Call for Applications: OLIve-UP AY 2017-2018

April 5, 2017

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: Open Learning Initiative - University Preparatory Program (OLIve - UP)

AY 2017 -2018

Fully Funded Higher Education Opportunity for Refugees in Europe at Central European University, Budapest

Are you a person with refugee status interested in studying at a university in Europe? Have you had difficulties in getting your qualifications recognised when applying to universities? Central European University invites applications for its Open Learning Initiative - University Preparatory Program (OLIve-UP), a course of study designed to prepare students for university.


The Open Learning Initiative - University Preparatory Program is an intensive, full-time, fully-funded course of study for individuals with refugee status with the goal of preparing students for higher education study. OLIve-UP assist students in making competitive applications to BA and MA programs at European universities.

The program is funded by the Erasmus+ program of the European Union and by the Higher Education Support Program of the Open Society Foundations.


The program focuses on academic tutoring, academic English, developing academic skills, and advocacy and human rights training. Students are taught in small interactive groups, with close engagement between teachers and students.

  • Academic tutoring: OLIve-UP offers academic tutoring in economics, environmental sciences and policy, gender studies, history, international relations and European studies, legal studies/human rights, mathematics, nationalism studies, philosophy, political science, public policy, and sociology and social anthropology (additional disciplines may be offered).
  • Course Auditing: Students are expected to attend a CEU MA course related to their field of study. This is an opportunity to become familiar with the reality of studying in a graduate program.
  • Academic English: English classes raise students’ language level to the standard required for entry to BA or MA university programs. Academic skills ​classes develop students’ critical thinking, academic writing and general study skills.
  • Advocacy and human rights training provide students with knowledge on how to access their rights to social and economic participation for themselves and others in European societies.
  • Additional Support: students will receive regular and in-depth consultation as they apply to BA and MA programs across Europe and will be assisted in making competitive applications. Completion of the program does not guarantee acceptance at a CEU MA program or any other university program.

Successful graduates of the program will receive a non-degree certificate issued
by Central European University.


OLIve-UP accepts students intending to prepare for BA and for MA study but preference is given to those wanting to prepare for Masters programs. The program accepts applications from individuals with refugee status in Hungary or another European Economic Area (EEA) state who have:

  • An interest in pursuing further university study
  • Completed a Bachelor's degree​, for those who wish to be prepared for Masters-level study


  • Have completed high school, ​for those applying to be prepared for BA-level study but preference will be given to students who have some university experience. Not having copies of your diploma(s) will not disqualify you from applying.
  • At least upper-intermediate English​ skills.

Women candidates who meet the above eligibility criteria are particularly encouraged to apply.


Submit a completed online application form, by 15 May 2017​. The online application form can be found here:


  • A CV (in English), with details of your academic background and work experience, if any. Please also indicate your English level.
  • A Letter of Intent (maximum 2 pages) stating why you would like to participate in this program and describing your academic and professional achievements, including how many years - if any - spent in higher education, as well as interests and goals for the future and how further university study will help you achieve these.
  • Scanned copy or photocopy of your diploma ​and a transcript of previous grades if you have these available. If you do not have a copy of your diploma and transcript, please upload a document stating details of your previous study, including principal subject of study, title of thesis (if any), and average grade per year of study (if applicable). Your application will still be considered if you do not have a copy of your diploma or transcript and you will not be at a disadvantage.
  • Up to two reference letters (one mandatory), if possible one from someone familiar with your academic experience or skills to date. In the application form you will have to provide the name and contact details of a person familiar with your past academic performance, ideally a former teacher or university lecturer who can write a reference for you. If you are not able to contact an academic referee, then please provide the contact details of a previous employer. The referee will be contacted by CEU and will upload the reference. If you have copies of other references, you may upload additional reference(s) in the section 'Qualifications - Other Supporting Documents’ or have these sent to directly by your referee(s).
  • If you have a sample of academic writing in English (e.g an essay prepared for a university program) please submit this in the section 'Qualifications - Other Supporting Documents’. Your application will still be considered and will not be at a disadvantage if you do not have a writing sample.

Please note that your application will not be considered complete unless you submit both the online application form and the required documents.


All applications must be received by 15 MAY 2017​. Late applications cannot be considered.
Questions about the application process can be directed to Please use this subject line: OLIve-UP 2017. Do remember that you need to have valid refugee travel documents in order to travel to Hungary and to receive a student visa.


The program will run from September 2017 to the end of June 2018. This is a full-time program and students are expected to be in Budapest for the duration of the program.


All successful applicants will be awarded a full scholarship which will cover a stipend, assistance for accommodation, health insurance, and all study materials.


Central European University (CEU) is a graduate-level university where faculty and students from more than 100 countries come to engage in interdisciplinary education, pursue advanced scholarship, and address some of society’s most vexing problems. It offers English-language Master's and doctoral programs in the social sciences, the humanities, law, management and public policy. Located in the heart of Central Europe -- Budapest, Hungary -- CEU has developed a distinct academic and intellectual focus, combining the comparative study of the region's historical, cultural, and social diversity with a global perspective on good governance, sustainable development and social transformation.