agriculture, the growing subculture of local products have for Hungarian food producers and buyers? What are the supply and demand characteristics of short food supply chains? What are the system innovation opportunities? What are the technological and human conditions of successful operation and cooperation? Scientific analyses in Europe and in the USA show these questions to be strongly space-related; location, competition and gravity zone are major factors in the efficiency of short supply chains. The course seeks answers to the above mentioned questions.

7. Regional and Local Economic Development (Dr. Nagy Henrietta)

The objective of the course is to teach the various methods and ways to achieve local economic development. In order to see the potentials of a local economy students need to be able to assess local conditions, including strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats. To implement successful and sustainable local developments, there is a specific need for bottom-up approaches which are not applied in several regions appropriately. If local economic development is needed, it requires an integrated approach of strategies and the establishment of clusters from local businesses. Students can learn how to collect the necessary information for the strategies and how to define the most important development activities which are based on the needs of local population and businesses as well as other authorities.

8. E-government (Dr. Tózsa István)

The objective of the course is the introduction to the modernization of front and back office workflows via the application of ICT. The sophistication levels of e-government require the re-organization of the office processes. Students have to be familiar with the basic workflows applied on mobile devices and smart television (m-government, t-government), the sophistication levels of e-government and the CLBPS (Common List of Basic Public Services) as the framework of services expecting ICT modernization. The E-Government Readiness index of the UN is also an important tool to compare and measure the development of e-government in some countries. E-government stands for public administration in the information society, therefore students are introduced to the basic elements and characteristics of knowledge management and the context of electronic public services as well as the solutions to bridge the digital divide and illiteracy. Completing the course, students will be able to see the role and status of e-government in a country by calculating e-government readiness index and the sophistication levels of the CLBPS. Also, they will be receptive towards the modernization trends in e-government, including the latest developments in Second Life type applications in public administration (Virtual Government).

9. Destination Marketing and Management (Dr. Dávid Lóránt)

Although the concept of destination marketing and has been applied extensively in relation to products and services, tourism destination management and branding are relatively recent phenomena. In particular, destination branding remains narrowly defined to many professionals in destination management organizations (DMOs) and is not well represented in tourism literature. Consequently, this course has three objectives. Firstly, it attempts to review the conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of branding as conveyed by leading authors in the marketing field. Secondly, it seeks to refine and enhance the definition of destination branding (acceptable to and understood by tourism destination managers) to more fully represent the complexities of the tourism product. Third, and most importantly, it seeks to improve our understanding of current destination branding practices among DMOs. The course indicates that although DMO executives generally understand the concept of destination branding, respondents are implementing only selective aspects of this concept, particularly logo design and development.

10. Tourism Management (Dr. Michalkó Gábor)

In our days tourism plays an important role in socio-economic changes. One tenth of the population of the Earth are regular participants in the flow of tourism. Being familiar with the characteristics of the target-area and the structure of reflection on it can facilitate the understanding of tourism as a space-relevant phenomena. One of the course objectives is to study the target-areas of tourism from a geographical aspect in order to discover the space-specific traits of a decision or behavior in tourism – so emphasis is placed on a modern interpretation of tourism. The symbiosis of space and tourism is demonstrated by discussing subjects which help the development of other fields of study as well, and enhances cooperation between them. A tourism-centered approach of the notions ’good place’, ’touristic milieu’, and ’touristic niche’ will be also discussed in the classes. In addition, the course includes the examination of meta-spaces (e.g. sacral, informal, symbolic space) and the factors (e.g. time, direction, distance) of mobility in tourism.

Elective Courses

  1. EU Policy for Gender Equality (Dr. Tímár Judit)

The main objective of the course is to assess and evaluate EU norms and the existing results in gender equality with special emphasis on Central-Eastern European experiences, and on the analysis of the relationship between gender mainstreaming policy and regional development. After getting acquainted with the different definitions of gender equality, equal treatment, the course deals with the most regulated areas of social practice and public policy: employment and social policy fields (from a historical point of view). It also discusses the most important questions regarding the institutional system and tools, for example policy for gender equality which also affects the operation of Structural Funds. It places special emphasis on women’s role in regional and rural development. It also provides practical knowledge by analyzing a National Development Plan, a way of embedding women’s development rights into Operative Programmes and by reviewing methods for assessing the impact of regional (rural) development plans on the equal chances for men and women.

  1. Planning in Regional Development (Dr. Péti Márton)

Regional development and regional planning are the main areas in the application of regional sciences. A basic function of regional planning as a social process is to include the results of regional researches systematically into the decision making process. The course wishes to introduce it in the broader context of regional and community planning, starting off from the fundamentals of planning and strengthened by methodological knowledge. The course also deals with the regional and management aspects of the field. The course objective is to convey the theoretical background and the approach of community planning, as well as to give insight into the function of regional plans and regulations and their implementation. It describes community and region planning paradigm, parts of the strategic planning process, its cycles and methods. The course also introduces the different types of plans, land use, landscape and sectorial plans; connections between planning systems and implementation processes. Emphasis is placed on putting theories in practice in Hungary and abroad. Analyzing and assessing situations, strategy writing, programming, monitoring and evaluating processes and tools as well as up-to-date processes connected to planning (strategic environmental assessment, impact assessment, sustainability assessment, and social impact assessment) are also included in the course. Regional and project management, land use planning and landscape planning will also be discussed.

3. Gender Geography (Dr. Tímár Judit)

The aim of the course is to give insight into the special interrelations between space and gender in the society. We seek answers to questions concerning changes in gender roles according to the economic, political, cultural environment all over the world or in a given country. We also examine the dispersion of men and women regionally and in different types of settlements, and the reasons of this differentiation. The course also “maps” the relative role of men and women, their share in the world of work, in local and regional politics, education and in the family. It also introduces changes in spatial and social gender mobility during the time, spatial “prints” of social relationships between the genders in urbanization and in the changes in the structure of settlements and in rural areas. The different approach of the two genders towards nature will also be examined, as well as their role in environmental protection. We place a special emphasis on analyzing the results of the different forms of patriachalism in time and space in the European Union and its results in the society. Main principles of regional and government policies which aim to ease the disadvantaged situation of women will also be discussed and the geography of social movements fighting for similar purposes will be reviewed.

4. Spatial correlations of social processes (Dr. Kovács Katalin)

The course deals with the sociological aspects of regional sciences and the analysis of spatial social processes right before and after the change of the regime. Its objective is to give insight into the rules and results of the flow of capital and migration between settlements and regions which have different economic potential and space structuring forces. Primarily the two extreme poles – suburbs accumulating middle- and upper class citizens and peripheries which concentrate poverty and different ethnic groups – will be discussed. Emphasis will be placed on the analysis of tension inside and between the regions which derives from segregation and permanent disparities in opportunities for living.

5. Logistic Processes (Dr. Benkő János)

The objective of the course is to give insight into decision-making models and methods which help eliminate unnecessary movements and waiting, decrease lead time and costs in logistics. The most important topics of planning the flow of materials, goods, and information to be covered during the semester are as follows: general methods and procedures for planning material processes of production systems; logistic costs; organization and planning of supply chains; planning material processes of storage systems; decision-making methods for distribution and transportation, facility locations decisions; inventory theory.

6. Discrete Event Simulation (Dr. Benkő János)

Spreading of the high speed computers gave impulse to development and application of simulation technologies. Due to these discrete simulation became an important device of the process planning. In the recent past a lot of software have appeared in the market. The graphic programming systems mean the high-tech among software that is able to determine parameters and characteristics of complex systems without writing any program row. In the course the ARENA software with different applications will be reviewed. The contents of the subjects are: developing a model approach, building the model, running the model, viewing the result; expanding resource representation: schedules and states, resource schedules, resource failures, frequencies, results of the model./

7. International and regional institutions for development (Dr. Csáki György)

Multilateral development banks are subject to international law, their owners are generally national governments (and other public institutions) or international organizations. Multilateral development banks collect their financial resources from money and stock markets and/or from official resources (government deposits or/and from international institutions) and their assets are used for international public purposes which cannot be financed from private funds. Multilateral development banks act mainly at regional level. Two models can be distinguished: one finances the needs of all its members, the other one provides loan to a definite group of member countries (the World Bank model). The latter one receives funds from all of its members, but finances only developing countries.

The most important regional development institutions discussed in the course are as follows:

Inter-American Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, African Development Bank, Caribbean Development Bank.

8. Social and Spatial Disparities in Healthcare (Dr. Orosz Éva)

Disparities in the healthcare system form a multidimensional phenomenon whose main components are social and regional disparities in health, and disparities in the healthcare system (in its strict sense), namely disparities in finding financial resources, regional disparities in available funds and capacity, as well as social and regional disparities in using services. In the course students will discuss different theoretical approaches to the main reasons for these disparities and some outstanding Hungarian empirical researches.

In the 1980s and ‘90s increasing social inequalities in the causes of death could be observed in many Western European countries, which put disparities in health care into the spotlight in the EU’s health care policy. In the lessons students will discuss proposals for the possible role and means of social and health care policy as well as relevant Hungarian and international experiences. Great emphasis will be placed on methods used for measuring and comparing disparities in health care internationally. Reducing inequalities is only one component of health care targets and assessing health care policies. The course discusses their relations with other objectives (efficiency, financeability) as well.

9. Spaces of Trade and Consumption (Dr. Nagy Erika)

One of the objectives of the course is to introduce the role of capital in re-creating spatial disparities in the sector. To this end, the ever-changing role of trade in the rotation of capital is used as a starting point. Besides this, the cultural logic of global capitalism will also be introduced in details through the strategies and practices of trade companies and by discussing the processes (driving forces, players) which shape the spaces of consumption.

In the course global, macro regional, national and local processes will be reviewed by applying the research results and findings in several fields of sciences (geography, economics, anthropology, sociology, architecture and history).

10. The System of the EU’s Cohesion Policy (Dr. Nagy Henrietta)

The objective of the course is to teach the students how the spatial structure of Europe has changed and due to such changes how the objectives and instruments have been modified and adjusted. Students can learn about the history of the regional policy and how geographical conditions can actively be integrated into the economic policy measures. Cohesion policy is a community issue in the EU, however, structural actions and spatial policy measures need to be carried out in other parts of the world as well. Within the course, students can get an overview on the European institutional system, policies, actions related to regional policy, they also need to be able to define suitable strategies for their own country. Regarding methodology, students will learn about the usefulness of various methods for indicating the spatial inequalities.

11. Political Geography of the New Europe (Dr. Doris Wastl-Walter)

Political Geography is a wide research field and deals with topics including territoriality, borders, nationalism, elections, state institutions, citizenship, resistance, social movements, ecology and focuses on political practices of global to local actors, on power distribution and manifestation, on inclusion and exclusion as well as different scales of interaction. The course focuses on Political Geography as a contested sub-discipline within Geography and basic concepts such as territory, power, border, space, regionalism and scale will be discussed. The understanding of concepts has changed throughout the last decades based on new theoretical perspectives that have become relevant. Therefore we will deal with postcolonial approaches, discuss feminist perspectives and Critical Geopolitics as a more or less independent sub-discipline within this broad research field. With many references to recent and present issues, we will talk about international relations but also discuss most urgent issues such as security, globalization, migration and mobility and on the other focus on power stressing the different actors involved e.g. state authorities and NGOs. Issues such as governance, citizenship, inclusion and exclusion or the construction of identity will also be included. We will also refer to current relevant issues such as environment and pollution. The Regional focus will be on the New Europe, regarding it in a global context as well, with a special focus on internal regional differences.

12. Borders and cross-border spaces (Dr. Kovács András)

Border regions possess unique economic, social, political and geographic features, in many cases they connect areas of different characters and dynamics. That is why researching border regions has important economic, social and regional aspects. The course deals with the conceptual system of border regions, space structures and give an overview of the terminology regional sciences use. Later we deal with the peculiarities of border areas, and examine the typical economic, social, and political problems which might arise in border regions. Alongside the borders two kinds of forces act: one of them separates, the other one connects the regions. The first one makes cross-border flows harder, the second one makes it easier. Based on the effects of these forces, we will classify border areas, and with the help of case studies, economic and social characteristics of a particular borderland and the changes in it will be described and interpreted.

13.  Case studies on regional research (Dr. Kovács András)

In regional researches we always deal with the characteristics of one or more areas, with the changes in their features and with the social, economic and political impacts these changes create. In regional sciences, research methods rely on both quantitative and qualitative methods. In the course previous researches (already completed) will be examined and analyzed. The whole research process – including its conceptualization and operationalization, implementation and follow up will be introduced and analyzed. The course relies on the students’ participation and on their previous research experiences. During the semester students get insight into the different solutions and problems of the research topic; as well as into the most suitable methods and procedures.