Last updated in 2020
Chapter 1: Higher Education System
Section 1.1.: Schematic Description of the Higher Education System
A diagram explains the structure of Czech Higher Education System. Higher education is the highest level of the education system in the Czech Republic. The central governing body for education is the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. Higher education has three levels: bachelor study programmes and master study programmes, the third level of higher education is doctoral study programmes and is open to graduates of the master study programmes. The diagram displays the higher education system below.
Higher Education system consists of higher education institutions that are legal entities and have the sole right to award academic degrees. The field of higher education is regulated by the Act No. 111/1998 Coll., on Higher Education Institutions and on Amendments to Other Acts (Act on Higher Education Institutions).
The whole structure of Czech Education System you will find here:
Section 1.2: Description of Higher Education System
Higher education is provided by higher education institutions (vysokoškolské instituce – vysoké školy) in the Czech Republic.
The minimum entrance requirement to enter the higher education level is upper secondary education with Maturita examination (střední vzdělání s maturitní zkouškou); the graduates receive the school leaving examination certificate (vysvědčení o maturitní zkoušce).
Higher education institutions (vysoké školy) are supreme centres of education, independent knowledge and creative activities. The general goal of higher education is to provide students with adequate professional qualification, prepare them for engagement in research and participating in life-long learning, make them contribute to the development of civic society and international, particularly European cooperation.
Considerable autonomy of higher education institutions is manifested in the area of education (implementation of study programmes, admission requirements/procedures, etc.), science and research, and to some extent in managing the funds allocated.
Higher education consists of the three cycles:
- Bachelor’s degree programmes, lasting 3–4 years; 180 – 240 ECTS
- Master’s degree programmes, lasting 1–3 years, 60 – 180 ECTS
Master´s degree programmes, lasting 4–6 years in case of programmes not following Bachelor’s degree programmes (non-structured programmes) – study programmes in medicine, law, veterinary science, dentist, etc. 300 – 360 ECTS
- Doctoral degree programmes, lasting 3–4 years. 180 – 240 ECTS
Higher education institutions are public, state and private. They are either of a university type, providing all three cycles of study, or a non-university type, providing the Bachelor’s and possibly Master’s studies.
All public higher education institutions and most private higher education institutions have implemented the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) or a system compatible with ECTS.
After completing studies in Bachelor´s and Master´s degree programmes, students take the final state examination (státní závěrečná zkouška), including a defence of a thesis.
Graduates of the Bachelor´s degree programmes are usually awarded the degree Bc. Graduates of the Master´s degree programmes most commonly acquire the title Mgr. or Ing. However, other types of academic titles exist in the Czech Republic.
Graduates of Master´s degree programmes may proceed to Doctoral degree programmes (doktorské studijní programy) and, after completing the studies, take a doctoral state examination (státní doktorská zkouška) and defend a thesis They are awarded the degree Ph.D.
The higher education diploma (vysokoškolský diplom) and a Diploma supplement1 (dodatek k diplomu) are produced by higher education institutions are the documents confirming completion of studies and the right to use the relevant academic title.
1The Diploma Supplement contains eight sections providing information regarding:
- the holder of the qualification
- the qualification type and its originating institution
- the qualification level
- the content of the course and results gained
- function of the qualification
- certification of the supplement
- details of the national higher education system concerned (provided by the National Academic Recognition Information Centres (NARICs))
- other relevant details
Section 1.3: Number of Higher Education Institutions
In the Czech Republic, there are currently operating 60 higher education institutions. Of these, 26 are public, 2 state and 32 private higher education institutions. In the Czech Republic 18 foreign higher education institutions and their branches operate at its territory.
Public higher education institutions are established by a special law. Competence towards them according to Act No. 111/1998 Coll., on Higher Education Institutions and on Amendments to Other Acts, is exercised by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.
Studying at a public higher education institutions in the Czech language is free of charge during the standard period of study increased by one year, regardless of age. Fee for studying in a foreign language study programme (English, French, German, etc.) in the order of thousands of EUR per academic year. The fee is then assessed to the student for a longer study, i.e. for an extended period of study).
State higher education institutions are military and police and have no legal personality. The Military University, specifically the University of Defense, belongs to the organisational unit of the state – the Ministry of Defense, while the Police University, i.e. the Police Academy of the Czech Republic in Prague, is in the competence of the Ministry of the Interior. Both are of the university type.
Study is free there. At the University of Defense, students receive a salary while studying.
Private higher education institutions are legal entities that have been granted state approval by the Ministry to operate as a private university. Their activities are specifically regulated by Sections 39-43 of Act No. 111/1998 Coll., on Higher Education Institutions and on Amendments to Other Acts.
Foreign higher education institutions and their branches can operate in the Czech Republic. The provision of foreign higher education in the Czech Republic, the status and obligations of foreign higher education institutions and their branches are regulated in Sections 93a to 93i of Act No. 111/1998 Coll., on Higher Education Institutions and on Amendments to Other Acts (Act on Higher Education Institutions), as amended. A foreign higher education institution must fulfil an information obligation in the Czech Republic in order to be granted a domestic authorization.
Section 1.4 Number of Students in Higher Education
General number of students – 288 915 was enrolled at higher education institutions
Number of students divided by type of institution:
- Public schools: 261269
- Private schools: 28118
- Number of foreign students enrolled in full degree programmes: 46441
- Number of outgoing exchange students with credit transfer: 8246
- Number of incoming exchange students with credit transfer: 8157
Section 1.5: Structure of Academic Year
The academic year is divided in two semesters or terms. These are generally organized as follows:
|mid-September – mid-December
|mid-February – mid-May
|January – mid-February
|mid-May – end of June
Section 1.6: National Qualifications Framework (or Similar)
The Framework of Higher Education Qualifications of the Czech Republic describes and categorizes qualifications awarded by higher education institutions in the Czech Republic. It is based on the criteria of the so-called learning outcomes, which graduates of individual levels should achieve when completing their studies and which are divided into professional knowledge, professional skills and general competences. The aim of the Framework is therefore to determine the expected learning outcomes of individual levels of education and to clearly describe the qualification of higher education in the Czech Republic and to enhance the clarity of education systems in the national and international context. The Framework of Higher Education Qualifications was approved by the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports on 27 November 2018. The approval of the Framework is in line with the quality assurance system which is part of the Czech Republic’s international obligations arising from its participation in the Bologna Process. In 2021, the qualifications framework is expected to become a part of the law on higher education.
More information in Czech language you can find here: https://www.msmt.cz/vzdelavani/vysoke-skolstvi/ramec-kvalifikaci-vysokoskolskeho-vzdelavani-ceske-republiky.
Description of the level of qualification
Type of study programme
Bachelor’s degree programmes
Master’s degree programmes
Doctoral degree programme
Relations to other frameworks
Section 1.7: Learning Outcomes in Higher Education
Learning outcomes are administered by the higher education institutions individually. Most HEIs are formally defining learning outcomes for their study programmes (less often for their courses).
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports published the Handbook for the use of learning outcomes at higher education institutions which is accessible in Czech: https://www.msmt.cz/uploads/odbor_30/Jakub/Prirucka_Vyuziti_vysledku_uceni_na_vysokych_skolach_Impuls.pdf
The handbook was created as a part of an Erasmus+ project on implementing national Bologna reforms (project name: “Learning Outcomes: Implementation of Qualifications Framework”). The objective of the handbook was to promote the concept of learning outcomes as an approach that increases the quality of teaching by making it more transparent both for teachers and students. It was also to explain that learning outcomes should not be understood and approached merely as a new obligation that needs to be formally fulfilled, but rather as a tool and opportunity to improve teaching and provide better learning experience to students. The main target groups of the handbook are higher education teachers and managers. The handbook represents a very valuable source of information and inspiration providing very concrete examples of good practice at different institutions and practical guidelines.
Section 1.8: Admission Requirements to Higher Education
Upper secondary education completed with a school leaving examination (maturitní zkouška) is the basic prerequisite for the admission to a higher education institution. Other requirements are set by a relevant higher education institution and usually include an entrance examination.
Each higher education institution has specific requirements for admission process which are published at the websites of relevant higher education institution and if an applicant needs some advice, he/she can contact the study department or the international office of the higher education institution. The application deadline is mostly between February and April. Students may apply for several study programmes at various higher education institutions and faculties.
For fine arts degrees, applicants who have gained their graduate diploma from a conservatoire (diplom absolventa konzevatoře) may be admitted as well; in special cases also students without having completed upper secondary education with a Maturitní zkoška may be admitted.
A higher education institution or a faculty can set other conditions of the admission requirements concerning certain knowledge, competencies or talents or the achievement in the previous required education. The content and the form of the examination are entirely upon responsibility of the relevant higher education institution. It normally consists of written examinations (tests) that aim to assess the applicant’s knowledge. Tests of study skills (student’s abilities – e.g. verbal thinking, analytical thinking, and spatial visualisation ability) may also be included; exceptionally, tests of study prerequisites are the only criterion for admission. Some higher education institutions organise admission interviews with applicants. Some higher education institutions use average results of the previous study as a criterion for admission. However, due to the decreasing number of students in upper secondary schools, some higher education institutions are beginning to feel student shortage in certain fields of study (e.g. in some technically oriented fields), thus passing the Maturita examination is sufficient for admission.
Section 1.9: Grading System
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, in other cases one comprehensive examination after each completed part of studies is prescribed, mostly at the end of a certain module.
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 completed parts of studies to be recognised, thus contributing to transferability within the system.
Section 1.10: Tuition Fee System for International Students
Study in Czech language
Higher education at public and state institutions offer study programmes in Czech language free of charge
By law, higher education at public and state institutions is free of charge for citizens of all nationalities. However, some fees might be requested: fees for administration of admission proceedings and fees for extending the duration of study beyond a set limit. Private institutions of higher education can fix their own fees.
Study in other languages
If the student wants to study in another language, he/she must pay for his studies. The tuition fees differ from 0 – 22,350 USD per year. The exact amount depends on the respective institution and study programme. There are several courses taught in English or in another foreign language.
More information is accessible from interactive portal – Study in – https://portal.studyin.cz/en/ – section Programmes for applicants to choose the right study programme with the exact information about the fees.
Section 1.11: Graduation Requirements and/or Qualification Awarding Requirements
Bachelor’s degree programmes, lasting 3–4 years; 180 – 240 ECTS
Master’s degree programmes, lasting 1–3 years, 60 – 180 ECTS
Master´s degree programmes, lasting 4–6 years in case of programmes not following Bachelor’s degree programmes (non-structured programmes) – study programmes in medicine, law, veterinary science, dentist, etc. 300 – 360 ECTS
Doctoral degree programmes, lasting 3–4 years. 180 – 240 ECTS
The graduation requirements is to pass the state exam and defend the bachelor´s/ master´s or Ph.D. thesis and the students have to have all years successfully completed with grades from 1 – 3 (A – E).
Some of higher education institutions use the following grading equivalency table. The table shows the equivalence of grades to alphabet comparing. Some use the internationally recognized A-F grading system, often referred to as ECTS grading.
For easier understanding we offer an explanation of the individual grades:
|above the average standard with some errors
|generally sound work with a number of notable errors
|where a course is completed by a study requirement other than examination, it is not graded, but is recorded as “Zápočet (Z).” This is in effect a Pass in a two-tier Pass/Fail grading system.
The recommendation for using the A-F classification is as follows: To evaluate the student’s performance in percentage (0-100 %) and providing the evaluation accordingly:
|A, outstanding performance with only minor errors
|B, above the average standard but with some errors
|C, fair but with significant shortcomings
|D, performance meets the minimum criteria
Section 1.12: Relevant Current and Prospective Reforms in Higher Education
In the autumn 2020, the Government of the Czech Republic adopted the draft amendment to the Higher Education Act (No. 111/1998 Coll.), which brings modernization of the legislative environment in the area of higher education, better conditions for students and a reduction of red tape.
The amendment should simplify the recognition of studies in the Czech Republic for graduates of foreign higher education institutions, shorten the length of proceedings and more clearly separate recognition for the purposes of further study and professional employment, and to enable easy transfers between study programmes, issue electronic certificates of study at higher education institutions, scholarships etc.
The amendment was submitted to the Parliament and is planned to be adopted in 2021.
Moreover, a new Strategy for higher education institutions, which is to apply from 2021, was published in June 2020, and is to focus on improving the preparation of students for the labour market in the 21st century, promoting lifelong learning or improving research. The strategic plan for higher education institutions follows on from the Innovation Strategy of the Czech Republic and is being prepared in coordination with the Strategy for Educational Policy until 2030 and other concepts. It was widely discussed with higher education institutions and other stakeholders – Czech Rector´s Conference. More information you can find here: https://www.msmt.cz/vzdelavani/vysoke-skolstvi/strategicky-zamer-ministerstva-pro-oblast-vs-na-obdobi-od.
Chapter 2: Quality Assurance in Higher Education
Section 2.1: Quality Assurance Body in Higher Education
The National Accreditation Bureau for Higher Education (hereinafter “Accreditation Bureau”) is an independent body established by the Act No. 111/1998 Coll. (amended and consolidated) on Higher Education Institutions and on Amendments and Supplements to Some Other Acts (Higher Education Act), as resulting from later amendments, with the authority to mainly:
- decide on accreditation of degree programmes, institutional accreditation and accreditation of the habilitation procedure and procedure for appointment of professors
- perform audit of compliance with legal regulations in carrying out accredited activities and
- carry out external evaluation of educational, scientific, research, development, innovation, artistic and other related activities of higher education institutions.
The Accreditation Bureau is located in Prague.
The Accreditation Bureau performs its activities in compliance with the Higher Education Act, Code of Administrative Procedures, other legal norms and this Statute of the National Accreditation Bureau for Higher Education.
The Accreditation Bureau applies the Standards for Accreditation, on which its activities are based along with administrative consideration, with attention to relevant principles of standards for quality assurance in the European Higher Education Area.
The Accreditation Bureau provides methodical support related to issues of a quality assurance system for educational, creative and other related activities of higher education institutions and internal quality evaluation.
In the interest of good public service, the Accreditation Bureau cooperates with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (hereinafter “Ministry”) and possibly other relevant central bodies of public administration and bodies of representation of higher education institutions on issues within its competence that are key for the higher education system in the Czech Republic. The Accreditation Bureau cooperates, in the interest of good public service, also with other bodies of public administration, bodies of regional administration, professional chambers, employer associations and other social dialogue partners on issues related to graduates´ employability.
More information you can find here: https://www.nauvs.cz/index.php/en/
Section 2.2: Quality Assurance System
The accreditation for a degree programme is granted by the Accreditation Bureau for a period of ten years. The accreditation can be awarded or extended for a period shorter than ten years if:
a) the accreditation of a given degree programme is granted to the applicant for the first time;
b) the accreditation of a given degree programme is granted or extended especially with respect to providing its students a possibility to complete their studies; or
c) the applicant does not provide sufficient provisions and development of a degree programme with respect to the personnel, financial, and equipment provisions for the period of ten years
Institutional accreditation can be granted on the basis of a voluntary application from the higher education institution. It is granted by the Accreditation Bureau for a period of ten years.
All higher education institutions have the obligation stipulated in the Higher Education Act to develop and maintain internal quality assurance systems. They are required to carry out internal quality evaluation and publish reports on it every five years. The reports must be updated annually
According to the Higher Education Act, the quality assurance and evaluation of quality is an important autonomous activity of every institution. The Act imposes on higher education institution (since 1 September 2016) a duty to introduce and maintain a system of quality assurance and internal evaluation of quality of educational, creative and relating activities (further on “system of quality assurance and internal evaluation of quality”). Standards and procedures for quality assurance and internal evaluation of quality (e.g. rules for quality assurance and internal evaluation of quality) are set by a higher education institution in its internal regulation. The framework for this internal regulation is set in the Higher Education Act and its two implementation regulations: The Government Regulation on Standards for Accreditation in Higher Education and Government Regulation on Fields of Education in Higher Education.
Section 2.3: Link Programme Authorisation with Quality Assurance
Accreditation Bureau is in general terms responsible for programme authorization. The primary responsibility for quality assurance of education, research and other related activities lies on the HEIs (internal QA) but the Accreditation Bureau performs external QA. Website and link with all programmes that are accredited in the Czech Republic: https://regvssp.msmt.cz/registrvssp/ – only in Czech language
The process of accreditation is described in the Act no. 111/1998 Coll. on higher education institutions (Higher Education Act), part IX. A HEI with a very advanced internal QA system and a high quality of education, research and other related activities may apply for and be granted institutional accreditation. With institutional accreditation, the HEI is entitled to approve (self-accredit) its degree programme without having to obtain degree programme accreditation from the Accreditation Bureau.
HEIs that do not have institutional accreditation are oblidged to apply for and to receive degree programme accreditation from the Accreditation Bureau for every degree programme that they wish to carry out. Accreditation must be obtained prior to admission of students to the degree programme.
Authorization of a higher education institution to realize degree programmes pursuant to the conditions established by this Act arises from the institutional accreditation of a degree programme.
By an institutional accreditation the higher education institution becomes authorized to independently create and implement a certain type or types of degree programme in determined fields of study. In terms of its institutional accreditation, the higher education institution is entitled to implement a combined degree programme provided that the higher education institution possesses the particular institutional accreditation for all the fields of study to which the degree programmes belong. Institutional accreditation is granted to such higher education institution which complies with the standards for a specified field of study in a given type of degree programme as it is established by Section 78a (2) a) and which has a working quality assurance system of the educational, creative, and related activities and the internal evaluation of the quality of the educational, creative, and related activities of a higher education institution.
The accreditation of a degree programme is granted to the higher education institution that complies with the standards for accreditation of a given type in accordance with Section 78a (2) b).
Section 79 – the process of the accreditation of a degree problem is as follows:
- The accreditation of a degree programme is granted by the Accreditation Bureau, based on a written application submitted by a higher education institution. (2) The written application from a higher education institution for the accreditation of a degree programme must include the following:
- the name of the higher education institution or its constituent part that is responsible for providing the degree programme;
- the components of the degree programme under Section 44 (2), in the case of a combined degree programme, a share of the basic topics relevant to individual areas of knowledge in the education expressed as a percentage;
- evidence of appropriate staff, financial, material, and other support for the degree programme for at least the standard length of study, including information about adjustment of the demand to provide for conditions of equal access to the higher education;
- a description of the planned development of the degree programme, its rationale and the anticipated number of students to be admitted and information about assumed career opportunities of the graduates;
- a self-evaluating report describing and evaluating the fulfilment of individual requirements arising from the relevant standards for accreditation pursuant to Section 78a (2) b);
- in the case of degree programmes after the completion of which professional requirements for practice of a regulated profession are immediately acquired, as well as a statement that the relevant degree programme is focused on preparation for the practice of a regulated profession and a positive standpoint of the relevant recognition body19a) with respect to the appropriate competence on the part of graduates to practice this profession;
- in the case of degree programmes focused on the preparation of professionals in the field of the defence of the Czech Republic, a statement that the relevant degree programme is focused on the preparation of professionals for practice in the field of defence of the Czech Republic, and a positive standpoint of the Ministry of Defence or the Ministry of the Interior with respect to the appropriate competence on the part of the graduates to practice a profession in this field.
Chapter 3: Credit System in Higher Education
Section 3.1: Description of Credit System
Higher Education institutions in the Czech Republic have to implement the rules of the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education. This means that it is necessary to ensure full recognition for satisfactorily completed activities of study mobility and, where possible, traineeships.
The study of individual programmes and courses is carried out on the basis of a credit system corresponding to ECTS, in which one credit corresponds to 1/60 of average annual student workload.
All courses successfully completed at the host institution are recognized after the mobility; this applies also to student traineeships.
Section 3.2: Credit Transfer System(s)
ECTS – European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System.
Section 3.3: Additional Information
Section 3.4: Application of Credit System in Higher Education Institutions Obligatory?
Yes. The ECTS credit system is implemented at all universities in Europe, including the Czech Republic Higher Education Institutions are committed to ECTS, as stated in both the EUC – Erasmus University Charter – ECHE.
Section 3.5: Number of Credits per Academic Year/Semester
It is individual according to the higher education institutions.
In order to quantify the study load of individual courses, higher education institutions apply a unified credit system. Credits obtained within a study program are added up; the cumulative number of credits serves as a tool for study assessment. For example, the ECTS credit system where one academic year of full-time studies is equivalent to 60 higher education credits and 1.5 credits are equal to 1.5 ECTS credits. Each semester, students are expected to take 30 credits’ worth of courses. Nevertheless, the minimum amount of credits that each student has to obtain in order to qualify to the next semester is 15 credits for Bachelor’s degree programme and 20 credits for Master’s degree programme per semester in the first year of study and 20 credits per semester for both levels in following years of study. The hours do not only include “contact hours” (i.e. hours you spend in classrooms), but also the time you prepare, do homework and so on – so your individual study times could be different.
Section 3.6: Number of Credits per Higher Education Cycle
The qualification structure recognises Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral levels.
A Bachelor’s degree programme (bakalářský studijní program) aims at qualifying to enter a profession or a Master’s degree programme (magisterský studijní program). It takes 3 or 4 years (180-240 ECTS credits). Graduates receive the academic degree Bachelor of Arts (bakalář umění, BcA.) in the fields of arts, and Bachelor (bakalář, Bc.) in other fields. The study programme must be completed in due form with a final state examination, which usually includes the presentation and defence of a Bachelor’s thesis.
A Master’s degree programme follows a Bachelor’s degree programme. The length is 1 – 3 years (60 – 180 ECTS credits). In selected fields, where the nature of the study programme so requires (medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, law etc.), the Master’s degree programme need not follow on from a Bachelor’s degree programme (so-called non-structured Master’s degree programme). In this case, the programme lasts 4 – 6 years (240 – 360 ECTS credits).
The Czech government is encouraging institutions to use the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) in accordance with the Bologna Process. However, the ECTS credit system is not fully implemented yet.
It is necessary to obtain all 180 credits in order to gain a Ph.D. qualification. This is beneficial for the Ph.D. study as it facilitates easier qualification recognition and student exchanges between institutions. Similarly to other countries, , the Ph.D. in the Czech Republic is focussed primarily on the research and writing of a doctoral thesis, these will make up the credits.
Some higher education institutions may require the completion of additional training or coursework components.
Section 3.7: Description of Credit Unit
The higher education institutions use the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) which is a workload-based system for measuring and comparing study results. The student is awarded a certain number of ECTS credits for each course which reflects the workload necessary to successfully complete a course. Credits are awarded only when the student has fulfilled the course requirements, for example regular attendance. The credits are allocated by the individual departments in accordance with the standard workload determined by the respective study and examination regulations whereby one credit equals 30 hours of study.
Section 3.8: Link between Learning Outcomes and 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. One ECTS credit is equal to approximately 30 hours of work per semester and for one single course you may be rewarded up to 10 credits.