Masaryk University

This article is about Masaryk University in Brno established in 1919. For the 1778-1782 University in Brno, see Palacký University of Olomouc.
Masaryk University
Masarykova univerzita
Latin: Universitas Masarykiana Brunensis
Type Public
Established 1919
Rector Assoc. Prof. Mikuláš Bek
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 35,115[1]
Location Brno, Czech Republic
Campus Urban
Colors blue     
Affiliations EUA
Compostela Group
Utrecht Network

Masaryk University (Czech: Masarykova univerzita; Latin: Universitas Masarykiana Brunensis) is the second largest university in the Czech Republic, a member of the Compostela Group and the Utrecht Network. Founded in 1919 in Brno as the second Czech university (after Charles University established in 1348 and Palacký University existent in 1573–1860), it now consists of nine faculties and 35,115 students.[1] It is named after Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, the first president of an independent Czechoslovakia as well as the leader of the movement for a second Czech university.[2]

In 1960 the university was renamed Jan Evangelista Purkyně University after Jan Evangelista Purkyně, a Czech biologist. In 1990, following the Velvet Revolution it regained its original name.[3] Since 1922, over 171,000 students graduated from the university.


Masaryk University was founded on 28 January 1919 with four faculties: Law, Medicine, Science, and Arts. The founding of the second Czech university was possible only after the fall of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy because of the resistance of the German-controlled city council, which feared giving power to the Czech residents of Brno.[2] Brno was at that time a bilingual city. One notable demonstration in favour of establishing a university in Brno happened in 1905.[3]

From the beginning, the university suffered from a lack of money for development. The fragile state of public finances in 1923–1925 and 1933–1934 led to proposals of abolishing both the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Science. Both faculties eventually survived until 17 November 1939 when the whole university was closed following the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. A number of professors of Masaryk University were executed or tortured; for example, the Faculty of Science lost one quarter of its teaching staff.[2] Many of the executions took place in the Mauthausen concentration camp in 1942.[3]

Faculty Year founded
Faculty of Medicine 1919
Faculty of Law 1919
Faculty of Science 1919
Faculty of Arts 1919
Faculty of Education 1946
Pharmaceutical Faculty1952*
Faculty of Economics and Administration 1991
Faculty of Informatics 1994
Faculty of Social Studies 1998
Faculty of Sports Studies 2002
* Pharmaceutical Faculty was closed down in 1960.

The renewal of university life after the end of World War II was interrupted by the Communist takeover. The percentage of students expelled in various faculties ranged from 5 percent at the Faculty of Education to 46 percent at the Faculty of Law, which was completely closed in 1950. In 1953, the Faculty of Education (founded in 1946) was separated from the university. In August 1960, a government decree abolished the Pharmaceutical Faculty and the University was renamed Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Brno.[2]

Relaxation occurred in 1964 with the reintegration of the Faculty of Education into the university and with the reestablishment of the Faculty of Law in 1969. But conditions changed again rapidly with the Normalization of the 1970s after the 1968 invasion of Warsaw Pact troops into Czechoslovakia.[2]

The University was renamed Masaryk University in Brno in 1990, then regaining its original name by dropping the "in Brno" from the title in 2006. A new era of development began after the Velvet Revolution of 1989 and the establishment of the Faculty of Economics and Administration in 1991, the Faculty of Informatics in 1994, the Faculty of Social Studies in 1998, and the Faculty of Sports Studies in 2002.[3]

A new University campus has been under construction in Brno-Bohunice since 2002. The last stage of development should be completed in 2015.[4] Campus houses most Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Sports Studies, part of Faculty of Sciences as well as several research facilities such as Central European Institute of Technology and Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment Cetocoen.

In 2013, university signed a long term lease with the city of Brno, creating University cinema Scala in place of movie theatre with over 80 years tradition which was closed down in 2011. The place has various academic functions, hosting official university ceremonies as well as lectures and conferences. Cinema's programming is managed by Aeropolis, which shares the costs with the university.[5]



As of 2014, Masaryk University has over 35,000 students and over 2,200 pedagogical staff[1] and offers over 200 bachelor, 290 masters and 130 doctoral full-time study programs, some of them being offered in English or German as well as in combined form.

The Office of International Studies helps facilitate incoming and outgoing student mobility.[6] In the 2012/13 academic year the university hosted over 1,000 international students. Students with special needs are assisted by the Teiresiás centre.[7]

The university opened the Mendel Museum in 2007, creating an exhibition ground dedicated to the popularization of the scientific work and life of Gregor Johann Mendel who conducted his experiments in the Augustinian abbey where the museum is now located.[8] The Mendel Lectures given by the world´s top scientists in genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, microbiology and medicine have been held in the Mendel Museum.[9]

The University Cinema Scala has been operated by the Masaryk University since October 2013 as the first university cinema in the Czech Republic.[10] The Freedom Lecture, a public debate on a current social topic with outstanding personalities has been held annually at the cinema on the occasion of International Students´ Day (Student Seventeen) since 2014.[11][12][13]


A building in campus VI

Masaryk University together with other institutions of higher education participate in CEITEC – a research centre for both basic and applied research in the field of life sciences.

The university owns and operates Mendel Polar Station in Antarctica. The station facilitates basic biological, geological and climatological research. The station was built in 2005 and 2006 as is staffed during Antarctic summers.[14]

The Technology Transfer Office of Masaryk University was established in 2005 and aims to put research results into practice and support and facilitate cooperation between the scientific community and industry.[15]

Notable alumni

Masaryk University has over 170,000 alumni, some of the notable ones are listed here. The most accomplished scientists include astronomer Jiří Grygar and Luboš Kohoutek, mathematician Otakar Borůvka, psychiatrist Leo Eitinger, sociologist Miloslav Petrusek, paediatric geneticist Renata Laxova and anthropologist Jaroslav Malina. Paleontologist Josef Augusta, who together with illustrator Zdeněk Burian created accurate reconstructions representing all forms of prehistoric life, also attended the university.

Alumni politicians include former Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Petr Nečas, Governor of South Moravian Region Michal Hašek, former Minister of Health Tomáš Julínek or as of 2014, the leader of Czech Green Party Ondřej Liška. Politician, dissident, human rights activist Jaroslav Šabata also studied there. Martin Palouš is Permanent Representative to the United Nations of the Czech republic (2006– ), before he was Ambassador to the United States for the Czech Republic between 2001 and 2005.

Alumni also include Marketa Lazarová director František Vláčil, playwright Milan Uhde, composer Antonín Tučapský and poets Jan Skácel and Ivan Blatný.

Athlete Šárka Kašpárková and ice hockey players Jiří Holík and Josef Augusta also attended the university.

Notable faculty

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Detailed Statistical Data". Masaryk University. Retrieved 2014-05-05.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "MU Brief History". Masaryk University. Retrieved 2016-01-06.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "MU Important Dates in the History". Masaryk University. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
  4. "Podprogram 233 332 – Výstavba univerzitního kampusu MU v Brně-Bohunicích (UKB)" (in Czech). Masaryk University. Retrieved 2007-01-31.
  5. "University Cinema Scala". Retrieved 2014-05-05.
  6. Amal Al Khatib. "Home". Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  7. "Teiresiás MU - Intro". Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  8. "Mendelovo muzeum - Home". Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  10. "Scala v Brně se otevře v říjnu jako první univerzitní kino v Česku". Retrieved 2016-02-11.
  11. Editor. "Student Seventeen 2015 – Freedom Lecture 2015 – discussion". Rok smíření. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
  12. "Grandson of infamous Nazi spends lifetime making amends for namesake's atrocities". The Jerusalem Post | Retrieved 2016-02-11.
  13. Masarykova univerzita (2015-11-19), Freedom Lecture 2015: Humanity vs. Barbarity, retrieved 2016-02-11
  14. "Intro - Polar research at Masaryk University". Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  15. "Technology Transfer Office - Home". Retrieved 21 July 2015.
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Coordinates: 49°11′55″N 16°36′18″E / 49.19861°N 16.60500°E / 49.19861; 16.60500

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