History of the faculty

History of the faculty

The Hungarian tertiary education is about the same age as the other institutions of the Central-European region. EÖTVÖS Loránd University which is the biggest and oldest one in Hungary was founded on the 12th of May 1635 by Cardinal Péter PÁZMÁNY (1570–1637) as a catholic institution. Its original location was in Nagyszombat, North-West Hungary (now Trnava in Slovakia), since large areas of Hungary were at that time the subject of continual dispute with the Ottoman Empire.

The original faculties were Theology and Philosophy, and the university had the right to give scientific degrees. Though the university had a strong catholic character, the curriculum from the very beginning included mathematics and natural sciences, like physics and cartography. In 1667 was the foundation of the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Medicine was the following more than a century later, in 1769. Thus the classical European university structure of four faculties was established, and state control was introduced in the same year by Empress Maria Theresia, who gave it the new name of the Royal Hungarian University (Magyar Királyi Tudományegyetem).

The Turks were expelled from Hungary at the turn of the XVII-XVIIIth centuries and Buda (the western part of Budapest) slowly regained its role as capital of the country. The university was moved to Buda in 1777. In the next decades its faculties were distributed among several buildings in Buda and Pest. The prosperity of the second half of the XIXth century made it possible to build the campus on Museum Ring (Múzeum körút), which is now the location of several departments of the Faculty of Humanities. In addition, the ever-growing university acquired new buildings – more than 100 by now – spread out all over Budapest. The original language of teaching was Latin, and it was only about two hundred years ago that the Department of Hungarian Language was created. Hungarian became the official language of undergraduate teaching in 1861.

The structure of the university remained unaltered for almost two hundred years, up to 1950, when significant changes were brought about by the communist takeover. The Faculty of Theology was expelled from the university on ideological grounds, and the Faculty of Medicine became the independent SEMMELWEIS Medical University. The Faculty of Philosophy and Arts was divided into the Faculties of Science and Arts. A recent change was the opening of the new campus in South Buda (Lágymányos). In 1950 the university was re-named after Baron Loránd EÖTVÖS (1848–1919), a Professor of Physics of considerable reputation (experimental evidence for the equivalence of gravitational and inertial mass) and an eminent statesman.

After the change of the political system (about 1989) the number of students grew rapidly. The university got back the right of PhD issuance in 1993. In 2000 two high schools were integrated into the university.

Since 2003 there are 8 faculties: Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Informatics, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Elementary and Nursery School Teachers' Training, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Social Sciences and “BÁRCZI Gusztáv” Faculty of Special Education.