Charles University in Prague is consistently ranked among the top 2% of universities worldwide, in Europe belongs to the top 100 universities, and in the Czech Republic it is the top university.
Drawing on its high reputation in the international area, the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics (known as Math-Phys Faculty) of Charles University in Prague is introducing prestigious programs in computer science in English. Starting from the academic year 2013/2014, it offers three year Bachelor’s and two year Master’s programs in computer science. These programs designed for motivated, diligent and gifted young people have been running for Czech students for years. Now the programs are opened for students from all over the world who dare to think and who have an interest in computer science and mathematics.
Charles University has outstanding worldwide known professors; there are many international projects, and yet the number of foreign students and professors at Charles University in Prague is still quite limited. The university is keen to attract foreign students, and the timing of the new program’s introduction is partly due to the appointment of the current Math-Phys dean, Jan Kratochvíl. The opening of the English program is one of his priorities.
The bachelor’s program aims to provide a sound theoretical base which is invaluable for working with applications and software development. Meanwhile, the master’s program is designed to give students a broad overview of computer science, along with the practical application of core principles. The faculty puts a strong emphasis on ideas and concepts that have stood the test of time and will endure. This is the reason for the large number of classes in mathematics, compared with most other computer science programs at other universities.
Students of any nationality are welcome to join the courses, including Czech students interested in studying in English, although the vice-dean Kolman explains the faculty had three main groups of students in mind when preparing the programs and admission procedure. The first are international students who have already been living in the Czech Republic, and in many cases have been studying at English secondary schools in the country. The second are students from other European countries, specifically the United Kingdom and Germany, and the United States. The third group consists of students from rapidly developing countries in Asia, specifically India, China, and Malaysia.
Many former students have gone on to work for established companies such as Facebook, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and Avast; others have established new companies like Inmite, a firm that develops mobile applications. Still others have continued their academic careers at ETH Zürich, the University of Cambridge, and Stanford University.
One example of the success former students have enjoyed during the course is the BIRD routing system, software that originated as a student project and now affects 40 to 50 percent of all Internet traffic.
“Over the years, the system has become the most widely used tool of its kind among Internet peering centres around the world,” Kolman explains. “Very roughly, peering centres are responsible for traffic exchange between different Internet service providers, and they need software that organizes the exchange. When you send an e-mail, it typically has to pass though several such centres. Thus, whenever you get an e-mail, most likely the BIRD routing system took care of it at some point.”
This year, an English-language master’s program in mathematics has also been introduced, and the faculty is considering opening a bachelor’s program in mathematics or physics in the near future as well.