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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Higher education


7.Higher education

Last update: 11 April 2024

Higher education in the Slovak Republic is provided by higher education institutions with accredited study programmes. Higher education institutions are self-governing institutions whose mission, powers and activities are defined by Act no. 131/2002 on higher education (Zákon č. 131/2002 o vysokých školách). Higher education institutions are legal persons.

Compliance with accreditation conditions is assessed by the Slovak Accreditation Agency for Higher Education (SK). The Agency decides on the granting (or not granting) appropriate accreditations under the law. Higher education institutions may ask for study programme accreditation in any study field. 

Study programmes are implemented at three levels 

  • First-cycle study programme – Bachelor study programme (bakalársky študijný program, Bc.),
  • Second-cycle study programme – Master (magisterský, Mgr.), Engineer (inžiniersky, Ing.), doctorate study programme (doktorský študijný program),
  • Third-cycle study programme – PhD study programme (doktorandský študijný program)

Study programmes may combine two levels of higher education into one whole. Study programmes may be provided as full-time or part-time. Full-time study is the daily in-person participation of students in educational activities. Part-time study is characterised mainly by individual study and consultations. Study programmes may consist of either one or several fields. Higher education is achieved in the respective field of study or a combination of the respective fields. 

A study field is that area which is the subject of education; it is defined by its content, which is determined by the area and extent of knowledge and skills set out in the graduate profile. A study programme is a set of subjects with rules for their completion. The successful completion of the subjects will result in obtaining higher education.

The system of study fields (Sústava študijných odborov) - in which higher education institutions in the Slovak Republic can provide higher education - is administered by the Ministry of Education, Research, Development, and Youth in the Slovak Republic. The Slovak Accreditation Agency for Higher Education gives its opinion on all changes in the system. 

The system of study fields also includes descriptions of study fields (opisy študijných odborov), which specify their content and outcomes of education at the respective level and field of study. The profile of a study programme graduate, conditions for the regular completion of the study, and organisation of the study are in the self-administration competence of the higher education institution.  Higher education institutions are, however, obliged to subordinate the study organisation to the credit system. 

In compliance with the Act on Higher Education, the ministry annually creates, updates and publishes a Long-term plan for education, research, development, artistic, and other creative activities for higher education institutions (Dlhodobý zámer vo vzdelávacej, výskumnej, vývojovej, umeleckej a ďalšej tvorivej činnosti pre oblasť vysokých škôl). The long-term plan of the ministry is created for five to ten years. Other conceptual intentions of the higher education development are defined in the Higher Education International Strategy 2030 (Stratégia internacionalizácie vysokého školstva do roku 2030), Recovery and Resilience Plan (Plán obnovy a odolnosti), National Strategy for Research, Development, and Innovation 2030 (Národnej stratégii výskumuv vývoja a inovácii 2023), and other strategies.

Higher education institutions can associate in bigger units, so-called consortia, to support strategic development and competitiveness of higher education institutions, complex renovation, modernisation and building of integrated research, education and accommodation infrastructure.

The academic year starts on 1 September and ends on 31 August of the following calendar year in agreement with the Act on Higher Education. The higher education institution decides if the academic year is structured into two semesters or three trimesters.  The number of weeks of each semester/trimester and the number of weeks in which the education, examination session or holidays take place are determined by each higher education institution itself. 

Higher education in the Slovak Republic is provided by 

  • 20 public higher education institutions, 
  •   3 state higher education institutions, 
  • 10 private higher education institutions, and 
  •   6 foreign higher education institutions. 

The list of higher education institutions (Zoznam vysokých škôl) is available on the Ministry of Education website.