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This paper examines the status of geography in higher education in Hungary. Stress is placed on reforms begun in the 1990s to launch new curricula for training professional geographers. The authors played an important role in developing this new curriculum by introducing new subjects into geography programmes, working out the scope and sequence of courses, obtaining accreditation and carrying out market research for graduates. The project was motivated by a decline in demand for geography and geography teachers in secondary schools accompanied by an increase in demand for geographers trained to work in public administration, government and business. The graduates of the new professional geographer curriculum receive a practice-oriented education designed to cultivate their spatial problem solving and applied geographical skills. In this paper the authors present the steps in the curriculum reform and suggest that it may serve as a model for reform in a number of nearby countries planning to join the EU.