HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM
Czech higher education dates back six hundred years. In 1348 Emperor Charles IV founded a university in Prague which is the oldest academic institution in Central Europe. It is now called Charles University.
The main tuition language is Czech, however the range of programmes delivered in foreign languages (mainly in English) is expanding in particular to cater for international students.
The principal requirement for entering a Bachelor´s degree programme or a full Master´s degree programme is the completion of a full secondary general education or vocational education with a maturitní zkouka school-leaving examination, for fine arts degrees, applicants who have gained their absolutorium from a conservatoire may be admitted. Admission to a follow-up Master´s degree programme depends on the completion of the relevant Bachelor´s degree programme or its equivalent. Admission to Doctoral studies depends on the successful completion of a Master´s degree programme.
Students who want to study full-time should apply directly to the higher education institution of their choice. Students may apply for several study programmes at various institutions and faculties. The deadline for submitting applications is usually the end of February or March. Most higher education institutions offer the option of filing an application in electronic form. The date, content and form (oral or written examination, aptitude test) of the admission procedures are decided upon by the dean of the faculty or the rector of the higher education institution. At most higher education institutions the applicants take entrance examinations, which are usually held between June and September. Examinations at higher education institutions for the arts take place earlier, in January, and the deadline for filing applications is normally the end of November. Student administration departments at various faculties can provide information on applications, admission requirements and studies.´
Organisation of Studies
The academic year lasts 12 months; the start is fixed by the head of the higher education institution. Courses are divided into semesters, years or blocks, which are composed of a period of teaching, an examination period and holiday. The structure of the academic year is decided by each institution. It usually begins in October and is divided into two semesters: winter and summer, with approx. a five-week examination period after each semester. A semester normally consists of 15 weeks of teaching followed by an examination period, with a week's holiday after the winter semester and a two-month holiday (July, August) after the summer semester.
Deciding the content of studies and the design of study programmes is one of the academic freedoms of higher education institutions in the Czech Republic. However, all study programmes are subject to accreditation which is granted by the Ministry of Education on the basis of a decision by the Accreditation Commission.
The frequency and methods of assessing students achievements differ according to the field of study. In some cases, a system of partial examinations taken after each semester has been introduced, in other cases one comprehensive examination after each completed part of studies is prescribed, mostly at the end of a certain module. Study outcomes at higher education institutions are assessed mainly by a system of credits or points. The credit system ECTS has been encouraged since it allows completed parts of studies to be recognised, thus contributing to transferability within the system.
Higher education institutions form the highest level of Czech education. They offer accredited degree programmes at three levels: Bachelor´s, Master´s, and Doctoral, as well as lifelong learning courses. Higher education institutions can be either university or non-university types. Traditional university-type institutions may offer all types of degree programmes while non-university institutions are characterised by providing mainly Bachelor´s degree programmes. The documents confirming the completion of studies and right to the appropriate academic title are a higher education diploma and a supplement to the diploma.
Bachelor´s degree programmes
Bachelor´s degree programmes are 3 to 4 years in duration and constitute the first level of higher education. The study programme must be completed with a final state examination, which usually includes the presentation and defence of a thesis. Successful graduates may enter the labour market or continue their studies in follow-up masters programmes in related fields.
Master´s degree programmes
Master´s degree programmes may either follow on from Bachelor programmes as follow-up Master´s programmes (1 to 3 years), or they may be full programmes (4 to 6 years). Programmes focus on the acquisition and application of theoretical knowledge, and on the development of creativity and talent. Graduates in Master´s programmes have to take a final state examination and publicly present and defend a thesis. Studies in medicine, veterinary medicine and hygiene are completed by a demanding state examination, including the presentation and defence of a rigorous thesis.
Doctoral degree programmes
Doctoral programmes (which normally last 3 years) are intended for graduates from Master´s programmes and focus on independent creative work in research, development or the arts. Doctoral studies are completed by way of a state doctoral examination and the public presentation and defence of a doctoral thesis (dissertation) based on original work, which must have been published or admitted for publishing.
Because of growing interest, some institutions provide also study programmes leading to the degree of Master of Business Administration (MBA). This study is oriented on solving real-life case studies and should enhance managerial knowledge and skills of students.
By law, higher education at public and state institutions is free of charge for citizens of all nationalities, with the following exceptions:
* fees for administration of admission proceedings;
* fees for extending the duration of study beyond a set limit;
* fees for the study of an additional programme to the original studied;
* fees for study in a foreign language.
Private institutions of higher education can fix their own fees. The tuition fees differ from 2,000-15,000 USD per year and the amount depends on the relevant institution and study programme.
Long tradition of quality education
High quality education and research, especially in Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, has a long tradition in the Czech Republic. The Charles University in Prague was founded in 1348 and is the oldest university in the Central Europe. Quality assurance of various activities of higher education institutions belongs to the main priorities of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.
Diverse range of study programmes
Czech universities offer long-standing reputations, unique conception and interesting specializations. Students can come for a short study visit or to complete their degree in a wide range of traditional as well as newly-emerging disciplines.
Offer for international students
Over 37,000 foreign students are studying at Czech higher education institutions and their interest is growing as the offer of study programmes in foreign language (especially in English) is increasing. Czech universities are more and more involved in a wide range of international cooperation activities and programmes taking place in the European Union and other countries.
Location in the heart of Europe
Studying in the Czech Republic puts you in the middle of Europe and you have a great chance to discover all European countries and places you might otherwise not have had the opportunity to visit.
Cultural experience and fascinating history
Due to its geographic location the Czech Republic is situated in the intersection of many cultures. The country's culture was historically formed mainly by Slavonic, German (Austrian) and Jewish influence, which resulted in a rich Central-European culture heritage and lifestyle. The Czech Republic is sure to entertain you in between your studies!
Lower costs of living
The costs of living in Czech Republic are not as high as the cost in Western Europe and the life is thus more affordable.
LIVING IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
This page contains only basic information from the official Study in the Czech Republic website about living in the Czech Republic. For more detailed information you can download the Guide to studying and living in the Czech Republic or the Information Booklet for Foreign Nationals in the Czech Republic.
Comprehensive information regarding visa issues is available at the website of the Ministry of the Interior (with a special section with information for schools and students) or we recommend you to turn to the Czech diplomatic mission in your country.
Expenses covering the stay are substantially lower than in any west European country. Expenses covering food, accomodation, and public transportation come altogether to about 350-750 USD/month. Naturally, it all depends on the student's lifestyle and on how much he/she really wants to spend. The prices can also vary considerably depending on where you stay.
The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is the best card for all students. It allows cardholders to get student discounts for transport, restaurants, cinemas, museums, exhibitions and concerts. In principal, students coming to the Czech Republic should obtain an ISIC card at their home university or in their home country.
Foreign students (visa holders) can be employed, but must have a job permit. Job permit is not required only if the student (max. 26 years old) works not longer than 7 consecutive calendar days or 30 days a year in total. For more information go to the website of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
Member of European Union since 1-5-2004
After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, the Czech part found itself without a common single-word name. One of the most stable and prosperous of the post-Communist states, the Czech Republic has been recovering from recession since mid-1999. Growth in 2000-2001 was led by exports to the European Union, especially Germany, and foreign investment, while domestic demand is reviving. The rate of corruption remains one of the highest among OECD countries.
There are several centres of tourist activity: The historic city of Prague is the primary tourist attraction, and the city is also the most common point of entry for tourists visiting other parts of the country. Most other cities in the country attract significant numbers of tourists, but the spa towns such as Karlovy Vary and Mariánské Lázne are particularly popular holiday destinations. Other popular tourist sites are the many castles and chateaux, such as those at Karlstejn, Konopiste and Ceský Krumlov. Away from the towns, areas as Ceský Ráj, Sumava and the Krkonose mountains attract visitors seeking outdoor pursuits.