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Study System

The foundation of Czech higher education dates back six hundred years, to the founding in 1348 of a university in Prague by Emperor Charles IV. It is the oldest academic institution in Central Europe and is now known as Charles University.

Since 2001, the three-cycle structure (Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral study programmes) has been strictly implemented in the higher education system. The central governing body for educa-tion is the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.

Language of Instruction

The main language of instruction is Czech. However, the range of programmes available in foreign languages (mainly English) is expanding, particularly to cater for international students.

Organization of Studies

The academic year is divided into two semesters or terms. These are generally organised as follows:

Winter semester Spring semester
Teaching period mid-September – mid-December mid-February – mid-May
Examination period January – mid-February mid-May – end of June

Student Assessment

The frequency and methods of assessing students’ achievements differ according to the field of study. In some cases, a system of partial examinations taken after each semester has been introduced, while in others, a single comprehensive examination following each completed part of a course, mostly at the end of a certain module, is prescribed. Study outcomes at higher education institutions are assessed mainly by a system of credits or points. The credit system (European Credit Transfer System) has been encouraged since it allows the recognition of completed parts of studies, contributing to transferability within the system.

Degree structure

Higher education institutions offer accredited degree programmes at three levels: Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral, as well as lifelong learning courses. Higher education institutions can be either university or non-university establishments. Traditional university-type institutions may offer all types of degree programmes, while non-university institutions are characterised by the provision of mainly Bachelor’s degree programmes. The documents confirming the completion of studies and the right to the appropriate academic title are higher education diplomas and supplements to diplomas.

Bachelor’s degree programmes

are 3 to 4 years in duration and constitute the first level of higher education. The study programme must be completed with a final state examination, which usually includes the presentation and defence of a thesis. Successful graduates may enter the labour market or continue their studies in follow-up Master’s programmes in related fields.

Master’s degree programmes

may either follow on from Bachelor’s programmes as follow-up Master’s programmes (1 to 3 years), or they may be full programmes (4 to 6 years). Programmes focus on the acquisition and application of theoretical knowledge and on the development of creativity and talent. Graduates in Master’s programmes must take a final state examination and publicly present and defend a thesis. Courses in medicine, veterinary medicine and hygiene are culminate in a demanding state examination, including the presentation and defence of a rigorosum thesis.

Doctoral programmes

(normal duration 3 years) are intended for graduates of Master’s programmes and focus on independent creative work in research, development or the arts. Doctoral studies are completed by way of a state doctoral examination and the public presentation and defence of a doctoral thesis (dissertation) based on original work, which must have been published or admitted for publishing.

Institution Type of education Length (years) Ages
Tertiary professional school Tertiary professional education 3-3.5 19-21
Higher education institution, university and non-university type Bachelor’s 3-4 19-22
Master’s 1-3 23-26
Master’s (non-structured study) 4-6 19-25
Higher education institution, university type Doctoral studies 3-4

A number of public and private universities in the Czech Republic also offer Master of Business Administration (MBA) programmes. The core courses in an MBA programme cover various areas of business, such as accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, operations and statistics. See the Programmes section for the list of MBA programmes offered in English at Czech universities.