The University of Agriculture in Krakow derives its experience from the intellectual heritage and tradition of the Jagiellonian University. At this very University, agronomical and forestry sciences developed since 1890 and young people were educated with particular regard to their patriotic upbringing. From the moment when the Study of Agronomy was founded at the Jagiellonian University, agriculture has been permanently taught at the university level. Over the whole history of these studies, the subsequent generations of professors followed a common guiding principle, i.e. bringing up young people in reverence for civil liberties and ethical rules. For such an attitude, the members of academic staff often suffered repressive measures and some were even deprived of the right to teach.
Today, after fifty years of the University functioning as an independent institution we still recognize the independence of ideas and attitudes as well as protection of commonly accepted academic rules and values as our priorities.d
The main objective of the University of Agriculture in Krakow as the institution of higher education is educating experts who would find employment in the widely understood food and forest economies and specialists in environmental protection. The University aims to prepare professionals able to meet the challenges of contemporary sustainable development based on ecological rules of management and utilization of the Earth's resources.
Anticipating the future trends of economic development the University provides modern knowledge and skills in agricultural sciences, forestry, biological and economic sciences, and engineering. Socio-economic changes that occurred in Poland caused a new type of qualifications is now expected from the University of Agriculture graduate. In place of a professional prepared to supervise production processes in agriculture, a specialist able to combine his technological expertise with advisory skills and proper economic knowledge is required. The University of Agriculture graduate, highly proficient in his knowledge and communication skills should be properly prepared to work in the areas of widely understood services for agriculture. A growing number of specialists in the EU countries have such a profile of professional qualifications. It is due to the fact that besides food manufacturing also a concern for its quality, control, and sales becomes most important. In this area, advisory services at different levels play a vital role.
Due to such a defined graduate profile, the University constantly modifies and updates its curricula at the same time extending the scope of biological subjects and humanities. The core of these changes should be programs constructed to enable not only teaching but also stimulating creative thinking in students. Diversification of study programs may be a chance to reach this objective. However, it requires a new outlook on the role of an academic teacher who should become more a moderator and guide in the teaching process using modern teaching methods.
In order to provide the graduates with skills that would meet the expectations and needs of future labor markets, information technologies are implemented as part of curricula in all fields of studies. Also, internships realized both outside our University and in its experimental units are changing their character in view of introduced modifications. All members of the academic staff are obliged to do their best to maintain a high quality of teaching.
Research constitutes an inseparable part of the University activities. Two main areas may be distinguished, i.e. research projects realized as grants and the European Union programs where the objectives are determined by the author of a project or by the contracting agency. The other comprises projects implemented as the statutory activities. These projects should be strictly connected with a widely understood didactic process and support it. Participation in extensive research programs also international ones and adopting information technologies to assist the development of agriculture should build up the importance and strengthen the University identity both in Poland and abroad.
Our University should develop in many directions through:
- adjustment of traditional fields of studies to future needs of agriculture and natural environment through modifications of present teaching programs to meet the expectations of the young generation and match the socio-economic changes in Poland and in the EU;
- seeking new lines of teaching and research which can develop in the future;
- concern for the dynamic development of staff capable of conducting research on a world level in all disciplines represented at the University;
- organizational changes allowing for successful training of students, conducting research activities, and simultaneously properly utilizing the University resources.
The Malopolska region has a specific agrarian structure and regional profile. It should be reflected in both didactic and research activities pursued at the University, mainly concerning mountain economy and agritourism, organic farming, and natural environment protection.
The University of Agriculture in Krakow boasts a rich tradition of close co-operation with universities in Krakow and with other academic institutions in Poland and abroad. Continuing and strengthening this collaboration will add to and widen our educational and research offer, which will serve to meet the future social and civilization needs.
On 11 April 2008, the University changed its name to the University of Agriculture in Krakow.
First attempts at teaching agriculture as a university subject were made in Poland by the end of the 18th century. In 1776 Rev. Hugo Kołłątaj suggested forming the Chair of Agronomy as a part of projected reform of the Main Royal School (Szkoła Głowna Koronna). The Chair of Farming established in 1806 existed only for three years. Subsequent numerous endeavors aimed at reviving agricultural studies within the Krakow Academy proved futile. Only in 1890 the 3-year Agronomy Studies were formed at the Faculty of Philosophy of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow in 1923 changed into the Faculty of Agriculture at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow.
The Second World War inhibited the successful development of the Faculty. During the Nazi occupation, agricultural studies were conducted in the conspiracy, supervised by Dean Anatol Listowski. After the war, the Faculty resumed its activities, modified its structure, and finally in 1946 was changed to the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. Three years later in 1949, a separate Faculty of Forestry was established at the University but unfortunately, the enrolment of students to this Faculty was stopped in 1953.
The Faculty of Agriculture provided the basis for the Agricultural College in Krakow founded in 1953 and played a crucial role in educating students and researchers who greatly contributed to the University's development and creating the other faculties within its structure.
The following Faculties were established in subsequent years:
- 1953 - Faculty of Animal Husbandry (present: Faculty of Animal Sciences)
- 1955 – Faculty of Land Reclamation (present: Faculty of Environmental Engineering and Land Surveying)
- 1963 – Faculty of Forestry (reopened)
- 1968 – Faculty of Horticulture
- 1973 - Branch Faculty of Economics and Agricultural Turnover in Rzeszów (became a part of the University of Rzeszów in 2001)
- 1977 – Faculty of Technology and Power Engineering in Agriculture (later: Faculty of Agricultural Engineering, at present Faculty of Production and Power Engineering)
- 1994 – Faculty of Food Technology
- 2003 – Interfaculty Study of Biotechnology, at present: Biotechnology – Interfaculty Studies
- 2008 – Landscape Architecture – Interfaculty Programme
In 1972 the College of Agriculture changed its status to the Agricultural University and by the decree of the Council of Ministers dated 12.09.1978 it was named after Hugo Kołłątaj – the precursor of agricultural sciences in Poland.
On 11th April 2008, Agricultural University (Akademia Rolnicza) changed into the University of Agriculture in Krakow (Uniwersytet Rolniczy) and is the only University of Agriculture in Poland.
The current educational offer comprises 32 main fields with 65 specializations, there are about 9 thousand students enrolled in all types of studies. The University offers also postgraduate programs for Master's Diploma holders.