Study in Czech Republic
The Czech Republic boasts the oldest institution of higher education in Central Europe, the Charles University. Located in Prague, the school was founded in 1348.
Modern Czech higher education uses the three cycle structure of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Higher education institutions are divided into universities and non-universities. Non-universities usually provide only bachelor’s degrees, while universities provide programs of study across all degree levels and academic disciplines.
The Czech Republic has 26 public, 2 state, and 44 private institutions of higher education. The two state institutions are specialized schools run by the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of the Interior. Taken together, the schools offer master’s degrees in a wide range of disciplines, including architecture, art history, sculpture, theatre, theological studies, engineering, information technology, chemistry, physics, natural sciences, business, social sciences, forestry, education, and many others. Many private institutions focus on specific areas of study such as business.
Why Study in the Czech Republic?
The Czech Republic has a long tradition of high quality education and research, particularly in the fields of science, engineering and medicine. International students will find a welcoming environment; currently more than 37,000 foreign students are studying at Czech schools.
Many programs are now offered in English and other languages besides Czech. In addition, Mater of Business Administration (MBA) degrees are growing in popularity; most MBA programs use a case-study approach.
Tuition and Program Duration
By law, tuition is free for all nationalities at all public institutions of higher learning in the Czech Republic. Some fees do apply, such as admissions, extension of studies beyond original date, studies undertaken in addition to a student’s original plan, and fees for studying in a language other than Caech.
Private institutions set their own tuition and fees, and these typically range from $US 2,000 to $US 15,000 each year.
Master’s degree programs can last anywhere from one to three years. Master’s programs are very theoretical and students are required to take a final state exam and defend a thesis in a public forum.
Exact start dates are established by individual institutions, but most begin the academic year in October. In addition, most institutions divide the academic year into two 20-week winter and summer semesters, each including a 15-week instructional period, five weeks of exams, and a holiday. A two month holiday is usually taken in July and August.
There are many opportunities for employment in the Czech Republic after obtaining a master’s degree for all students, regardless of nationality. One-third of company directors in the Czech Republic are foreigners. Although business is increasingly conducted in English, students who have undertaken studies in Czech or are already proficient in Czech will find an advantage in obtaining employment.
All international students require long-term visas for studying in the Czech Republic. Additional information is available at the website for the Ministry of the Interior. Long-term student visas can take 3-4 months to obtain, so students should plan accordingly.
Students from EU-member countries, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland may use the European Health Insurance Card provided by their home country to obtain medical services.
Students from other countries are not entitled to public health insurance and must purchase commercial health insurance that covers at least €30,000 worth of care. Students on long-term stays are required to present proof of premium payment.
In addition to health insurance, all major hospitals accept major credit cards or cash as payment for treatment.
There are many student organizations in the Czech Republic dedicated to helping international students. These organizations include the Erasmus Student Network and The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE).
Students not proficient in Czech will find many courses in the Czech Republic to assist them. Although these courses typically require an additional fee, some are covered by scholarships. The Institute for Language and Preparatory Studies provides multiple courses for students with language deficiencies, including intensive courses and online courses.
About Czech Republic
The Czech Republic's central European landscape is dominated by the Bohemian Massif, which rises to heights of 3,000 ft (900 m) above sea level. This ring of mountains encircles a large elevated basin, the Bohemian Plateau. The principal rivers are the Elbe and the Vltava. The country has the highest human development in Central and Eastern Europe, ranking as a "Very High Human Development" nation. It is also ranked as the third most peaceful country in Europe and most democratic and healthy country in the region.
The Czech Republic is located in Central Europe and has a rich cultural history and life style. The country is landlocked and has borders with Austria, Germany, Poland and Slovakia. Although the Czech Republic is an EU member, the currency is the Czech Crown (CZK). The country is also a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Czech Republic is particularly well known for a long history of producing high quality musical instruments including wind instruments, pianos, pipe organs and string instruments; famous brands include Amati, Petrof, Reiger-Kloss and Strunal.
The Czech Republic has a rich culture of the arts, including opera, films, dance and theater. Students will also find many fascinating museums and beautiful gardens and parks to visit during their leisure time. Famous Czech cuisine specialties include noodle soup with liver dumplings, roast sirloin with cream sauce, goulash and fried cheese.
The overall climate is moderate and all four seasons occur in the Czech Republic. Average temperatures run from a low of -4 degrees C in January to a high of 24 degrees C in July. Locations near the border mountain ranges are much colder.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in the Czech Republic is much lower than most of Western Europe. Monthly expenses, excluding any tuition or fees, will be about $US 350 to $US 750. International students should get an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) before departing from their home country; this card can be used for a wide variety of discounts at restaurants, theaters, museums, concerts, and transportation services.
International students may work to supplement their income, but must have a job permit. The job permit is not required if the student is under 26 years of age and works fewer than 7 consecutive calendar days or 30 days total in one year.
Students from EU/EEA countries and Switzerland do not need a visa to study in the Czech Republic. EU students have, however, a reporting duty after their arrival if the intended stay in the Czech Republic is longer than 30 days. In this situation, within 30 days of entering the Czech Republic, you need to declare your presence to the Foreign Police Department.
Students from countries outside the EU have to apply for a student visa.
There are three types of student visas for the Czech Republic:
1) Short-term visa - for stays up to 90 days
2) Long-term visa - for stays over 90 days.
3) Long-term residence permit for study purposes - for students arriving for a period longer than one year.
You will first need to be accepted to an educational institution in the Czech Republic. The school/program has to be accredited by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic. If it is not accredited, then you have to apply for the visa for other purposes.
First-time visas must be applied for (and obtained) before their arrival to the Czech Republic.
When applying for your visa, you will need to provide a list of documents, among others an application form, a letter of acceptance for studies, proof of financial resources and international health insurance. While lodging the application, an interview with the applicant can be conducted.