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History of universities in Slovakia

Universities in Slovakia has a long tradition. Let us present to you 5 oldest universities, which were founded on the territory of modern Slovakia.

Academia Istropolitana was the first university, that was located within the territory of modern Slovakia (word Istropolitana originates from the ancient Greek word for Bratislava and can be translated as Danube city). The history of this educational institution is really interesting since it was founded by the head of the Catholic church – Pope Paul II on the request of King Matthias Corvinus. There were 4 faculties at the time of the establishment of university – theological faculty, faculty of law, faculty of medicine and philosophical faculty and all of them complied with standards set up by Bologna´s universities. There were plenty of renowned academicians teaching at Istropolitana. Unfortunately, Academia Istropolitana ceased to exist after Matthius Corvinus’s death, patron of University, who died in 1491.

The University of Trnava is the second oldest university founded on the territory of Slovakia. This university was founded in 1635 by Archbishop of Esztergom, Peter Pazmány. At the time of its establishment, there were 4 faculties, which formed university: faculty of theology, faculty of law, faculty of arts and faculty of medicine. University was located in Trnava and lasted longer than Academia Istropolitana – 142 years in total.

The third oldest university was the University of Košice (Cassoviensis University), that were located in second-largest city in Slovakia – Košice. It was founded by Bishop Benedikt Kishdy, who transformed the idea of setting up a university in Košice into practice. In 1660 Roman Emperor Leopold I agreed to award University with The Golden Bull. At the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries, it was the easternmost situated university in Europe.  There was philosophical faculty, faculty of law and theological faculty. Teaching was conducted in Latin. University was well equipped (it owned for example printing machine, which very extremely rare at that time). After Jesuits ceased to exist, University was taken under state governance, who run it until 1776, when transformed into King Academy of Košice. The most famous graduate, Michal Baluďanský was the founder and first rector of Petersburg University in Russia.

The next higher education institution with the oldest history was the Mining and Forestry institute founded by Maria Theresa in 1762. There was the first department established in 1763 (Department of chemistry and metallurgy). Students were taught in the German language, which was a dominant language spoken at that time in middle Slovakia. In 1824 Academy merged with Forest institute and the whole institute developed steadily until 1918 when it was moved to Hungary.

Finally, the last college from the 18th century we are going to present was Collegium oeconomicum, founded in 1768 in Skalica by Maria Theresa. It was the first institution of its kind on the territory of the Hungarian Empire. The aim of this institution was to educate and prepare future leaders for their professions. The main subjects were economics, arithmetics, accounting, geodesy or mapping.

Another boom of higher education institutes began after WW1 when Slovakia became part of Czechoslovakia. Comenius University was founded in 1919, the Slovak University of Technology in 1940 and the University of economics in 1940. The majority of Slovak modern universities were founded after WW2.

The present state of Universities in Slovakia

There are two types of higher educational institutions in Slovakia: institutions of gallery-11university type and institutions of non-university type. They are different according to various criteria, such as the nature and scope of their activities. Universities offer Bachelor, Masters and Doctoral programs with significant portions of programs at the second and third levels. Non-university type of institution usually provides only Bachelor programs.

We can distinguish 3 types of higher educational institutions:

  • Public higher education institutions – in total there are 20 public institutions in Slovakia. To be more precise, 9 of them are traditional universities, 5 are universities of technology, 3 of them are institutions of art and music, 1 university of economics and 1 university of veterinary medicine and pharmacy and finally 1 agricultural university.
  • State higher education institutions are military, police and medical schools established by law and governed by the state. None of them provides education for international students.
  • Private higher education institutions – since the Fall of Iron Curtain, many private educational institutions were established. Nowadays there are 11 institutions teaching their students in fields of business, management, public administration, law, international relations, medical and social work.

Here is the list of higher education institutions in Slovakia:

a) Public higher education institutions

b) State Higher Education Institutions

  • Academy of Police Force in Bratislava (only Slovak programs)
  • Slovak Medical University in Bratislava
  • Armed Forces Academy of General Milan Rastislav Štefánik (only Slovak programs)

c) Private Higher Education Institutions

  • Ján Albrecht Music and Art Academy in Banská Štiavnica
  • Bratislava International School of Liberal Arts in Bratislava (only Slovak programs)
  • Goethe Uni School in Bratislava
  • Media Academy in Bratislava
  • Pan‑European University in Bratislava
  • School of Economics and Management in Public Administration in Bratislava
  • St. Elizabeth University of Health and Social Work in Bratislava
  • Dubnica Institute of Technology in Dubnica nad Váhom (only Slovak programs)
  • The University of Security Management in Košice
  • International School of Management ISM Slovakia in Prešov
  • The University of Central Europe in Skalica (only Slovak programs)
  • University in Sládkovičovo

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