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Second-cycle programmes


7.Higher education

7.3Second-cycle programmes

Last update: 25 April 2024

Fields of study


The second cycle study programmes – Master’s (magisterské) and Engineer’s (inžinierske) study programmes – correspond to the 7th level of the National Qualifications Framework/European Qualification Framework. 

The system of study fields and the organisation of the study is the same as that of Bachelor study programmes. For more information on the admission examination see chapter 7.2.1 Bachelor.

The standard length of study is from one to three academic years, which represents 60 to 180 credits for the regular completion of the study. There is a condition that the study in the first and second cycles should have a standard length of five years to acquire higher education in the second cycle.

Graduates of master's programmes or similar study programmes abroad can take an examina rigorosa, which also includes the defense of a thesis, in the study field in which they obtained higher education or in a related study programme. Examina rigorosa and the defense of a thesis should prove that the candidates have deeper knowledge in a broad scope of the study field and that they can acquire new scientific and practical knowledge and apply it creatively in practice. 

Admission requirements

The basic condition for admission to second-level study programmes is the completion of a first-level study programme. 

As required by law, admission to a full-time Master’s study programme in healthcare study fields is conditional upon having a Bachelor’s degree in an appropriate study field. However, the reality in most study fields is that higher education institutions make admission conditional upon having a Bachelor's degree in the same study field as or a study field related to the follow-up master’s study programme chosen by the applicants.  Other admission requirements are set by each higher education institution, or faculty, individually. 

The admission procedure may also include an admission examination. The examination aims to verify applicants‘ knowledge, skills, competencies, thinking, or talent in terms of special requirements of the chosen master’s study.  

More information on the admission examination can be found in chapter 7.2.1 Bachelor



Higher education institutions are responsible for the creation of study programmes and their content. For more information see chapter 7.2.1 Bachelor.


Teaching methods

Teaching methods are the same as in the study programme of the first level. Seminars and practical parts of teaching often use simulation methods and minimalised operational facilities. Medical, healthcare, and pharmaceutical fields of study include practical training in special teaching facilities – healthcare facilities. Veterinary, agricultural, and forestry fields of study also include practical training in specialised teaching facilities. 

Teacher training study fields require practice teaching in primary and secondary school during the study. The length of the practice teaching is determined by the respective higher education institutions or by the accreditation requirements. 

For more information see chapter 7.2.1 Bachelor.


Progression of students

As regards the progression of students of master study programmes, the same rules apply as in the case of the Bachelor study programmes.

For more information see chapter 7.2.1 Bachelor.



Currently, there are no centrally supported measures aimed at the transition of graduates from higher education institutions to the labour market. Individual higher education institutions cooperate to a degree with economic practice as indicated in the case of the Bachelor study programmes. Career days are organized for graduates when the students may get familiar with the current demands of the labour market or exchange contacts with potential employers.

For more information see chapter 7.2.1 Bachelor.

Students assessment

Details on the assessment of students’ performance during their study are defined in higher education institutions' and faculties' study rules. 

As with Bachelor's study programs, the organisation of the study is based on the credit system, and the student assessment is carried out according to the qualification scale.

To complete the study, students are required to pass the state examinations. In addition to the diploma thesis defence, other state examinations are required. 

For more information see chapter 7.2.1 Bachelor.



The graduates of Master study programmes are issued

1. Diplomas, indicating 

  • the study fields and study programme, 
  • academic degree, 
  • identification of higher education institution, faculty, and graduate (first name, surname, date of birth). 

2. Certificate on the state examination and 

3. Diploma Supplement. 

The diploma supplement also includes information on the higher education system in the Slovak Republic that is created and published by the ministry. The supplement gives information on the qualification level according to the National Qualifications Framework and the qualification level according to the European Qualifications Framework achieved by the graduate.

The Master’s study and Engineer’s study are completed by the state examination before an examination commission. The state examination includes the defence of a thesis. The state examination consists of 3-4 subjects. If students fail the state examination, they have the right to re-sit. Each part of the state examination is assessed separately. The overall assessment (depending on the results of the overall study and results of the state examination) is expressed by two grades 'passed with honours' and 'passed'.

Higher education institutions award the following academic titles to their graduates:

  • in Master’s study, Master (Magister) the degree (Mgr.); in artistic study programmes, Master of Arts (Magister umenia) degree  (Mgr. Art.);
  • in Engineer's study, the Engineer (Inžinier) degree (Ing.); the Engineer of Architecture (Inžinier architekt) degree (Ing. arch.) in the study programmes of architecture and urban planning;

The graduates of Master’s study (Mgr.) who completed the examina rigorosa a part of which is the defense of a thesis, are awarded the diploma, showing the field of study completed and the academic title:

  • in the study programmes of natural sciences — Doctor of natural sciences (Doktor prírodných vied) (RNDr.),
  • in the study programmes of pharmacy — Doctor of Pharmacy (Doktor farmácie) (PharmDr.),
  • in the study programmes of the humanities and art disciplines — Doctor of Philosophy (Doktor filozofie) (PhDr.),
  • in the study programmes of law and security with juridical concentration — Doctor of Law (Doktor práv) (JUDr.),
  • in teacher training with study programmes of education and sports — Doctor of Pedagogy (Doktor pedagogiky) (PaedDr.),
  • in theological study programmes except for Catholic theology — Doctor of Theology (doktor teológie) (ThDr.).