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Study in the Czech Republic for International Students

Bachelor’s Degree in the Czech Republic

Overview of the Czech Higher Education System

The Czech Republic became a participating member of the Bologna Process of education in 1999 and began a process of adapting Czech universities and higher education institutions to reflect the standard. In 2001 the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports introduced the modern Czech higher education system, which has three levels of higher education: Bachelor’s degree (3-4 years), Master’s degree (1-3 years) and a Doctoral degree (3-4 years). 

Diplomas from Czech universities are well regarded in Europe and in the USA. However, in the USA, Czech qualifications must be officially recognised by one of the national relevant education evaluation service providers.

Studying in Czech is free of charge

All students can study in the Czech Republic free of charge, regardless of their nationality or what degree program they are looking to enrol in, 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 languageproficiency exam or provide a certificate of Czech language proficiency at B2 level or above. 

Bachelor’s degree in the Czech Republic

In order to enrol in a Bachelor’s degree program students are required to have a certificate of successful completion of their secondary education. For art students, who graduated from a conservatoire, a graduate diploma is also accepted. 

All international students need to have their secondary school certificate recognised in the Czech Republic as equivalent to Czech secondary school education. Sometimes this means sitting nostrification exams in one or more school subjects to prove that the students existing knowledge is sufficient. Many universities now offer the nostrification service as part of their admission process. Admission examination is not typically required for Bachelor’s degree programs as students are admitted based on their previous academic achievements. However, in some cases students may be required to sit an examination to determine their suitability for the program. 

It takes between 3-4 years to complete a Bachelor’s degree in the Czech Republic. To achieve a Bachelor’s degree and an academic title of Bachelor (Bc.) or Bachelor of Arts (BcA), students need to complete their study course, which culminates in a final state examination, including a defence of their thesis. The title Bachelor (Bc.), awarded at Czech universities, is equivalent to Bachelor of Science (BSc), which is used in some other European countries. Bachelor’s degree is an undergraduate degree, which completes the first level of higher education.

Which universities offer Bachelor’s degrees?

The Czech Republic is home to 26 public universities, 2 state universities and 34 private higher education institutions. All of these offer Bachelor’s degree courses to students. Private universities charge course fees, regardless of whether the course is taught in Czech or in English. 

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. According to the QS Best Student Cities ranking, Prague is often placed in the top 40 best cities for higher education in the world, with students themselves ranking it the 8th best city for life and study. 

What different specialisations exist? 

There are a lot of different specialisations on offer at Czech universities. The Czech Republic has a special reputation for high-quality education in Engineering, Medicine and Sciences. 

According to Czech National Agency for International Education and Research, there are currently around 290,000 students in higher education with 15% of them being international students. It is estimated that around half of all students are enrolled in Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral programs in Economics, Technical disciplines, Humanities or Social Sciences.  

The most popular specialisation is Business, Administration and Law, which accounts for just over 20% of all enrolled students. Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction is the next, accounting for almost 15% of all students. Health and Welfare stand at 12.3%, with Education not too far behind with just over 11% of overall enrolments. Social Sciences, Journalism and Information seem to be as popular as Arts and Humanities scoring 9.6% of overall enrolments each. Other popular specialisations include Information and Communication Technologies (7%), Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics (6.7%) with the least popular field of study being Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Veterinary (3.8%).

Education process

The Czech Republic uses the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), where each subject in the curriculum is awarded a certain number of credits. In order to meet the requirements of the degree program students have to earn the required number of credits. 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. The exact combination of modules can be decided by the student provided it includes the necessary core modules and the total number of credits meets the required numbers. Bachelor’s degrees are typically worth between 180 – 240 ECTS over 3 to 4 years of studying. 

The teaching process depends on the chosen specialisation and usually consists of lectures, seminars, laboratory work, practice and self-study and independent learning. The rules of attendance also lie with the chosen university but taking part in seminars is often compulsory especially for Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs.

International Students in the Czech Republic

Many international students choose to study towards their Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees in the Czech Republic. At the end of 2019 the number of foreign nationals studying at Czech universities stood at 46,534, which accounted for a total of 16.1% of all students at all Czech universities at that time. 

The Czech Republic is a member of the European Union and it is situated in the centre of Europe, which makes any international travel very easy. The cost of living is generally lower than in other European countries and all higher education is free for anyone who speaks fluent Czech. 

Some international students come to the Czech Republic to study specific disciplines, such as health and welfare or social sciences. The Report on Research at Czech Universities indicates that many students from South and Southeast Asia often select their study options based on research opportunities. Many Czech Universities have modern and well-equipped research centres, which are well known and respected throughout the international science community. 

More and more Czech universities offer Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral programs in English. One of the advantages is that there is no requirement to sit the Czech language exam. Programs taught in English are not free of charge. However, according to the report on research at Czech Universities, 41% of students, including students from India, emphasise the affordability of programs taught in English at Czech universities. This is generally regarded as a sure way to improve global career prospects for international students. 

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

Master’s degrees in the Czech Republic

In order to be admitted to a Master’s degree program students need to present proof of successful completion of their Bachelor’s degree program. It is not usually required to have a corresponding Bachelor’s degree in the specialisation as the Master’s degree of your choice, with the exception for Technical specialisations, Medicine and Psychology. Usually, the most important things are that students have the required knowledge and pass all necessary entrance exams. 

Master’s degree programs usually take between 1-3 years to complete. However, some specialisations, like General Medicine, Dentistry or Primary Teacher Training, for example, only offer a full 5 or 6-year course, leading up to a Master’s degree, without an option for a separate Bachelor’s degree. 

At the end of a Master’s degree program students have to successfully pass the final state examination and defend a thesis. They are then awarded their corresponding academic title with the most commonly used being Master (Mgr.) or Engineer (Ing.). 

Doctoral degree in the Czech Republic

Completion of a Master’s degree program is the prerequisite for admission to a PhD program in the Czech Republic, leading to a Doctoral degree, with an academic title of Doctor. Depending on specialisation and university, students are expected to attend program courses, take part in conferences and other relevant events, publish academic articles and, most of all, produce a doctoral dissertation, based on scientific research in a specific area of interest. Usually, a doctoral thesis can be written in Czech or in English, even if it’s a Czech language doctoral program. Often English is required as students must be able to present their research findings at international conferences. 

Preparing to study in the Czech Republic

To help students achieve their potential and maximise their chances of success there are many different preparatory programs for admission to Czech universities out there. Such study programs are run by experts in the field to help young aspiring people realise their dreams of getting the best out of their educational potential in the Czech Republic.