Home / education / Dear Corvinus University of Budapest, I would like some Ph.Ds. Here is a note signed by 3 friends.

Dear Corvinus University of Budapest, I would like some Ph.Ds. Here is a note signed by 3 friends.


Dnexon valiantly reviewed Sebastian Gorka’s dissertation. And now another professor has checked the dissertation’s provenance. One gets the impression he too is unimpressed by Gorka and his output.

Early on a mustache-twirling villain emerged as the face of the Trump White House. With the mannerisms of a pompous English B-movie baddy, Sebastian Gorka is to Donald Trump what the Sheriff of Nottingham was to King John. The malevolent sidekick.

Reynolds also feels the evaluation process Gorka went through was less than rigorous.

The dissertation is online and includes the ‘evaluations’ of three referees who each presented a page of generalized comments – completely at odds with the detailed substantive and methodological evaluations that I’ve seen at every Ph.D defence I’ve been on over the last twenty years.

Two of the three referees did not even have a Ph.D. One was the US Defense Attaché at the American Embassy in Budapest at the time, while the other was employed at the UK’s Defence Academy and just had a BA from Manchester University awarded in 1969. This ‘neutral’ examiner had published a book in Hungary with Gorka three years previously. While graduate students sometimes collaborate with their advisors the independent external examiners must have no nepotistic ties with the candidate. More important, a basic principle of assessing educational achievement is that your examiners have at least the degree level of the degree they are awarding. Undergraduates do not award Ph.Ds. In Gorka’s case the only examiner who lists a doctorate was György Schöpflin – an extreme right wing Hungarian Member of the European Parliament who recently advocated putting pigs heads on a fence on the Hungarian border to keep out Muslims. I have been told that Schöpflin was a family friend. Both Schöpflin and Gorka’s father fled from Budapest to London in the 1950s and both moved in exile right-wing nationalist circles.

If that is true, we are left in sum with a degree that was awarded in absence – on the basis of a dissertation without basic political science methodological underpinnings – and apparently from an examining committee of two of Gorka’s diplomat friends, with only BA degrees; along with an old family friend, Schöpflin.

Who knew getting a Ph.D. was so easy? I have friends. Some of them have Ph.Ds. It’s true that neither I nor any of my friends are xenophobic swine. However, if that isn’t a requirement, and Corvinus will take a check, I should have the right to snottily insist that people call me DOCTOR in no time. I wonder if the university offers some sort of bulk discount? Move over Professor Dr Dr Dr Dieter Vogelsang!

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