Higher education


Oldest Slovak Universities

The first university on the territory of the present‑day Slovakia, Academia Istropolitana (1465 – 1491), was established in Bratislava during the rule of Matthias Corvinus (1458 – 1490). In 1635, Peter Pazmany established Trnava University (which was relocated to Budapest in 1777).

The Jesuits founded Košice University in 1657. In 1770, the enlightened, absolutist ruler, Maria Theresa, established the first school of mining in the world – Mining Academy in Banská Štiavnica.


Higher Education Institutions

Higher education institutions (HEIs) are third‑level educational, scientific and art institutions. The major task of HEIs is the provision of higher education and creative scientific research or creative artistic activity.

Higher education institutions are classified by the nature and scope of their activities into university type of HEIs and non‑university type of HEIs.

  • The university type of higher education institutions provides education in the study programmes of all 3 levels of higher education (Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral) with a significant portion of study programmes of the second level and study programmes of the third level. The study programmes are carried out in connection with activities of higher education institutions in the field of science, technology or art, and in compliance with the current state and development of such fields. The term “university” may only be used in the name of a university type of higher education institution.
  • The non‑university type of higher education institutions provides higher education mostly in the study programmes of the first level.


Based on founding and funding there are 3 types of HEIs in Slovakia:

  • public higher education institutions

They are established by law and financed mostly by the government. They are statutory and self‑governing institutions. At present, there are 20 public institutions of higher education, comprising 9 more or less traditional universities, 5 universities of technology, 3 higher education institutions of art and music, 1 university of economics, 1 university of veterinary medicine and 1 agricultural university.

  • state higher education institutions

3 HEIs are military, police and medical schools. They are established by law and governed by the state through the corresponding ministries of the government. The state HEIs are fully financed from the state budget.

  • private higher education institutions

Private institutions of higher education (13 HEIs) need a state approval issued by the Government of the Slovak Republic. They are established and financed by non-governmental institutions or founders. Most of the private higher education institutions provide education in the field of economics, business, management, public administration, law, international relations, regional development, medical and social work.


Foreign higher education institutions established and situated on the territory of another EU/EEA Member State or Switzerland may also provide higher education in accordance with the law of their country of origin on the territory of Slovakia once they have been granted official approval by the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic.


Higher education institutions are presented at the Portal of higher education institutions and at the website Study in Slovakia produced by the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of SR.

A comprehensive list of HEIs in Slovakia with their websites 


Study programmes offered by HEIs in Slovakia

Study programmes offered in foreign languages are compiled in a publication prepared by SAIA, n. o.

Higher education institutions provide higher education within the framework of accredited study programmes. The study programmes are offered at 3 levels. The HEI can merge the first two levels of higher education into a single whole.


  • The first level is the Bachelor study programme.
  • The study programmes of the second level and those of the first two levels of higher education joined into a single whole are Master study programmes, Engineer study programmes and Doctor study programmes.
  • The study programme of the third level is the PhD study programme and specialised training in medicine.


All study programmes must be accredited by the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic.


Organisation of academic year

The academic year begins on 2 September of the current year and ends on 31 August of the following year. It is composed of 2 semesters (the winter semester lasts from September to January and the summer semester lasts from February to June). The organisation of academic year is set by the statute of the faculty or statute of the higher education institution.

The teaching process includes lectures, seminars, exercises, laboratory work, projects, practical training, consultations, etc. For the assessment of students’ achievements, the credit system following the rules of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) is used. It was introduced in 2002 for all levels and forms of higher education study. The student’s standard workload is expressed by the number of credits: 60 credits per academic year and 30 credits per semester. Every higher education institution determines the total number of credits required for the due completion of the study in its respective stages.

Grading is based on the ECTS grading scale:

  • A excellent = 1

  • B very good (above‑average achievements) = 1.5

  • C good (average achievements) = 2

  • D laudable (acceptable achievements) = 2.5

  • E satisfactory (achievements fulfil only the minimum criteria) = 3

  • FX unsatisfactory – fail (achievements do not fulfil even the minimum criteria) = 4


Degrees awarded in the Slovak Republic

Higher education institutions award the following academic degrees:

1st level – Bachelor (comprising app. 180 credits)

  • "bakalár" (abbreviation "Bc.").


2nd level – Master (comprising app. 120 credits)

  • "magister" (abbr. "Mgr.") and in the field of art "magister umenia" (abbr. "Mgr. art."),

  • "inžinier" (abbr. "Ing.") in technical, agricultural and economic fields of Engineer’s programmes, and in the field of architecture and town‑planning the academic degree of "inžinier architekt" (abbr. "Ing. arch."),

  • "doktor všeobecného lekárstva" (abbr. "MUDr.") in the field of general human medicine,

  • "doktor zubnej medicíny" (abbr. "MDDr.") in the field of dentistry,

  • "doktor veterinárskeho lekárstva" (abbr. "MVDr.") in the field of veterinary medicine.


3rd level – PhD (doctoral)

  • "philosophiae doctor" (abbr."PhD."),

  • "artis doctor" (abbr. "ArtD.") in the field of art.


Examina rigorosa

Holders of the academic degree of "magister" may take "examina rigorosa", which includes also the defence of a rigorosa thesis. After its successful completion the higher education institutions award the following academic degrees:

  • "doktor prírodných vied" (abbr. "RNDr.") in natural science study programmes,

  • "doktor farmácie" (abbr. "PharmDr.") in pharmacy study programmes,

  • "doktor filozofie" (abbr. "PhDr.") in social science and art science study programmes.

  • "doktor práv" (abbr. "JUDr.") in law study programmes,

  • "doktor pedagogiky" (abbr. "PaedDr.") in teacher training and sports study programmes,

  • "doktor teológie" (abbr. "ThDr.") in theological study programmes except for the study programmes in the field of catholic theology.