Founded in 1919 and named after the country’s first president - Tomáš Masaryk - Masaryk University was born just a year after the state of Czechoslovakia itself. It still embodies the republican and democratic spirit of the times in its commitment to remaining autonomous and giving students an important role in designing their own courses. Close to 200,000 students have now passed through its doors.
Based in Brno, Masaryk University has a staff of over 5,000 (more than 2,000 of them academics), which makes it the leading employer in South Moravia and the leading public university in the whole of Moravia as well as the second largest in the Czech Republic. One of the fastest-expanding universities in Europe, it is also able to be highly selective, since places to study there are the most sought after in the country. The total student body, scattered across over 200 different departments, institutes and clinics, is more than 40,000, over 7,000 of them from overseas.
A leading research institution, Masaryk University offers courses across the full spectrum of traditional and contemporary fields, but with a particular focus on science. In 2006, for example, it set up a pioneering university research station in the Antarctic to explore the parts of the terrain which are ice-free. Four years later, with the help of around 200 million Euros in financial support from the European Union, it completed the construction of a new campus at Bohunice, Further developments have seen the overall area it covers rise to 70,000 square metres. It is now home to a range of facilities, including the Central European Research Centre of Excellence, equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories in life science and advanced materials, and the Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment.