It gives me a great pleasure to welcome you to the homepage of the Faculty of Liberal Arts, one of the time-honoured faculties at the University of Szeged!
When in 1872 Ferenc József Royal University of Hungary was founded with four faculties, in addition to the Law School, Medical Faculty as well as the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Humanities, Linguistics and History also got established to be home for ten instructors and twenty-two students. Ever since then the name of the university, its location as well as its research and educational portfolio have undergone several changes. Today, with its over 200 teaching staff holding the PhD degree, nearly 4500 enrolees, its wide range of programmes that also include certain areas of social sciences, the Faculty of Arts is one of the largest and most successful institutions of training in Hungary, being also outstanding in an international environment. In the past four years, we have always ranked among the top ten arts faculties in Hungary. Furthermore, on the 2014/15 top list of the British QS World University Rankings we ranked 181 out of all the arts faculties in the world, being the only faculty in Hungary to make it into the top 200.
One of the most enduring creations of the society and spirit of mediaeval Europe, the university (‘universitas’ in Latin) has several serious messages to offer for today’s world. One of these concerns the importance of cultivating the humanities. Liberal arts people stand for scepticism because they are aware of the relative nature of their achievements, as well as those having temporary validity only. This is why it is often said that the humanities do not represent accurate scholarship. I have also heard people say that the humanities are about nothing but “shovelling moonshine”. Debating this view I hold that a scholarly field that teaches us that finding ultimate solutions to problems is not for us to do just like to conceive of the shape of a mountain in its complexity and we will be better off watching out because we can never observe the world in its complexity – well, such a scholarly field has an immense role to play in the healthy functioning of society. In the first place, it will make us sceptical about self-assured claims to the truth, thereby checking upon conceitedness; in the second place, it will make us tolerant and understanding with regard to the views of those who observe the same phenomenon as we do but from a perspective and thus they do not see the same as we do. Perhaps they can see something more beautiful, uglier or even more interesting. It may thus be worth taking their place for us to see what they can see. Or they may even feel like swapping with us.
Naturally, however, the sceptic, that is, the person of humanities, is also capable of making headway. Humanities, just because of their lack of accuracy, but being characterised by openness, provide knowledge that is convertible in a lot of ways and in possession of it, people with the arts degree are successful in a number of segments of the job market. Labour statistics show unequivocally that those with a humanities degree among university graduates get jobs within the shortest period of time.
Alongside the possibility of providing knowledge tied to one special area, today’s modern university guarantees the freedom of academic choice for students. It means a chance for every student to compile their own portfolio of studies choosing from a wide range of minor programmes, specialisations as well as elective courses. While browsing this homepage you will have the opportunity to gain insight into our programmes of education and research that make up a basis of selection, encompassing a rather broad spectrum. At the same time, you will also have the opportunity to have a glance at the everyday life of the Faculty of Liberal Arts. With that, let me wish you a joyful and useful browsing.
Prof. Mihály Szajbély