CEU-UP is designed to help prepare students of refugee backgrounds to make competitive applications university studies in the social sciences and humanities and to have the skills to succeed and graduate if admitted. Classes take place at CEU's campus in Vienna on most workdays of the week. Between courses, preparation/homework, workshops, and other events, the program is full-time, and students can expect to spend approximately 40 hours per week on their studies during winter term (January through March) and spring term (April through June). This immersive structure is designed to enable students to develop the knowledge, skills, and academic experiences to be successful.
Courses are organized in three groups, as described below and illustrated in the following diagram:
- Courses focusing on knowledge, concepts, and methods to prepare for specific degree programs (e.g., an MA in economics). Students take courses in two related disciplines for credit, and each course sequence spans winter and spring terms. The course topics vary, based on the interests of applicants and instructors. Furthermore, students audit a CEU course in winter term (i.e., attend classes without having the pressure of assignments or receiving credit) to deepend their knowledge and make connections with the CEU academic community.
- Individualized research and skills courses. This sequence of courses begins with a seminar on a topic of broad interest (and importance) and uses that common course experience to help students plan for their own projects. These projects are often, but not always, a research-based paper. As they develop over two terms, these projects provide a chance for students to both explore a topic of their interest and to develop (and demonstrate) their skills. At the same time, workshops provide insight in the skills critical for success at university.
- Academic communication courses. The focus of Academic Writing courses is not grammar, vocabulary, or spelling. Rather, these courses focus on mastering the conventions of writing, analysis, and argumentation in the structured formats of university assignments, e.g., writing academic essays. At the same time, most students are required to take several hours of English-language tutoring to continue to improve their reading, speaking, writing, and listening. These hours of tutoring are similar to more traditional language classes, but focus on academic contexts. Students for whom English is a first language or who attended university in English may need fewer or no hours. On the other hand, all CEU-UP students, just like any other CEU student, take Academic Writing courses, regardless of language background or level.