Overview of Czech Education
The Czech Republic education system is considered one of the best in the world. With over 62 higher education institutions, affordable cost of living and excellent employment prospects, the Czech Republic is without a doubt one of the best countries to study and live in. There are currently fifteen Czech universities in the QS World University Rankings 2022: Top Global Universities | Top Universities, with Charles University in Prague ranking the highest out of a total of 1,300 universities.
One of the best things about studying in the Czech Republic is that all higher education is free for anyone who can speak fluent Czech. Regardless of your nationality and level of qualification you are looking to study for, be it Bachelor’s, Master’s or a Doctoral degree, you can study for free, as long as your program is taught in Czech at one of 26 public universities in the Czech Republic.
Private universities charge tuition fees for degree programs they offer. The same applies to Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral programs taught in English and in other foreign languages.
Czech Higher Education System
The higher education system in the Czech Republic follows the Bologna process which consists of three levels of higher education: Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree and Doctoral degree.
The Czech Republic uses the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), where each subject in the study program is awarded a certain number of credits. Students need to earn the required number of credits in order to complete the degree. Usually, each degree program sets out core modules, which must be undertaken by all students in that degree program, and flexible modules, which can be chosen by students, based on their personal preferences, as long as the overall required number of credits is met.
Students attend lectures, seminars and laboratory sessions depending on their specialisation. Seminars are usually compulsory and must be attended by students to get good grades, especially for students in Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs. A lot of time is also spent on self-study and preparation.
Master’s degree in the Czech Republic
All public universities and most private higher education institutions offer Master’s degree programs, which take between 1-2 years to complete. Master’s degree represents the second level of higher education. Students need to have completed their Bachelor’s degree first in order to apply to study for a Master’s degree.
Most universities accept students for Master’s degree programs with the same or related specialisation as their Bachelor’s degree. However, this is not a strict requirement. If students wish to study another specialisation in their Master’s degree they may be required to sit relevant entrance exams. Bachelor’s degrees from foreign universities need to be nostrificated to be accepted in the Czech Republic. Most universities now offer nostrification service as part of their admission process.
Some students come to the Czech Republic to change their specialisation and study for another Master’s degree, this is also allowed and the same rules apply – education is free as long as it is in Czech at a public university and all admission requirements have been met.
Which universities offer Master’s degree programs?
The Czech Republic has a rich history and tradition of good quality education especially in the fields of Science, Medicine and Engineering. There are 26 public universities in the Czech Republic, 2 state universities and 34 private universities. Most of them offer Master’s degree programs to students. Public university Master’s degree programs are free for all as long as they are taught in Czech. Private universities charge a tuition fee for all Bachelor’s and Master’s programs they offer. All universities also charge a fee for programs taught in English.
Some of the best Czech universities and specialisations
Charles University is the oldest university in Central Europe. With a total of 17 faculties to choose from, international students often study Political Science, Sociology, Medicine and Psychology. Charles University offers Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral programs taught in English.
University of Chemistry and Technology (UCT) in Prague was the first university in the Czech Republic to offer a European Bachelor’s degree. This university has four faculties, preparing specialists in Environmental Technology, Food and Biomechanical Technology, Chemical Technology and Chemical Engineering. UCT offers all three levels of degree programs: Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral and is known to have one of the best research centres in the Czech Republic.
Academy of Arts and Design in Prague (UMPRUM) is considered to be one of the best international art schools in the world. The academy has 24 art studios where students can study Design, Architecture, Fine Arts, Applied Arts, Graphics and Theory and History of Arts. The academy offers Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD programs. The annual intake of students is very small, which makes for a fierce competition. The academy often takes part in prestigious art and design events such as Milan Design Week and London Design Week. Many Master’s degree programs are taught in English.
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (CZU) is one of the leading universities in the world in the field of life sciences. Students come here to become specialists in Forestry, Environmental Sciences, Wood Sciences, Argobiology, Tropical AgriSciences, Engineering as well as Economics and Management. Many programs are taught in English.
Prague University of Economics and Business (VŠE) has six faculties offering specialisations in the following fields: Finance and Accounting, International Relations, Management, Business Administrations, Informatics and Statistics and Economics. VŠE offers Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral and MBA programs taught in Czech and in English, as well as in some other foreign languages. International students account for 10% of overall annual enrolments of 14,000 students.
Masaryk University (MU) in Brno is named after Tomas Masaryk, the first president of independent Czechoslovakia. At MU students can choose to enrol in Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctoral programs in the following fields: Medicine, Science, Arts, Education, Pharmacy, Economics and Administration, Informatics and Social Studies. Many degree programs are taught in English. Around 6,000 international students are enrolled in various programs at MU every year.
International Students in the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is located in the centre of Europe and has some of the best universities in the world, so it is no wonder that every year over 45,000 international students come to study here. The Czech Republic is part of the European Union and Czech university degrees are valued and recognised throughout the world. According to the latest Report on Research at the Czech Universities, the number of international students has been growing steadily over the past two decades. The Czech Republic is an especially popular choice for foreign students from Slovakia, the countries of the former Soviet Union, as well as students from China, Iran, India and Italy.
The report also indicates that 53% of students from Asia and Southeast Asia, including Bangladesh, Pakistan and India, choose to study in the Czech Republic because of a specific study program and their choice of university is often guided by the opportunities for research. Asian students most often choose to enrol in health and welfare or natural sciences programs.
Other reasons for studying in the Czech Republic include low living costs, low (or zero) tuition fees and safety. The Czech Republic has amazing architecture, and you are often very close to nature, even if you live in the city, as there are numerous national parks and UNESCO heritage sites dotted throughout the country.
Bachelor’s degree in the Czech Republic
Bachelor’s degree in the Czech Republic takes around 3-4 years to complete depending on specialisation. Some specialisations, like Medicine or Law, do not offer Bachelor’s degree as such and are considered complete when students reach Master’s degree level.
All the universities and most private higher education institutions in the Czech Republic offer Bachelor’s degree programs. In order to apply students are required to produce their certificate of completed full secondary education, which needs to be nostrificated in the Czech Republic to make sure that the school subjects covered in the curriculum are equivalent to those typically studied by pupils in the Czech Republic.
Doctoral degree in the Czech Republic
Doctoral degrees belong to the highest level of education. Usually, it takes between 3-4 years to complete a PhD in the Czech Republic, but it can take longer. Most universities set out the limit on how long students can take to complete the degree. Having a Master’s degree is an important prerequisite for the Doctoral program.
Doctoral programs are aimed at independent scientific research and culminate in a state examination and defence of a thesis. Doctoral students are usually expected to publish their research in scholarly magazines and take part in conferences and relevant university events.
Preparing to Study in the Czech Republic
In order to enrol in a program at a Czech university international students need to have their education documents nostrificated. For Bachelor’s degree programs this will usually be a certificate of completed full secondary education, for Master’s degree programs students will need to have their Bachelor’s degree certificate and for Doctoral degree programs – their Master’s degree certificate. Nostrification means that the education level must be assessed and found to be equivalent to a similar level of Czech education. In some cases, students may be required to sit nostrification exams to confirm their level of knowledge. Most universities offer nostrification service as part of their admission process.
Students are usually invited to submit their university applications online between February and April, with entrance exams usually conducted between May and July. However, this may differ depending on the university and specialisation.
If the degree program is in Czech, then all exams will also be in Czech. Students will be required to either sit a Czech language exam as part of their entrance exams or present a Czech language proficiency certificate (level B2 or above).
Preparing to study at any university is hard work. Learning Czech is equally demanding. GoStudy can help students with both! Last year GoStudy launched online study programs to help students learn Czech and prepare them for admission to Czech universities. Preparatory programs for admission to Czech universities can help students get organised and structure their preparation for admission to a Czech university of their choice. The GoStudy programs are run by professionals, who are passionate about helping young people achieve their full potential!