Opportunities for foreign nationals to study at institutions of Higher Education in the Czech Republic
Foreign nationals can study at Czech institutions of higher education:
- Under bilateral international agreements on co-operation in the field of education.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Czech Republic offers scholarships to university or college students - citizens of countries that have concluded bilateral agreements with the Czech Republic at an intergovernmental or inter-ministerial level - who wish to spend a study period at Czech public universities. In most instances, the duration of such study visits ranges from 2 to 10 months (depending upon the wording of each individual bilateral agreement which also determines the amount of scholarship and the specific conditions of study visits - i.e. language requirements, accomodation, health care etc.).
Unless the agreement concerned stipulates otherwise, holders of this type of scholarship receive CZK 5,500 per month if they have not yet attained a Master's degree or equivalent, or CZK 6,000 per month if they hold a Master's degree or equivalent.
- Within the framework of the Foreign Development Aid of the Czech Republic.
The Government of the Czech Republic awards scholarships within the Foreign Development Aid programme that are designed to cover the entire length of studies in bachelor, master and doctoral (Ph.D.) study programmes. Applicants whose Czech proficiency level does not meet the standard requirements must follow a one-year preparatory course in the Czech language provided by centres run by the Institute for Language and Specialist Training of Charles University in Prague (students applying for enrolment in bachelor/master study programmes also receive field-specific training).
Depending on the subject area they have chosen, they subsequently take entrance examinations at the respective institutions of higher education. If they pass and the institution concerned confirms their admission, the period of scholarship is extended to cover the standard length of study within the study programme concerned.
The provision of Government scholarships (including detailed conditions thereof) is notified to the relevant authorities of the eligible countries by diplomatic missions of the Czech Republic. Applications of nominees must be submitted to Czech diplomatic missions by the deadline set by the Czech Embassy/Consulate concerned.
In 2004, the scholarship granted to students enrolled in bachelor and master study programmes amounts to CZK 5,500 per month, while Ph.D. candidates receive CZK 6,000 per month.
Government scholarship-holders are also granted health care to the same extent and under the same conditions as Czech citizens. However, this does not apply to certain illnesses and conditions which are listed in the scholarship award terms as conditions precluding admission to study (e.g. tuberculosis, venereal and other sexually transmitted diseases, psychosis, serious vascular diseases, serious heart diseases, pregnancy etc.).
- As self-paying students.
Foreign nationals who wish to apply for admission to Czech institutions of higher education individually (e.g. those who are not eligible for the award of scholarship) are advised to contact the higher education institution of their choice and inquire about the current level of tuition fees (information on study-related fees is also frequently available on university websites). A database of study programmes offered is available at http://www.naric.cz .
Students at public and state institutions of higher education who follow courses where the language of instruction is Czech are exempted from tuition fees provided that they comply with certain conditions stipulated in the Higher Education Act (e.g. if the standard length of study is not exceeded by more than one year etc.).
Applicants for admission to public institutions of higher education are required to pay a small fee when they file their application. Public institutions of higher education are also entitled to charge tuition fees for studies in programmes where the language of instruction is other than Czech. Prospective applicants can obtain general information on study opportunities (including the possibilities of receiving a scholarship) from diplomatic missions of the Czech Republic as well as from the Centre of International Services of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. However, any specific inquiries and requests for detailed information (e.g. on study programmes, the length of studies, admission requirements, the content of entrance examinations, application deadlines, tuition fees, availability of accommodation, etc.) should be addressed directly to the respective institution(s) of higher education. Their addresses, phone and fax numbers, e-mail addresses and URL are listed below in sections devoted to individual faculties.
(Note: The amounts of tuition fees listed herein refer to the time of publication of this text and may be subject to change.)
Foreign students are entitled to stay in university dormitories and use university catering facilities. Accommodation in rented/sublet apartments is much more expensive and may also be difficult to find.
Foreign self-paying students should be prepared to cover the following average expenses per year:
- lodging in university dormitories
- meals in university catering facilities
- books and other study material
- health insurance
There are various clubs for foreign students, which operate within the network known as the National Union of Foreign Student Organisations.
Admission to Study
Foreign nationals can apply for admission to bachelor or master study programmes (that do not follow upon bachelor study programmes) if they hold a recognised upper secondary school-leaving certificate. In the case of master study programmes following upon bachelor study programmes, only applicants who have completed the respective bachelor degree courses or hold equivalent qualifications are considered. The prerequisite for admission to a doctoral study programme is the completion of an appropriate master degree course or an equivalent qualification.
Scholarship-holders enrol in study programmes where instruction is provided in the Czech language.
Numerous faculties offer degree courses where the language of instruction is English, German (and sometimes also French). They are available to self-paying students only.
The number of Czech-medium programmes is, however, much larger. Students who do not have a good command of the Czech language (which is a precondition for admission to these programmes) can take preparatory language courses offered, in particular, at the centres run by the Institute for Language and Specialist Training of Charles University in Prague. These centres are located in various Czech towns. The courses last for ten months; foreign student first take a five-month basic language course, followed by a five-month course focusing upon the field-specific terminology used in the subject area of their choice.
The entrance procedures of individual higher education institutions can vary. In compliance with the applicable legal regulations, decisions as to admission of applicants fall within the purview of individual faculties. Faculties are also free to stipulate conditions for admission to study, including the requirements for particular knowledge, skills or aptitudes. Applicants may be required to sit entrance examinations.
Applicants who are to sit entrance examinations are usually required to produce the following documents:
- valid passport
- recognised upper secondary school-leaving certificate
- health certificate
- birth certificate
1 The Stay of Foreign Nationals in the Czech Republic
Citizens of EU member states and EFTA/EEA countries do not apply for a visa. They are, however, obliged to inform the police about their address in the Czech Republic. If they intend to stay longer than one month (which is the case of most students), they should register with the police within 30 days of their arrival. This obligation does not apply to those who register with their lodging provider.
Students who are covered by health insurance schemes of EU countries, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway are entitled to receive the necessary medical care provided by the Czech publicly funded medical facilities (i.e. facilities covered by the Czech public health insurance system) under the same conditions as Czech citizens. Such students should, prior to their arrival in the Czech Republic, obtain the so-called European Health Insurance Card or an analogous certificate, as applicable (for more information see the website of the Centre for International Reimbursements at http://www.cmu.cz or consult your health insurance company). Swiss citizens should check whether the same conditions apply to them (at the time of publication the respective agreement had not yet been concluded). Since the expenses for repatriation are not covered by the aforementioned provision, it is advisable to simultaneously contract a commercial insurance policy to this end.
Citizens of other countries are allowed to enter the territory of the Czech Republic for the purpose of study only after they were granted the appropriate visa that they had applied for at the respective diplomatic mission of the Czech Republic.
As soon as the applicant for admission to study receives the Decision of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on the award of scholarship, or a document confirming, on behalf of the respective educational establishment, his/her admission to study, he/she should file an application for a student's visa with the respective Czech diplomatic mission, pursuant to the Act No. 326/1999 Coll., on the Residence of Aliens in the Territory of the Czech Republic and Amendment to Some Acts, as amended. Please note that only complete official forms filled in correctly will be processed.
Czech diplomatic missions issue one-entry or multiple-entry short-term visas (valid for up to 90 days) which entitle their holders to reside in the territory of the Czech Republic for a period stated therein; the total length of stay, however, must not exceed 90 days.
Foreign nationals applying for short-term student's visas are required to submit the following documents:
- valid passport or an equivalent travel document;
- invitation letter verified by the police as specified by the aforementioned Act No. 326/1999 Coll., or evidence that the applicant possesses the financial means that allow him/her to stay in the CR territory. It may be also necessary to submit a document confirming a lodging provider's or lessor's consent to accommodate the applicant. Government scholarship-holders must submit the Decision of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Czech Republic on the award of scholarship that specifies the respective scholarship amount and the address of lodging in the Czech Republic;
- financial means necessary to cover travel expenses or a document certifying that the coverage of travel expenses is provided for otherwise;
- other documents testifying to the correctness of information provided in the application for visa.
Foreign nationals applying for long-term student's visas are required to submit the following documents:
- valid passport or an equivalent travel document;
- document confirming the purpose of the stay in the territory of the Czech Republic (e.g. the Decision of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Czech Republic on the award of a scholarship or a document confirming admission to an educational establishment);
- financial means to allow the stay in the CR territory (e.g. the Decision of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Czech Republic on the award of a scholarship specifying the respective scholarship amount, or an equivalent document issued by a legal entity guaranteeing the provision of adequate financial means to cover the expenses related to the stay);
- document confirming the lodging provider's or lessor's consent to accommodate the foreign national (e.g. the Decision of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Czech Republic on the award of scholarship specifying the address of lodging in the Czech Republic);
- extract from the criminal register and an analogous certificate issued by the foreign national's country of origin and a certificate issued by the country in which he/she resided for a period exceeding 6 months during the past 3 years, if applicable, in evidence of no criminal record on the part of the applicant, or an affidavit if such a certificate cannot be issued by the respective authorities of the country concerned;
Note: In compliance with the Act on the Residence of Aliens in the Territory of the Czech Republic, as amended, foreign nationals from outside the EU and EFTA/EEA are obliged to produce a certificate of health insurance upon request both to the border control officers and police officers during a possible check in the Czech Republic (detailed information and advice in this respect can be provided by the Czech diplomatic missions).
Updated information on all matters related to the stay of foreign nationals in the Czech Republic can be obtained from the Czech diplomatic missions (their directory is available at the website of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs at www.mzv.cz ).