Evolution of the Faculty
Together with the Faculty of Theology, Faculty of Law and Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Philosophy was one of the four oldest faculties of the University of Tartu. During the era of Swedish rule, from 1632 to 1710, all students began their university studies at the Faculty of Philosophy. In those times, philosophy had a broader scope, which also included mathematics and natural sciences. During the six-year study period, the students received general academic education, which served as a prerequisite for pursuing a speciality in another faculty or advanced studies in the Faculty of Philosophy.
As the University reopened in 1802, its structure was similar to the German universities of the second half of the 18th century. The University consisted of four faculties. The Faculty of Philosophy incorporated all disciplines which were not part of the Faculty of Theology, Faculty of Medicine or Faculty of Law. The Faculty of Philosophy was composed of four classes or departments: Philosophy and Mathematics; Natural Sciences; Philology and History; Technology and Economics. In 1850, the Faculty was divided into two: Faculty of History and Languages and Faculty of Physics and Mathematics. This was prompted both by the rapid progress in science and the ambition of the authorities to make the University of Tartu conform to the other universities in the Russian Empire.
As the University of Tartu was reopened in 1919 as the national university of Estonia, the Faculty was initially called Faculty of History and Philosophy and later simply Faculty of Philosophy. It developed into a structural unit combining Humanities and social sciences and became one of the largest and most important faculties of the University.
Through rearrangements carried out by the Soviet occupying authorities in September 1940, the structure of the University was made similar to that of the universities in the Soviet Union. The Faculty was once again named Faculty of History and Languages, a name it had already born in the times of the Russian Empire. In 1973, the Faculty was divided into two: Faculty of History and Faculty of Philology.
By reforms carried out during the restoration of Estonia's independence, the Faculty of Philosophy was re-established on 1 January 1992 by uniting the faculties of History and Philology. The Faculty was composed of ten departments (History; Estonian Philology; Special Pedagogy; Philosophical and Political Sciences; Germanic and Romance Philology; Psychology; Sociology; Journalistics; Russian and Slavonic Philology; Semiotics) and three centres: Languages, Culture and Pedagogy. Later, the departments of Psychology, Semiotics, Sociology, Journalistics and Special Pedagogy were moved to the Faculty of Social Sciences, and other internal rearrangements were made.
One major structural reform was carried out in 2007, when the Faculty's seven departments were reorganised into five institutes. At present, the Faculty consists of the Institute of History and Archaeology; Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics; Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics; Institute of Germanic, Romance and Slavonic Languages and Literatures; Institute of Cultural Research and Fine Arts; Language Centre. Among the ordinary faculty members, there are 32 professors; 38 senior lecturers; 122 lecturers, assistants or teachers; 27 senior research fellows; 62 research fellows. The Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy is Margit Sutrop, Professor of Practical Philosophy.
From the beginning of 2016, The Faculty of Philosophy, Faculty of Theology and Viljandi Culture Academy was merged into one faculty - The Faculty of Arts and Humanities.