“Study in English, live in Prague!”

A new Austrian Economics  master’s program in the heart of Europe

An interview with Professor Josef Šíma


Image: Josef Šíma, (denik.cz)

The CEVRO Institute, a fully accredited private university, in Prague has a new MA program starting in fall 2016: PPE – Philosophy, Politics and Economics. PPE was established as a degree course at the University of Oxford in the 1920s. There are already a plenty of Universities in Europe that offer a PPE-diploma. However, there are only a few faculties in the world that stress Austrian Economics as a foundation of these studies – the CEVRO-institute in Prague is one of them. DE has talked to the President of the CEVRO Institute and the program’s initiator, Professor Josef Šíma.
DE: Professor Šíma, the head of the PPE-program at Duke University, Michael Munger has promoted your master’s program in a video that can be found on your website. What makes PPE interesting for young academics?

Professor Šíma: We offer a Master’s program in PPE for Bachelor graduates of any fields. Today’s hyperspecialization often prevents people from understanding real-world problems. We offer a unique mix of  disciplines and emphasize the importance of freedom and private property: political philosophy to make sure students understand the big historical battles of ideas (freedom vs. opression); politics, so that students fully grasp the operation of political systems; and  economics, so that our students are able to analyze consequences of policy-making and understand what is the impact of taxation , inflation and modern regulations. All that in the historical center of Prague in our beautiful facility. Our program is particularly important for those interested in the Austrian School of Economics or those interested in studies of reforms and/or transition. Our program is very international: we have great international faculty and international student body: 50 % of our students will come from the United States and Canada, and the rest will come from the Czech Republic, Germany, and from all over the world.

DE: What are the admissions for the program?

Professor Šíma: We welcome everybody with a Bachelor’s degree and a serious interest in that field of studies. We provide a simple application form at our website. The applicant shall attach a letter of motivation showing the determination and interest in our PPE Master’s program. As the whole program is in English, proficiency in English is required.

DE: When does your Masters course start and how long does it take?

Professor Šíma: Our academic year is divided into 3 trimesters, so that students can finish the whole program in one year: the studies begin this year with the fall term and lasts approximately from the early October to mid-February. The spring term lasts roughly from mid-February to mid-June.  Every term is divided into a twelve weeks lecture period and a six weeks exam period. The third and last term will start in June next year and will end in early September.

DE: Who are the lecturers you could win for your program?

Professor Šíma: We have managed to win a superb collection of scholars of the classical liberal tradition - among them are one the best Austrian economists such as Peter Boettke (Director of the F.A. Hayek PPE Program at George Mason University), the aforementioned Michael Munger (PPE Director at Duke),  David Schmidtz (Director of the Center for Philosophy of Freedom at the University of Arizona), the former Dean of the Faculty of Law at Ghent University, Boudewijn Bouckaert, as well as the former Dean of the Faculty of Economics at Prague University,  Jiří Schwarz, the Vice-governor of the Czech National Bank, Mojmír Hampl, Jörg Guido Hulsmann, Aviezer Tucker from Harvard, Stefan Kolev, Philipp Bagus, Detmar Doering and many more.

DE: The line-up is quite impressive. How much does your Master’s program cost?

Professor Šíma: We charge EUR 8400 for the whole program. In the international academic context this is a very reasonable price  and we have proven to be very competitive. However, we grant scholarships to gifted students who are bonded financially.

DE: What makes Prague so attractive for students of the Austrian School?

Professor Šíma: We offer private and exclusive education for young and bright academics from all over the world taught by outstanding scholars. Prague   really needs no special promotion. Free-market students and scholars know of Prague events, conferences, free-market programs, and the lovers of history know that the center of Prague is one of the most beautiful in the world. Our university is based in one of the finest areas of Prague and has everything students might need.

DE: Do you see Prague to become a new center of the Austrian School in the upcoming years?

Professor Šíma:  Prague already has become an appreciated destination for free-market academics and no other place in continental Europe had so many world-leading Austrian and free-market scholars regularly visiting.  Now, with the PPE program we are moving to a new level and are offering a unique opportunity to systematically study both the classics of the Austrian school and its modern authors. By launching our PPE-program we offer to all students who want to learn about liberty an alternative to the statist education provided by many public universities.  We encourage all those who like the ideas of Hayek, Mises and Rothbard and all who care about freedom and are eager to advance liberty-oriented scholarship to apply. I know from my own experience how frustrating it is to be a student who has only statists of different flavors around you and nobody who would be willing to help you study books and authors you really like.
So we believe that some students who will enroll this year in Prague might be tempted to stay there, we expect some to follow our PPE faculty to their home universities in the US elsewhere to finish up  their MA thesis abroad or continue in a PhD. program. We believe PPE-students will have outstanding prospects to study, teach and work elsewhere in the world. If you have any questions or are interested in the curriculum visit our website! We would be happy to see some young talents dedicated to Austrian Economics at our University in beautiful Prague.

DE: Professor Šíma, thank you for this interview!

The interview first appeared on Freitum



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