Kezdőlap  History of the Institute

History of the Institute


Franz Josef I. Hungarian Royal University


After the First Worldwar, in 1921, the university moved from Kolozsvár (romanian: Cluj Napoca) to Szeged. According to former traditions, geography was taught on two faculties in the same time: it was part of Philological as well as Natural Science-Mathematic Education, too. Until the reshaping of the departments in 1949, the history of two discipline was going on separately.


In the first years, Geography was bound together with History, for example, famous Hungarian historician, Prof. Sándor Márki lead the Department of Geography and Antiquity. On his proposal, politician and geographer Graf Pál Teleki was inaugurated as a honorary doctorate.

Under the leadership of Prof. Károly Kogutowicz the Institute of Geography was established in 1924 which was also home for a collection of maps, a library and specific instruments. Main perspectives of the institute were agricultural, climate and seizmographic researches in the south part of the Great Hungarian Plain. The first issue of Acta Geographica was published in the school year 1927/28.

After Second World War, Prof. Gyula Prinz, former rector of the University of Pécs was invited to the Institute. His most important work was ’Theory Tiscia’ which is an interpretation of the Geology of the Carpatian Basin, applying the geomorphological studies of Richthofen. Professor Prinz was also known for his works in settlement geography and paleonthology. The other important personality of this era was the meteorologist Richárd Wagner.

On the other side, the Institute of Mineralogy and Geology was part of the Faculty of Mathematics and Science. It was established by paleontologist István Gaál and petrographist Zsigmond Szentpétery, two former assistants  of Prof. Gyula Szádeczky in Kolozsvár. They gained much help from Rockefeller foundation, Budapest University and Hungarian National Museum to enlarge the scientific collections. In 1941 the institute was divided into two parts: Institute of Mineralogy and Petrography and the Institute of Geology.

The following head of Mineralogy Institute, Prof. Sándor Koch summarized the mineral distribution of the Carpathian Basin using genetics. He is also well-known for his reclassified mineral collection on the University. The first issue of Acta Mineralogica-Petrographica, part of Acta Acta Universitatis Szegediensis periods, appeared in 1943.

A governmental decree in 1949 renamed the faculty to simply ’Faculty of Science’ and counted all of the geography departments to that. Most usual courses were the following: Geography-History, Geography-Biology (pedagogy) and for a few years: Geography-Geology pair of courses. From the 1960s, foreign languages came to front, too.

At the end of the 1950’s István Miháltz became the head of the Department of Geology. It is important to notice that because of the low number of lecturers the topic of the chief professor determined the research activities of the whole department. At this time, analyses of quaternary sediments, geological survey of the Great Plain, paleonthology and the planning of hydroelectric stations were the most important projects.

6 years after the retirement of Prof. Gyula Princz, from 1964 the Institute of Geography split into two departments. One was the Dept. of Physical Geography, under the direction of the famous speleologist, Prof. László Jakucs. Main research areas were morphogenetic analyses of karsts and the geographical problems of the southeastern part of the Great Plain. The other department was the Dept. of Economic Geography, established by Prof. Gyula Krajkó with the key topics: agricultural and transportation geography.

The integrated Institute of Geography and Geology was established in 1981.The first head of the institute was Prof. Gyula Krajkó, his secretary  Prof. Keveiné. After 1986, the following professors directed the institute: Gyula Grasselly, Gyula Krajkó, Béla Molnár, Gábor Mezősi, Prof. Keveiné, János Rakonczai. The present head of the institute since 2008 is Elemér Pál-Molnár.

The number of students increased rapidly from the end of the 80’s, especially when only-geography pedagogy course was introduced in 1992. Total headcount of the pupils raised from 175 to almost 700.

The first two facultative specializations of the geographer course were environmant and settlement research. Afterwards three more options were recognized: geology, geoinformatics and turism, thereby University of Szeged offers the widest range of geography education.

The latest important change was the so called ’Bologna process’. The institute formed two BSc courses, Geography and Earth Science as well as two MSc programms with the same name in 2006.

Further historical informations are available on the departments’ websites.

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Dr. Pál-Molnár Elemér

Dr. Bajmócy Péter