The central governing body for education is the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. The quality of higher education is fostered by the Accredittion Comission. 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).
Higher education is realised at higher education institutions, which form the highest level of the Czech education system. Higher education consists of three cycles:
- Bachelor’s degree programme, lasting 3–4 years
- Master’s degree programme, lasting 1–3 years, or 4–6 years in case of programmes not following bachelor’s programmes (non-structured study programme)
- Doctoral degree programme, lasting,3–4 years
Completed secondary education with a school-leaving examination is the basic prerequisite for entry into Bachelor’s and non-structured Master’s programmes. Detailed admission requirements are set by a relevant higher education institution and usually include an entrance examination. Higher education can take forms of full-time courses, distance-learning courses or a combination of both. Students have to follow a study plan within an accredited degree programme; accreditation is awarded by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports on the basis of a recommendation of the Accreditation commission. Study programmes at higher education institutions cover almost all areas of science and arts. They are usually subdivided into study fields which are, depending upon their content, included in the so-called basic study fields (see also the part Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure).
Studies are duly completed if students obtain their qualification through:
• a Bachelor’s degree programme which ends with the final state examination, part of which is usually the defence of a thesis, graduates are awarded the academic title Bachelor (Bc.), in the field of art, Bachelor of Arts (BcA),
• a Master’s degree programme which ends with the final state examination or Advanced Master’s Procedure (rigorózní zkouška), part of which is the defence of a thesis, graduates mostly obtain the academic title Master (Mgr.) or Engineer (Ing.),
• a Doctoral degree programme which ends with the state doctoral examination, graduates mostly obtain the academic title Doctor (Ph.D.).
The number of foreign students attending universities and colleges in the Czech Republic is four times higher than ten years ago.
While private and public Czech universities had nearly 9 thousand foreign students in 2001, in 2010 it was close to 38 thousand. At present, there are nearly 400,000 foreign university students who study at 26 public and 45 private colleges and universities.
The highest number of foreigners, almost 7 thousand, study at Charles University in Prague (6,852), many of them studying medical or pharmaceutical science. It is very similar at Masaryk University in Brno – out of a total 5,599 foreigners, 1,315 are students at the faculty of medicine. The University of Economics in Prague has over three thousand foreign students, most of them enrolled for disciplines lectured at the Faculty of International Relations.
Foreign students choose courses taught either in Czech or in foreign languages. The highest number of branches of study accredited in English. The strongest interests are in economical science, technical science and medicine.
Numbers and fact from www.msmt.cz, www.czech.cz, www.studyin.cz.