Higher Education System of Slovakia

The Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic is responsible for higher education in Slovakia.  Students who have successfully completed secondary school education are eligible to apply for higher education in Slovakia. 

In Slovakia, higher education system follows the Bologna system principles. In 1465, the first university- “Universitas Istropolitana” was set up. The leading and the biggest university in the Slovak Republic is the Comenius University.

There are state, public and private higher education institutions. According to the Act on Schools of higher education, 2002, there are two types of schools of higher education:

University-type: These institutions provide study courses at all the three degree levels- bachelor, master and doctoral. Only these schools are given the status of “University”.

Non-university type: These are professional institutions and generally provide first level studies only. 

Higher Education History

In the late Middle Ages started the university level education in Slovakia. Slovakia was a part of Hungary during that period. A royal charter from the King of Hungary was needed to differentiate university with college or academy.

The foremost university in Slovakia was the Akademia Istropolanta, established in 1465. During the period 1465 to 1490, other universities and institutions were established- the Universities of Kosich and Trnava, and the Jesuit institutions. The last university of this period was the Brataslava-Hungarian Elizabeth University.  

After World War I, there were rapid changes in the Slovakia higher education sector. Many universities were established. In 1919 the Comenius University in Brataslava was established. It is the largest university in Slovakia. 
Then the Slovak Technical University in Koske was set up in the year 1937, which was in 1942 moved to Nira, and currently called as the Slovak Agricultural University of Nitra. In 1949, started the Academy of Fine Arts and Design. Later during this time, academy of music and dramatic arts was founded. 

In Slovakia, there are 2 technical universities, situated in Kosice and Zvolen. In 1952, a university of veterinary medicine was founded. In 1959, the Pavol Safarik University was set up. In 1966, University of Zilina was founded. 
In 1993, the Liptovsky Mukulas Military Academy and the General M. R. Stefanik Air Force Academy were established. Later in 1996, the University of Preslov and in 1997 Saints Cyril and Methodus University of Trnava, the University of Trenein and the Academy of Arts in Banska Bystrica were established.

Higher Education Institutions

In Slovakia, there are public, state, and private higher education institutions:

Public higher education institutions: These are set up as per the Act on higher education.

State higher education institutions: These are set up by the ministries of the Slovak Government. These comprises of:
  • Police higher education institutions which are founded by the Ministry of Interior
  • Military higher education institutions which are founded and administered by the Ministry of Defense
  • Health care higher education institution which are founded and administered by the Ministry of Health
Private higher education institutions: These are set up by legal entities/organization with registered office in the Slovak republic or non-government institutions. Also, approval from the state is needed. 

Higher Education Qualifications

The higher education qualifications in Slovakia are as follows:

Level 1: Bachelor’s degree- This degree requires 3-4 years of full-time study. The four year duration is for bachelor’s study programmes in fine arts, design and architecture.

Level 2: Master’s degree: This degree requires 1-2 years of full-time study. Also, level 1 and level 2 can be combined for masters, engineer or medical study programmes. Such programmes last for 4 to 6 years, depending upon the field of study.

Level 3: Doctorate/PhD- This degree requires 3 to 4 years of studies.

Admission Requirements

The basic admission requirement for the admittance in to the bachelor degree programme is completion of secondary education or vocational secondary education. Applicants must hold a secondary school-leaving certificate. 
Admittance to the master’s study programme requires bachelor’s degree or its equivalent; and for doctorate programmes, applicants must have a master’s degree in related field.

Also, in order to enter the higher education institutions in Slovakia students must pass entrance examinations. Click here to get detailed information on the higher education admission requirements and procedure.

Teaching Methods

The teaching methods in Slovakia higher education institutions are as follows: seminars, lectures, projects, exercises, practical training, laboratory work, etc. 

Credit System

In Slovakia, the European Credit and Accumulation Transfer System (ECTS) is used since 2002 for all levels of higher education.  Through this system, students’ performance/achievement is measured.

Number of credits is:
The student‘s study load is expressed by the number of credits: 
  • 60 credits per academic year
  • 30 credits per semester
  • 20 credits for trimester
The higher education institutions decided the total number of credits needed for the completion of a particular course.  

Tuition fees

The Slovak Republic citizens do not have to pay tuition fee for full time studies at public and state institutions of higher education. 

EU/EEA countries and Switzerland citizens, and nationals of Serbia, Belarus, Macedonia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Ukraine, Moldova and individuals who posses permanent residence in a member state, also do not have to pay tuition fee at public and state higher education institutions.

All the other international pupils have to pay the tuition fees. The fee is determined by the higher education institutions individually, and it varies from 700 –euro- to 10,000 –euro- 
per academic year.

Private higher education institutions determined their own fees.

Financial Aid 

Students are given financial aid in the form of scholarships, stipends from the state budget or from public institutions. 
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