Why some of the world's brightest young minds are studying in Brno

The Czech Republic’s largest technical university offers students access to tech giants and research innovators.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 06.01.2021 12:55 (updated on 07.01.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

When foreign students consider studying in the Czech Republic, they often overlook the country's second largest city, Brno. But the “Silicon Valley of Central Europe,” home to multiple branches of international tech companies, offers outstanding educational and career opportunities -- while ranking among the world's most popular cities for students.

The Czech Republic's largest technical university, the Brno University of Technology (BUT) is a top choice among tech and science students. The campus' proximity to Technology Park Brno and its partnership with the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC) give students a unique advantage -- many alums go on to launch their own startups or do important scientific research.

BUT - Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Communication
BUT - Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Communication

"62 percent of our students have job offers before graduating while 95 percent of BUT graduates go on to get a job within half a year of graduation," said BUT spokesperson Radana Koudelová, adding that virtually 100 percent of their graduates find work within a year.

The university ranks among the top 2.3 percent of universities in the world, building its reputation on nurturing student talent via internships and practical application of knowledge: over the past decade, BUT has invested more than CZK 10 billion (EUR 380 million) into new facilities and state-of-the-art lab equipment.

Robotic research group at the Faculty of Information Technology
Robotic research group at the Faculty of Information Technology

"Our students are currently doing trainee programs/internships at companies like Siemens, Honeywell, AT&T, Thermo Fisher Scientific, ABB, and IBM," said Koudelová. One BUT student recently developed an award-winning app that helps users navigate online content offerings.

Recent research internships include work on a new environmentally-friendly radiator, the prototype of which has already been used in a car, and the development of nuclear safety protocols that could see worldwide use.

A 120-year tradition of academic excellence

Today BUT encompasses eight faculties, three university institutes, and seven research centers. But when the school was founded in 1899, it had 47 students, four professors, and offered a single civil engineering program.

Mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineering would be added to the program shortly thereafter, as well as cultural engineering, now called landscaping. In 1911 the school moved into a building on Veveří Street that it still uses today.

Building of the Faculty of Information Technology
Building of the Faculty of Information Technology

After Czechoslovak independence in 1918, the school added an architecture program. The school first used its current name following the war; though it wasn't until the 1960s that BUT began transforming into an epicenter for science and research.

Following the Velvet Revolution, the school restructured its faculties and added new ones. The Faculty of Chemistry was restored in 1992 and the Faculty of Business and Management was founded the same year. The Faculty of Fine Arts was established a year later.

In 2011 CEITEC was founded by BUT in cooperation with other universities and research institutes; BUT now shares 12 laboratories and state-of-the-art equipment with CEITEC with its students contributing to research in life science, advanced materials, and nanotechnology as part of their degree work.

CEITEC at Brno University of Technology
CEITEC at Brno University of Technology

Foreigners account for one in five members of student body

Today BUT boasts a student body of almost 18,000 and has become an internationally respected educational, scientific, and research institution with significant standing in Central Europe. Some 4,000 foreign pupils, close to one out of every five, attend BUT where a number of Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate programs are taught in English.

Students from Colombia, Mongolia, Switzerland, and Azerbaijan enroll at BUT to earn degrees in areas as diverse as Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development, IT, Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry, Fine Arts, and Architecture.

Clean laboratories
Clean laboratories

"BUT ranks high among foreign students for its international reputation," said Koudelová who added that in general, the school receives the most applications from foreigners for its managerial programs, primarily Business and Management, Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering, and IT. "Architecture is also a popular program," she said.

Brno outranks Prague as a university city

Brno currently ranks as the world’s sixth-best city in the student view ranking by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), which publishes an annual survey related to education. With 13 universities Brno had the highest percentage of students of any of the QS-ranked cities and, at no. 6, outranks Prague which came in eighth on the list.

The ranking takes into account arts and culture, affordability, nightlife, employment opportunities, diversity, tolerance and inclusiveness, ease of getting around, and friendliness.

Life in Brno is also relatively affordable not only compared to Western Europe but also to Prague. Public transit runs 24 hours a day, and is quite cheap compared to many cities. Most people won’t need the expense of having a car.

Unlike Prague, the city is also relatively undiscovered by tourists. Brno’s historical center, with large public squares and Baroque fountains, churches, and the Špilberk Castle complex can be enjoyed without huge crowds. Cities such as Vienna or Bratislava are easily reachable by intercity train for a weekend getaway.

Brno city square / Leonhard Niederwimmer from Pixabay
Brno city square / Leonhard Niederwimmer from Pixabay

Because of the influx of both young people and foreigners, Brno has seen a large demand for modern cuisine and nightlife with many of its new eateries appealing to students with vegan food, casual fare, and cocktails priced for local budgets.

The university itself has the largest accommodation capacity in Brno, so finding student housing is relatively easy. BUT also boasts Olympic-grade sports facilities that can be enjoyed by students.

Sports facilities at Brno University of Technology
Sports facilities at Brno University of Technology

Koudelová believes that many foreign students also view the Czech Republic, which ranked as one of the safest countries in the world on the 2020 Global Peace Index, as a quiet and secure haven for getting a degree.

This article was written in association with Brno University of Technology. To read more about our partner content policies see here.

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