Bachelor of Science

The following courses are currently available in Hungarian:

Courses in Biological Expertise:
Ethology 1 Lecture (etolo1b17ea) spring semester
Instructor: Dr. Ádám Miklósi, Dr. Péter Pongrácz

Mandatory Elective Subjects:
Ethology 2 Lecture (etolo2b20ea, 2 credits) ( etolo2b20ea, etolo2b17ea, 1 credit)
Instructor: Dr. Ádám Miklósi, Dr. Péter Pongrácz

Behavioral biology practice (visbiob20la, 6 credits)
Instructor: Dr. Péter Pongrácz

Integrated Research Methods in Ethology (intkuetob22ea, bb2n9102)
Instructor: Dr. Tamás Faragó, Dr. Attila Andics

Thesis Seminar:
Special Laboratory 1 (szakl1b22da, szakl1b17da) – autumn semester
Special Laboratory 2 (szakl2b22da, szakl2b17da) – spring semester

Lecture to teachers:
Ethology to teachers (bb5t1801)
Instructor: Dr. Ádám Miklósi, Dr. Péter Pongrácz

Elective Subjects:

Evolution of Communication (komevob18eo; bbbn9078)
Instructor: Dr. Tamás Faragó, Dr. Márta Gácsi, Dr. Konok Veronika, Dr. Péter Pongrácz

Evolution of Canidae (kutyevb18eo; bbbn9027) – autumn semester
Instructor: Dr. Tamás Faragó, Dr. Márta Gácsi, Dr. Enikő Kubinyi, Dr. Péter Pongrácz

Animal Welfare Lecture (bb2n1e10) –autumn Semester
Instructor: Dr. Péter Pongrácz

Domestication - Evolution Adapted to Humans Lecture (bb1c9169) - spring semester
Instructor: Dr. Péter Pongrácz

Feline ethology and cat-human interactions lecture (catetholb24ex)
Instructor: Dr. Péter Pongrácz

Subjects taught by or with the participation of the lecturers of the Department of Ethology:

Subject name

 Neptun code






 A kommunikáció   evolúciója

 komevob18e,   bbbn9078





 Faragó Tamás, Gácsi   Márta, Konok Veronika,   Pongrácz Péter

 Kutyafélék   evolúciója






 Abdai Judit, Faragó   Tamás, Gácsi Márta,   Kubinyi Enikő, Pongrácz   Péter

 Viselkedésbiológia   gyakorlat






compulsory elective

 Faragó Tamás,

 Konok Veronika,

 Pogány Ákos,

 Pongrácz Péter







 Pongrácz Péter







 Faragó Tamás,

 Zsebők Sándor,

 Orci Kirill Márk

 (Állatrendszertani Tsz.)

 Etológia 1






 Miklósi Ádám, Pongrácz   Péter

 Etológia 2






compulsory elective

 Miklósi Ádám, Pongrácz   Péter

 Állati Struktúra és Funkció 2






 Pongrácz Péter és mások   (Élettan Tsz.)

 Integrált kutatási   módszerek az   etológiában / Kutatói   készségfejlesztés





compulsory elective

 Andics Attila, Faragó   Tamás







 Pongrácz Péter

 Macskafélék   etológiája






 Pongrácz Péter

 Biometria, alapozó   biostatisztika






 Jónás Dávid, Kovács   Ágnes, Szeniczey Tamás,  Horváth Gergely

Lectures given in the past:
Humanethology (Course Code: bb2n1e28)
Social Learning Lecture (Course Code: bbbn9107)
Human-Animal Interaction (Course Code: bb2n1e17)
Ethology of Game Species in Hungary (Course Code: bbbn9115)
Cognitive- and Neuroethology (cognitusb17em)
Ethology of Predation Practice (bbbn1e39)
Animal Personality Lecture (bb1c9502)
Biology Criterion Subject (bb1c8100, bb5t8100)
Human-Animal Interactions Lecture (bb2n1e17)
Ethology II. Advanced Level Lecture (bb1c1316)
Ethology of Predation Lecture (bbbn1e39)
Applied Ethology and Animal Welfare (English) (alketosb17em)
Animal Protection Lecture (bbbn9124)
Ethology III. Practice (bb1c4401)
Research Planning Practice (bb2n4e02)
Ethology of Hungarian Wildlife Lecture (bbbn9115)
Ethology I. (Basic Level) Lecture (bb1c1105)

Courses in Biological Expertise

Ethology (etolo1b17ea)

BSC Integrated Biology course, 1 credit, colloquium
Subject supervisor: Dr. Ádám Miklósi
Instructor: Dr. Ádám Miklósi, Dr. Péter Pongrácz
Recommended pre-study order:
Assessment: written exam
Recommended supporting material: PPT/PDF of the delivered lesson material, 14x15 slides (210);
Miklósi et al.: Introduction to modern ethology (university note), 250 pages. (in press)

  1. Introduction - ethological foundations: history and method (Péter Pongrácz)
  2. "Four questions" of behavior analysis (Ádám Miklósi)
  3. Mind and learning (Ádám Miklósi)
  4. Individual development (Ádám Miklósi)
  5. Nutrition, foraging (Péter Pongrácz)
  6. Predator-prey relationships (Péter Pongrácz)
  7. Communication (Péter Pongrácz)
  8. Mechanism of behavior – problem-solving and learning processes (Ádám Miklósi)
  9. Sexual selection - reproduction (Péter Pongrácz)
  10. Parental behavior, offspring care (Péter Pongrácz)
  11. Group life (Ádám Miklósi)
  12. Cooperation and altruism (Ádám Miklósi)

Mandatory Elective Subjects

Ethology 2 lecture (etolo2b20ea)

Compulsory elective - special biology skills, 2 credits, colloquium
Subject supervisor: Dr. Ádám Miklósi
Instructor: Dr. Ádám Miklósi, Dr. Péter Pongrácz
Recommended pre-study order:
Assessment: written exam
Recommended auxiliary material: PPT/PDF of the delivered course material


  1. Early learning (Péter Pongrácz)
  2. Social learning (Péter Pongrácz)
  3. Communication (Péter Pongrácz)
  4. Deception (Péter Pongrácz)
  5. Parental behavior, offspring care (Péter Pongrácz)
  6. Expenditure (Péter Pongrácz)
  7. Measurement methods (Ádám Miklósi)
  8. Motivation (Ádám Miklósi)
  9. Problem solving 1. (Ádám Miklósi)
  10. Problem solving 2. (Ádám Miklósi)
  11. Domestication (Péter Pongrácz)
  12. Urbanization (Péter Pongrácz)

Behavioral biology practice (visbiob20la)

Under editing...

Integrated research methods in ethology lecture (intkuetob22ea, bb2n9102)

Compulsory optional subject for specialization, 4 credits, colloquium
Subject supervisor: Dr. Tamás Faragó
Instructor: Dr. Attila Andics, Dr. Tamás Faragó
The course builds on knowledge of the following topics: Ethology Lecture I
Auxiliary material: slides of the presentation


1. How to read an article? - reading the article 1.
2. Reference management (search, citation networks, Mendeley, how to cite)
3. How to read an article? – reading the article 2 (critical reading, taking notes for the study)
Data management
4. Data storage, data management (how not to lose our data, data organization in Excel, for analysis)
Writing a study
5. Planning an experiment, writing a method
6. Writing results, stat
7. Writing an introduction and discussion
8. Compression, abstract writing
9. Drawing
Making a presentation
10. Presentation preparation, presentation techniques
11. Poster creation (use of design, publisher)
12. Science communication

Thesis Seminar

Special Laboratory 1 (szakl1b17da) – autumn semester
Special Laboratory 2 (szakl2b17da) – spring semester

Lecture to teachers

Ethology for teachers (bb5t1801)

Subject supervisor: Dr. Ádám Miklósi
Instructor: Dr. Ádám Miklósi, Dr. Péter Pongrácz
Recommended pre-study order:
Assessment: written exam
Recommended auxiliary material: PPT/PDF of the delivered course material,


1. Introduction
2. Orientation
3. Nutrition
4. Four questions of behavior analysis
5. Mechanism of behavior, problem solving and learning processes
6. Predation
7. Individual development of behavior
8. Communication
9. Group life
10. Cooperation and altruism
11. Sexual selection
12. Parental behavior / mating systems

Elective Subjects

Evolution of communication (in Hungarian) (Course code: bbbn9078)

Specialization obligatory optional, 2 credits, 90 minutes/weekly
Semester: autumn
Requirement: exam (5) (written pre-exam + oral exam)
Obligatory/Recommended studies: evolution, ethology
Responsible person: Márta Gácsi, PhD
Lecturer: Tamás Faragó, PhD; Márta Gácsi, PhD; Konok Veronika, PhD; Ádám Miklósi, Prof.; Péter Pongrácz, PhD
Consultation possibilities: after the last lecture
Books: slides of the lectures

1. Introduction – the history of the investigation of communication
2. Ecological approach of analyses of communication
3. How shall we study communication: methodological considerations
4. The adaptivity of communication I.
5. The adaptivity of communication II.
6. Chemical signals in communication – evolutionary aspects
7. Biological synthesis and neurobiological aspects
8. Cognitive approach of communication
9. Biological basis of the human language
10. Interspecific communication: human and dog
11. Artificial languages I. – experiments on language learning
12. Artificial languages II. – basic forms of language competence

Evolution of Canidae (In Hungarian) (Course code:bbbn9027)

Specialization obligatory optional, 2 credits, 90 minutes/weekly
Semester: autumn
Requirement: exam (5) (written pre-exam + oral exam)
Obligatory/Recommended studies: ethology
Responsible person:  Márta Gácsi, PhD
Lecturer: Tamás Faragó, PhD; Márta Gácsi, PhD; Enikő Kubinyi, PhD; Péter Pongrácz, PhD
Consultation possibilities: after the last lecture

Books: slides of the lectures; Prof. Ádám Miklósi: DOG Behaviour, Evolution, Cognition.  Typotex, 2010

1. Comparative taxonomy and ecology of canidae. Coyote, wolf, dingo, jackal, fox etc. – relatedness
2. The wolf – ancestor of the dog. Development, ecology, social behaviour, differences from dogs and other canidae
3. Domestication of dog. Theories about dog domestication, comparison with other species, consequences
4. Two closely related species: coyote and jackal. How closely are they related, similarities, differences related to each other and to wolf/dog
5. Halfway to domestication? The dingo. History, natural environment, specific behaviours, regulations, differences and similarities to wolf/dog
6. Development. Developmental stages, sensitive periods, attachment behaviour (dog vs. wolf)         
7. Social relations and cooperation. Within species social relationships, cooperation, specific cases of dog-human relationships, assistant dogs
8. Agonistic behaviour. Hierarchy, differences in aggressive behaviour, dog attacks
9. Acoustic communication of canidae. Species specific vocalisations, wolf vs. dog
10. Personality. Individual differences, personality traits and their associations
11. Ecological and social cognition. Object permanence, cognitive map, attention attribution, mental attribution, social learning
12. Comparative neurobiology of canidae. Visual abilities, olfactory abilities, changes in the brain size
13. Effects of genetics and environment: individual differences. Structure of chromosomes, principles of heredity, quantitative genetics, heritability, candidate genes, genetic models

Animal welfare (in Hungarian) (course code: bbra1103)

General obligatory, 2 credits, 90 minutes/weekly
Semester: autumn
Requirement: exam (5) (oral exam)
Responsible person: Péter Pongrácz, PhD
Lecturer: Péter Pongrácz, PhD

Books:  S. J. Armstrong and R. G. Botzler: Animal Ethics Reader (London, 2003)

1.The capacity for suffering in animals – Do animals suffer? The connection between suffering and consciousness.
2. Animal welfare of the most intelligent species. Personal rights for Apes? Is a dolphin a person?
3. Problems with livestock. Animals as food – is vegetarianism an alternative of breeding livestock Ethics in animal husbandry
4. Religions and animals. Worship, sacrifice and despise of animals, in the name of God
5. Animal experiments – experimental animals (1) Where are the boundaries of the possibilities in conducting experiments on live subjects? Costs and benefits. Regulations about animal experiments.
6. Animal experiments – experimental animals (2) Ethics and ecology clashes in the field experiments. The dilemma of animal experiments in education
7.Biotechnology – Genetic engineering and animal welfare. Xenotransplants, cloning
8. Protecting the wildlife (1) Hunting – is it truly necessary, or is it mostly a ‘sport’?
9. Protecting the wildlife (2) Exotic animal trade
10. Ethics in environmental protection. Back to the wild – ecological and ethical aspects of reintroducing animals to their former habitats
11. Zoo and aquarium – Are they still necessary in the 21st century? Environmental enrichment, saving of vulnerable species
12. Animal sports – or cruel entertainment? Rodeo, horse racing, greyhounds. Bullfights
13. The rights of the pets. The responsibility of breeders of pets – to which extent can we ‘design’ an animal? Companions at work – the welfare of working dogs.
14. Animal right activists. Important achievements of animal welfare protectionExtreme welfare – the dark side of animal right movement

Domestication - evolution adapted to humans Lecture (in Hungarian) (bb1c9169)

2 credits, colloquium
Subject supervisor: Dr. Péter Pongrácz
Instructor: Dr. Péter Pongrácz
Recommended pre-study program: ethology, genetics
Requirements: During the diligence period: attending the lectures is recommended. During the exam period: colloquium (with written intervention)
Recommended literature: Ádám Miklósi: Dog behavior, evolution and cognition – Typotex, Budapest (2010)

  1. The concept and definition of domestication. Classic ideas, characteristics of the domesticated animal. Domestication and domestication. Modern theories of "self-domestication"
  2. Domestication in the light of the biological and cultural evolution of man. The development of modern man in the last hundred thousand years. The settlement and then the development of agriculture
  3. The most important domesticated animals. A brief historical overview of notable pets. Age of light and decline - when, where, which domestic animal was most important
  4. The domestication process 1. Function. What makes an animal useful for humans? What makes a human useful to an animal?
  5. The domestication process 2. Mechanism; Genetic changes - physiological changes - behavioral changes
  6. The domestication process 3. Ontogenesis and evolution. Neoteny, juvenile effects, reproductive isolation. Artificial selection and self-domestication
  7. Domestication of companion animals - myth and reality. Competing theories regarding the domestication of the dog. Domestication of the cat
  8. Modeling domestication. The Gentle Fox of Novosibirsk is an enterprise
  9. How can there be so many types of dogs (hens, cats, etc.?) The origin of the diversity in appearance. The origins of behavioral diversity
  10. The downsides of domestication. Animal welfare issues. The impact of domestic animals on the natural ecosystem
  11. The effect of domestication on humans. Biological changes in humans. Impacts on a historical scale
  12. The scene of domestication. Can I have new pets? Successful and unsuccessful domestication attempts
  13. Self-domestication - urbanization. The most significant urbanizing species. What factors play a role in the urbanization of animals?

Ethology of Felids and cat-human interactions lecture (in Hungarian) (catetholb24ex)

2 credits, colloquium
Subject supervisor: Dr. Péter Pongrácz
Instructor: Dr. Péter Pongrácz
Requirements: During the diligence period: attending the lectures is recommended. During the exam period: colloquium (with written intervention)
Recommended literature: Pongrácz, P., & Lugosi, C. A. (2024). Predator for hire: the curious case of man's best independent friend, the cat. Applied Animal Behavior Science, 106168. Bradshaw, J. (2013) Cat sense. The Feline enigma revealed. Penguin Books

1. Presentation of felids: Evolution of felids, excerpts from the ethology of wild felids

2. The domestic cat: The development of the domestic cat, its domestication, the history of the spread of the cat

3. The wild cat: The ancestor of the domestic cat, the ethology of the wild cat, its conservation biology situation

4. The relationship between wild cats and domestic cats: The domestic cat as a factor threatening the wild cat (hybridization, competition)

5. The domestic cat in the wild: The domestic cat as a feralized predator – the problem of native fauna

6. Effects of domestication: The domestication legacy of the domestic cat (what has changed? Sociability, tolerance with peers, social lifestyle, vocalization)

7. The social cat: Intraspecific behaviors of the domestic cat. Cat colonies. Social behaviors, hierarchy

8. Cat-human interactions: The cat as a companion animal, host recognition, attachment, communication

9. Cat cognition: Problem solving, spatial orientation, self-representation, social learning

10. Predation behavior of the cat: Epigenesis of predatory behavior, relationship with play

11. Behavioral problems and problematic behaviors in cats: Factors threatening cat-human coexistence, shelter cats

12. Cat welfare: Anatomical extremes, abandonment, low-stimulus environment, feeding

13. Responsible cat keeping: The compatibility of cat welfare, environmental protection and companion animal keeping

14. Cat in culture: Superstitions, beliefs and cultural heritage about cats from an ethological perspective

Lectures given in the past

Humanethology (In Hungarian) (Course code: bb2n1e28)

Specialization obligatory optional, 2 credits, 90 minutes/weekly
Semester: spring
Requirement: exam (5)
Obligatory/Recommended studies: Ethology for BSc Biology
Responsible person: Ádám Miklósi, Prof.
Lecturer: Ádám Miklósi, Prof.
Consultation possibilities: On case by case basis after prior correspondence
Books: slides of the lectures; Barrett, L, Dunbar, I, Lyatt, J. 2002 Human evolutionary Psychology
Laland, KN, Brown G 2002 Sence and Nonsence: Evolutionary perspectives on human behaviour

1. Introduction to ethology (animal/human behaviour). Human ethology is an integral part of ethology, which is the biological study of animal behaviour. In this lecture the basic concepts of ethology are discussed in relation to human ethology. We also present an overview on the development of this field and explain how the interaction between ethology and psychology generated a novel discipline of studying human behaviour. We present an integrative approach to behaviour by discussing the importance of studying function, mechanism, development and evolution of behaviour in parallel.
2. The study of human behaviour: Methods. Methodological issues will be discussed as humanethology is based on the comparative study of humans and related animals (apes), on the study of human behavioural development in infants and children, and on intercultural studies.  The ethological methods of describing the behavioural phenotype in humans will be discussed with regard to the challenges from neuroscience and behavioural genetics.
3. Comparative ethology of primates I.: Social behaviour. One key factor in understanding human behaviour is the knowledge of the behaviour of our nearest relatives. In this lecture we introduce concepts of social behaviour in general, and also present a description of the social behaviour in apes (organisation of groups, sexual behaviour, aggression etc).
4. Comparative ethology of primates II.: Cognition. Human cognition has its antecedents in animal cognition. In order to understand the problems of studying cognition, we present the latest knowledge on primate cognition both in the case of their physical and social understanding. Cognitive maps, understanding of simple physical laws, understanding of attention, representation of the other’s mind (Theory of mind) will be discussed as key examples.
5. Human biological evolution. This lecture describes biological evolution after split from the “apes”. Both physical and behavioural evolution will be outlined, in addition to evolutionary theories trying to explain why, how and when specific human behaviours emerged.
6. The Human behaviour complex. Here we present a different view on behavioural evolution in humans. Instead of arguing for a single important factor as a cause for the emergence of new human species, we suggest that there could be small multiple changes in a range of behaviours that resulted in a large overall behavioural difference. Faculties of sociality, behavioural synchronization and constructive abilities are emphasised as main categories of this behaviour complex.
7. Human sociality. A detailed picture is provided about the behavioural system of sociality. Concepts of attachment, xenophobia, intra and intergroup relationships will be discussed. Typical groups size and structure of humans is presented.
8. Human aggression. We introduce the ethological concept of aggression in animals, and draw a parallel with human agonistic behaviour. The specificity of human aggressive behaviour will be shown with regard to dominance/submissive relationship. We will contrast intra- and intergroup behaviour, and a detailed description is given of human aggressive behavioural and explanation of possible evolutionary ritualisation. The social/learnt effects on aggressive behaviour will be discussed.
9. Human mating systems, mate choice, sexual behaviour. We will describe basic concepts of mating systems, and will show ways of understanding human mating systems as a function of ecological and cultural factors. Mate choice and sexual behaviour will be discussed in detail, as well as, more specific issues of human behaviour such as homosexuality, incest taboo and prostitution.
10. Behavioural synchronisation and cooperation. Many of our complex behaviours appear to be executed in a synchronised way. Although to perform actions in parallel seems to be a general animal trait, in the case of humans very different aspects of behaviour seem to be affected. In addition we have many behavioural traits ensuring that activities within the group become synchronised. Such examples come from hypnosis, the sensitivity for dancing, music and accepting social rules.
11. Communication and language. Human communication represents a unique organisation in living systems. After providing a biological basis of animal communication, we describe how language differs from other communication systems. Both the components and the structural rules of language will be discussed, and we reflect in what sense language is influenced by genetic factors. A possible scenario for language evolution will be presented.
12. Constructive abilities. Apart from language as a mental construction, the modification from objects is an important feature of human behaviour. Humans are not alone in using objects but in our case there is a significant increase in the complexity of the behaviour. We will compare animal and human use of objects as well as making of objects by physical modification, adding parts together ect. We will investigate how the notion of evolution can be applied to the technical word, and how this behaviour affects the niche in which humans are living in.
13. Cultural evolution. The transmission of learned information from one generation to the next is not exclusively a human trait, however human culture seems to have specific attributes. We will review theories about human culture, and present a comparison by showing that culture can be investigated from different aspects as behavioural manifestation, cognition, ecological function and products.
14. Mega-society. The effect of global changes in human behaviour. Processes of “runaway” evolution will be discussed along with issues of future challenges that might affect human social systems. 

Social learning lecture (In Hungarian) (Course code: bbbn9107)

General obligatory, 2 credits, 90 minutes/weekly
Semester: in autumn
Requirement: exam (5) (oral exam)
Recommended studies: Ethology
Responsible person: Péter Pongrácz, PhD
Lecturer: Péter Pongrácz, PhD


1. What is social learning? Types of learning. The adaptivity behind social learning. Mechanism, function, ontogeny and evolution
2. Transmission of food-preference. Ecological circumstances. Transmission of food-preference in a generalist species, the rat. Transmission of food-preference in a herbivorous species: the rabbit
3. Learning of acoustic communication – transmission of birdsong. Ecological circumstances. Neuronal and hormonal changes and effects. Sensitive periods, the role of the ‘audience’
4. Learning during foraging in birds – I. Occurrence among taxa, ecological circumstances. Race among cashers and pilferers in ravens
5. Learning during foraging in birds – II. Do keas imitate? (And if not, why?)
6. Learning during foraging in birds – III. Unrevealing possible mechanisms of social learning in the budgerigar
7. Social learning in dogs I. Ecological circumstances. Social learning in wild living canids. Functional aspects of social learning in dogs
8. Social learning in dogs II. Separation of possible mechanisms of information transfer. Contagion, enhancement, imitation. The „Do as I do” method in studying social learning of dogs
9. Social learning in apes I. Ecological circumstances, observations in the wild, animal cultures. Possible methods for testing imitative social learning. Imitation after ‘unsuccessful demonstration’
10. Social learning in apes II. Studies on gorillas. Imitation of behavioral sequences and patterns
11. Social learning in apes III. Studies on orangutans. Deferred imitation and ‘generalization’
12. Teaching behavior – Biological definition of teaching. Sensitivity to teaching – the theory of natural pedagogy. Teaching in the domestic fowl

Human-animal interaction (in Hungarian) (course code: bb2n1e17)

General obligatory, 2 credits, 90 minutes/weekly
Semester: autumn
Requirement: exam (5) (oral exam)
Responsible person: Márta Gácsi, PhD
Lecturer: Márta Gácsi, PhD

Recommended books:
Grandin, Temple (ed) 1998. Genetics and the Behavior of Domestic Animals (1998), Ed. by, Academic Press, San Diego, USA
Serpell, J. (ed) 1995. The Domestic Dog – Its Evolution, Behaviour and Interactions with People Cambridge University Press, UK

The role of applied ethology in modern ethological research: Economical aspects; Welfare considerations; A new category: pets
How can we define „pets”? Cultural and ecological aspects; The notion of „natural environment”
Behavioural changes: genetical and developmental processes – Effect of evolution: domestication; The role of individual experiences and learning: taming; Habituation
Mechanisms of socialisation – The role of human in the conspecific recognition system; Socialisation with conspecifics; In what extent does living with humans change the species specific social system?
The dog – an evolutionary bestseller? Comparison of the social behaviour of the wolf and dog; An unusual scenario for domestication; Social role in the human environment – pack or family? Comparison of the intraspecific and interspecific social behaviour of dogs; Dog-human attachment as a human analogue social relationship
Aggression – The biological function of aggression; Where and how does the aggressive behaviour towards conspecifics and humans differ? What do we know about the role of the innate and environmental factors influencing aggressive behaviour?
„Abnormal” behaviour – How can normal or abnormal behaviour be defined? Ontogenetical factors; A possible new therapeutic method: calming pheromones
A non-social pet – the cat – The nature of social relationship between human and cat; Alternatives in territory use; Predatory behaviours
“Beasts” as pets? Natural environment and the demands for keeping conditions; Dangerous and/or endangered? An experiment trying to model domestication: foxes selected for tameness
Interspecific communication – Human-animal communication; The signals applied in interspecific communication: how do species specific behaviour patterns change; In what extent are pets able to comprehend human communicational signals?
The physiological aspects of functioning as a pet – Stress sensitivity; Mechanisms controlling reproductive behaviour
The behaviour of pets in shelter conditions – Social relations in case of different keeping conditions; Behaviour testing: methods and problems; Social rehabilitation
Welfare considerations – written and unwritten laws – EU regulations; The problem of cultural differences; Social acceptance – civil organisations, charities

The aim of the course is the presentation of the basic theories and most recent experimental results regarding companion animals with special influence on the evolutionary aspects and ethological methodology. Competencies to develop:

  1. ability to define and apply basic concepts (companion animal, applied ethology…), ability to compare and evaluate critically the anthropomorphic and evolutionary approach
  2. knowledge about the biological background of the behaviours of companion animals – genetic basis, socialisation process, environmental effects, physiological aspects
  3. evolutionary explanation of interspecific social behaviour – species-specific differences, summing up the results of experimental studies: socio-cognitive abilities, inter-specific communication
  4. ability to explain and analyse natural and „abnormal” behaviours in companion animals, characterisation of the possibilities and methods of behaviour modifications – the problems of utilizing experimental results
  5. critical comparison of ethological findings and welfare aspects, basic knowledge on legal aspects

Ethology of the game species in Hungary (in Hungarian) (Course code: bbbn9115)

General obligatory, 2 credits, 90 minutes/weekly
Semester: spring 
Requirement: exam (5) (oral exam)
Prior requirements and knowledge: ethology, behavioral ecology
Responsible person: Péter Pongrácz, PhD
Lecturer: Péter Pongrácz, PhD
Books: S. J. Armstrong and R. G. Botzler: Animal Ethics Reader (London, 2003)

1. The most important aspects of the environment – Historical changes of the environment in the Carpathian basin. The features of the recent habitats in the Carpathian basin
2. Mammals of the watery habitats – otter, beaver
3. Rodents of the open grasslands – ground squirrel, hamster, mole-rat
4. Lagomorphs – rabbit and hare
5. Insectivores – bats, shrews, hedgehog and mole
6. Mustelids (1) – weasel, stoat, polecat
7. Mustelids (2) – mink, badger, marten
8. Most important indigenous hoofed game species (1) – roe deer, red deer
9. Most important indigenous hoofed game species (2) – fallow deer, wild boar
10. Feline predators – wildcat, lynx
11. Canid predators – grey wolf, golden jackal, red fox
12. Rodents of the forest – red squirrel, dormouse
13. Hoofed animals of the hills – mouflon, chamois
14. Rare, disappeared, and invasive species – brown bear, European bison, raccoon, raccoon dog

Cognitive- and Neuroethology (cognitusb17em)

Under construction...

Ethology of Predation Practice (bbbn1e39)

Under construction...

Animal personality (bb1c9502)

Elective, 2 credits, colloquium
Course supervisor: Dr. Kubinyi Enikő
Instructor:Dr. Kubinyi Enikő
Recommended order of pre-study: Ethology, Genetics, Life Science
Examination requirements: the examination will be based on the material presented in the lectures. The lecturer will give the slides to the students on request at the end of the semester. Oral examination based on the material presented in class. Expected questions will be the same as those of the assessors. A mark may be obtained in two ways: (1) for two papers in English or (2) for one paper + submission of 5 classroom surveys. The articles are chosen by the students according to their own interests and to fit in with the assigned topic. The presentation should not be longer than 5 minutes and should be illustrated by a maximum of 5 slides: summarize the Introduction, Method, Results and Discussion sections of the article. Notes and other aids may be used during the class assessments. The survey is not compulsory.
Recommended reading: Claudio Carere and Dario Maestripieri, Animal Personalities. Behavior, Physiology, and Evolution (The University of Chicago Press)

Overview of the basics of personality research - Basic concepts, methodology, psychological and behavioural ecological approaches, personality traits.
2.  ELTE research: Dog personality - personality traits, measurement methods, genetic and environmental influences, applicability.
3. Invertebrate Personality - Genetic and physiological background, individual development, ecology. Factors influencing the evolution of personality.
4 Fish personality - Behavioural variability, genetic basis, reproductive success.
5. Birds personality I.
6. Birds personality II.
7. Primate Personality I.
8. Primate personality II.
9. Genetics
10. Evolutionary psychology
11. Hormonal effects: testosterone
12. Quiz, testosterone, oxytocin

Description of the subject:

People who keep animals are likely to believe that pets and pet animals have different personalities, just like humans. Today, there is no doubt that this is not just the opinion of pet owners, as scientific studies have described the stability of behavioural and physiological parameters over time and across situations in individuals of many species, from invertebrates to fish to primates, i.e. distinct personality traits have been found. Research on animal personality is particularly exciting because it integrates questions of mechanism, individual development, function and phylogeny. The role of personality in laboratory and field studies and in captive animal husbandry cannot be neglected, as different individuals may respond differently to the same factor. In addition, understanding the biological background of personality can shed light on the evolution and characteristics of human personality. Awareness of the fact that individuals of different species also have specific personalities can also help to preserve biodiversity. The aim of this course is to review research on the personality of animals (and sometimes humans) in terms of how and why.

Criteria subject Biology (bb1c8100, bb5t8100)

Basic science subject, 2 credits, practical
Course supervisor: Dr. Ákos Pogány
Teacher: Dr. Ákos Pogány
Requirements during the semester: final examination (Sept., Dec., Mar., May). Two grades (pass/fail).


Chemical structure of cells
Pro- and eukaryotic cell, transport processes in the cell
Structure of carbohydrates in plants
Degradation of carbohydrates in organisms
Organisation of DNA in the cell and biosynthesis of proteins
Chemical signalling through the body's fluid spaces ('hormonal regulation')
Chemical signalling through synapses ('neural regulation')
Classical genetics
Basic physiological processes
Population genetics and evolution
Consultation, problem solving

Human-animal interactions lecture (bb2n1e17)

Compulsory differentiated module, 2 credits, colloquium
Course supervisor: Dr. Gácsi Márta
Teacher:Dr. Márta Gácsi, Dr. Ádám Miklósi, Dr. Péter Pongrácz
Recommended order of pre-study: Evolution of canine species, Animal personality
Prerequisites: colloquium - written proctoring and oral examination
Recommended reading material: T. Grandin, M. J. Deesing (ed): Genetics and the behaviour of domestic animals. Academic Press, 1998
Serpell, J. (ed):The Domestic Dog - Its evolution, behaviour and interactions with people. Cambridge University Press, UK, 1995.


Place and role of applied ethology in ethological research - Economic aspects; Animal welfare aspects; Companion animals
Behavioural changes: genetic and evolutionary processes. Evolutionary scale changes: domestication; Role of individual experience and learning: domestication; Habituation
Socialisation mechanisms. The role of humans in conspecific recognition; Socialization to conspecifics. To what extent does species-specific social organization change during coexistence with humans? Comparison of wolf and dog behaviour
The dog - an evolutionary success story? From useful pet to companion animal? An unconventional domestication scenario. Social role in the human environment - pack or family? A comparison of intraspecific and interspecific social behaviour in dogs. Dog-human bonding as a human analogue social relationship
Aggression. The biological function of aggression. How does aggression towards conspecifics differ from aggression towards humans? What do we know about the role and proportion of innate and environmental factors?
"Abnormal" behaviour. How can normal or abnormal behaviour be defined in a companion animal? Developmental factors. A new therapeutic option - the use of sedative pheromones.
A non-social companion animal - the cat. The nature of the social relationship between man and cat. Alternatives for territory use. Predatory behaviours
Keeping wild animals as companion animals. Species-appropriate housing, natural environment. Endangered and/or threatened? A modern domestication experiment: foxes selected for tameness
Interspecific communication. Human-animal communication. Signs used in interspecific communication: are species-specific behavioural patterns modified? To what extent are companion animals able to interpret human signals?
Physiological aspects of companion animal function. Stress sensitivity. Mechanisms regulating reproductive behaviour
Behaviour of companion animals in shelter conditions. Social behaviour under different housing conditions. Behavioural testing. Social rehabilitation
Animal welfare issues - written and unwritten rules. EU regulations. Cultural differences. Social acceptance - NGOs

Ethology II. Advanced Level Lecture (bb1c1316)

Under construction...

Ethology of predation lecture (bbbn1e39)

Compulsory differentiated module, 2 credits, practical credit
Course supervisor: Dr. Péter Pongrácz
Lecturer: Dr. Péter Pongrácz
Recommended order of prior learning: ethology, behavioural ecology
Requirements during the semester: During the semester, attendance at lectures is recommended. During the examination period, there will be an oral examination of the lecture material (with written substitution). Consultation: Consultations are available upon request, by appointment, during the examination period. Recommended reading: J. Goodenough, B. McGuire, Wallace: Perspectives on Animal Behaviour, 2nd ed. Wiley & Sons Inc., W. Wyss & Wonson, Wisconsin, and W.S. W. Wonson & Sonson, Inc.


Basic concepts. Predators, definition of predation. Possible groups of functional predators
"Struggle" between plants and herbivores. Herbivores as predators? Plant defence against predation. Compensation.
Overcoming plant defences. Experiences during feeding. Learning diet from conspecifics
Diet (1). Diet I - poly-, oligo-, monophages. Diet II - switching between food types
Diet (2). Diet III - the theory of optimal nutrition. Diet IV - generalists and specialists and the cost of treatment and search
Optimal nutrition. Nutrition and defence, limits of optimal nutrition. Prey density, functional response curves
Primary defensive behaviour (1). Crypsis, contour breaking. Transparency, colour change. Colour polymorphism, choice of background
Primary defensive behaviour (2). Combination of movement and camouflage colour, transformation of the environment. Aposstatic selection, aposematism
Primary defensive behaviour (3). Müller mimicry. Bates mimicry
Secondary defensive behaviour (1). Eyebrows, false heads . Self-mutilation
Secondary defensive behaviour (2). Pretence of injury, freezing to death . Signalling to predator. Deterrence
Group defence (1). Emergency pheromone. Increased awareness, dilution effect
Group defence (2). The selfish herd. The confusion effect
Group defence (3). Sliding behaviour. Altruism in defence

Applied Ethology and Animal Welfare (English) (alketosb17em)

Under construction...

Animal protection lecture (bbbn9124)

Elective, 2 credits, colloquium
Course supervisor: Dr. Péter Pongrácz
Teacher: Dr. Péter Pongrácz
Recommended order of pre-study: Animal Welfare Lecture, Ethology Lecture
Requirements during the term: attendance of lectures is recommended. During the examination period: colloquium (with written substitution).


1. Problems arising from non-economic animal husbandry - Animal sports, shows, entertainment, pet keeping
2. Pet keeping I. Wildlife capture, exotic pet trade
3. Pets II - The concept of 'companion animal', domesticated companion animals
4. Responsibilities of livestock keepers. Breed hybrids, near-viable breeding varieties
5.The downside of dog and cat breeding - Historical overview, Outbreeding, breed deterioration, hereditary diseases
6. Ethical problems of pet selection and keeping - What are the responsibilities of the prospective owner and the breeder (shelter, etc.)?
7. Problems arising from cat keeping - ethics, environmental protection
8. Problems arising from dog ownership - Social tension, environment and health, shelters
9 Problematic animal sports - Bullfighting, horse and greyhound racing, the sporting animal as a source of welfare problems
10. Zoos, aquariums - Are they needed in the 21st century?
11. Circus animals - Past and present of animal shows
12 Animal protection and the environment - What to do with invasive and introduced species?
13. Activists and anarchists

Ethology Exercise III (bb1c4401)

Compulsory differentiated subject, 2 credits, practical training
Course supervisor: Dr. Péter Pongrácz
Lecturers: Dr. Antal Dóka, Dr. Tamás Faragó, Dr. Enikő Kubinyi, Dr. Ádám Miklósi, Dr. Péter Pongrácz
Recommended order of pre-study: Ethology EA (basic level)
Requirements during the semester: attendance of tutorials, preparation of minutes, writing of an essay in tutorials 3-10, 7-8, and 11-12

Exercises are blocked. Students will participate in a total of six different exercises, divided into groups according to the number of students. Each group will be held every two weeks, and each exercise will take four hours.

1-2. Introduction. What is ethology? Methods of assessing behavior (Ádám Miklósi)
3-4. The reliability of coding behavior (Enikő Kubinyi)
5-6. Behavioral consistency in animal behavior (Veronika Konok)
7-8. Investigation of human sexual dimorphism and mate choice (Tamás Faragó)
9-10. Risk-taking behavior (Antal Dóka, Boglárka Erdélyi-Belle)
11-12. Animal behavior in the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden (Péter Pongrácz)

Research Design Exercise (bb2n4e02)

Elective, 4 credits, practical
Course supervisor: Dr. Erzsébet Pásztor
Teacher:Dr. Ádám Miklósi, Dr. Erzsébet Pásztor, Dr. István Háhn
Requirements during the term: attendance of classes, homework assignments. During the examination period: mark offered (can be improved by oral examination)
Consultation: during the year, by appointment
Recommended reading: ppt of the lecture


The research process. Research work (field, aim, method, level, type), choice of topic, bibliography, planning the research process, problem solving
Preparing scientific papers. Thesis (BSc), Diploma thesis (MSc), PhD dissertation, Final report, Structuring a thesis, Interpreting own research based on questions
Choosing a topic. Topic generation, topic evaluation, feasibility and risks
Research steps. Design, methods, implementation, risk-benefit analysis in relation to a specific study
Principles of thesis writing. Self-assessment and peer review, thesis structure,
Description and definition of variables. Types of variables, how to define them, how to use them
Basic statistical concepts. Mean, standard deviation, median, probability, experimental design, normal distribution
Statistical tests. Hypothesis testing, T-test, Welsh test, F-test, Chi-squared significance tests, one-way ANOVA
Topic presentation. Presentation of research topic, questions, critiques, discussion
Basics of scientific publishing. Publication structure, short abstract structure and writing on the topic
Article reading and critique. Reading and critique of an anonymous manuscript based on given criteria, presentation in the form of a lecture
Proposal writing I. Theory and practice, types of proposals, purpose and importance of proposals, criteria for proposals, national and international proposals, consortia, criteria for evaluation of proposals
Proposal writing II: Short presentation of the written proposal, processing of evaluations, critical discussion, decision making
Proposal writing III. Short presentation of the written proposal, review of the evaluation, critical discussion, decision making

Hungarian Wildlife Ethology Lecture (bbbn9115)

Elective, 2 credits, colloquium
Course supervisor: Dr. Péter Pongrácz
Teacher: Dr. Péter Pongrácz
The course assumes prior knowledge of ethology and behavioural ecology.
Prerequisites: Attendance of lectures during the semester is recommended.
During the examination period: oral examination of the lecture material (with written substitution).
Consultation: available upon request during the examination period, at a mutually agreed time.


Environmental factors affecting wildlife. Historical development of habitats in the Carpathian Basin. Characteristics of contemporary Carpathian Basin habitats.
Wetland wildlife. Otters, beavers, muskrats.
Wildlife of open grasslands.
Rabbit species - European rabbit, brown hare.
Insectivores (1) - bats, moles, shrews, hedgehogs.
Mustelids (1) - weasel, stoat, marten, polecat, ferret.
Mustelids (2) - ferret, mink, badger.
Common ungulates (1) - deer, roe deer.
Common ungulates (2) - fallow deer, wild boar.
Feline predators - wildcat, lynx.
Canine predators - wolf, golden jackal, red fox.
Woodland rodents - mice, voles, squirrels, fur-bearing mammals.
Mountain ungulates - mouflon, chamois.
Rare or newly emerging species - brown bear, European bison, raccoon dog, raccoon.

Ethology I (basic level) lecture (bb1c1105)

Professional core module, 2 credits, colloquium
Course supervisor: Dr. Ádám Miklósi
Lecturers:Dr. Ádám Miklósi, Dr. Péter Pongrácz
The course builds on the knowledge of the following topics: ethology, behavioural ecology
Examination requirements during the examination period: colloquium (written)
Recommended reading. National Textbook Publishing House, Budapest, 1994


Introduction: from observation to scientific investigation
The four questions: the ethological method
Observation in space and time
Food search
Predator avoidance and parasites
Group behaviour
Co-operation and opposition 
Sexual selection, avian selection, and reproduction
Single evolution and learning
Mating systems and parental behaviour
Neural basis of behaviour