The Czech Republic boasts the oldest institution of higher education in Central Europe, the Charles University. Located in Prague, the school was founded in 1348.
Modern Czech higher education uses the three cycle structure of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Higher education institutions are divided into universities and non-universities. Non-universities usually provide only bachelor’s degrees, while universities provide programs of study across all degree levels and academic disciplines.
The Czech Republic has 26 public, 2 state, and 44 private institutions of higher education. The two state institutions are specialized schools run by the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of the Interior. Taken together, the schools offer master’s degrees in a wide range of disciplines, including architecture, art history, sculpture, theatre, theological studies, engineering, information technology, chemistry, physics, natural sciences, business, social sciences, forestry, education, and many others. Many private institutions focus on specific areas of study such as business.
Why Study in the Czech Republic?
The Czech Republic has a long tradition of high quality education and research, particularly in the fields of science, engineering and medicine. International students will find a welcoming environment; currently more than 37,000 foreign students are studying at Czech schools.
Many programs are now offered in English and other languages besides Czech. In addition, Mater of Business Administration (MBA) degrees are growing in popularity; most MBA programs use a case-study approach.
Tuition and Program Duration
By law, tuition is free for all nationalities at all public institutions of higher learning in the Czech Republic. Some fees do apply, such as admissions, extension of studies beyond original date, studies undertaken in addition to a student’s original plan, and fees for studying in a language other than Caech.
Private institutions set their own tuition and fees, and these typically range from $US 2,000 to $US 15,000 each year.
Master’s degree programs can last anywhere from one to three years. Master’s programs are very theoretical and students are required to take a final state exam and defend a thesis in a public forum.
Exact start dates are established by individual institutions, but most begin the academic year in October. In addition, most institutions divide the academic year into two 20-week winter and summer semesters, each including a 15-week instructional period, five weeks of exams, and a holiday. A two month holiday is usually taken in July and August.
There are many opportunities for employment in the Czech Republic after obtaining a master’s degree for all students, regardless of nationality. One-third of company directors in the Czech Republic are foreigners. Although business is increasingly conducted in English, students who have undertaken studies in Czech or are already proficient in Czech will find an advantage in obtaining employment.
All international students require long-term visas for studying in the Czech Republic. Additional information is available at the website for the Ministry of the Interior. Long-term student visas can take 3-4 months to obtain, so students should plan accordingly.
Students from EU-member countries, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland may use the European Health Insurance Card provided by their home country to obtain medical services.
Students from other countries are not entitled to public health insurance and must purchase commercial health insurance that covers at least €30,000 worth of care. Students on long-term stays are required to present proof of premium payment.
In addition to health insurance, all major hospitals accept major credit cards or cash as payment for treatment.
There are many student organizations in the Czech Republic dedicated to helping international students. These organizations include the Erasmus Student Network and The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE).
Students not proficient in Czech will find many courses in the Czech Republic to assist them. Although these courses typically require an additional fee, some are covered by scholarships. The Institute for Language and Preparatory Studies provides multiple courses for students with language deficiencies, including intensive courses and online courses.