Higher education system

The fundaments of Czech higher education date back to six hundred years ago. In 1348 Emperor Charles IV founded a university in Prague which became the oldest academic institution in Central Europe. It is now called the Charles University. Since 2001 the three-cycle structure has strictly been implemented in the higher education system (i.e. Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral study programmes). The central governing body for education is the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports


In Czechia, there are three types of higher education institutions: public, state and private. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports oversees the public and private higher education institutions, while relevant ministries are responsible for the state institutions (the University of Defence and the Police Academy).

In terms of the study programmes they offer, higher education institutions may be of a university or non-university type. Universities may offer all types of study programmes (i.e. bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programmes) and carry out associated activities in science and research, development and innovation, as well as artistic or other creative activities. Non-university institutions offer mainly bachelor’s study programmes. They can also offer master’s programmes but not doctoral ones. 

language of instruction

The main tuition language is Czech, however the range of programmes delivered in foreign languages (mainly in English) is expanding in particular to cater for international students. For the list of available study programmes go to the Programmes section.

Organisation of studies

The academic year is divided in 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, 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.

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 types. Traditional university-type institutions may offer all types of degree programmes while non-university institutions are characterised by providing mainly Bachelor's degree programmes. The documents confirming the completion of studies and the right to the appropriate academic title are the higher education diploma and the supplement to the diploma.

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 have to take a final state examination and publicly present and defend a thesis. Studies in medicine, veterinary medicine and hygiene are completed by a demanding state examination, including the presentation and defence of a rigorous thesis.

Doctoral programmes

(normally last 3 years) are intended for graduates from 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.



Type of education

Lenght (years)


Tertiary professional school

Tertiary professional education

3 - 3,5


Higher education institution,

university and non-university type



(non-structured study)

3 - 4

1 - 3

4 - 6




Higher education institution,

university type

Doctoral studies

3 - 4



There are also several public and private universities offering Master of Business Administration (MBA) programmes in Czechia. The core courses in an MBA programme cover various areas of business such as accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, operations, and statistics. For the list of MBA programmes offered at Czech universities in English go to the Programmes section.

More information

For a more detailed description on the higher education system in Czechia, see the National Education Systems, a database administered by Eurydice, the European information network. You can also download our publication Czech Higher Education