History of the Department

The first lectures in the Foundations of Psychology were delivered at the Faculty of Arts in 1924. They were given by Prof. B. Tomsa from Comenius University's Faculty of Law. An independent school of psychology and self-contained courses in psychology date back to the academic year of 1926/1927. They were led by Assoc. Prof. J. Tvrdý, a positivist-oriented philosopher from Brno.

An important step towards the independence of psychology from related disciplines was the foundation of the Institute of Psychology in 1937, which was chaired by Assoc. Prof. J. Stavěl. In 1939, following the breakup of Czechoslovakia, the Czech psychologists J. Stavěl and J. Tvrdý left Bratislava. The faculty received its first professor with chair in psychology when A. Jurovský was appointed professor in 1941.

After 1950 psychology was taught within the Department of Psychology and Pedagogy. However, the 1950s were not favourable for the development of the discipline as psychology, together with cybernetics and genetics, was often considered a "bourgeois pseudo-science". This was one of the reasons the Faculty of Arts did not have an independent psychology department until 1957 when the Institute of Psychology was established. At the beginning the institute was directed by Prof. A. Jurovský; later Prof. T. Pardel took over its charge. The institute employed several influential scholars who made a significant contribution to the evolution of Slovak and Czechoslovak psychology. They were, among others, Assoc. Prof. J. Koščo, a long-time deputy of the institute's director, Assoc. Prof. M. Bažány, the founder of the first laboratory of comparative psychology in Czechoslovakia, which was part of the institute, Assoc. Prof. L. Maršálová, a specialist in developmental psychology, Assoc. Prof. E. Habiňáková, a leading expert in psychological methodology and psycholinguistics, Assoc. Prof. E. Rybárová, Assoc. Prof. M. Brožíková or Assoc. Prof. V. Kovalíková, an outstanding researcher in the field of social psychology.

The 1959/1960 academic year finally saw the rise of an independent Department of Psychology under the leadership of Prof. T. Pardel. Although he was replaced by Prof. O. Kondáš in the capacity of the department's head in 1970, Prof. T. Pardel continued to direct the Institute of Psychology at the Faculty of Arts. Its faculty were instrumental in getting the newly established department up and running. The collaboration of both institutions went on until their merger in 1990. The department then hired the renowned statistician Assoc. Prof. R. Štukovský and a team of researchers to develop instrumental technology for the other departments of psychology in Czechoslovakia.

Intellectual liberalization in the second half of the 1960s brought a boom to the Department of Psychology. Not only did the number of students in all years of study increase (to around 80-100), but psychology also thrived institutionally. Besides the Institute of Psychology and the Department of Psychology, an independent Department of Pedagogical Psychology was opened in 1965 with Prof. L. Ďurič at its head. It employed outstanding scholars such as Prof. J. Grác, Assoc. Prof. O. Blaškovič or Assoc. Prof. J. Štefanovič. Normalization in the early 1970s confirmed that psychology was a good barometer for intellectual climate in society. After political vetting, the Department of Psychology had to part ways with its former secretary, Prof. Ivan Štúr, and the number of students the department could admit went down to 15 to 25 in a year of study.

In 1981 the Department of Psychology and the Department of Pedagogical Psychology were merged to form the Department of Psychological Sciences. It was led by Prof. O. Kondáš until 1984 when he was substituted by Prof. T. Kollárik.

1989 brought several changes to the structure and curriculum of the study programme in psychology. Prof. T. Kollárik remained to head the department until 1993 when his post was assumed by Prof. A. Heretik. In 1999 the charge was taken over by Assoc. Prof. I. Brezina. There was an enormous increase in the number of applicants to the Psychology programme (it receives about 700-800 applications every year but grants admission only to 70-80 applicants). The most important development after 1989 has been the reinforcement of the democratic character of studies and openness to new ideas and schools of thoughts. Since 1991 the department has hosted eight English-speaking lecturers.