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Second-cycle programmes


7.Higher education

7.3Second-cycle programmes

Last update: 27 November 2023

Branches of study


The study programmes of the second cycle – Master’s (magisterské), Engineer’s (inžinierske) or Doctoral (doktorské) study programmes focus on the acquisition of theoretical and practical knowledge based on the present state of science or art and on the development of the ability to apply the knowledge creatively in professional life or further higher education study according to the doctoral study programme.

The organization of the study is the same as that of Bachelor study programmes.

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 cycle should take the standard five years for acquisition of higher education of the second cycle.

Graduates of master's programmes or similar study programmes abroad can be admitted to doctoral study programmes. As a part of the doctoral study, students have to take a examina rigorosa, which also includes 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 are able to acquire new scientific and practical knowledge and apply it creatively in practice

The doctoral study programme is a second-level study programme.


Admission requirements

The basic condition for admission to a second level study programme 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 the admission conditional upon having a bachelor 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 Bachelor: Admission Requirements



For more information see chapter Bachelor: Curriculum.


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, minimized 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 Bachelor: Teaching Methods.


Progression of students

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

For more information see chapter Bachelor: Progression of Students.



Currently, there are no tools specially supported at the central level 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 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.


Students assessment

Details on the evaluation of students’ performance in the course of their study are set up in study orders  of higher education institutions and faculties. As with Bachelor's study programs, the organization of study is based on the credit system and the assessment of the students is carried out according the qualification scale.

For more information see chapter Bachelor: Students Assessment.



The graduates of Master study programmes are issued

1. Diplomas, indicating 

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

2. Certificate on the state examination and 

3. Diploma Supplement. 

Diploma Supplement includes detailed information on the study completed and on the higher education system in the SR.

The Master’s study, Engineer’s study, and Doctoral study are completed by the state examination before an examination commission. The state examination includes the defense of a thesis. The state examination consists of 3-4 subjects. In the case students fail the state examination they have the right to re-sit. Each part of the state examination is assessed separately. The overall evaluation of study (depending on results of the overall study and results of the state examination) is evaluated in two grades "passed with honours" and " passed".

Higher education institutions award the following academic degrees 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;
  • in Doctoral (doktorské) study of the study programmes of humane medicine,  the Doctor of Medicine (Doktor všeobecného lekárstva) degree (MUDr.), Doctor of dental medicine (Doktor zubného lekárstva) degree (MDDr.) in the study programmes of dentistry;  and the Doctor of veterinary medicine (Doktor veterinárskej medicíny) degree (MVDr.) in the study programmes of veterinary medicine.

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 degree:

  • 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.).


Legislative references

National Council of the Slovak Republic, 2002. Act No. 131/2002 on higher education and on the change and supplement to some acts as amended by subsequent provision (Zákon č. 131/2002 Z.z. o vysokých školách a zmene a doplnení niektorých zákonov) (last accessed 21/12/2022).