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Third-cycle (PhD) programmes


7.Higher education

7.5 Third-cycle (PhD) programmes

Last update: 11 April 2024

Organisation of doctoral study


The third level of higher education is achieved by completing a PhD study programme. Second-cycle study programmes correspond to level 8 of the National Qualifications Framework/European Qualifications Framework

The division of the study fields is similar to that of the first two levels of higher education. The number of third-cycle study fields is higher compared to the first and second cycles. PhD education can be acquired in 48 study fields divided into the following study field groups:

  • Natural sciences, mathematics, and informatics
  • Technology
  • Agricultural and veterinary sciences
  • Medical sciences and quality of life-related study fields
  • Humanities
  • Social, economic, and legal sciences
  • Education
  • Arts
  • Security, defense, and military sciences.


The standard length of full-time study is three (180 credits) or four academic years (240 credits). Part-time study takes four years (180 credits) and five academic years at most (240 credits). The PhD study consists of two parts – the study and research.

PhD study is organised according to an individual study plan under the guidance of a supervisor. It is comprised of the study part and the scientific part.  The study plan is created by the supervisor and submitted to the field commission for approval. The study part consists of lectures, seminars, and individual study of scientific literature relevant to the dissertation thesis focus. The scientific part of the PhD study consists of individual or team scientific work related to the dissertation thesis topic. The scientific part of PhD study is professionally guaranteed by a supervisor. Full-time PhD study also includes pedagogical work or other professional activity related to pedagogical work.


Admission requirements


The admission to PhD study is conditional on successful completion of higher education of the second level.

Before the admission procedure, the higher education institution or faculty defines the topics of dissertation theses to be applied for by the applicant. A supervisor is appointed for each topic. The applicant for PhD study will choose one of the announced topics. External educational institutions may publish the topics either independently or in cooperation with a higher education institution or faculty.

The admission interview is carried out in the training institute before the admission commission represented by members of the higher education institution and members chosen by the head of the external educational institution if it sets the topics. The members of the admission commission from the higher education institution are chosen by the dean and/or rector. The admission examination may be taken in an external education institution if the higher education institution or the faculty and the external educational institution agree so. The decision on the result of the admission procedure must be made within 30 days from the verification of compliance with the conditions for admission to the study. The PhD study has both full-time and part-time forms of study.

The number of PhD study applicants to be admitted is up to each higher education institution. 


Status of PhD students/candidates


The training institution provides full-time PhD students with a scholarship for the period of their study.  The claim for scholarship expires if the student has already received higher education of the third level or if the student exceeds the standard length of the study programme. The minimum length of the PhD scholarship is set by law. The scholarship is not subject to taxation.

Health insurance of full-time PhD students under 30 is paid by the state. Social insurance may be arranged on a voluntary basis. Part-time PhD students' health insurance is not paid by the state and they have no right to receive a scholarship.


Supervision arrangements


PhD study applicants are admitted to a specific thesis topic and supervisor. The course of the PhD study is continuously monitored by a special commission that approves the proposal of the study part of the PhD student study submitted by the supervisor. The higher education institution creates conditions for the implementation of the research part of student’s studies, either through individual research or involvement in a research team.  If an external educational institution takes part in the study, the research takes place in the institution.




There are no special tools applied to monitor the employability of graduates of PhD study programs. The requirements within the framework of the accreditation procedure are based on the same principles as those in the first and second cycles.



A credit system is applied appropriately to assess PhD study programmes.  The study of PhD students is a subject of annual assessment which is connected with the accumulation of credits for individual activities of  PhD students. A part of the PhD study is the completion of the dissertation examination; to complete the study, a defense of the dissertation thesis is required.

The annual assessment of PhD students rests in the assessment of the state and level of the PhD study, an inspection of fulfilling the set assignments of the study, and scientific parts of the PhD study. The annual assessment of PhD students is carried out by the supervisor in cooperation with the PhD students in a written form. They submit it to the head of the training workplace. 

The dissertation examination and the defense of the dissertation thesis are a part of the State examination. The examination commission has at least 4 members. If the PhD student has applied for the dissertation topic proposed by an external educational institution, both the dissertation examination and the defense of the dissertation thesis are held before the commission in which there is a parity representation of the members of the higher education institution and the members determined by the external educational institution.




PhD study is completed by the defense of a dissertation thesis after completing the dissertation examination.

PhD study graduates are issued diplomas showing the name of the higher education institution, faculty, study field, and study programme; if the PhD study took place in an external educational institution, also the thereof. 

  • PhD study graduates are awarded the academic degree of  'Doctor of Philosophy' abbreviated as PhD,
  • the academic degree of  'Doctor of Arts' abbreviated as ArtD in arts  PhD study programmes,
  • 'licentiate of theology' (abbr. ThLic.)  in the field of catholic theology,
  • 'doctor of theology' (abbr. ThDr.).


Organisational variation


Non-standard forms of PhD study are not provided. As regards the part-time form of study, students usually carry out research outside the higher education institution/faculty, but the requirements for regular completion of the study are the same as in the full-time form of study.