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.
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. 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.