Established in 1348, Charles University is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions globally. It is also the largest university in Czechia, with a rich history and an ever-growing reputation for fostering a diverse and dynamic learning environment. At the heart of this institution lies the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSV UK), a hub of innovation, inclusivity, and interdisciplinary learning.
The FSV UK hosts a diverse student body, with over 7080 nationalities represented among its students. This diversity is a testament to the university’s commitment to fostering a global perspective within its academic community. Here, students can pursue various programmes, ranging from sociology, media and communication studies to security, international and political studies to economics, finance and data analytics. They can opt for double degrees, joint degrees, and exchange programmes, allowing them to immerse themselves in different disciplines, cultures, and environments. Guest lecturers from all over the world enhance the international focus of these programmes even more.
One distinctive feature of FSV UK is its focus on interdisciplinarity. Undergraduate students like Dana Alsaialy find the flexibility of the curriculum empowering as it allows them to shape their curriculum by selecting courses throughout the faculty and even from other faculties. This lets them become experts in their chosen field while gaining knowledge in related disciplines.
“While our core courses provide a core social sciences foundation, our electives allow us to specialise in a field of interest,” Alsaialy says. “Bachelor students can even take master-level coursework within FSV UK and have it count as regular electives. Moreover, we can take courses outside our faculty as ‘other electives’ that count towards graduation.”
Another student, Olivia Hankins, who is pursuing a Bachelor in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE), agrees. “For example, in PPE, the core, mandatory courses are mostly introductory courses to each of the three pillars of PPE and focus on topics more general for social sciences,” she says. “The elective courses are more specific and involve elements of either politics, philosophy, or economics that are less general and more focused on a certain topic. For example, elective courses include ‘Political Philosophy of the AI’ and ‘Economics of Global Business’.”
The FSV UK strongly emphasises experiential learning, bridging the gap between theory and practice. Professors use case studies and real-world examples. Optional readings and open lecture events further encourage the practical application of knowledge learned in the classroom. Just ask Prachi Bari, a Master student in Society, Communication, and Media.
“This is my second Master and I am learning new concepts and ideas from my professors here,” Bari says. “Each professor brings new perceptions and methods to discuss and create new projects. Some courses, like the Cross Platform Media workshop or the Audio-Visual Reality, offer practical usage. Working together on projects with international peers brings a global perspective on various current subjects.”
Networking is equally vital, and FSV UK actively cultivates an environment that encourages connections. Students like Alsaialy find that maintaining close relationships with professors through higher-level courses often leads to invitations to conferences, events, or panel discussions. “Other than that, our programme coordinators email us if there are researchers from abroad visiting our faculty and offer a day or two for us to have a seminar, meet them, discuss our research interests, and connect.”
That’s not all. Student-led societies within specific programmes and the faculty play a crucial role in spurring collaboration and networking. These societies organise various events, from hiking trips and excursions to Czech towns and castles to guest lectures and panel discussions. The diverse range of activities, including book clubs and pub quiz nights, create informal spaces for students of different study areas to connect.
“It is not just about studying at Charles University,” Bari says. “It also allows students to think outside the box by having many student-led clubs and think tanks like European Horizons and . These not only hold interesting discussions, quizzes, and debates but also organise fun-filled events to bring international and Czech students together.”
Bringing together all international students in the faculty, the FSV UK Circle is a society that shares interesting events that take place in English at the faculty, university or elsewhere in Prague.
Charles University’s commitment to diversity goes beyond academic pursuits. The university welcomes students and staff from all nationalities, religions, genders, and sexual orientations, creating a safe and family-like atmosphere. This inclusive environment ensures that students not only learn from their professors but also from each other.
Charles University excels in providing a welcoming environment. Although studying abroad requires a high degree of independence, the International Office at FSV UK is always ready to assist students with any issues concerning their studies. Students enjoy guaranteed accommodation in Charles University dormitories, easing the transition to a new environment. The Buddy programme helps newcomers settle into their new environment, fostering an enriching overall experience.
What’s more, Charles University understands the importance of preparing students for their future careers. Students can work during their studies, with many international companies having offices in Prague. The university has career advisors and organises career events to support students in navigating the professional landscape as well.