There are two distinct ways your study in the Czech Republic may proceed. It will consist of either one or two steps, depending on the subject field you choose to pursue.
Straight to a Master’s degree
This way is valid for the fields that require complete and undivided attention and take a long time to Master, such as general medicine, dentistry, pharmacology, law, psychology or for example catholic theology. After a given period of time (usually 5-6 years) you will graduate and earn a Master’s degree. There is no middle step, you need to go all the way. If you want to earn your Bachelor’s degree first, you should choose a different occupation.
What if I change my mind mid-ways?
Any discipline of study that isn’t a commitment offers you possibilities of later diversification. Say you start studying economics, but after your Bachelor’s you don’t feel like it is the right way for you. So you change your main subject (or you even transfer to a different university) and you finish your Master’s degree elsewhere. It is entirely possible (if the university allows it) and the Czech study system is quite open in this matter.
The basic undergraduate Bachelor program takes up to 3 or 4 years to complete, after which you may continue and earn a Master degree in another 2 years.
What about Ph.D.?
The last pillar of your education is the post-graduate Doctoral program, in which you may enlist if you so desire after you have successfully completed your Master. Its duration varies from field to field, but can take up to 5 more years of study, during which you will do research, work for the university and prepare your academic dissertation.
Credits? Do you take credits?
The ECTS credit system is implemented at all universities in Europe, including the Czech Republic. Thanks to this system you can gain study credits at various schools in different countries and it still counts. People seldom actually do it, but it is possible. One ECTS credit is equal to approximately 25-30 hours of work per semester and for one single course you may be rewarded up to 10 credits. Here are some basic numbers of credits that you need to acquire throughout your study.
For your Bachelor’s degree you’ll need 180 credits.
For your Master’s degree you’ll need 120 credits.
Since you need roughly 30 credits to pass a semester, your 5-year Master’s degree is therefore equal to 300 credits altogether. If you go for a 6-year Master’s degree, it’s going to be 360 credits and so on.
How does the academic year work?
It usually starts at the beginning of October, give or take a week or so. It is divided into 2 separate semesters; no midterm exams, mind you – only the finals. Each semester contains about 14 weeks of classes and is followed by an examination period up to 6 weeks long. Classes are usually 90 minutes. The first class in the morning can start at 7:30 or 8:00 am (depending on the faculty). Evening classes may end between 7:00 and 9:00 pm. There is usually a 15 minutes break between any two classes.