As stipulated by the Higher Education Act, Master's degree programmes are intended to promote the acquisition of theoretical knowledge based on current scientific and scholarly knowledge, research and development and to lead students to apply this knowledge and develop their creative facilities. In the area of fine arts, they are designed to provide demanding artistic training and encourage the development of students' talents.
The Czech higher education institutions (vysoké školy) have already implemented the three-cycle system structure. Thus Master's degree programmes follow on from Bachelor's degree programmes (ISCED 747); the standard length of such a programme is no less than 1 and no more than 3 years. One standard academic year corresponds to 60 ETCS credits. Most Master's degree programmes last two years (120 ECTS).
When the nature of the study requires it, traditional Master's non-structured study programmes (ISCED 746) are used. In such a case, the standard length of study is no less than 4 and no more than 6 years (usually five years, six years in the case of e.g. general medicine). Within the non-structured Master's programmes especially the study of medicine, law, primary teacher training, etc. is carried out.
Creation and offer of degree programmes belong to recognised academic rights and freedoms of higher education institutions. The degree programme is subject to accreditation awarded by the National Accreditation Bureau for Higher Education (Accreditation Bureau) or is approved by the higher education institution itself in its internal process if it obtains institutional accreditation for the relevant area (s) of education. The study programmes approved by the higher education institutions are considered accredited according to the Higher Education Act. They are no longer broken down to the fields of study. Degree programmes can take forms of on-site courses, distance learning courses or a combination of both. The combined form is common; the distance-learning form is accredited only at some higher education institutions.
According to the Higher Education Act, successful completion of any programme, i.e. especially of a Bachelor‘s degree programme (ISCED 645) but also Master's degree programme including the non-structured one (ISCED 747 or 746) as well as doctoral degree programme (ISCED 844) is the condition for admission to a Master‘s degree programme following on from a Bachelor's degree programme. In some cases, though, a higher education institution (vysoká škola) may also set further conditions relating to particular study programmes or a number of credits gained in certain subjects, a higher education institution can e.g. lay down a duty on students to pass some basic subjects that they had not passed in their previous study in the Bachelor's programme.
Admission may be subject only to the applicants' meeting of the predefined requirements.
In 2022/23 academic year, 91.9 % of Bachelor's degree graduates were admitted to Master‘s degree programmes. (Source: Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports)
An entrance examination can be part of an admission proceeding to a Master's degree programme. The content and the form of the examination are entirely upon the responsibility of the relevant higher education institution.
Restrictions in the number of students and the admission process are similar to the admission procedure to the Bachelor's programmes.
The higher education institution can collect fees for acts related to the admission procedure.
General principles are the same as for curriculum in Bachelor's programmes.
In the Government Regulation on the Accreditation Standards in Higher Education, it is explicitly stated for the content of education in Master's degree programmes: "The content of a Master's degree programme is based on the contemporary state of scientific knowledge and creative activity in the particular educational area."
General principles are the same as for teaching methods in Bachelor's programmes.
Progression of students
General principles are the same as for progression of students in Bachelor's programmes. Further conditions are included in Study and Examination Regulations of higher education institutions (vysoké školy) or faculties. A maximum period of study is embedded in internal regulations of higher education institutions (at Charles University, it is the standard length plus 3 years).
Higher education institutions (vysoké školy) are highly autonomous in setting the content of their courses. According to Government Regulation on the Accreditation Standards in Higher Education, in the case of professionally oriented Master's study programmes, the higher education institutions are required to manifest cooperation with practice and the study programme is drawn up to enable the students to manage practical skills needed for the profession. The study plan of the professionally oriented programme shall include practice in the length of at least 6 weeks. The non-structured version of professionally oriented Master's study programmes shall include practice of at least 18 weeks.
The Government is not allowed to oblige HEIs to include certain forms of education in their programmes but it can support them namely by financial incentives.
The database of the Education Policy Centre, Charles University in Prague (Středisko vzdělávací politiky Pedagogické fakulty Univerzity Karlovy (SVP PedF UK)) mentioned enables to determine what percentage of graduates follows on to Doctoral programmes and what the employability of graduates is. The following data cover Master's programme graduates of all Master's degree programmes including Master's non-structured degree programmes.
Unemployment rate of Master's study graduates of all public higher education institutions in Czechia, 2010–2022 (data collection in April of the given year)
Source: Database of the SVP PedF UK – data extracted on 28 August 2023.
General principles are the same as for student assessment in Bachelor's programmes. Further conditions are included in Study and Examination Regulations of higher education institutions (vysoké školy) or faculties. The diploma thesis (diplomová práce) is part of the final state examination (státní závěrečná zkouška).
As stipulated by the Higher Education Act, a Master's degree programme finishes with a final state examination (státní závěrečná zkouška); the defence of a thesis is its part. Studies are considered to be completed on the day when the corresponding state examination or its last part was taken.
A higher education diploma (vysokoškolský diplom) and a supplement to the diploma (dodatek k diplomu) are documents confirming completion of studies and the right to use the appropriate academic title. The level of education attained is ISCED 747. Higher education institutions (vysoké školy) have the right to award a higher education qualification (diploma) only in accredited study programmes. Accreditation is awarded to the particular higher education institution by the National Accreditation Bureau for Higher Education (Accreditation Bureau) either in a form of an institutional accreditation for an educational area or in the form of an accreditation for a particular study programme. On the basis of an institutional accreditation for an educational area the higher education institution gains a permission to approve its study programmes within the given area itself.
An overview of academic titles in Master's study programmes
|in economy, technical sciences and technology, agriculture, forestry and military||inženýr (Engineer)||Ing.|
|in architecture||inženýr architekt (Engineer of Architecture)||Ing. arch.|
|in art1)||magistr umění (Master of Art)||MgA.|
|in other programmes (except for medicine, veterinary or hygiene)||magistr (Master)||Mgr.|
Note: Academic titles are used in front of the name.
1) For graduates of Bachelor's and Master's programmes in arts who were admitted without having completed upper secondary education with a Maturita examination (střední vzdělání s maturitní zkouškou) or tertiary professional education (vyšší odborné vzdělání), the title is awarded after they have achieved this.
Successful completion of the Master's degree programme is a prerequisite for admission to a doctoral programme; their graduates obtain the title Ph.D.
Post-Master’s examen rigorosum
Apart from this, after being awarded the title magistr, graduates of a Master's degree programme can sit for an Post-Master’s examen rigorosum (státní rigorózní zkouška) in the same programme. This includes the defence of an advanced study thesis. The title awarded is Doctor in the respective programme, so-called “small doctorate” (rigorózum) (Advanced Master Degree). The level of education attained is ISCED 740. Upon completion of the advanced study examination, the higher education institution issues a diploma with indication of the particular higher education institution and the awarded academic title. The higher education institution can set a fee for activities connected with the submission of the application for the examination and the organisation of the examination. Within the accreditation of the Master's degree programme by the Accreditation Bureau, it is also decided upon the permission of awarding these academic titles. In case of institutional accreditation, such possibility arises from the institutional accreditation for the given educational area. The higher education institution can award such academic titles only if it has the permission for the given educational area to realize at least one Doctoral degree programme. In terms of qualification level, Advanced Master Degree is a Master level qualification. Conditions of an advanced Master proceeding are usually regulated by the internal regulation of the particular higher education institution.
An overview of academic titles – Post-Master’s examen rigorosum
|Post-Master’s examen rigorosum||Title||Abbreviation|
|in law||doktor práv (Doctor of Law)||JUDr.|
|in humanities, education and social sciences||doktor filozofie (Doctor of Philosophy)||PhDr.|
|in sciences||doktor přírodních věd (Doctor of Natural Sciences)||RNDr.|
|in pharmacy||doktor farmacie (Doctor of Pharmacy)||PharmDr.|
|in theology||doktor teologie (Doctor of Theology) or licenciát teologie (Licentiate of Theology)||ThDr. or ThLic.|
Note: Academic titles are used in front of the name.
The recognition of foreign higher education qualifications is the same as in Bachelor's programmes.