CUP

“Since the beginning of my studies, I made it my principle that whenever I find a more correct opinion, I will immediately abandon my own, less correct opinion and joyfully embrace the opinion which is more justified, knowing that all we know is merely an infinitesimal fragment of what we do not know.”

Jan Hus, philosopher and Church reformer, alumnus of the Faculty of Arts

The Faculty of Arts at Charles University is currently one of the largest and most important research and educational institutions in the arts and humanities in Central Europe. The Faculty was founded in 1348 by the Czech king and later Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV who established it as one of the four faculties of the Prague university, later named after him Charles University – the oldest university in Central Europe east of France and north of the Alps. Ever since, it has been the intellectual centre of the Czech lands: alumni of the Faculty, their deeds and ideas, have been shaping the Czech society and culture and at the crucial moments of Czech history, the Faculty of Arts has always been at the very heart of the events.

With close to 1,000 staff members, over 9,000 students and a growing international student population of almost 1,000 students from all over the world, the Faculty of Arts is a vibrant and diverse academic environment. Thanks to the flexible system of more than 700 possible double-subject degree combinations, the BA and MA degrees allows the students to focus on two subjects to the same extent, which increases their adaptability and provides them with more opportunities for their future career. The acceptance level is only 27%, which is a prerequisite for a more individual approach, necessary if the humanities are to be taught and studied seriously.

Students and researchers come to the Faculty of Arts to work in more than seventy subjects – a larger number than the majority of comparable institutions in the world can offer. Charles University as such ranks among the top 2% universities in the world and the Faculty itself ranks among the first 200 universities in the world in a number of disciplines.The Faculty attracts the most talented students from the Czech Republic and the number of applications for BA, MA and PhD programmes amounts to 10,000 every year.

The remarkably wide range of disciplines at the Faculty of Arts includes philosophy and religious studies; history and archaeology; psychology; sociology and political science; theatre, film and music studies and a number of philological programmes which combine a rigorous study of a given language and courses in the associated literary, historical and cultural background. The Faculty offers courses in more than a hundred languages, dead and living, such as Albanian, Akkadian, Arabic, Armenian, Avestan, Azerbaijani, Basque, Bengali, Bulgarian, Czech (also special degrees for foreigners and for the deaf), Catalan, Church Slavonic, Chinese, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, English, Eblaite, Ancient Egyptian, Finnish, French, German, Gothic, Greek (ancient and modern), Hebrew (Old Testament and modern), Hindi, Hittite, Hungarian, Irish, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Lithuanian, Latvian, Lusatian Sorbian, Macedonian, Mongolian, Norwegian, Old Norse, Old Irish, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Sanskrit, Slovak, Slovenian, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Tamil, Tocharian, Tibetan, Turkish, Ugaritic, Ukrainian, Yiddish and Vietnamese.

The research output of the Faculty, measured in the number of monographs and articles, is larger than that of any other institution in the humanities in the Czech Republic – which reflects both the quality of research and the level of tutoring. Every year, the Faculty hosts a number of international conferences and events of general cultural significance – exhibitions, concerts, lectures, public debates. In the last few years, the Faculty of Arts publishing house has earned prestigious awards and is now competing with the largest academic publishers in the country.

Did you know that…

… the Department of Egyptian Studies has been working in Egypt for the last fifty years and has made significant discoveries? Their discovery of the tomb of an unknown Egyptian queen in Abusir in autumn 2014 was voted one of the 10 greatest archaeological finds in 2014.

… in 2014, Professor Tomáš Halík was awarded the prestigious Templeton Prize, given to people who “made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension”?

… Professor Martin Hilský translated the complete works of William Shakespeare into Czech?

CUP

History

The Faculty of Arts was founded as one the four original faculties of Charles University – the oldest institution of higher learning in Central Europe – by the issue of the Foundation Charter on 7 April 1348. Charles IV, in pursuit of his state and dynastic policy, strove to establish the Kingdom of Bohemia as the centre of the Holy Roman Empire. His plan was to concentrate scholars from home and abroad in Prague, which became his residential city, and thus bolster the base of his power. In pre-Hussite times, two-thirds of all students of the university were students of the Artistic Faculty where they acquired the knowledge needed to be able to study at the other three faculties (theology, medicine, law). One of the privileges enjoyed by the faculty was the right to confer master’s and doctoral degrees which entitled their bearers to teach at any European university.

During the two centuries following the Hussite wars, the Faculty of Liberal Arts was the heart of the whole university. Since the seventeenth century it was called the Philosophical Faculty. From the beginning until the mid-nineteenth century, it served as a faculty whose programme was designed to provide preparatory higher education for the future students of the other faculties. From the eighteenth century onwards, the number of academic disciplines started to increase: besides philosophy, it was possible to study aesthetics, mathematics, astronomy, natural sciences, engineering, economics, education and history. In the nineteenth century, apart from oriental studies, archaeology and religious studies, significant developments took place in the realm of philology and degrees in Czech, Italian, French, English and Hebrew were introduced. After the reforms of 1849–1850, the faculty was liberated from its propaedeutic function and acquired an equal with the other faculties. In 1897, women were allowed to study at the Philosophical Faculty.

The Faculty retained its significance in the Czech lands even after the division of the Prague University into a Czech part and a German part in 1882. During the so-called First Czechoslovak Republic (1918–1938), the life of the university was shaped especially by the secession of the Faculty of Natural Sciences in 1920 and by the acquisition of a new building on the Vltava embankment – the one where you still find most of the departments and lecture halls. The closure of the Faculty by the Nazi occupation in 1939 was followed by brutal persecution of both teachers and students. The productive, enthusiastic years after the end of the Second World War came to a violent end in 1948 with the communist coup d’ état and the following forty years of communist regime. The forced departure of dozens of outstanding teachers and the introduction of Marxist-Leninist subjects resulted in the rapid decline of research and teaching. Hopes for a widespread social change in the LATE 1960s, the so-called “Prague Spring” during which the Faculty started to invite back significant personalities of that time, such as the philosopher Jan Patočka, were crushed by the Soviet invasion in August 1968. In January 1969, Jan Palach, a student of the Faculty, committed suicide by self-immolation in political protest. The square where the main building is located and the Faculty of Arts central library bear his name. After the fall of the communist regime and the departure of its compromised followers in 1989, the Faculty established itself once again as one of the most prestigious institutions in the humanities both in the Czech Republic and in Central Europe.

Our alumni and former staff members include:

  • the Church reformer and philosopher Jan Hus (c. 1370–1415), whose thoughts inspired Martin Luther
  • the mathematician, logician and philosopher Bernard Bolzano (1781–1848)
  • the linguist Josef Jungmann (1773–1847), one of the creators of modern Czech language
  • the linguist and orientalist Bedřich Hrozný (1879–1952), decipherer of the ancient Hittite language
  • founders and members of the influential Prague Linguistic Circle, such as Vilém Mathesius (1882–1945), Vladimír Skalička (1909–1991), Jan Mukařovský (1891–1975), Bohuslav Havránek (1893–1978) and René Wellek (1903–1995)
  • the chemist Jaroslav Heyrovský (1890–1967), inventor of the polarographic method and recipient of the Nobel Prize in 1959
  • the famous writers Alois Jirásek (1851–1930), Karel Čapek (1890–1938), Ladislav Fuks (1923–1994), Josef Škvorecký (1924–2012) and Michal Ajvaz (1949)
  • the politicians Milan Rastislav Štefánik (1880–1919), Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (1850–1937) and Edvard Beneš (1884–1948), the latter two became Czechoslovak presidents
  • the sociologist and politician Alice Masaryková (1879–1966), founder of social education in Czechoslovakia
  • the art historian and archaeologist Růžena Vacková (1901–1982)
  • Jan Patočka (1907–1977), one of the most important Central European philosophers of the twentieth century, student of Martin Heidegger, Edmund Husserl and Eugen Fink
  • Jan Palach (1948–1969), student who immolated himself in protest against the Soviet invasion of 1968
  • the psychologist Zdeněk Matějček (1922–2004), author of ground-breaking studies in children’s psychology
Programs taught in:
  • English (US)
  • Czech

This school also offers:

PhD

Charles University Faculty of Arts

Graduates are highly qualified specialists in literary and cultural studies focused on English-speaking countries, especially the literature and cultures on the British I ... [+]

Graduates are highly qualified specialists in literary and cultural studies focused on English-speaking countries, especially the literature and cultures on the British Isles and in North America. They have a good command of theoretical and methodological approaches, are able to conduct independent research and to teach literary and cultural histories of the United Kingdom, USA, Ireland and other English-speaking countries, and related literary and cultural courses, at tertiary level. They can participate in team research projects and work in international research teams. Czech graduates have a good command of the terminology and style of the discipline in their mother tongue and possess basic knowledge of the reception of Anglophone literature in Czech culture.... [-]

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Charles University Faculty of Arts

Graduates of the doctoral program in Asian History and Culture are highly qualified specialists in the area of their specialization. Their excellent command of a selected ... [+]

Graduates of the doctoral program in Asian History and Culture are highly qualified specialists in the area of their specialization. Their excellent command of a selected Asian language enables them to work critically with primary sources, and they have a solid grounding in secondary literature and contemporary research. Their excellent level of erudition enables them to pursue careers in the academia (universities, research centers, etc.); they can, moreover, seek employment in cultural institutions, diplomacy, mass media, specialized think-tanks, etc.

Length of study: 4 years

The language of instruction is English. Asian History and Culture is a fee-paying program.

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Charles University Faculty of Arts

Graduates from the Ph.D. program in Classical Philology are experts in classical languages/ancient literature, capable of developing their knowledge in a creative manner. ... [+]

Graduates from the Ph.D. program in Classical Philology are experts in classical languages/ancient literature, capable of developing their knowledge in a creative manner. Their dissertation theses testify to the graduates’ excellent expertise in the specialization of their choice within classical philology, including a reliable grounding in literary or linguistic theories. Graduates are equipped with knowledge, methods and language skills essential for independent research careers, being able to present their research findings at conferences, in journals, monographs, and editions of ancient texts. Graduates can seek employment as researchers and university teachers, editors, and translators of specialist publications.... [-]

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Charles University Faculty of Arts

The Ph.D. graduate has in-depth theoretical knowledge in all principal fields of Egyptology and a detailed overview and an up-to-date understanding of the current state o ... [+]

The Ph.D. graduate has in-depth theoretical knowledge in all principal fields of Egyptology and a detailed overview and an up-to-date understanding of the current state of research and associated problems. On the basis of the upheld Ph.D. dissertation, he/she is able to demonstrate exceptional quality in his/her specific specialization. The scholarly, language and analytical proficiency and skills of the graduate make him/her fully equipped for a professional scholarly and pedagogic pursuit on an international level. The Ph.D. graduate may be employed in many top-rated institutions centered on the study of antiquity, as well as on the level of effective top executives in institutions partaking in cultural, political, economic or trade relations between the Czech Republic and Egypt.... [-]

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Charles University Faculty of Arts

Graduates of the doctoral program in History/General History are highly qualified specialists equipped for independent and critical research, and possess a thorough knowl ... [+]

Graduates of the doctoral program in History/General History are highly qualified specialists equipped for independent and critical research, and possess a thorough knowledge of the political, economic, social and cultural development of human society; they possess skills in working with published and unpublished sources, and the ability to adopt a critical approach to specialist writings, conduct basic research, produce theoretical generalizations and apply creative thinking to the analysis of historical facts and processes. Graduates are equipped for any profession requiring a university degree in history or related disciplines; they may seek positions in the academia as well as a wide range of institutions in culture, civil service, and politics.... [-]

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Charles University Faculty of Arts

Graduates possess a general knowledge of the problems of Latin America in relation to its historical development and characteristic culture that has evolved since the lat ... [+]

Graduates possess a general knowledge of the problems of Latin America in relation to its historical development and characteristic culture that has evolved since the late 16th century, on the basis of pre-Colombian communities and immigration from colonial metropolises and Africa. Graduates have a knowledge of the basic facts of Latin American history, and the ability to learn new facts, being helped by the knowledge of the theory and methodology of the discipline. Graduates are familiar with the development of opinions on the basic problems of the region’s history, and the discipline’s institutions, personalities, periodicals, and key works. They have developed language skills in Spanish and English enabling them to study specialized literature and engage in discussions within the international scientific community.... [-]

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Charles University Faculty of Arts

Graduates of the doctoral program in Logic are qualified researchers in the field of logic and related disciplines. They possess in-depth knowledge of the methods and tre ... [+]

Graduates of the doctoral program in Logic are qualified researchers in the field of logic and related disciplines. They possess in-depth knowledge of the methods and trends in modern logic and specialize in one of its aspects and applications – pure mathematical logic, applications of logic in (and logical foundations of) mathematics, computer science or linguistics, or exclusively philosophical aspects of logic. They are able to undertake independent scientific research and to publish its results internationally, and they are open to interdisciplinary cooperation. Ph.D. graduates are trained for research and tertiary-level teaching professions at institutions specializing in any of the listed disciplines.... [-]

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Charles University Faculty of Arts

Graduates have a sound knowledge of current trends in the field and are able to adopt a creative approach to the relevant source material. Graduates are equipped to work ... [+]

Graduates have a sound knowledge of current trends in the field and are able to adopt a creative approach to relevant source material. Graduates are equipped to work with original Latin documents, i.e. literary and diplomatic manuscripts, incunabula, paleotypes and old prints, being able to interpret and prepare them for publication and translation. Having been trained in philology and literary history and acquired the foundations of relevant historical disciplines (codicology, palaeography, diplomatic) and of cultural history, graduates are equipped to place mediaeval and early modern works into the context of their time and also to interpret them as a factor influencing the culture and society of subsequent eras.... [-]

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Charles University Faculty of Arts

The individually designed attestation system of the doctoral program provides graduates with an insight into the current state of research and methodology of the subject, ... [+]

The individually designed attestation system of the doctoral program provides graduates with an insight into the current state of research and methodology of the subject, especially in the selected area of specialization and closely related disciplines. During the course, graduates also explored philosophical issues connected to their doctoral subjects and topics and passed a foreign language exam. The doctoral dissertation is a scientifically valuable contribution to the investigation of the topic and its findings are usually published as a monograph or study in a scientific journal.

Length of study: 4 years

The language of instruction is English. Musicology is a fee-paying program.... [-]

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Charles University Faculty of Arts

Graduates from the Ph.D. program in Romance Literatures are highly qualified specialists trained to conduct research work in their field (the literature of one or more Ro ... [+]

Graduates from the Ph.D. program in Romance Literatures are highly qualified specialists trained to conduct research work in their field (the literature of one or more Romance-speaking areas). They are able to analyze the literature of the chosen Romance-speaking area in a qualified manner, applying a synchronic or diachronic approach and modern literary methods and research procedures. Moreover, their expertise comprises the knowledge of general literary theory, the fundamentals of comparative literature and literary theory and criticism with a special emphasis on the chosen Romance-speaking area. Graduates are qualified for positions in the academia (universities, research centers etc.); their language skills and broad education qualify the graduates for employment in cultural institutions, the media, diplomacy, and other fields.... [-]

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Charles University Faculty of Arts

Graduates have a broad overview of key issues in current sociological theory and methodology, a thorough grounding in a wide range of analytical methods of quantitative a ... [+]

Graduates have a broad overview of key issues in current sociological theory and methodology, a thorough grounding in a wide range of analytical methods of quantitative and qualitative research, and the ability to use and combine these procedures. They are able to formulate and solve demanding research questions, specify relevant hypotheses, find appropriate methods of solution, and formulate relevant expert opinions. Graduates may seek employment as researchers and university teachers as well as in specialist and management positions in both the state and commercial sectors.

Length of study: 4 years

The language of instruction is English. Sociology is a fee-paying program.

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Charles University Faculty of Arts

Graduates have a sound grounding in research methods in the humanities, particularly in the study of relationships between languages/cultures; knowledge of information so ... [+]

Graduates have a sound grounding in research methods in the humanities, particularly in the study of relationships between languages/cultures; knowledge of information sources and the ability to assess their relevance to the pair of languages/cultures of their choice; a thorough grounding in the theoretical concepts of translation and interpreting and the ability to apply them to the analysis of the translation / interpreting market and procedures. They are equipped to produce and edit extensive scientific texts and to evaluate the quality of writings in translation and interpreting studies. They are capable of theoretical reflection on particular products/situations related to translation studies within their linguistic, cultural, historical and social contexts, and are able to present their findings to the academic communities.... [-]

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Charles University in Prague

Location address
Faculty of Arts
Charles University in Prague
Jan Palach Square 2
116 38 Prague 1

Prague, Prague, CZ
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