Higher Education System of the Czech Republic

Higher education is the highest level of the Czech Republic education system. Czech higher education dates back 600 years. Emperor Charles IV established a university in Prague in 1348. It is the oldest academic institution in Central Europe and is presently known as Charles University. The Bologna process has primarily influenced the tertiary education sector in the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic higher education follows a 3-cycle structure since 2001:
  • Bachelor’s degree programmes
  • Master’s degree programmes
  • Doctoral study programmes
The higher education aims to provide pupils professional qualification, prepares them for with the adequate professional qualification, prepares them for job market, or further research. The quality of higher education in Czech Republic is promoted by the Accreditation Commission. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports awards the accreditation on the recommendation of the Accreditation Commission. 

Main Law Governing Higher Education

Law: Higher Education Institutions Act No. 111 of 1998
Deals: All higher education institutions

Czech Republic Tertiary Education Profile

Tertiary education sector of Czech Republic is split up into:
  • Higher education (ISCED 5A and 6) 
  • Tertiary professional education (ISCED 5B)

Tertiary Professional Education

Tertiary professional education is offered primarily by tertiary professional schools. Also, it can be obtained at a conservatoire.  Tertiary professional schools (vyssi odborne skoly) are public, private, state, or denominational. Tertiary professional schools provide theoretical as well as practical knowledge and skills. This form of education can be taken as a full-time course, distance course, evening course, or combined studies.

Admission Requisite: For admittance into the tertiary professional schools, students must hold a secondary school-leaving certificate.  Admissions may also include an entrance examination that varies. 

Duration: 3 years

The tertiary professional education concludes with a graduate examination (absolutorium). This examination includes a theoretical section in vocational subjects, a foreign language exam and a defence of a thesis. Students who pass the tertiary professional education level receive a graduate examination certificate, a diploma and the title “specialist with a diploma“(DiS).

Higher Education

Higher education is provided by higher education institutions (vysoke skoly). As per the Higher Education Act, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports frame the educational policies and procedures for Higher Education Institutions. 

Higher Education Institutions

Under the Higher Education Act, higher education institutions are classified as university type which provide study programmes at all the levels of higher education, i.e. Bachelor, Master and Doctoral, and non-university type which provides Bachelor’s degree programmes but may also offer Master’s degree courses. 
The courses of study of higher education institutions are developed by individual universities/faculties and approved by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.

Public Higher Education Institutions

The public higher education institutions provide a range of study courses within Bachelor, Master and Doctoral degree programmes as well as non-degree study programmes. 

State Higher Education Institutions

The state higher education institutions educational activities are partly managed and overseen by the appropriate legal rules and procedures applying to the field of defence and domestic affairs, respectively.

Private Higher Education Institutions

The private higher education institution in the Czech Republic emphasize on subjects, such as management, international business, banking, law, public administration, hotel and tourism, economics and marketing communications.  

Higher Education Degrees

Higher education in the Czech Republic consists of 3 cycles:  

Bachelor’s degree programme (ISCED 5A): These programmes last for 3-4 years and ends with a thesis and state examination.

Master’s degree programme (ISCED 5A): These programmes last for 1-3 years, or 4-6 years for courses not following-up bachelor’s programmes. These programmes end with a defence of a Master’s thesis and a state exam.

Doctoral degree programme (ISCED 6): These programmes last for 3-4 years. it is the highest level degree in the Czech Republic. 

Admission Requirements

To study at any higher education institution in the Czech Republic students must possess a secondary school leaving examination. To know more about the specific admission requirements, click here.  

Study Programmes

The higher education institutions in the Czech Republic provide a range of study programmes:
  • Humanities and Social Studies: Philosophy, Economics, Anthropology, PR and marketing, Journalism, Sociology, Law, Psychology, Pedagogy, Philology, Archeology, Ethnographic, Linguistics,  Historiography, etc.
  • Natural sciences: Includes, Medicine, Biology, Ecology, Chemistry, Geology, Pharmacy, Physics, Geography, etc. 
  • Technical Studies: Includes Textile studies, Transport studies and Logistics, Architecture, Mechanical engineering, Informatics, Electrotechnics, Civil Engineering, Mining industry, etc.
  • Agriculture: Includes Agriculture, Forestry and Lumbering, Fisheries studies, Horticulture and landscaping, etc. 
  • Arts: Includes Theatre, Fine Arts, Design, Music, Film studies, etc.
  • Police and Military studies
and so on..

Tuition Fees

As per law, higher education at public and state universities is free of charge for citizens of all nationalities, with a few exceptions. To know more about the tuition fees, click here.

Academic Year

Higher Education Institutions Academic Term

The academic year of higher education institutions in the Czech Republic lasts 12 months, commencing from September or October. Studies are divided into semesters, years or teaching blocks which includes teaching period, exams and vacations.  The Rector determines on the date when the academic year starts. The academic year is generally divided into semesters, which have 14 weeks of teaching activity followed by examinations. Summer vacations are in July and August, followed by a long period of examinations.

Tertiary Professional Schools Academic Term

The academic year of tertiary professional schools begins on September 1 and concludes on August 31 with breaks in between. The teaching period is about 40 weeks and is divided into a winter term that starts on 1 September and ends on 31 January, and a summer term which starts on February 1 and ends on August 31.

Credit system

The ECTS credit system is used at almost all the higher education institutions in the Czech Republic. 

Higher Education At a Glance

 Type of Institution ISCED LevelDuration Examination  Credential
 Conservatoire 5B 2 Absolutorium 
 Tertiary Professional School 5B 3 Absolutorium DiS. (specialist with a diploma)
 Higher Education Institutions-University and Non-University type 5ACycle 1-Bachelor: 3-4 years

Cycle 2-Master:1-3 years (4-6 yrs in case of non-structured courses)

State Examination and defence of a thesis

State Examination and defence of a thesis; for non-structured courses- specific state examination and defence of a thesis


Bachelor/Bachelor of Art (Bc./BcA)

Master/Master of Art (Mgr./MgA.)


 Higher Education Institution-University Type 6 3-4 State Doctoral examination and defence of a thesis Ph.D.
Th.D. (theology)
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