Czech universities attract foreign students with free education programs in the Czech language. In addition, universities in the Czech Republic are distinguished by the practical orientation of the courses. All educational programs require a narrow specialization, which is why most graduates do not have problems with finding employment after graduation, both in the Czech Republic and abroad.

List of the best universities in the Czech Republic

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Advantages of Czech universities

  • Unique educational programs. Czech universities offer a large number of original programs that can hardly be found elsewhere. For example, at Charles University, a student can study at the department of Electronic Culture and Semiotics or at the department of Social and Cultural Ecology.
  • Affordable training. Programs conducted in Czech in public universities are free for all students. For those who want to study in another language, there are paid programs in English, Russian, German and French. Their average cost is about 4,331 USD per year (in Spain the average price is 12,992 USD, and in France — 10,826 USD). Also in the Czech Republic there is an opportunity to study in bilingual programs, where students are taught in Czech and English.
  • Admission immediately after school. Unlike some other European countries (for example, Germany and the UK), the Czech Republic allows foreign students who finished 11-year school program in their home countries to enter the university immediately after graduation. All that needs to be done is to go through the validation procedure.

Disadvantages of Czech universities

  • Age restrictions. Programs conducted in Czech at public universities are free and have no age restrictions. However, student privileges such as student discounts on health insurance[1] and public transportation[2] do not apply to people over 26 years old.
  • Autonomy of universities. Despite the fact that educational standards exist in the Czech Republic, universities are autonomous organizations. Applicants should carefully study the university curriculum before entering, because some identical specialties in different universities can have completely different programs and entrance tests.
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Requirements for admission to universities in the Czech Republic

ProgramMin. ageDurationMin. cost/yearAvg. cost/yearMin. language proficiencyExams
Foundation18+1 year2,274 USD4,006 USDIntermediate (B1)IELTS / TOEFL
College18+3-5 years108 USD217 USDIntermediate (B1)CCE / IELTS / TOEFL
Bachelor’s18+3-4 yearsFree3,789 USDIntermediate (B1)CCE / IELTS / TOEFL
MBA21+1-3 yearsFree13,533 USDUpper-Intermediate (B2)CCE / IELTS / TOEFL
Master’s21+1-3 yearsFree4,547 USDUpper-Intermediate (B2)CCE / IELTS / TOEFL
Doctoral studies22+3-4 yearsFree5,088 USDAdvanced (C1)CCE / IELTS / TOEFL

The university admission mainly consists of three steps: filling out an application, entrance exams and submitting documents with a validated diploma or certificate. The process of sending and receiving applications usually lasts from January to March. Entrance examinations are most often scheduled for May and consist of two parts: written and oral.

After successfully passing the tests, applicants must provide all the required documents. The validation of documents, which is carried out by the local government, is also happening during this period.

Documents required for validation
  • Application for passing validation;
  • Certificate of payment of the administrative fee (125 USD)[3];
  • Passport;
  • A document proving your current stay in the Czech Republic.
Please note that the requirements for documents may vary depending on the citizenship of the applicant.

Czech authorities can recognize the diploma in whole or in part. In case of partial confirmation, the student will need to pass a special validation test. Despite the fact that the test is conducted in Czech, a student can hire a translator, since language proficiency evaluation is not the point of the test.

Application documents
  • Certificate or a diploma of previous education and a transcript with grades;
  • Birth certificate;
  • Passport;
  • Medical certificate;
  • Motivation letter;
  • Language certificate (may not be necessary if the university conducts an exam on its own);
  • An administrative fee payment receipt (22-49 USD).
The education certificate and birth certificate must be translated into Czech and notarized.

Types of educational institutions in the Czech Republic

There are three types of higher educational institutions in the Czech Republic:

Tertiary / higher professional schools, or colleges, (vyšší odborná škola) provide students with a specialized vocational education. Graduates receive a DiS degree — diplomovaný specialista. The noteworthy schools are the College of Information Services in Prague (Vyšší odborná škola informačních služeb v Praze) and the College of Economics and Business (Vyšší odborná škola ekonomická a Obchodní akademie Kollárova). Some conservatories although considered to be pre-college educational institutions (secondary level) also award specialist degrees in arts following eight-year programs.

Universities (vysoká škola) provide students with a classical education in three proficiency stages: bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral studies. In addition to standard academic programs, many universities offer special courses for continuing education (programy celoživotního vzdělávání). Unlike colleges, universities focus more on theoretical knowledge and research. The oldest and most prestigious university in the Czech Republic is Charles University in Prague (Univerzita Karlova v Praze) — it is in the top 300 universities in the world according to QS[4].

Academies of arts are specialized higher educational institutions of university level providing art education. There are only several of them in the Czech Republic: Janaceck Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts Brno (Janáčkova akademie múzických umění, JAMU), Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (Akademie múzických umění vPraze, AMU), Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (Akademie výtvarných umění v Praze, AVU), Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (Vysoká škola uměleckoprůmyslová v Praze, VŠUP).

Colleges in the Czech Republic

College training at tertiary professional schools lasts 2-3 years. Students must pay tuition regardless of the language of instruction (the cost varies from 100 to 217 USD/year)[5]. Unlike universities, colleges do not have faculties and often focus on a single direction.

The academic year is divided into semesters (usually two), after each, students take exams and then go on a break. More time is dedicated to practice rather than theory. Many colleges also have compulsory internships during the studies.

At the end of the training, students take an exam (absolutorium), which consists of testing in specialized subjects and a foreign language, as well as the defense of the thesis (absolventské práce). After graduation from college, students can start looking for a job or go straight to the last year of bachelor’s to continue their studies.

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Private and public universities of the Czech Republic

All universities can be divided into three categories: private, public and state-run. A complete list of universities belonging to each of the groups can be found here.

There are only two state-run institutions: the Police Academy of the Czech Republic (Policejní akademie České republiky v Praze) and the University of Defense (Univerzita obrany). They do not have autonomy and belong to the relevant ministries. These universities are open to foreigners and offer interesting employment prospects in the military and civilian services of the Czech Republic.

Public universities are funded by the government and offer free education programs in Czech. Public universities have a lot of autonomy and are allowed to self-govern. For this, each university has educational and scientific board, and a disciplinary and management committee. Legally, their activities are regulated by the Act on Higher Education adopted by the Czech Republic.

Private universities must be accredited by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports in order to teach in the Czech Republic[6]. Despite the fact that they receive partial funding from the state, private universities cover most of the costs from their own sources. Because of that, studying at such universities is not free (the average price is about 4,331 USD per year). As of now, there are 34 private universities in the Czech Republic (there are 26 public universities) and 10% of the total number of students attend them. In contrast to public universities, private ones are more focused on the modern labor market, offering programs in popular specialties and focusing on practice and internships. Popular destinations are considered business, law and management that are studied by almost half of the students (49.1%), about a third selects social sciences, journalism and IT (23%), while others prefer hospitality management and communication (15.4%)[7].

Groups and associations of educational institutions

CEITEC (the Central European Institute of Technology) is a European research center in Brno, founded by a group of 6 Czech universities:

The main fields of CEITEC interest are the development of nanotechnology, research in the field of structural biology, brain, genomics, molecular medicine and molecular veterinary medicine. Bachelor’s and master’s studies are tied closely to the above fields. CEITEC provides students with a rare opportunity to participate in research from the get-go.

Free universities in the Czech Republic

Education in public universities is free for all students, both local and foreign, as long as Czech is the primary language of study. But some universities may charge administrative and registration fees, as well as additional fees for extending the duration of studies — this is not against the law. Universities have the right to set prices for programs conducted in any other language than Czech. The cost can range from 0 to 21,977 USD per year. Private universities also regulate the cost of training on their own.

All available programs of public universities can be found on the official website of the Czech National Agency for International Education.

More information on scholarships and grants can be found here.

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Interesting facts about Czech universities

  • Charles University in Prague is the oldest university in Central Europe — it was founded in 1348[8]. Famous alumni of Charles University include writer and philosopher Franz Kafka, religious reformer Jan Hus and the last Czech king Charles I.
  • Czech Technical University in Prague (České vysoké učení technické v Praze), founded in 1707, is considered the first civilian technical university in the world[9].
  • From 1970 to 1987, the University of Chemical Technology in Prague (Vysoká škola chemicko-technologická v Praze) had a Psychoenergetic Laboratory (PEL), which studied the paranormal phenomena[10].
  • Technical University in Ostrava (Vysoká škola báňská — Technická univerzita Ostrava) organizes the largest job fair in the Czech Republic, where students can meet with employers, go through interviews and find a future job.
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