In November 2022 I was invited by the Study in Prague consortium to visit the Czech capital and experience student life at six of the leading universities for international students. Not only was I blown away by the beauty and elegance of Prague itself, but also by the quality of the educational experiences on offer across the six very different institutions. Charles University is the largest and most comprehensive of the six and is particularly well known for its six year medical degree programmes taught fully in English.
- Ancient, public, urban research university
- Oldest and largest university in the Czech Republic – founded in 1348 by Charles IV.
- One of the top 3 universities in Central and Eastern Europe
- Ranked amongst the top 2% of global universities
- 51,000 students
- Around 9,000 international students – 20% of student body
- 130+ countries represented in the student body
- Large numbers of international exchange students
- Located in the very heart of Europe
- Excellent public transport system – very easy to travel around the city by bus, metro and tram
- Prague ranks highly in terms of safety and is a stunning city filled with cultural attractions, major museums, and abundant green spaces
- High standard of living, but costs are generally lower for living, food and leisure than many European capitals
- Seasonal weather: warm summers, rainy and crisp autumns, cold winters
- The academic facilities are spread across the city – not one central location
- 17 faculties across three cities: Prague, Pilsen (Medicine), Hradec Kralove (Medicine and Pharmacy)
- Comprehensive university with degrees in a wide range of subjects
- Over 200 English taught programmes at Bachelor, Master’s and PhD level
- 10 three year bachelor programmes – Computer Science,Teacher Education, Economics and Finance, History and Area Studies, PPE, Social Sciences, Liberal Arts and Humanities, Protestant Theology, Physiotherapy, Fitness Coaching.
- Long-cycle Master’s in General Medicine (6 years), Dentistry and Pharmacy (both 5 years)
- There are five medical faculties which differ in terms of location, size, facilities, tuition fees, and teaching methods. All are in English and of an equally high quality.
- Students are advised to apply for more than one medical faculty, but not them all because each has to be applied for separately and hence multiple exams taken.
- Medical application deadlines are at the end of April.
- The exam is the No. 1 factor in admission to medicine – some exams have an oral component. Optional prep courses are available.
- Established partnerships with prestigious higher education institutions in more than 50 countries worldwide
- The academic year runs from October to June – two semesters
- It is important to know that there is no central admissions office – each faculty has its own specific requirements and application procedures
- Students should first choose the study programme they wish to apply for, then check the requirements and procedures on the individual faculty website
- Online application form
- Some courses will require students to take an entrance exam – this will be the most important factor in determining their admission
- Exams have to be taken in person in Prague or through an agency in a student’s home country – this differs for each faculty
- Other applicants will be assessed based on their submitted documents – performance in degree-relevant subjects is of more importance than overall GPA.
- Application deadlines run from February through to August. Students who require a visa will need to ensure they apply early enough for this to be processed
- Online and in person faculty Open Days are available
- Tuition fees vary according to major: for example, Medicine €20,000 per year; Economics and Finance €7,000 per year; History and Area Studies €5,000 per year; and Liberal Arts and Humanities €3,000 per year (2022)
- Cost of living with tight budgeting could be as low as €5,100 (2022) per year
- Health insurance per year €320 and visa, admin fee and ID card €200 (2022)
- There are 17 student residences – affordable and convenient.
- Around €150 per month depending on the room type and location
- Dorm accommodation is much cheaper than private rentals (prices are rising across the city)
- International Student Clubs are clubs of Czech student volunteers who help international students settle into their new home. They organise cultural events, courses and trips throughout the year.
- Welcome to the Czech Republic are free integration programmes for newcomers and are beneficial for those coming from non-EU countries who plan to stay for a while. Courses are in English – they take place each year on the university campus in September/October.
- Charles University would be a good fit for highly motivated and independent students who want to attend a highly regarded research-focused institution whilst experiencing an excellent quality of life in the very heart of Europe
- After being accepted for studies, non-EU students must apply to their local Czech embassy for a visa. This can take 60-90 days so it is recommended to apply for the visa well in advance.