Can I apply?
Every student at every level of their studies (e.g. B.A., M.A., Ph.D.) can study abroad via Erasmus. During every level, he/she can study abroad for a maximum of 12 months (e.g. one year during B.A., another year during M.A. and then perhaps yet another year during Ph.D.). In other words, if you are an M.A. student, you cannot go again if you have already used up your 12 months previously during your M.A. studies for an Erasmus university stay or for an Erasmus internship. You cannot go during the first year of your B.A., but that is not relevant because the application process always takes place on February for the following academic year, so it is not possible to go earlier than during the second year of your studies. It is not possible to go for less than three months. It is not possible to go while you are interrupting your studies: during your whole Erasmus period, you have to be studying the degree that nominated you for your Erasmus.
I study in a "combined" or "distance" form – can I also apply? Are the conditions the same for me?
Yes, all students can apply. Obviously, during your Erasmus stay you will participate in normal courses that take place every week in a classroom (e.g. no distance or online courses).
When can I apply?
The call for applications is normally in late January. The faculty electronic application system is open in the second half of February. In early March, the institutes and the International Office evaluate the applications and nominate students for their desired destinations. The results may be announced as early as mid-March.
In 2021, the dates were:
February 15, 2021 – electronic application system is open for submitting applications
February 28, 2021, at 23:59 pm – deadline for submitting applications and attachments to the institutes and International Office, the faculty electronic application system is closed
March 1-5, 2021 – evaluation process at the institutes and at the International Office
March 10, 2021 – institutes send their nominations to the International Office
a few days later – the results are announced (every student can see the result in the electronic application system, where (in case of success) the status of his/her application is changed to "NOMINATED" / "NOMINOVÁN").
How many applications can I submit, and for what?
At the Faculty of Social Sciences, you can submit up to three applications in total. You can apply for universities via ICSJ agreements, via International Office's faculty-wide agreements or even via agreements of other institutes. The updated list of agreements is available on the International Office's website. You will also find there instruction on how to apply.
What about language certificates? What if I don't have any?
Proof of your language skills is a required part of your Erasmus application. In case you are a native speaker of a given language or study an English language programme (e.g. MARS, SCM etc.), please provide a statement of this fact in a separate document. Normally, we expect something like TOEFL or Cambridge Certificate for English language, Goethe Zertifikat etc. for German, DELF/DALF for French, DELE for Spanish etc. However, for the purposes of the evaluation process at the ICSJ you can use also other documents to prove your language skills, such as a copy of your high-school diploma that contains a grade from the foreign language or clearly states that the education was conducted in the foreign language, written confirmation from a foreign language teacher at the Faculty of Social Sciences stating your language skills level, a transcript of records indicating that you have completed a university course in a foreign language, or any other document that somehow shows your foreign language skills. An ordinary photocopy is OK.
Some partner universities require official tests scores and do not accept documents that would be acceptable for the ICSJ selection process. You should check language certificate requirements at the website of your desired university. It is also advisable to check language of instruction in courses you would like to study there.
In the list of agreements, each university has one or several languages, for example a university in Croatia has both English and Croatian. This does not mean that you can apply only if you are fluent in Croatian, but that the university offers courses in these languages. Exchange students here at the Charles University also study mostly in English, although we offer courses in both Czech and English.
How to get a confirmation about my language skills at the Faculty of Social Sciences?
You have to get in touch with a teacher of the foreign language at the Faculty whose course you have completed in the past. Alternatively, you can approach him/her with a document that proves that you have completed a similar course at some other university. In this case, the teacher might want to check your language skills in person. Please note: this document is not on the same level as TOEFL, Cambridge Certificate etc., it is intended primarily for the purposes of Erasmus application process at the Faculty of Social Sciences.
Please notice that in the period before the Erasmus deadline, the foreign language course instructors are usually overloaded with requests to evaluate students' language skills, sometimes even by students that have not taken their classes. It is strongly suggested not to leave this for the last minute and contact a teacher whose class you have taken.
Or, better still, get a globally recognized language certificate that will be useful beyond the Faculty's Erasmus application process.
I want to study in France, do I need to speak French? I want to study in Finland, do I need to speak Finnish?
It depends on the language of instruction of the courses you would like to study. Most French, German or Spanish universities offer some courses in English, but most of the classes will be in their national language. Universities in other European countries usually offer courses in English for international students. Before submitting your Erasmus+ application, it is important to check if your language skills match with your desired university and its courses. Being fluent in a given national language is a huge plus, as you will be able to get by in a foreign environment. In general, applications to France, Germany and Spain are evaluated with consideration to the applicant's French, German or Spanish language skills. We also consider everyone's level of English.
What are the most popular partner universities?
As for December 2021, ICSJ had 72 partner universities for Erasmus+ student mobility; in 2021, 80 ICSJ students were nominated to our institute's partner universities, further 12 ICSJ students were nominated via faculty-wide Erasmus+ agreements and 4 others via other institutes, so in total 96 ICSJ students got a chance to study abroad.
Can I go for a semester or a whole year?
Most ICSJ Erasmus+ agreements provides for student exchange for one semester (5 months) and students cannot apply for a longer period. In case the agreement allows a longer period (typically 10 months), it is possible to apply for a year. Sometimes it is possible to extend a Winter semester exchange into a Summer semester – but this needs to be negotiated with the partner university and with our International Office.
How are Erasmus+ applications evaluated?
Since 2019 we have abolished interviews with applicants. Currently, only submitted applications and attachments are evaluated, so it is wise to take a great care of every aspect of the application and attach copies of all documents that may increase your chances.
Every application is evaluated individually by at least three ICSJ lecturers with a focus on motivation, academic profile and language skills. We take into account grade average, language skills, motivation, familiarity with desired partner university etc. After evaluation, the applications are sorted based on their average score (from 0-30) and assigned to their desired destinations based on capacity of the agreements. Incomplete or unconvincing applications are eliminated. In other words, if someone is not nominated, either all available slots of his/her desired university have been filled by people with a higher score or his/her application has not been good enough in general.
Once ICSJ sends its nominations to the International Office, the Erasmus+ agenda is in the hands of the International Office (except for Learning Agreements).
I would like to go via ICSJ agreement, faculty-wide agreement, or other institute agreement...
At ICSJ, we only evaluate applications for ICSJ agreements regardless of whether they have been submitted by ICSJ students or students of other institutes at the Faculty of Social Sciences. The International office and each institute evaluate applications for their own agreements. Applicants should deliver hard copies of their application to the appropriate institute or directly to the International Office for the faculty-wide agreements. For example if you have two applications for ICSJ partner universities and one for a faculty-wide agreement, you submit one application package to ICSJ and another one to International Office. There is no need to submit duplicates of documents such as a language certificate or a transcript of records to the ICSJ. However, to have the same "universal" motivation letter for two different universities is not a good idea.
If you are applying via another institute, it is important to explain your reasons well in your motivation letter and in an interview in case it is held.
Where to find information about courses at partner universities?
Normally the information about available courses can be found on university's website. ICSJ has dozens of partner universities and we do not monitor their websites regularly, so it is up to the student to find out which courses are available.
How does credit and course transfer work?
The point of study exchange abroad is to be able to study courses that are not available at your home university. On the other hand, not all courses taken as an exchange student can be counted toward your degree at the ICSJ. Students should therefore consult their Learning Agreements with their study programme’s guarantors or coordinators:
M.A. in Media and Area Studies / MARS (English): Mgr. Jan Miessler
B.A. in Journalism (Czech): doc. Barbora Osvaldová
B.A. in Communication Studies, B.A. and M.A. in Media Studies (Czech): Mgr. Jan Miessler
B.A. in Marketing, M.A. in Strategic Communication (Czech): dr. Marcela Konrádová
Usually it is necessary to make changes in the Learning Agreement as classes at partner universities become cancelled, there are schedule clashes, students change their minds etc., and these changes should be discussed with the guarantor or coordinator who approved the original Learning Agreement.
In general: we normally do not accept replacing your compulsory courses at ICSJ with courses passed abroad, we want you to pass our version of them here in Prague. For that reason, it is wise to plan your exchange period well to avoid extending your study period.
It is possible to replace our elective courses with similar courses from abroad, but for that you should provide the guarantor or coordinator with the course syllabus containing all the important information about the course. However, the easiest way is to do a credit transfer so that you will get ECTS credits for your courses passed abroad. The point is to have enough credits to be able to continue with your studies at Charles University.
While studying abroad, you are free to expand your horizons and take courses that are totally unrelated to media, communication, marketing etc. if you do not mind that you will not get credits for those courses here at Charles University.
While being on exchange abroad, is it possible simultaneously to take courses at ICSJ and study in a "distance" form?
No. In exceptional circumstances, you may try to ask a course instructor if he/she would agree with some kind of special arrangement, but usually this is not possible. In any case, it is better to focus fully on your study abroad experience.
Although Great Britain left the EU and aims to replace Erasmus+ with its own scheme, most of existing Erasmus+ agreements have been extended until the end of 2022-23 academic year, so in 2022 it is still possible to apply. It is important to check visa requirements and take into account that epidemics and political situation can influence your plans.
Our International Office has been flexible throughout the pandemics. It is possible to cancel your exchange or discuss alternatives with the International Office. Unfortunately, succeessful nomination does not necessarilly mean that it would be safe or even possible to go and study at the selected university. In 2020 and early 2021, our partner universities often went online or even cancelled all exchanged. Situation differed accross countries. So far we hope that 2022 will go well, but it is better to have a plan B in case thing will turn out differently.