Czech higher education dates back six hundred years. In 1348 Emperor Charles IV Charles University in Prague, which is the oldest academic institution in Europe. Higher education is based around a three-cycle system (i.e. Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral study programmes). The main tuition language is Czech; however, the range of programmes delivered in foreign languages (mainly English) is expanding in order to cater for international students.
Bachelor’s study programmes are 3 to 4 years in duration (180–240 ECTS credits) and represent the first level of higher education. Graduates receive the academic degree bakalář umění (BcA.) in the field of arts, and bakalář (Bc.) in other fields. The study programme must be completed with a final state examination, which usually includes the presentation and defence of a thesis. Successful graduates may then seek employment or continue their studies in follow-up Master’s programmes in related fields.
Master’s study programmes may either follow on from a Bachelor’s degree as follow-up Master’s programmes (2 to 3 years; 60–180 ECTS credits), or they may be full programmes (4 to 6 years; 240–360 ECTS credits). Programmes focus on the acquisition and application of theoretical knowledge, and on the development of creativity and talent. Graduates on Master’s programmes will take a final state examination and publicly present and defend a thesis.