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Study in the Czech Republic for International Students

Higher Education in the Czech Republic for International Students

Every year more and more young people choose to study abroad. European education has always been considered one of the best in the world. The Czech Republic is positioned in the centre of Europe, which serves as an excellent vantage point for traveling, accessing invaluable work experience and finding full time employment after graduation. It is important to note that the Czech Republic is part of the European Union and degrees from universities in the Czech Republic are recognised and highly valued throughout the world, especially in Europe and in the USA. In the USA Czech diplomas require to be officially recognised. This can be done through one of the official education evaluation service providers in the USA. National Association of Credential Evaluation Services is a good place to find such a provider. 

Czech Universities

There are over 70 universities in the Czech Republic spread across the length and breadth of the country with a mixture of public and private institutions. The oldest University in the Czech Republic is Charles University which was founded by King Charles IV in 1348. 

Faculty of Philosophy, Charles University

Faculty of Philosophy, Charles University

There are currently fifteen Czech universities in the QS World University Rankings 2022: Top Global Universities | Top Universities, with Charles University ranking the highest out of a total of 1,300 universities:

  • Charles University (266)
  • University of Chemistry and Technology (373)
  • Czech Technical University in Prague (403)
  • Masaryk University (551-560)
  • Palacky University Olomouc (601-650)
  • Brno University of Technology (701-750)
  • Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague (801-1000)
  • Mendel University in Brno (801-1000)
  • Technical University of Liberec (801-1000)
  • University of Hradec Kralove (801-1000)
  • Tomas Bata University in Zlin (1001-1200)
  • University of Ostrava (1001-1200)
  • University of Pardubice (1001-1200)
  • University of West Bohemia (1001-1200)
  • Technical University of Ostava (1001-1200)

Regardless of what your plan to study, you can find it in the Czech Republic. If you don’t yet know what to study, then you could use this tool to help you decide: QS Matching Tool | Top Universities.

Over 40,000 international students come to study in the Czech Republic every year! According to Report on Research at Czech Universities, which looks at studying and living in the Czech Republic from the perspective of foreign students, young people from South and Southeast Asia, including Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, often choose a university based on research opportunities. Many Asian students study natural sciences and enrol to advance their knowledge in health and welfare programs.

Advantages of studying in the Czech Republic

Studying in the Czech Republic has a lot of advantages. The Czech Republic is conveniently located for international travel. Not only for traveling in and out of the country for summer or winter holidays when studying, but also for going on weekend city breaks with friends or family to places like Vienna, Rome, Paris or Berlin. The choice is endless. Hire a car, buy a train or a bus ticket and enjoy discovering Europe! 

There are many Czech universities to choose from. Each location has its own character and advantages. However, many students decide to live and study in Prague with its famous sights, numerous beautiful parks, various festivals, and a faster pace of living.  

Free education is great news, but you must not forget about the living expenses. The cost of living in the Czech Republic is lower than in many Western European countries and significantly lower than in the UK or the USA. 

Studying in Czech is free of charge

In the Czech Republic you can choose to study in English or in Czech. Studying in Czech is free of charge, provided you choose to study at a public university. It is free for all students regardless of their nationality, as long as they have a good command of the Czech language. 

Students applying to study at a public university are required to pass a Czech language proficiency exam or provide a certificate of Czech language proficiency at B2 level or above. 

Below is a table of comparative study costs and average living expenses in the Czech Republic, Germany, the USA and the UK:

     Bachelor’s degree program Master’s degree program Average Living Costs
  Czech Republic   Free for all students at public universities. Free for all students at public universities.

7,000 Euro per year

Germany Free for all students at public universities except for the Federal State of Baden- Württemberg, where non-EU students pay around 3,000 Euro per academic year.

Free for all students at public universities. However, if your chosen Master’s program is ‘non-consecutive’ (in a different field from previous study) then you should expect to pay around 10,000 Euro per semester or more.

10,200 Euro per year. Plus, there is a fee to cover university admin costs – around 240 Euro per semester depending on university.

USA

Expect to pay between 21,800 – 42,000 Euro per academic year.

Expect to pay between 17,000 – 29,500 Euro per academic year.

12,500 Euro per year
UK

International students can expect to pay between 11,000 – 40,000 Euro per academic year.

International students can expect to pay between 13,000 – 37,000 Euro per academic year.

14,500 Euro per year

Studying in English

Studying in English can be more appealing to some students. English is the lingua franca of the modern world. It is the language that connects people. More and more Czech universities offer programs in English. Currently, there are over 1,000 programs taught in English at Czech universities. More new programs are developed every year. If the university course is taught in English, then all entrance exams are also in English. And there is no requirement to sit the Czech language exam!

Although programs taught in English language are fee based, they are still much cheaper than similar programs in other European countries or in the USA. Report on research at Czech Universities draws attention to the fact that 41% of students, including students from India, emphasise the affordability of programs taught in English. This is generally viewed as a stepping stone to a future global career. 

All universities have big international student communities, which makes it easy for international students to communicate and work together.

Choose to study towards Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD degree

The Czech Republic education system follows the Bologna process of education which aims to streamline the higher education framework and make any future collaboration between universities across Europe easier. The Czech Republic higher education has a three-tier system of higher education: Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree and Doctoral degree

In order to begin your educational journey in the Czech Republic you need to choose a program you want to enrol in. If you have just graduated from high school and are looking to study abroad towards your Bachelor’s degree, you will need to provide a certificate of completion of secondary education. The Bachelor’s degree programs take between 3-4 years depending on the specialisation. 

If you are looking to study for a Master’s degree after obtaining your Bachelor’s degree elsewhere, then you will need to present proof of your existing Bachelor’s degree. Master’s degree programs take on average between 1-3 years to complete. Some specialisations, like medicine, for example, is one long course of 4-6 years of continuous study leading to an official medical qualification.

If you are looking to further your education after your Master’s degree, then you will be required to present your Master’s degree certificate in order to enrol in a PhD program. A doctoral program takes around 3-4 years to complete depending on the university. 

Second Higher Education in the Czech Republic

Whether you are looking to continue your education in a chosen specialisation and study towards a Master’s degree after earning your Bachelor’s degree elsewhere, or if you have an eye on completing a PhD degree program after obtaining your Master’s degree, or, if you are looking to change your specialisation and career entirely, then the Czech Republic is a great place for it! 

Second higher education in the Czech Republic is also free of charge. It does not matter if you already have a higher education degree from somewhere else. You can still enrol in a Master’s degree program in the Czech Republic and study free of charge provided you choose a public university and your chosen course is taught in Czech. All international students for Master’s degree programs at public universities are required to have at least a B2 level of Czech language proficiency. 

If you are looking to enrol in a program taught in English, then you will be required to pay tuition fees as all degree programs in English are not free of charge. 

Most Czech universities do not require for their applicants to have corresponding degrees in their chosen fields of study. Students can choose a different specialisation from their previous degree as long as they have a Bachelor’s degree and are successful at passing all their admission exams at the university. 

All foreign applicants for Master’s degree programs are required to have their Bachelor’s degree certificate nostrificated.  

Nostrification

Nostrification is a process of recognition by the national competent authority of foreign degrees and academic qualifications acquired in a foreign country. This serves as a basis for acceptance for further studies. All public universities can initiate this process on behalf of the applicants wishing to study there. Students with Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctoral degrees from foreign universities must pay a small administrative fee upon submission of the application for recognition of foreign education in the Czech Republic to the Rector’s office of a public university they are applying to. Along with the application and the fee, students are required to submit the following additional documents:

  1. Original of a foreign certificate or its certified copy.
  2. Original or a certified copy of a Supplement with a list of completed courses or scope of education completed.
  3. Certified translations of both documents into Czech or English (documents issued in English are exempt from this clause).
  4. Certified written power of attorney (if application is submitted by a person other than the applicant himself).

In some cases, where the recognition of the completed education is not possible, the applicant may be asked to sit a recognition examination. 

Some accredited universities may also recognise foreign secondary education as part of their admission process. More detailed information on the process of nostrification can be found here.

University Application Process

The application process is usually straightforward. Students complete an online application. There is a small fee to pay per each application submitted. Some universities may require to see the originals of the submitted documents. You must check with the university you are applying to for any specific requirements they may have just to make sure you are not missing anything. Applications are usually accepted from February to April. This needs to be checked with the university of your choice to make sure you don’t miss the deadline.

Applicants may be required to sit entrance exams. This depends on the university and the course. Entrance exams usually take place between May and July. It is important to check with the university for more information as the process may differ slightly between different faculties and specialisations. 

To increase chances of being admitted, students are advised to apply to several universities simultaneously. 

Visa Requirements

Depending on your country of origin, you may be required to apply for a visa before you arrive to study in the Czech Republic. You should start the visa application process as soon as you receive the official letter of admission to one of theuniversities in the Czech Republic as it can take up to two months to get your Czech visa. 

Scholarships

There are many scholarships available for international students. Most universities offer scholarships in different courses, with a wide range of criteria, for example, scholarships may be awarded based on academic achievements or for specific innovative research. There are also bursaries for helping with the living costs. Take a look at the scholarships offered by the Prague University of Economics and Business to get an idea of the range of scholarships typically offered. 

There are also government scholarships aimed at students from developing countries who intend to study at public Czech universities. More information about scholarships can be found here: Scholarships, MŠMT ČR (msmt.cz).

The embassy of the Czech Republic in New Delhi also offers scholarships to graduate and postgraduate students wishing to study at public Czech universities. 

Employment after graduation

According to Expat Insider 2021, the Czech Republic ranks in the top three countries for Working Abroad. Expats are also happy with the healthcare and overall work-life balance. 

The Czech Republic is home to many international companies including well-known names like Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, HP, Lego, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Siemens, DHL, Deloitte, ABB and Thermo Fisher Scientific. There are a lot of big Czech companies always looking to employ new talented professionals, including Avast, Škoda, Cez and Budwar Budweiser.

Most universities in the Czech Republic offer opportunities for students to take part in various workshops, seminars and conferences, attended by successful entrepreneurs, where students can network, ask questions, and familiarise themselves with the industry of their choice. Exchange programs are also an excellent way to learn new skills and improve your CV. 

Many companies offer apprenticeship schemes and work placements to students to help them gain some valuable experience. As a result, many students get hired even before they graduate!